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EduKational Health Article

Understanding Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load

W hen we eat food that contains carbohydrate, then our digestive system changes carbohydrates into glucose which is then released into the blood hence called (blood sugar or Blood glucose).Glucose is the major source of energy for cells of our Body. The cells cannot take energy directly from the glucose.



On sensing the rise of glucose level in the blood, the Beta cells of pancreas work to release Insulin a hormone, essentially required to enable cells of our body to transform glucose from the blood stream into energy. Thus glucose level in the blood decreases.

On sensing the low glucose level in the blood, the Alpha cells of pancreas release Glucagon. Glucagon causes the liver to release stored glucose from its cells into the blood to keep blood glucose levels high enough for the body to function well.

This is normal process of our body to get energy from food. Then the question is why and what is this Hullaballoo (hue and cry) concerning GI and GL all about? Why we should all get to know G Index and G Load and Insulin. The answer is that since from the last century till today, the rate of occurrence of diseases like obesity and diabetes, both in adults and children, has skyrocketed.



Research studies were and are being done to understand the reason and to find the solution.


Till date the available evidence from a large number of the reliable, honest scientific research studies which were carried out since past centuries till now, clearly implicating the kind of refined unnatural the bad carbohydrates, which are in the form of fiber removed highly processed foods and fruit juice, sugar-sweetened beverage in the modern human diet is one of the main culprits causing obesity and diabetes, stroke, heart and other diseases.

What is reliable research studies? Read here, What is correct information

Obesity is, then, a well-known precursor of host of diseases like cancer and heart... 

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Fiber removed highly processed food like white bread, white rice potatoes chips, cookies and bakery products and such foods when are ingested, it is digested very quickly into glucose and  spikes the blood sugar level.
Point to note is quick, sudden, and excess, a very frequent release of glucose level in the blood puts an abnormal overwork load on pancreatic cells to supply insulin in response to the rise of glucose in blood stream, which, is a health concern.


Body is adapted to digestion of carbohydrate (Minimal cooked) and its conversion into glucose from only those carbohydrate food which contain both digestible and indigestible fibers. Natural Fibers contents in the food resist digestion which then helps digestion system to do some exercise in procuring glucose from the food, and releasing into blood, slowly and steadily. Pancreatic beta cells are adapted to releasing insulin towards its obligation in coordinating with this evolved metabolic system of our body.This process generates strong satiety sensations. That means one does not feel hungry for a long period of time.


Both digestible and indigestible natural fibers in natural foods have a very vital role and are integral to maintaining, healthy gut flora, digestive, and an overall health.
The recent abuse, high handedness by forcing body to digest fiber removed, unnatural highly processed junk food/ fluid, and paralyzing the cells and gene by denying them opportunity to remain active and fit through a sedentary lifestyle is an emerging uncivilized behavior of modern human against the millions of years civilized, trusted, obedient and the responsible system of  cells and genes of Human  Body, is a party in causing the crisis of the pandemic obesity, and can be suspected as one of the causes of diabetes and other diseases, together termed as metabolic disorder.


Among Various measures to educate people on controlling blood glucose(blood sugar)to avoid obesity and diabetes, and for leaving a healthy life, scientists advise people to know the carb contents in the food, and for this purpose carbohydrate containing food they have indexed in three categories High, Medium, and Low Glycemic Index.
The indexing of carbfood is in accordance with their carbohydrate contents and its effect on the blood glucose level.

Slowly absorbed carb foods which are slowly digested and converted into Glucose are in low and medium GI rating, while foods that are more quickly digested and transformed into glucose have a higher rating and are in High glycemic Index.

Glycemic Index Chart therefore has been developed for the purpose of enabling people specially, obese and diabetic patient, to understand and chose carbohydrates which are slowly absorbed and converted into glucose in the digestive tract.

Glycemic Index uses a scale of 0 to 100.

Low GI: 1 to 55

Medium GI: 56 to 69

High GI: 70 and higher

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With higher values given to foods that contains highest level of carbohydrate. Pure glucose serves as a reference point, and is given a Glycemic Index (GI) of 100.

However understanding GI alone is not enough to avoid quick, sudden, excess release of glucose in the blood which spark and spike the blood glucose level. Because all carbohydrate containing food even those which are in high GI, may not be digested at the same rate, nor will end up into excess glucose, and will not  cause the unhealthy rise of  glucose and insulin interaction condition in our body.

Example is many natural sweet (high carb containing) but are  health promoting, Example is many natural sweet (high carb containing) but are health promoting, nutritiously dense, lovely fruits, like these poor chaps, watermelon, watermelon and carrot, carrotthey have also been arrayed in High Glycemic Index, along with these high carb containing unhealthy nasty food like, sugary drinks, white bread, cookies, white rice and other refined foods.

By the rule of sense and science the natural high carb food like mango papaya, dates, grapes and all other sweet fruits which human are adapted to metabolize for the millions of years cannot pose a health concern if eaten in moderation in accordance with the health condition, and the nutritional requirement of an individual.
The second point is although watermelon, carrot do have high contents of carbs and so are incarcerated in High Glycemic Index, along with those unhealthy high carb containing foods, but watermelon, carrot cannot be eaten in access amount due to its water and fiber contents, thus cannot be a concern of the unhealthy rise of glucose and insulin level in blood.
Rather mounting evidences are supporting the beneficial health effects of eating watermelon and carrot in moderation.

So what? Should we neglect and dismiss the idea of Glycemic index?

Certainly not, instead, while having the knowledge of Carb contents in a food, just, additionally, we need to understand that carbohydrate containing food will end up in how much glucose, and how much it will affect the rise of glucose in our blood stream. This idea has been explained by Harvard scientists in the term of Glycemic Load.

What Is the Glycemic Load (GL)?

Glycemic Load means the impact of foods on our actual blood sugar level.While GI gives us an idea about the total amount of carbohydrates in foods in their unconsumed state, GL is the measures of the actual impact of the carb-foods when eaten, on our blood sugar status.
The amount of carb contents in the food explained in glycemic Index, and its actual impact on the blood glucose level greatly differ in accordance with kind and amount of carb containing food eaten. In another word GI explains the quantity of carbohydrate in the food while Glycemic Load is a measure of the quality of the carb.

Low GL: 1 to 10

Medium GL: 11 to 19

High GL: 20 or more

The amount (quantity) of carb in GI and the kind (quality) of carbohydrate GL help us understand the ability of the food (when consumed) on influencing the Insulin and glucose interaction and their level in the blood.


High dietary glycemic loads mostly form fiber depleted unnatural food will cause obesity and will increases risk of developing type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM).
Insulin does mediate blood  glucose enter in the  cells for using it as energy, but insulin also signals the liver  and muscle tissues to restore the excess as fat in the body.
However eating low GI and GL food alone will not enough to get health benefit as reported in the article publiahed in JAMA on 17th December 2014.

Maintaing A healthy glucose and insulin interaction condition (Glucose Homeostasis) Knowledge of glycemic Index, Glycemic load, ‘calorie in and out' as a part of Intelligent Eating of Individually suitable Balanced Diet focused on overall health ( / ) while pursuing for Buddhi and understanding the factors which impact health will be correct strategy to avoid the avoidable diseases like obesity, CVD cancer and others and reap the health benefit from the messages of honest research studies.

Suggested site for more information

"Insulin Plays Central Role In Aging, Brown Scientists Discover." Brown University.

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