Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load
The most important metrics you probably aren't tracking
Understanding the effects of Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load can help you find balance that leads to a longer, healthier life.
What is Glycemic Index
At Nutreat, the development of our products is rooted in science-backed metrics and data. After years of research we believe that some of the most important metrics are glycemic index and glycemic load. You won’t typically find them listed on the nutrition panel or anywhere on the label, but we're working to change that.
In short, Glycemic Index is a measure of how quickly (and how much) a food will cause your blood sugar levels to rise. The glycemic index is scaled from 0-100, with 100 being the value for glucose. Foods with a lower glycemic index are digested and absorbed more slowly, causing smaller and less rapid increases in your blood sugar. These foods will typically have more fiber and/or protein. Meanwhile, foods with higher glycemic indices are rapidly absorbed and have larger and more immediate impact on your blood sugar. These foods tend to have more rapidly absorbed carbohydrates and are often more processed.
Glycemic Load: Theory into Practice
The Glycemic Load, on the other hand, is the translation of the Glycemic Index into practical terms. It is calculated by multiplying the amount of digestible carbs on a serving of food by the Glycemic Index of that specific food. In other words, it is a measure of how much that portion will impact your blood sugar curve. The Glycemic Load measures both the quality AND the quantity of carbs in foods, making it a good way to guide your daily decisions.
Why Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load Matter
When you eat, your body produces insulin, a hormone that helps us regulate metabolism, blood sugar, and fat storage. As your blood sugar rises, your pancreas secretes insulin to help bring levels back down.
When we eat foods with a high glycemic index value, our blood sugar levels rapidly rise and our body produces more insulin. Too much insulin can spell trouble. As our bodies are exposed to larger amounts of insulin, our cells begin to develop a resistance to it. This causes the pancreas to produce even more insulin, and so begins a vicious cycle, which can eventually lead to insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, and many other issues.
But even good things in excess can be bad for you. Just because a food has a low Glycemic Index, it doesn't mean that you can eat a lot of it. That's where the Glycemic Load comes in, to help you make better informed decisions.
The Magic Numbers
Most sources consider 55 and below as a low glycemic index food. Using 55 as a guideline will steer you towards whole, nutrient-rich foods, which we believe are a pillar of health and longevity.
Similarly, a Glycemic Load of 10 or lower is considered low, between 10 and 20 is considered medium and above 20 is high.
At Nutreat, our products will always have a Glycemic Load of 10 or below and display it boldly on the package. Unfortunately, if you are looking for glycemic load on most other products, you won’t likely find it on the label. Hopefully, as we build our tribe of fans, we can band together to make glycemic load something companies feel compelled to inform. Our favorite resource for GI values is Harvard Medical School. With the GI, you can then calculate the Glycemic Load of the serving you are about to eat. If you want to be proactive, contact your favorite companies and request that they add the Glycemic Load value to the label so everyone can benefit.
The Science Behind It
Nutreat partners with Inquis Clinical Research, the most reputable lab for glycemic index and load studies, for clinical trials to determine the glycemic numbers for our snacks. Their insights along the way are critical to ensure that our products go through the strictest research protocols. The results of the trials are clear: at a glycemic load of only 2, our products are a great option for people managing their blood sugar levels! You can dive into the clinical trials we used to measure our numbers with these links: Chocolate, Berries and Coconut. As a reminder, you will only find Glycemic Load on the Coconut clinical trial as the total carbohydrate level was too low to measure Glycemic Index.