Friday, 29 April 2005
Are Carrots a "Bad" Snack Food?
Topic: Glycemic Load
Many of you are probably familiar with the Glycemic Index (GI), which ranks carbohydrates based on their rate of glycemic response (i.e. their conversion to glucose within the human body). GI ranks food on a scale of 0 to 100, with higher values given to foods that cause the most rapid rise in blood sugar. Pure glucose would have a GI of 100. GI's of 55 or below are considered low, and 70 or above are considered high.
The GI of a food needs to be considered in relation to how much of it you eat, what the net carbs are. There’s a formula for ranking food which considers both the GI and the net carbs in a food, called the Glycemic Load (GL). GL's of 10 or below are considered low, and 20 or above are considered high.
One large carrot has 5 net carbs. The GI is 47 and the GL is 2. By comparison, 2 cups of popcorn has 10 net carbs. Its GI is 72, and its GL is 7. A cup of brown rice has a GI of 55 and a GL of 23. An apple, the GI is 38 and the GL is 6.
So carrots probably aren’t a bad choice to snack on. Mindless snacking on any food can get you in trouble, and any food can lead to weight gain if you eat enough of it. But you’d have to eat an awful lot of carrots to get there. I do know that back in the old days of WW when there were "free" foods, some people ate so many carrots they turned yellow (really!). But carrots are less apt to set off the rise-and-crash blood sugar problem that high-sugar foods do.
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