A low glycemic load diet | The Paleo Diet®
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Low Glycemic Load

The low glycemic load of The Paleo Diet® is one of its most important features. High-glycemic load diets, such as the Western diet, are unnatural and contribute to insulin resistance and the metabolic syndrome, both of which are precursors to a variety of disorders including diabetes, heart disease, and acne.

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Diabetics are either unable to produce insulin or have developed insulin resistance. The result in both cases is that they are unable to effectively manage high blood sugar levels; the consequences can be severe.

To help diabetics manage their blood sugar, the glycemic index (GI) was developed. Every food item is given a score which indicates how much that food raises blood sugar levels. Pure glucose (sugar) is the standard by which other foods are measured and has a score of 100. A lower score means that the food has less impact on blood sugar. The only other food with a score of 100 is white bread.

The glycemic index is an invaluable tool for diabetics and people with metabolic diseases to control blood sugar levels. However, there is one issue with the Index. To determine the scores, at least 10 people were fed enough of each food to provide 50 grams of carbohydrates, and then their blood sugar was measured over two hours. With foods like bread, ingesting 50 grams of carbohydrates was easy to do. However, with many other foods such as watermelon, which has a high index value, an unrealistic quantity had to be eaten.

As a result, many foods, such as a fruits, have a high glycemic index value despite the fact that if you eat a regular serving (such as a single slice of watermelon,) their actual impact on blood sugar levels is low.

To address this problem, a glycemic load (GL) scale was created. This score indicates the effects of a normal serving on blood sugar. Using the glycemic load scale has the added benefit of being used to determine a net value of an entire meal. As expected, fruits, which have a high glycemic index score have a much lower glycemic load.

By eliminating highly processed foods, which have high GI/GL values due to their added sugar content and refined grains, The Paleo Diet is a low glycemic load diet. This means that it does not contribute to insulin resistance, inflammation, or metabolic syndrome.

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