Glycemic Index versus Glycemic Load: Carrots

Most diabetes patients tend to avoid eating carrots because of the sweetness. The main concern with the vegetable is its impact on blood sugar levels. Farm fresh carrots are sweet when eaten raw and even sweeter when roasted. This concern with carrots’ sweet taste stem from a misunderstanding on how carbohydrates actually work in the bloodstream.


Understanding Carbohydrates

When consumed, carbohydrates are broken down and absorbed by our body as glucose. Glucose is that sugar which your body uses in order to create energy. There are two kinds of carbohydrates, complex and simple carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates are vegetables and starches, such as pasta and rice. On the other hand, simple carbohydrates are milk, fruits, yogurt and sugar.

Regardless of the food that you eat, it is the amount of carbohydrates that dictates how the food affects your blood sugar.

Glycemic Index of Carrots

You are probably doubting the goodness of carrots for diabetes simply because the food has a high glycemic index. Glycemic Index is the measurement of the food’s ability to increase your insulin or blood sugar level. In the glycemic index scale, carrots register at 41, which is considered high. However, it is much more important that you focus on glycemic load instead of glycemic index.


What Is Glycemic Load

Glycemic load is a combination of glycemic index and the amount of carbohydrates that the food has. Carrots have a lower glycemic load due its low carbohydrate content. As such, the food will not have a significant impact on your blood sugar level.

A large piece of carrot contains 7 g of carbohydrates. In comparison, a cup of broccoli contains 6 g of carbohydrates. These two vegetables do not have any added sugar. They are essentially equal in terms of the amount of carbohydrates, despite the fact that carrot is sweet and broccoli is not. Thus, it is safe to conclude that just like broccoli, carrots are also a healthy choice of food for diabetics.

The best thing about carrots is that you can cook them in so many ways. You can eat them as boiled or steamed and serve as a side along with your meals. They can also make for a great ingredient on stews and soups. Either way, carrots are definitely safe for diabetes patients to consume. They will not cause a spike in your blood sugar despite of their sweetness.

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