The GI Carrot Myth
Glycemic Index Myths or Why Carrots and Beets are OK
By Jill Nussinow, MS, RD The Veggie Queen™
According to Dr. Andrew Weil (as stated on http://www.drweil.com), “When using the glycemic index as a guide to food choices, you also have to consider "glycemic load," a measure of how many grams of carbohydrate a normal serving contains. For example, carrots rank high on the glycemic index, but the amount of carbohydrates you would actually consume in a normal serving is pretty low, only 6.2 grams. The low-carb folks tell people to avoid carrots (and beets), but this is not good advice. Unless you eat huge portions of them, those vegetables will not disturb your blood sugar very much, and they provide important phytonutrients.”
Beets have a GI of 69 and cooked carrots 41 (while raw hover around 16) depending upon how they are prepared. The more cooked they are, as in “boiled to death”, the higher the GI. When vegetables in frozen foods are processed properly, they can provide optimum nutrition that can be harder to achieve at home. For example, the vegetables in Amy’s frozen dishes are blanched in order to retain their nutritional value and flavor.
To further add to the confusion about the glycemic index of carrots, it turns out that the initial studies on carrots were wrong. Some of the GI numbers published were as high as 92 versus the true index of 41, which is why carrots were considered to have a high sugar content. Yes, they are sweet but they come packed with lots of fiber, Vitamin A, beta carotene and other important nutrients.
The truth is that one-half cup of cooked carrots has less than 10 grams of carbs. To get the 50 grams used in a test dose to determine Glycemic Index (GI), you would have to eat about 5 cups of carrots or 1 ½ pounds at a serving. Most of you don’t likely do this. If you like to eat a lot of carrots, mix them with even lower GI vegetables such as broccoli or cauliflower.
Similarly, unless you eat a lot of beets on their own, you are probably fine eating moderate amounts, such as one-half cup at a time. For example, your blood sugar is not likely to rise dramatically if you combine them with greens, nuts and a dressing. But as is true for all foods, make sure that you know how your body reacts by checking your blood sugars as often as is medically advised.
For more information on glycemic index go to Jennie Brand-Miller’s site at http://www.glycemicindex.com. Brand-Miller is the author of The Glucose Revolution.