GI Q&A with Prof Jennie Brand-Miller
What’s ‘available’ carbohydrate?
When we talk about available carbohydrate (also called glycemic, net or usable carbohydrate), we mean the carbohydrate that is absorbed into the bloodstream and directly affects blood glucose levels. It excludes the escapees like fibre, and some sugar alcohols, that are not completely digested in the small intestine.
How is carbohydrate measured?
The carb content of foods can be calculated in a couple of ways. Many countries including the US and Canada determine it indirectly or ‘by difference’. First they measure the amount of protein, fat, water and ash in 100 grams of a food, they then tot up the numbers and subtract the total from 100. What's left over is called carbohydrate. This means that the carbohydrate content figures on their food labels and in their food tables includes both available and unavailable carbs (the ones which cannot be absorbed into the bloodstream). In Europe, Australia and New Zealand on the other hand, the food labels and food tables only includes available carbs (the ones that are absorbed into the bloodstream).
GI testing by an accredited laboratory
Dr Alexandra Jenkins
Glycemic Index Laboratories
36 Lombard Street, Suite 100
Toronto, Ontario M5C 2X3 Canada
Phone +1 416 861 0506
Research Manager, Sydney University Glycemic Index Research Service (SUGiRS)
Human Nutrition Unit, School of Molecular and Microbial Biosciences
NSW 2006 Australia
Phone + 61 2 9351 6018
Fax: + 61 2 9351 6022
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