Can laminitic horses eat carrots or not?

February 18, 2012

It appears there’s some controversy over the glycemic index of the carrot in the human world.

In one corner are those claiming that carrots have an unusually high glycemic index, and they should be avoided by those with insulin resistance.

In the other corner are the carrot backers, including the World Carrot Museum, trying to establish that carrots really are healthy and should not be shunned.

This might generate a snicker in some parts of the world, but to owners of laminitic horses, this is important stuff.

In my attempt to get to the bottom of this, I learned another concept related to glycemic index called glycemic load.

The glycemic index of a food indicates how quickly the carbohydrates in the food will raise your blood sugar. The higher the number, the faster your blood sugar rises. And then there’s the inevitable crash.

The glycemic index for each food is determined by testing people’s response before and after they eat the food.

The result is compared to a reference food, such as white bread or white table sugar, which sets the bar at 100. Food with a lower glycemic index than 100 causes blood sugar to rise more slowly than white bread or table sugar.

The glycemic index is determined for 50 grams of carbohydrates in the food. That’s the point that can’t be overlooked. One serving of a food may not have 50 carbohydrates in it.

The glycemic load factors in the amount of carbohydrates in the food for a more accurate number of how a food will affect your blood sugar.

The website Caring4Cancer by P4 Healthcare compares a carrot to white pasta for glycemic index and load.

It says that 50 grams of carrot carbohydrate has a glycemic index of 131, and 50 grams of pasta carbohydrate has a glycemic index of 71. Carrots seem pretty unhealthy by that number.

But, one carrot has only 4 grams of carbohydrates, while a cup of pasta has 40 grams.

Thus, the carrot’s glycemic load is 5.2, while that for the pasta is 28.

A glycemic load of 10 or less is considered low, and 11 to 19 is medium. Twenty or over is high and not good.

Several other knowledgeable websites back up this message. Carrots are indeed OK for those battling insulin resistance.


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