Glycemic Index vs Glycemic Load

glycemic index vs glycemic load

A Brief Review: Carbohydrates and Insulin

  1. Carbohydrates are broken down into sugar in your body. If you consume sugary food (simple carbohydrates), it will raise your blood sugar levels.
  2. Sugar spikes your insulin.  The body releases insulin in an attempt to normalize your high blood sugar levels. The more sugary the carbohydrate is (eg. White bread, pastas, sugar, white potatoes, cookies, licorice), the more your body will produce insulin.
  3. The bad news: Insulin = fat storage hormone.  Too much circulating insulin will prevent fat from being broken down into useable energy for the body.  This is less than ideal when you are trying to lose fat! Ideally, you want to be using your body’s stored fat for energy rather than relying on a “quick potato chip or candy fix” for energy.   So if you want to lose fat, then stop consuming simple sugars all the time! The easiest way to do this is to intermittently fast. That way you don't have to abstain from all sugary food.  This  leads to the next point:
  4. If you really want to lose fat, then practice intermittent fasting. That is the easiest way to tap into your stored fat for fuel. Click here to subscribe to my free weekly intermittent fasting tutorials.glycemic index vs glycemic load

What is the Glycemic Index (GI)?

Your blood sugar and insulin levels depend on the type of carbohydrate consumed.  We know that simple carbohydrates are released more quickly into the bloodstream than complex carbohydrates.  The more quickly the carbohydrate is released into the bloodstream, the higher your blood sugar and insulin levels will be.

The Glycemic Index indicates the rates at which certain carbohydrates are formed into glucose and released into the bloodstream.  The faster the glucose is released into the bloodstream, the more the body will secrete insulin in response.

Low Glycemic Index Carbohydrates

High Glycemic Index Carbohydrates

  • provide sustained energy levels
  • slower absorption into the bloodstream
  • lowered insulin response
  • alleviate hunger, controls appetite
  • prevent mood swings and fatigue
  • result in higher muscle glycogen levels
  • provide quick energy (sugar rush)
  • quicker absorption into the bloodstream
  • higher insulin response
  • result in a sugar crash (hypoglycemia)
  • lead to mood swings and lethargy
  • leads to increased hunger/sugar cravings
  • fructose (found in fruit)
  • Fruit: apples, berries, oranges, pears, grapefruit, peaches, green grapes, plums, kiwi, melon, papaya, bananas
  • Vegetables: sweet potato, yam, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, cucumbers, tomatoes, spinach, peppers, eggplant, squash, zucchini, green peas, snow peas, green beans, lettuce
  • skim milk, whole, low fat yogurt
  • legumes: chickpeas, soya beans, kidney beans, black beans
  • whole grains: 100% whole grain bread, brown rice, oatmeal (non-instant)
  • All Bran cereal
  • nuts
  • surprising but true: chocolate, m&m’s, potato chips, popcorn, low fat ice cream, whole milk , pound cake, apple juice, grapefruit juice, orange juice, pineapple juice  (but high in calories and sugar so avoid these foods!).  It is the high fat content in these foods that slows the entry of glucose into the blood stream
  • glucose, maltose
  • honey
  • puffed  & flaked cereals , instant oatmeal
  • candy, jelly beans
  • white bread, white flour, white pasta, white rice
  •  pretzels, soda crackers, corn chips
  • cakes, donuts, waffles, ice cream
  • fruit: dried dates, watermelon, lychee, very ripe banana
  • vegetables: baked or mashed potatoes, fries, parsnips, pumpkin, carrots
  • legumes: lima beans
  • electrolyte sports drinks


What is the Glycemic Load (GL)?

The Glycemic Load is a more accurate way to approach carbohydrates because it not only considers a food’s glycemic index, but also the amount of carbohydrates per serving.  For example, watermelon has a high glycemic index, but is low in carbohydrates, which means it has a low glycemic load.  Watermelon has been wrongly given a bad reputation because of its high glycemic index rating.

By taking the glycemic load into account, you will not have to exclude watermelon and other high-glycemic index fruits and vegetables from your diet.  In other words, always think critically!

Calculate the glycemic load with this formula:

(Glycemic Index)/100  x carbohydrate content in your serving (grams)

             eg.  Watermelon:

  • glycemic index = 72
  • serving size (1 cup of watermelon balls) =  154 g =12 g of carbohydrates

Therefore glycemic load  = (72/100) x 12 g = 8.64

Examples of Foods with a High GI but Low GL:

Cantaloupe, papaya, pineapple, carrots, watermelon, pumpkin.  When you take the glycemic load into consideration, you will discover that nearly all fruits and vegetables are permitted on your "low-glycemic diet". So stop demonizing fruit! Remember, fat storing is caused by eating more calories than you expend. So quit your weight gain on fruit! Blame your tendency to eat in caloric surplus instead! If you want to learn how to manipulate your tendency to overeat in a way that doesn't sabotage your physique or jeopardize your satiety, then click here to learn about FLEXIBLE DIETING and INTERMITTENT FASTING.

Summary of Glycemic Index and Load:

Glycemic Index

Glycemic Load











Don't judge food by it's glycemic index rating alone.  Think critically.  Calculate the glycemic load.

Stop demonizing food. Immediately learn how to factor discretionary calories into your diet by clicking here.



Welcome! If you want to learn how to MOVE and EAT BETTER, you've come to the right place! I'm Dr. Sara Solomon. I'm a certified StrongFit coach and an intermittent fasting expert. I have degrees in dentistry (DMD) and physiotherapy (BSc PT), and I'm also a Pilates Mat Level 1 Instructor, CrossFit Level 1 Trainer (2016-2021), ACE personal trainer, NASM fitness nutrition specialist, a Mad Dogg Spinning Instructor, and a certified level 2 Buddy Lee Jump Rope Trainer and Ambassador. I'm a BSN Supplements and Til You Collapse sponsored athlete. My passion is helping people overcome restrictive diets and muscle imbalances so they can FEEL their very best!

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