Glycemic Index & Glycemic Load 101Oct 06, 2021
Glycemic Index is a system that ranks foods on a scale from 1 to 100 based on their effect on blood-sugar levels.
But this isn’t the whole equation. You now know your body is an amazing thing and what we put in doesn’t always react the way the label says it will.
Enter the Glycemic Load.
Glycemic load, just like glycemic index, is a number that estimates how much a person's blood glucose level will rise after eating a specific food.
Glycemic load (GL) is more reliable than the glycemic index (GI) alone because it takes into account the amount of carbohydrates in the portion of food, together with how quickly it raises blood glucose levels
Take the starting GI number MULTIPLY by the amount of carbohydrates in a serving then DIVIDE by 100 = GL (GI x carbs / 100 = GL)
GI and GL values are divided into three categories:
- Low GI : 1 to 55.
- Medium GI : 56 to 69.
- High GI : 70 and higher.
- Low GL: 0 to 10.
- Medium GL: 11 to 19.
- High GL: 20 and over.
Now let’s see what some of our clean cut choices look like once digested:
Watermelon for example. This fruit has a glycemic index of 80, which is classified as high. Half a cup would be considered a serving, 7 grams of it is carbohydrates (because it is mostly water) = 5.6 GL. which is now a low GL.
Let’s look at some other raw fruits:
- Apple: GI 44 x 13 carbs / 100 = 6 GL
- Grapes: GI 43 x 17 carbs / 100 = 7 GL
- Pear: GI 42 x 11 carbs / 100 = 5 GL
- Orange: GI 40 x 11 / 100 = 4 GL
- Cherries: ½ cup GI 62 x 14 carbs / 100 = 9 GL
These are all low but remember eating them several times a day means you are still increasing the insulin to breakdown the glucose to many times in one day.
1 cup of cooked quinoa has a glycemic index of 53, which is medium. It has 39 carbs making the GL 20.7, which is right at the start of the high range.
Now onto oatmeal. 1 cup cooked has a GI of 51, medium range. Carbs per serving are 21 / 100 = 11 GL, right on the edge of low to medium.
Brown Rice, ⅔ cup has a GI of 48, carbs are 42 / 100 = GL 20
White Rice, ⅔ cuo has a GI 72, 42 carbs / 100 = GL 30
Butternut squash, a cup has GI of 53, carbs are 16 grams / 100 means the GL is very low at 8.5
Sprouted Breads, 1 slice has GI 55, carbs are 10 grams / 100 = 5 G
Just compare a higher fat choice to a grain or a fruit. Let’s look at the avocado.
A medium one has a GI 15, carbs are 12 grams / 100 = 1.8
Nut butters, 14 GI x 6 carbs / 100 = GL .84
Chia seeds, 1 oz has 1 GI, enough said!