Glycemic Load Index - What is It?

The Glycemic Load Index number (GL) gives you information on the amount of carbohydrate that is in a typical serving of food. The Glycemic Index number (GI) is based on tests that are performed on portions of 50g of usable carbohydrates --- often a portion much too large to be considered a typical portion. When you use both the GI and GL numbers, you will get a more complete and accurate picture of how foods can affect your blood sugar. For example--a food that is mostly air or water can have a high GI number but a low GL number.

Glycemic Load

  • Low - <11
  • Medium - 11-19
  • High- >20

Glycemic Index

  • Low - <56
  • Medium - 57-69
  • High - 70+

Wow, won't that be confusing?

Not really…as a rule of thumb, make your first carbohydrate choices with the GL under 10. Those foods with a number between 10 and 20 have a moderate affect on blood sugar, and those foods with a number above 20 should be eaten sparingly. And remember that not all foods with a high GI number will have a high GL number. For instance in the table below you will notice that watermelon has a very low glycemic load number of 4. BUT, watermelon has a very high glycemic index number, 72. Why? Because the glycemic index is based on 50g of usable carbohydrates--not at all a normal portion for watermelon. This is a great example of why the glycemic load number is helpful when considering what foods to eat.

Food Glycemic Load Index Number
All-bran cereal 8
Apples 76
Carrots 3
Chick peas 8
Grapes 8
Oranges 5
Peaches 5
Peanuts 1
Strawberries 1
Popcorn 8
Watermelon 4
Whole wheat flour bread 9
Sourdough wheat bread 15
Cheerios 15
Spaghetti 20
White rice 23

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