And that’s really important because it’s BOTH quality (the GI rating) and quantity (serving size) of carbohydrate that impacts blood sugar.
Glycemic Load = Type of Carb + Amount of Carb
While the glycemic index (GI) measures glycemic response after consuming a standard amount (50 grams) of carbohydrate from a particular food, the glycemic load (GL) ranks foods according to how much carbohydrate is in a regular serving of the food in question. And this is a really important consideration.
Let’s put this into practice.
Carrots have a high glycemic index of 68. But you would have to eat a bunch of carrots (literally!) to get to 50 grams of carbohydrate. And that’s pretty unlikely. (Glycemic Load of carrots is just 3)
Pasta, on the other hand, has a relatively low glycemic index of 38. But 50-100 grams of carbohydrate are easy to reach in a single serving of spaghetti (especially if it’s a gigantic restaurant portion). (Glycemic Load of spaghetti is 14).
Formula for Calculating Glycemic Load
Here’s the formula for calculating Glycemic Load (GL):
GL = (GI Value x Carbohydrate Per Serving)
Now you’re probably wondering – “What do these numbers mean?”… and “How can I ensure I’m eating a diet with a low glycemic load?”
Glycemic Load: High, Medium & Low
Just like the glycemic index, glycemic load is categoriezed as low, moderate and high.
Low Glycemic Load = Less than 10 (has low glycemic impact)
Moderate Glycemic Load = Between 10 and 20 (moderate effect on blood-sugar )
High Glycemic Load = Above 20 (spikes blood sugar levels)
The Glycemic Load of Specific Foods
Now let’s take a look at the glycemic load of individual foods, by category.
DAIRY & EGGS
When it comes to dairy foods, those with added sugars (like ice cream) or those that naturally contain more lactose– or milk sugar– will be higher in carbohydrates and therefore higher on the glycemic index.
But what may really surprise you is that full fat milk products have a lower glycemic impact than low fat an fat-free milks. The reason is two-fold: first, there’s less milk sugar present and second, fat blunts the body’s response to carbs.
Choosing organic dairy foods—preferably raw and from grass-fed sources– helps to reduce your exposure to hormones (including rBGH) and also boosts your intake of a metabolism-boosting, cancer-fighting fat called conjugated linolenic acid (CLA) in your diet.
|Organic Milk, Full Fat||39||27||3|
|Organic Skim Milk||46||32||4|
|Ice Cream, Premium||54||38||3|
|Ice Cream, Low Fat||71||50||3|
|Ice Cream, Regular||87||61||8|
NUTS & SEEDS
Once maligned as “forbidden” foods, research proves that nuts and seeds are some of the most healthful, disease-fighting foods on the planet.
In fact, countless studies show that nut noshers have trimmer waistlines and less inflammation in the body. And as you might expect, those who enjoy these parcels of protection also have a lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer and other lifestyle- related disease.
Due to their high ratio of health fat to carbohydrate, nuts and seeds fall low on the glycemic index or have zero glycemic impact. Cashews and peanuts—neither of which are true “nuts—are the exception having a slightly higher carbohydrate count and glycemic impact than their shelled cousins.
LEAFY GREENS & NON-STARCHY VEGETABLES
Unlike the foods that are primarily protein and fat (like fish, poultry, meats, oils, nuts, seeds and cheeses), leafy greens and non-starchy vegetables do contain some carbohydrate and therefore we’ve listed an approximate glycemic load score.
These low glycemic, nutrient-dense foods provide an array of anti-aging phytonutrients and should comprise the majority of your plate.
Be sure to vary your veggies to beat taste bud boredom and get more benefits – studies show that eating a variety of veggies provides more powerful DNA protection than eating the same-ole, same-ole.
|Food||Serving Size||Estimated Glycemic Load
|Alfalfa Sprouts||1 cup||0|
|Artichokes||1/2 cup, hearts||2|
|Broccoli||1 cup, chopped||3|
|Brussels Sprouts||1 cup, chopped||3|
|Bok Choy||1 cup||1|
|Bamboo Shoots||1 ounce||0|
|Cabbage||1 cup, chopped||2|
|Cauliflower||1 cup, florets||2|
|Collards||1 cup, chopped||1|
|Cucumber||1 cup, chopped||1|
|Chard||1 cup, chopped||1|
|Dandelion Greens||1 cup, chopped||2|
|Eggplant||1 cup, cubes||1|
|Endive||1/2 cup, chopped||0|
|Green Beans||1 cup||3|
|Hearts of Palm||1 ounce||1|
|Kale||1 cup, chopped||1|
|Kohlrabi||1 cup, chopped||3|
|Leeks||1/4 cup chopped||1|
|Mushrooms||1/2 cup, pieces||1|
|Mustard Greens||1 cup, chopped||1|
|Peppers||1 cup, slices||2|
|Radishes||1/2 cup, slices||1|
|Radicchio||1/2 cup, chopped||1|
|Summer Squash||1 ounce||1|
|Tomatoes||1 cup, cooked||4|
|Water Chestnuts||1 ounce||5|
Not only are most varieties of legumes very low glycemic (thanks to their high soluble fiber, high amylose content), but they’re also packed with age-defying, disease- fighting antioxidants and rank high on the ORAC scale.
|Black beans, soaked,
cooked 45 minutes
|Kidney beans, boiled||39||28||7|
|Split peas, yellow, boiled||45||32||6|
|Lima beans, baby, frozen||46||32||10|
|Chick peas, curry, canned||58||41||7|
|Pinto beans, canned||64||45||10|
|Baked beans, canned||69||48||7|
|Kidney beans, canned||74||52||9|
|Lentils, green, canned||74||52||9|
ROOT VEGETABLES & STARCHY VEGETABLES
Why? Because despite their higher ranking on the glycemic index, they have a low glycemic load and also offer an abundance of health-promoting nutrients.
Craving mashed potatoes? Try our ultra low carb mashers made from cauliflower for a creamy treat with little glycemic impact.
|Sweet potato (Canada)||69||48||16|
|Potato, steamed, peeled||93||65||18|
|Potato, boiled, mashed||105||74||15|
|Potato, baked (Russet)||121||85||26|
FRUITS & FRUIT JUICES
When it comes to your health, most fruit is not your friend.
When choosing fruits, opt for organic berries, citrus and stone fruits (i.e– plums, peaches, apricots). Not only are these lower on the glycemic index, but they are also the highest in antioxidants and fiber, so you get more “bang” in each bite.
Love juice? You can still enjoy it. Just make a sparkler— mix 1 ounce organic juice with 7 ounces sparkling mineral water to reduce the glycemic impact, sugars and calories.
Looking for the cause of the diabesity epidemic? The answer may lie at the bottom of the fatally-flawed USDA pyramid. Grains!
Cereal for breakfast, bread at lunch, rice or pasta at dinner. These quick-converting foods are not only nutrient devoid, but they also promote inflammation and encourage your body to store fat.
If that’s not reason enough, grains cooked at high temperatures (like cereals, breads, snack bars, etc) contain a cancer-causing substance called acrylamide.
|Rye, whole kernels||48||34||13|
|Rice, long grain,
boiled 5 minutes
|Rice, parboiled, high
|Rice, long grain +
wild rice (Uncle Ben’s)
|Basmati rice, white,
|Rice, white, low
|Rice, instant, boiled
Grain-based pasta is a rapidly-converting carbohydrate that should be avoided.
Opt instead for noodle alternatives like zucchini noodles, spaghetti squash or zero glycemic Miracle Noodles made from glucomannan.
|Spaghetti, protein enriched||38||27||14|
|Mung bean noodles||47||33||–|
|Spaghetti, white, boiled
|Ravioli, durum, meat filled||56||39||15|
|Spaghetti, white, boiled
|Capellini (Angel Hair)||64||45||20|
|Macaroni and Cheese||92||64||32|
|Rice pasta, brown||131||92||35|
Cereal is not a “breakfast of champions”. In addition to the high glycemic impact, cereals offer little more nutrition than fortified carbs, gluten and sugar.
Want a tastier and healthier way to start your day? How about an Anti-Aging Smoothie (made with whey protein and antioxidant-packed blueberries) or Southwestern Scrambled Eggs. Not only will these breakfasts keep you full longer, but they also kick up your body’s most powerful antioxidant and detoxifier – glutathione.
|Kelloggs’ All Bran||42||60||–|
|Kelloggs’ All Bran
Fruit ‘n Oats
|Porridge (made from
|Kelloggs’ Just Right||84||59||13|
|Cream of Wheat||94||66||17|
|Post Grapenut Flakes||114||80||17|
If you think being healthy means giving up brownies, cake, cookies and ice cream, you’re in for a sweet surprise.
With the latest all-natural, low glycemic sweeteners (including erythritol, stevia and xylitol) you can have your cake and stay well too.
A note of caution: Despite fructose and agave nectar having low glycemic indexes and glycemic loads, these sweeteners are primarily fructose, which has a range of negative effects.
|Agave nectar, light
|High fructose corn
Sweet Treats with a Low Glycemic Load
In addition to enjoying delicious healthy desserts made with the zero glycemic sweeteners, you might be surprised to learn that some of the sweetest foods have very low glycemic scores. That’s because these foods have very little starch and a healthy supply of soluble fiber. And they’re teeming with antioxidants to boot!
- Cherries: GI=22, GL=3
- Blueberries: Estimated GL*=6
- Raspberries: Estimated GL*=3
- Cocoa: Estimated GL*=4