Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load are used in The Glycemic Index Diet (or Slow-Carb Diet) to help you decide which foods to eat based on which foods will keep you full for the longest time throughout the day. To make this easy, we’ve included a glycemic index food chart as well as well as a list of foods by their glycemic load.
What is the Glycemic Index?
The Glycemic Index ranks carbohydrates based on how they impact your blood sugar level on a scale from 1 to 100. Foods with a glycemic index of 55 or less are low GI foods and foods with a glycemic index of 70 or higher are high GI foods. When we say “impact your blood sugar,” take it to mean “how quickly the foods are digested.” Of course, the longer the better.
Low Glycemic Index Foods vs. High Glycemic Index Foods
Foods with a low glycemic index are digested slowly and have a more steady impact on your blood sugar level (i.e. have a slow glycemic response). These foods provide sustained energy to your body and keep you fuller for longer. Foods with a high glycemic index are digested quickly and cause a more immediate spike in your blood sugar level (i.e. have a fast glycemic response). These foods give you a burst of energy, followed by a plateau or crash which leads to hunger and cravings.
The glycemic response is why some of these foods are referred to as slow carbs – they digest slowly, result in a slow glycemic response, and ultimately they keep you full for longer.
What is Glycemic Load?
The glycemic index on its own is an incomplete measurement. While it tells you how quickly a carbohydrate impacts your blood sugar level, it does not take into account how much of the carbohydrate you’re actually consuming per serving and therefore how much of an impact it makes on your blood sugar level. This is an important consideration because if you consume a high GI food that only has a few grams of carbohydrates in it, you don’t have to worry about impact on blood sugar level.
Glycemic load fixes this problem by using the following calculation: (Grams of carbohydrate in the food x GI of the food) / 100
Low Glycemic Load Foods vs. High Glycemic Load Foods
Foods with a glycemic load of 10 or less are low GL foods and foods with a glycemic load of 20 or more are high GL foods.
Example: Pumpkins have a glycemic index of 72 which makes them a high GI food, however, they only have 6 grams of carbohydrate per 100 gram serving, giving them a low glycemic load. You can eat pumpkin without having to worry about spikes in your blood sugar level. Using the calculation above, we get a glycemic load of (6 x 72) / 100 = 4.32 which is less than 10.
Glycemic Index Chart
Glycemic Load Chart
Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load of 750 Foods
Glycemic Index of Sweeteners
As you’ll see very clearly, not all sweeteners are made equal and therefore not all sweets (or soft-drinks, whatever your vice) are made equal.