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What Is Glycemic Index(GI) and Glycemic Load? – Your GI Guide to Weight Loss

Understanding the GI of foods is a crucial factor in any successful weight loss program.

What is GI?

GI stands for glycemic index and was developed in the 1980s by Dr David Jenkins of Toronto University. It measures the rate at which your blood sugar rises over a number of hours after eating a certain food. It is compared to the blood sugar rise caused by a fixed dose in calories of dextrose.

A score of 100 is the highest, 0 the lowest.

Basically, the higher the number 0-100 the greater the blood sugar rise and the higher the sugar craving. Low GI foods cause a small rise, high GI foods a big rise.

A GI over 55 is high, below 55 is low. A list of a selection of foods showing their glycemic values is shown below.

Useful Info about GI

A drawback of the glycemic index is that it only tells you how rapidly a carohydrate turns to sugar, not the amount of carbohydrate in the food. You need to know both to really understand the impact of a food on blood sugar.

The most frequently quoted example of this is the carrot. The carbs in a carrot have a high GI, they are converted to sugar quickly. But the amount of carbohydrate in a carrot is low so it doesn’t have a lot of calories. The term that measures carbohydrate is know as GL

Glycemic Load and Its Importance

The term for this is glycemic load or GL. A low GL is below 16.

GL is probably more important than GI for weight loss and for health generally. Studies have shown that countries in which people consume a diet rich in foods with high glycemic loads such as the US and the UK are generally fatter and have higher rates of chronic disease, such as heart disease and diabetes.

Countries where the diet is rich in fruit and vegetables, which are generally low GL foods have lower rates of obesity and chronic disease.

Numerous weight loss studies have confirmed that a low GL diet is more effective in promoting weight loss than a high GL diet.

So, what does that mean? Simple, cut down on your sugary and starchy foods and eat more fruit and veg if you want to lose weight and keep it off for the long-term!

One more proviso, though. Because the glycemic index measures carbohydrates it ignores fat. So, just because a food has a low GI and GL, such as bacon or sausage, it doesn’t mean you can eats lots of it!

Some foods that score low for glycemic index and load are packed full of fat and calories. Not a good choice for your healthy weight loss plan!

Also, don’t try and eat just low GI and GL foods. It’s more important to get the balance right so the odd serving of pasta and potatoes is fine if eaten in moderation.

Some examples…

The below examples are referenced from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, July 2002.

List of Low Calorie (<110 cals a serving), Low GI (<55) and Low GL (<16)

Name Of The Food

Glycemic Index

(GI)

Glycemic Load 

(GL)

Energy Contains 

in Kcal

1 cup of most cooked vegetables<20<540
Medium apple – 1 pc40675
Medium banana – 1 pc521290
Medium orange – 1 pc48565
Medium peach – 1 pc42770
1 cup of strawberries40150

 

Low Calorie (<110 cals a serving), High GI (>55) and Low GL (<16)

Name Of The Food

Glycemic Index

(GI)

Glycemic Load 

(GL)

Energy Contains 

in Kcal

1 cup of pineapple cubes59775
4 medium apricots57670
1 cup of papaya cubes60955
1 medium glass of orange juice5715110
1 cup of Shreddies7515110

 

Moderate Calorie (110-150 cals per serving), Low GI and Low GL

Name Of The Food

Glycemic Index

(GI)

Glycemic Load 

(GL)

Energy Contains 

in Kcal

1 thick slice of wholegrain bread5114110
 1 cup of peas483135
 1 medium glass of apple juice 4012135
 1 medium glass of pineapple juice4615130
 1 cup of cooked sweet potato (yam)3713150

 

Higher Calorie (150-300 cals per serving), Low GI and Low GL

Name Of The Food

Glycemic Index

(GI)

Glycemic Load 

(GL)

Energy Contains 

in Kcal

40 grapes4613160
 1 cup of cooked kidney beans 2310210
 1 cup of cooked lentils297230
 1 cup of cooked soybeans181300
 1 cup of pearl barley2511190

 

Low GI and Low GL, but High Fat and High Calorie

Name Of The Food

Glycemic Index

(GI)

Glycemic Load 

(GL)

Energy Contains 

in Kcal

1/2 a cup (large handful) of peanuts14 1330
 1 cup of whole milk273150
 2 oz (large bag) of crisps/potato chips5415345
 1 cup of ice cream3810360
1 cup (large pot) of fruit yoghurt31

 

9200

High GI >55 and High GL >16

Name Of The FoodGlycemic Index

(GI)

Glycemic Load 

(GL)

Energy Contains 

in Kcal

 1 small baked potato8534220
 1 cup of cooked white rice6423210
 1 cup of brown rice5016215
 2 small slices of white bread7320210
 1 large portion of french fries7525515
 1 large slice of pizza6020300
 1/2 cup of raisins6642250
 1 cup of cornflakes9224100
 1 cup of raisin bran6129185
 1 16 oz/330 mls can of cola6333200

To get some simple ideas about how to incorporate low GI and GL foods into your plan, check out our free weight loss menus.

Wrapping It Up:

I hope the list of foods we provided in this GI weight Loss guide will work for you. If you can maintain a great diet program with a good GI and GL balance, then it will surely help you a lot. GI can give you an idea what foods are good for you.  Knowing GL and calorific value for that product will give you better knowledge about your foods.

You can easily know what you are eating on your daily eating routine. Is it helping your health to maintain a good weight loss balance or will it make you bulkier?

Our effort is to make you knowledgeable about your foods. As you can decide yourself what can you eat and what not. Within our list you can easily make your weight loss diet program.

So, follow our GI weight loss guide. If you think you can make a suitable diet program to lose weight then go for it. Anything you do confidently will help you better than following it blindly.

We would love to hear your feedback on the comments how our lists are helping you.

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