Glycemic Index & Glycemic Load

Glycemic Index & Glycemic Load

Glycemic Index (GI) and Glycemic load (GL)

If there is a single correction that can cut down the medical costs of Indians and reproductive problems of Indian women by more than90 %, it is the replacing of high Glycemic load foods with low GL foods in their diet. In the GI & GL table below, you can see that most of the food routinely consumed by Indians has high or very high GL. The problem with a high GL diet is that the post meal insulin spike generated by it fills everything- from blood vessels to the liver- with fat. This fat accumulation happens even in thin people because it is generated by the post meal insulin spike and not by overeating. That’s why Indians are known as ‘thin fat people’.

Although no nutrient can get into the cell without the help of Insulin, it is only the Carbohydrate (Carb) content of the meal that determines blood insulin levels. Both the quantity and quality of Carbs have a role in it.

Two measures, called Glycemic Index (GI) and Glycemic Load (GL), are used to classify the carbohydrate containing foods on the basis of their effect on post meal insulin generation.

Glycemic Index (GI):   The GI measures the speed, on a scale of 0 to 100, with which a particular food raises the blood sugar level. The speed is in relation to a reference food. For example, GI of a carrot is 55 (Item no 33 in the table) which means that the carrot rises the blood sugar level at 55% of the speed at which the reference food does.  Either Glucose or White Bread is used as reference food. The values in the table below are based on Glucose as the reference food. GI only tells the speed at which the carbs enter the blood, which is only half the story. How long the supply continues is dependent on the quantity of carbs in the food, which is the other half of the story, and is addressed by a concept called Glycemic load.

Glycemic Load (GL): It is dependent on serving size and is calculated by multiplying the GI with the carb content in one serving.  For example, GL of one serving of 2 Idlis (Item no 9 in the table) is 22, but if 4 idlis are consumed instead of 2, the GL doubles to 44, which is more than 50 % of the daily carb quota of a health conscious person. On the other hand, Watermelon (Item no 27 in the table) whose GI of 72 is almost same as that of the Idlis, but has a GL of only 4 because its carb content in one serving is only 6 gm, as opposed to 28 gms in case of idlis. Therefore, GL is a better indicator of the ill effects caused by fast digesting carbs, than the GI.

How high GL foods cause excess body fat:

  1. High GL foods dump sugar, (derived from their carbs)  into the blood in the first 2 hours after a meal, instead of releasing it slowly over a long period
  2. The body responds to this surge in blood sugar by releasing a disproportionately high quantity of Insulin into the blood causing an Insulin spike
  3. Recurring post meal sugar surges and the insulin spikes triggered by it cause the following:

(a) Bulging Belly

(b) Low HDL level

(c) High Triglyceride level

(d) Sticky blood

(e) High BP

(f) Cell damage due to oxidative stress

(g) Premature aging due to coating of protein particles with sugar

(h) Early onset of ‘old age diseases’ like heart attack, diabetes, BP etc.

(i) Reproduction related problems among women

The above health conditions for which sedentary lifestyle is normally blamed for, are not even due to excess calorie consumption. They are caused by recurrent post meal sugar surges and consequent insulin spikes of a high GL diet. So if you have any of the above, first correct the food and it may give you the added benefit of enhanced general health as well as brain health and function.

Table showing GI and GL of some foods


We help you identify foods that are causing an increase in your sugar levels and your insulin resistance conditions that aggravate other lifestyle ailments.

Our Service Offerings:

  • We help you identify foods that are causing increases in sugar levels or your insulin resistance conditions that aggravate other lifestyle ailments
  • We help you modify your daily nutrition to support your medical condition and transition you into a healthy active lifestyle
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