How Does Low Glycemic Load Impact Your Blood Sugar Levels?

Low Glycemic Load Diet Keeps Your Blood Sugar Consistent

Foods you eat break down during digestion. The glycemic index ranks how quickly their sugar enters the bloodstream. In other words, the glycemic index tells us how fast carbohydrates turn into blood sugar. However, it doesn't tell us how much of those carbohydrates are in a serving of a given foodWe need glycemic load information to accurately predict the extent to which food elevates blood We need glycemic load information to accurately predict the extent to which food elevates blood glucose, because the glycemic index doesn't give that data. The glycemic index measures carbohydrate quality but not quantity. By choosing carbohydrates with a low glycemic load that are full of fiber such as whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and beans, we can benefit from carbohydrates that get absorbed slowly into our system and avoid spikes in blood sugar levels

How to calculate the glycemic load

Glycemic load is calculated by multiplying a given food’s glycemic index by the available carbohydrates per serving, then dividing by 100. The result indicates that fruits, which are mostly water, have a low glycemic load even though they rate high on the glycemic index. Take watermelon for example. Watermelon rates 103 on the glycemic index, but because water accounts for 90% of the weight of the watermelon, its glycemic load is only 52 based on a medium-sized watermelon. Because the glycemic load of food looks at both components, the same food can have a high glycemic index, but an overall low glycemic load, making it better for you than it originally might have appeared.

See What Patrick Holford says about the GL Diet

The GL Diet For Dummies

Dieting doesn't mean that you have to resort to bland food or strange food combinations. The Glycemic Load Diet is a low carbohydrate diet plan that makes healthy eating easier than it has ever been.

Handy Tips to Reduce the GL
Having some tips and pointers when trying to lower your glycemic load means that you need never get it wrong. Here’s a helpful list of things to remember.

  • Eat small or moderate portions of starchy foods such as bread, potatoes, pasta,  and rice.

  • Include lots of low-GL fruits and vegetables at every meal. Aim for a minimum of five servings of fruits and vegetables each day.

  • Lightly cook vegetables for the minimum time or eat them raw. Fresh, frozen, or canned fruits and vegetables are all fine.

  • Make more of  peas, beans, and lentils in soups  and salads,   Include them in a meal  instead of pasta or rice. Whether they're dried or canned, peas, beans, and lentils  count towards your five-a-day fruits and vegetables.

  • Always include a protein-rich food as part of your meal to reduce the GL. Chose from lean meat, fish, poultry, eggs, low-fat dairy foods, or soy products.

  • Adding acidic foods such as apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, vinaigrette, or pickles to your meal reduces the overall GL. Adding a little oil such as olive or flaxseed oil, or a little Parmesan cheese or reduced-fat cream to recipes also reduces the GL.

  • Cut right down on highly refined snack foods such as sweets, crisps,  corn chips, cakes, biscuits, and pastries made from white flour and sugar. Instead, choose nuts and seeds, or dried fruits such as apple rings or apricots. Instead of milk chocolate, snack on a couple of squares of dark chocolate with over 70% cocoa solids.

Starchy Staples: Helpful Low-GL Alternatives

Use this table to find out which starchy foods to avoid, and discover tasty low-GL alternatives. Keep it handy, so you’re never left wondering if you've made the right choices!
Use this table to find out which starchy foods to avoid, and discover tasty low-GL alternatives. Keep it handy, so you are never left wondering if you have made the right choices!

Starchy staplesLow GLHigh GL
BreadPumpernickel, rye, sourdough, soya and linseed, barley and sunflower, seeded breads and pita breads (moderate GL) oat cakes, rye crackers (moderate GL)White, wholemeal, French stick, rice cakes, cream crackers, breadsticks
CerealWhole oats, oatmeal, porridge, no added sugar muesli, bran sticks, semolina, quinoaSweetened cereals, rice based cereals, bran flakes, wheat biscuits, shredded wheat
PastaEgg-based pasta, mung bean noodleOvercooked pasta and pasta ready meals requiring re-heating
RiceLong grain, wild, and basmati rice. Bulgur or cracked wheat, couscous, pearl barleyShort grain, sticky white rice
PotatoesBaby new potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, celery root, rutabagaLarge floury white potatoes, French fries, mashed potato

Low-GL Seasonal Fruits and Vegetables

Good news: on the Glycemic Load Diet, you can indulge in hundreds of beautiful, scrumptious fruits and veggies. Check out this guide to what’s in season.

Spring    Rhubarb, grapes, limes, passion fruit, persimmons, lemons, grapefruit, avocadoLeeks, cabbage, watercress, new potatoes, spinach, eggplants, radishes, rocket, spring greens
SummerStrawberries, raspberries, blueberries, red currants, black currants, cherries, nectarines, melonsAsparagus, baby carrots, fresh peas, tomatoes, runner beans, lettuce, cucumber, zucchini
AutumnBlackberries, apples, pears, gooseberries, plums elderberries, plumsPumpkin, onions, fennel, wild mushrooms, squash, turnips, red cabbage, celery root, rutabaga
WinterClementines, cranberries, mandarins, tangerines, pears, pomegranatesBrussel sprouts, chicory, cauliflower, kale, celery, mushrooms, purple sprouting broccoli

Source: The GL Diet For Dummies


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