What about the Glycemic
The Glycemic Index is a great tool for sensible weight loss diets. You can benefit
from this easy to understand measure for a healthier and better you.
However, the glycemic index is a guide and not the be all and end all. The
reasons are that the index is calculated using a small portion of food, and if you eat more, the impact is greater.
As a result, it may lull you into thinking that you can eat certain low GI foods in excess. But, if it is high in
available carbohydrates, then the impact may not be beneficial. On the other hand it steers you away from low
available carbohydrate foods that may has a higher index rank, and you may miss out on eating other healthy and
To complicate matters further, other variables such as how a food is grown, how it
is processed or even cooked can change the glycemic index numbers. Additionally, food responds in a different
way for each individual depending on the amount eaten, as indicated earlier, and also that person’s metabolic rate
and other foods eaten at the same time.
As a result, some nutritionists felt the need to go beyond the glycemic index, and
came up with an additional measure to allow for a better way to determine the glycemic affect of various
This new measure is the Glycemic Load (GL), and it takes the GI as a starting
point. It divides the GI by 100 and multiplies it by the grams of carbohydrate in the serving size. The
resulting Glycemic Load takes the amount of available carbohydrates into account, since carbohydrates such as
starch and sugar provide energy, but do not provide fiber.
Just like the GI, the GL is also categorized as high, medium and low, with low
Glycemic Load Ranking
20 and greater
11 to 19
10 and less
The best example to illustrate the value of the GL is watermelon. Watermelon has a
high GI of 72. Now, if you eat about 120 grams, it will have 6 grams of available carbohydrates per serving.
So using the calculation for GL, divide 72 by 100, multiply the result by 6, which is rounded to 4. So while
the GI for watermelon is high, the GL is low. The reason is that the carbohydrate in watermelon ranks high on the
glycemic index but, the glycemic load in watermelon is low because there isn’t a lot of
Many are now recommending that the GL should be used
to determine the kind of foods to eat instead of the GI. The primary reason is that it considers the amount
consumed and what other foods are eaten at the same time, a more real world view.
While you cannot go wrong with using the GI for every day diet decisions, the GL
provides a refinement that allows a better insight to the foods you are eating. However, given that it takes the
amount consumed and requires knowledge of available carbohydrates in it, it may not be practical to use for the
Therefore, the glycemic index is a great tools and easy to use, and for most
a better approach then to other approaches such as counting carbs and points etc. Even though the glycemic
index is not ideal, it provides a valuable guide on how to use the knowledge that a foods impact on sugar levels
can be a critical component in losing or gaining weight and in making you feel better and
Understanding and embracing the concept of the glycemic index and how it can help
you lose weight and improve your energy levels may just be what you need to stop failing your diets and
finally start losing weight sensibly.