But first, tell me if this sounds familiar.
You wake up, you go to the bathroom, then you come out to the kitchen and make yourself a “healthy” breakfast consisting of Special K cereal, and since you’re on a fat loss diet, you pour some skim milk over top, and top it with a healthy sliced banana.
Other days when you’re in a rush, you may simply opt for a low fat bagel with margarine.
Maybe if healthy meant spiking your blood with a quick overload of sugar.
Think about it, what is this breakfast mainly comprised of?
And every carbohydrate in this breakfast has a higher glycemic rating on the glycemic index.
The glycemic index is simply a measurement of how fast 50g of carbohydrates in foods can raise blood sugar levels after they are digested.
The higher the number, the quicker and more drastic rise in blood sugar levels occur, 2-3 hours after a meal.
Foods that raise blood sugar levels quickly are classified as high glycemic carbohydrates.
The lower the number, the slower the sugar finds its way into the bloodstream.
These foods are classified as Low Glycemic foods.
As you know, when blood sugar quickly rises, excessive amounts of insulin is required to remove the sugar from the bloodstream.
This secretion of a lot of insulin also releases that fat storing LPL enzyme, that turns on your body’s fat storing switch.
If your goal is fat loss, I typically recommend people limited the amount of foods with a glycemic index rating higher than 55.
The glycemic load of a food calculates how fast a serving of a carbohydrate rich food raises blood sugar levels. The lower the number, the less negative impact on your blood sugar.
Foods with a glycemic load of:
Foods with a higher glycemic load are also often classified as “trigger foods”, meaning they tend to be addictive as they can increase your hunger and your cravings, leading to you eating more and more of them.
To put it simply, the glycemic index measures how quickly carbohydrates break down and enter the bloodstream as sugar.
However, the glycemic index does not factor in the amount of carbohydrates in a standard serving size of that food.
A food could be a high glycemic food, but it could have very little carbohydrates in a serving size.
Therefore, in my opinion, the glycemic load, since it factors in the standard serving size, is a better measure of how a carbohydrate will affect blood sugar levels.
A watermelon has a glycemic index of 72, meaning it is classified as a high glycemic carbohydrate.
However, that high glycemic index rating is based off of consuming 5 cups of watermelon (in order to fulfill the 50g of carbohydrate requirement).
It’s not based on the standard watermelon serving size of 1 cup.
The glycemic load of the watermelon is only 7.2, which classifies it as having a low glycemic load because at that standard serving size, it doesn’t contain many carbohydrates.
Since watermelon is mainly comprised of water, this means it has a lower glycemic load and a lower impact on blood sugar levels.
Check out the glycemic index and glycemic load chart below that not only lists the glycemic index ranking of the foods, but more importantly, it lists the glycemic load.
If we lived in a perfect world, you’d eliminate all high glycemic foods if your goal was fat loss.
But, as a Live Leaner, we live in reality, meaning we strive for balance.
Therefore, there is a food combining strategy that can help reduce the glycemic response of higher glycemic foods.
By eating lower glycemic foods, especially these foods listed below, with higher glycemic foods, the body will trigger less insulin production, thus reducing the amount of damage typically caused by excessive production of insulin.
Blackberries, Blueberries, Cherries, Strawberries
Coconut oil, Grass Fed Butter, Fish Oil, Olive Oil
Fenugreek and Cinnamon as they can improve blood sugar response and insulin sensitivity.
So next time you have a craving for:
Always stock your fridge with lower glycemic foods.
Remember, “Fat-Free” doesn’t mean these foods won’t make you fat.
Fat-Free simply means they are low in dietary fat, which in a lot of cases, isn’t a good thing.
This is because when food manufacturers remove naturally occurring fat from food, they need to add something back in to that food to replace it.
More often than not, “fat-free” typically means the food manufacturers have added high glycemic ingredients like sugar back into the food.
Below is a list of foods that fall within the low glycemic (best), medium glycemic (ok), and high glycemic (limit) rankings for both the glycemic load and glycemic index.
Foods with a glycemic INDEX of:
Foods with a glycemic LOAD of:
Brad Gouthro is the founder of Live Lean TV, a media company focused on helping men and women “Live Lean” 365 days a year. Brad’s programs and content have helped millions of people all over the world learn how to get in shape, and more importantly, sustain it for life.