Glycemic Index vs. Glycemic Load Food Chart

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Foods That Negatively Impact Fat Burning: Glycemic Index or Glycemic Load?

In today’s episode, lets talk about how the glycemic index and the glycemic load of foods affects your fat burning.

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.

Does that sound like a healthy breakfast for fat loss?

Maybe if healthy meant spiking your blood with a quick overload of sugar.

Think about it, what is this breakfast mainly comprised of?

Carbohydrates.

And every carbohydrate in this breakfast has a higher glycemic rating on the glycemic index.

So first…

What is 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.

Foods with a glycemic index of:

  • above 70: quickly broken down into sugar.
  • 55-70: moderately broken down into sugar.
  • less than 55: slowly broken down into sugar.

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.

So even though cereal is often marketed as part of a healthy balanced breakfast, most cereals have a 60-110 ranking on the glycemic index.

If your goal is fat loss, I typically recommend people limited the amount of foods with a glycemic index rating higher than 55.

What is the Glycemic Load?

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:

  • under 10: low impact on blood sugar.
  • 10-20: medium impact on blood sugar.
  • above 20: high impact on blood sugar.

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.

What is the Difference Between The Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load?

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.

Check out this example:

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.

Before judging the glycemic effect of a certain food…

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.

Glycemic Index vs. Glycemic Load Food Chart

How To Eat Limit The Negative Effects of High Glycemic Foods

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.

Foods That Lower The Glycemic Response Include:

  • Berries:

Blackberries, Blueberries, Cherries, Strawberries

  • Foods high in healthy omega 3 fats and healthy sources of fat:

Coconut oil, Grass Fed Butter, Fish Oil, Olive Oil

  • Herbs and spices:

Fenugreek and Cinnamon as they can improve blood sugar response and insulin sensitivity.

  • Pickled foods
  • Flavor foods with: Lemon, Lime, and Vinegars

So next time you have a craving for:

  • Pasta: add some coconut oil.
  • Cereal or oats: add a serving of berries on top with a few dashes of cinnamon.
  • Toast: add some natural strawberry jam or look for gluten free bread made with the herb fenugreek.
  • Yogurt: add some berries and cinnamon.

Bottom Line:

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.

GLYCEMIC INDEX & GLYCEMIC LOAD CHART:

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:

  • above 70: quickly broken down into sugar.
  • 55-70: moderately broken down into sugar.
  • less than 55: slowly broken down into sugar.

Foods with a glycemic LOAD of:

  • under 10: low impact on blood sugar.
  • 10-20: medium impact on blood sugar.
  • above 20: high impact on blood sugar.

CEREAL & BAKED GOODS: Glycemic Index & Glycemic Load

FOODGLYCEMIC LOADRANKINGSERVING SIZE (g)GLYCEMIC INDEXRANKING
Angel Food Cake10.7Medium28 (1 slice)67Medium
Bagel33High8972High
Blueberry Muffin30High113 (medium)59Medium
Bran Flakes13.3Medium29 (3/4 cup)74High
Bran Muffin30High113 (medium)60Medium
Bread (Pumpernickel)4.5Low26 (1 slice)41Low
Bread (Rye)8.5Low32 (1 slice)65Medium
Bread (Wheat)7.7Low28 (1 slice)70High
Bread (White)8.4Low28 (1 slice)70High
Cake (chocolate frosting)12.5Medium64 (1 slice)38Low
Cake (vanilla frosting)16Medium64 (1 slice)42Low
Cheerios13.3Medium30 (1 cup)74High
Chicken Nuggets7Low10046Low
Cookie (oatmeal)6Low18 (1 cookie)55Medium
Corn Bread30.8High60 (1 piece)110High
Corn Chex20.8High30 (1 cup)83High
Corn Flakes21.1High28 (1 cup)92High
Corn Pops22.4High31 (1 cup)80High
Corn Tortilla7.7Low24 (1 tortilla)70High
Croissant (butter)17.5Medium57 (1 croissant)67Medium
Donut (glazed)24.3High75 (1 donut)76High
French Bread29.5High64 (1 slice)95High
Graham Crackers8.1Low14 (2 crackers)74High
Grape Nuts31.5High58 (1/2 cup)75High
Kaiser Roll21.2High57 (1 roll)73High
Melba Toast5.6Low12 (4 pieces)70High
Oatmeal6.4Low117 (1/2 cup)58Medium
Oatmeal (instant)13.7Medium234 (1 cup)65Medium
Pita (whole wheat)17Medium64 (1 pita)57Medium
Pizza (meat, cheese, sauce)9Low10036Low
Pocorn2.8Low8 (1 cup)55Medium
Pound Cake8.1Low30 (1 piece)54Low
Raisin Bran24.4High61 (1 cup)61Medium
Rice Krispies23High33 (1 1/4 cups)82High
Special K14.5Medium31 (1 cup)69Medium
Taco Shell4.8Low13 (1 shell)68Medium
Waffle18.7High75 (1 waffle)76High

FRUIT: Glycemic Index & Glycemic Load

FOODGLYCEMIC LOADRANKINGSERVING SIZE (g)GLYCEMIC INDEXRANKING
Apple6.2Low138 (medium)39Low
Apricots (dried)23High130 (1 cup)32Low
Apricots (canned in syrup)24.3High253 (1 cup)64Medium
Banana12.2Medium118 (medium)51Low
Canteloupe7.8Low177 (1 cup)65Medium
Cherries3.7Low117 (1 cup)22Low
Fruit Cocktail (drained)19.8Medium214 (1 cup)55Medium
Grapes6.5Low92 (1 cup)43Low
Grapefruit2.8Low123 (1/2 whole)25Low
Kiwi5.2Low76 (1 kiwi)58Medium
Mango12.8Medium165 (1 cup)51Low
Orange7.2Low140 (1 orange)48Low
Papaya6.6Low140 (1 cup)60Medium
Peaches2.2Low98 (medium)28Low
Peaches (canned in syrup)28.4High262 (1 cup)58Low
Pears6.9Low166 (medium)33Low
Pears (canned in juice)12.3Medium248 (1 cup)44Low
Pineapple11.9Medium155 (1 cup)66Medium
Plum1.7Low66 (1 plum)24Low
Prunes34.2High132 (1 cup)29Low
Raisins20.5High43 (small box)64Medium
Strawberries3.6Low152 (1 cup)40Low
Watermelon7.2Low152 (1 cup)72High

VEGETABLES: Glycemic Index & Glycemic Load

FOODGLYCEMIC LOADRANKINGSERVING SIZE (g)GLYCEMIC INDEXRANKING
Beets (canned)9.6Low246 (1/2 cup)64Medium
Broccoli (cooked)0Low78 (1/2 cup)0Low
Cabbage0Low75 (1/2 cup)0Low
Carrot (raw)1Low15 (1 large)92High
Cauliflower0Low100 (1 cup)0Low
Celery (raw)0Low62 (1 stalk)0Low
Corn (yellow)61.5High166 (1 cup)55Medium
Green Beans0Low135 (1 cup)0Low
Mushrooms0Low70 (1 cup)0Low
Parsnip11.6Medium78 (1/2 cup)97High
Peas (frozen)3.4Low72 (1/2 cup)48Low
Potato36.4High213 (medium)104High
Spinach0Low30 (1 cup)0Low
Sweet Potato12.4Medium133 (1 cup)54Medium
Tomato1.5Low123 (medium)38Low
Yam16.8Medium136 (1 cup)51Low

CANDY: Glycemic Index & Glycemic Load

FOODGLYCEMIC LOADRANKINGSERVING SIZE (g)GLYCEMIC INDEXRANKING
Corn Chips11Medium5042Low
Dove Dark Chocolate Bar4.4Low37 (1 oz)23Low
Fruit Roll-Ups24High3099High
Honey3Low15 (1 tbsp)87High
Jelly Beans22High30 (1 oz)78High
Peanut M&Ms5.6Low30 (1 oz)33Low
Popcorn (microwave, plain)7Low2065Medium
Potato Chips12Medium5056Low
Pretzels16Medium3083High
Snickers Bar23High60 (1/2 bar)68Low
Table Sugar7Low8 (2 tsp)68Medium

DRINKS: Glycemic Index & Glycemic Load

FOODGLYCEMIC LOADRANKINGSERVING SIZE (g)GLYCEMIC INDEXRANKING
Apple Juice11.9Medium243 (1 cup)41Low
Carrot Juice10Medium249 (1 cup)57Medium
Cranberry Juice24.5High253 (1 cup)68Medium
Dairy Milk (whole)4.4Low244 (1 cup)40Low
Gatorade Powder11.7Medium16 (3/4 scoop)78High
Grapefruit Juice (sweetened)13.4Medium250 (1 cup)48Low
Hot Chocolate Mix11.7Medium28 (1 packet)51Low
Orange Juice14.25Medium249 (1 cup)57Medium
Pineapple Juice14.7Medium250 (1 cup)46Low
Soda (cola)25.2High370 (12 oz)63Medium
Soy Milk4Low245 (1 cup)44Low
Tomato Juice3.4Low243 (1 cup)38Low

LEGUMES: Glycemic Index & Glycemic Load

FOODGLYCEMIC LOADRANKINGSERVING SIZE (g)GLYCEMIC INDEXRANKING
Baked Beans18.2Medium253 (1 cup)48Low
Chick Peas13.3Medium240 (1 cup)31Low
Hummus0Low306Low
Kidney Beans7Low256 (1 cup)27Low
Lentils7Low198 (1 cup)29Low
Lima Beans7.4Low241 (1 cup)31Low
Peanuts1.6Low146 (1 cup)13Low
Pinto Beans11.7Medium171 (1 cup)39Low
Soy Beans1.4Low172 (1 cup)20Low

DAIRY: Glycemic Index & Glycemic Load

FOODGLYCEMIC LOADRANKINGSERVING SIZE (g)GLYCEMIC INDEXRANKING
Ice Cream6Low72 (1/2 cup)38Low
Ice Cream (low fat)9.4Low76 (1/2 cup)47Low
Milk (full fat)4Low250 (1 cup)31Low
Milk (skim)4Low250 (1 cup)31Low
Pudding8.4Low100 (1/2 cup)44Low
Yogurt (plain)6.1Low245 (1 cup)36Low

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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.

8 responses to “Glycemic Index vs. Glycemic Load Food Chart

  1. Nice overview, Brad.
    Are walnuts low / moderate / high glycemic?
    Sweet potatoes appear under low and moderate glycemic – what’s right?

    Thanks,
    Alex

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