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

FOOD GLYCEMIC LOAD RANKING SERVING SIZE (g) GLYCEMIC INDEX RANKING
Angel Food Cake 10.7 Medium 28 (1 slice) 67 Medium
Bagel 33 High 89 72 High
Blueberry Muffin 30 High 113 (medium) 59 Medium
Bran Flakes 13.3 Medium 29 (3/4 cup) 74 High
Bran Muffin 30 High 113 (medium) 60 Medium
Bread (Pumpernickel) 4.5 Low 26 (1 slice) 41 Low
Bread (Rye) 8.5 Low 32 (1 slice) 65 Medium
Bread (Wheat) 7.7 Low 28 (1 slice) 70 High
Bread (White) 8.4 Low 28 (1 slice) 70 High
Cake (chocolate frosting) 12.5 Medium 64 (1 slice) 38 Low
Cake (vanilla frosting) 16 Medium 64 (1 slice) 42 Low
Cheerios 13.3 Medium 30 (1 cup) 74 High
Chicken Nuggets 7 Low 100 46 Low
Cookie (oatmeal) 6 Low 18 (1 cookie) 55 Medium
Corn Bread 30.8 High 60 (1 piece) 110 High
Corn Chex 20.8 High 30 (1 cup) 83 High
Corn Flakes 21.1 High 28 (1 cup) 92 High
Corn Pops 22.4 High 31 (1 cup) 80 High
Corn Tortilla 7.7 Low 24 (1 tortilla) 70 High
Croissant (butter) 17.5 Medium 57 (1 croissant) 67 Medium
Donut (glazed) 24.3 High 75 (1 donut) 76 High
French Bread 29.5 High 64 (1 slice) 95 High
Graham Crackers 8.1 Low 14 (2 crackers) 74 High
Grape Nuts 31.5 High 58 (1/2 cup) 75 High
Kaiser Roll 21.2 High 57 (1 roll) 73 High
Melba Toast 5.6 Low 12 (4 pieces) 70 High
Oatmeal 6.4 Low 117 (1/2 cup) 58 Medium
Oatmeal (instant) 13.7 Medium 234 (1 cup) 65 Medium
Pita (whole wheat) 17 Medium 64 (1 pita) 57 Medium
Pizza (meat, cheese, sauce) 9 Low 100 36 Low
Pocorn 2.8 Low 8 (1 cup) 55 Medium
Pound Cake 8.1 Low 30 (1 piece) 54 Low
Raisin Bran 24.4 High 61 (1 cup) 61 Medium
Rice Krispies 23 High 33 (1 1/4 cups) 82 High
Special K 14.5 Medium 31 (1 cup) 69 Medium
Taco Shell 4.8 Low 13 (1 shell) 68 Medium
Waffle 18.7 High 75 (1 waffle) 76 High

FRUIT: Glycemic Index & Glycemic Load

FOOD GLYCEMIC LOAD RANKING SERVING SIZE (g) GLYCEMIC INDEX RANKING
Apple 6.2 Low 138 (medium) 39 Low
Apricots (dried) 23 High 130 (1 cup) 32 Low
Apricots (canned in syrup) 24.3 High 253 (1 cup) 64 Medium
Banana 12.2 Medium 118 (medium) 51 Low
Canteloupe 7.8 Low 177 (1 cup) 65 Medium
Cherries 3.7 Low 117 (1 cup) 22 Low
Fruit Cocktail (drained) 19.8 Medium 214 (1 cup) 55 Medium
Grapes 6.5 Low 92 (1 cup) 43 Low
Grapefruit 2.8 Low 123 (1/2 whole) 25 Low
Kiwi 5.2 Low 76 (1 kiwi) 58 Medium
Mango 12.8 Medium 165 (1 cup) 51 Low
Orange 7.2 Low 140 (1 orange) 48 Low
Papaya 6.6 Low 140 (1 cup) 60 Medium
Peaches 2.2 Low 98 (medium) 28 Low
Peaches (canned in syrup) 28.4 High 262 (1 cup) 58 Low
Pears 6.9 Low 166 (medium) 33 Low
Pears (canned in juice) 12.3 Medium 248 (1 cup) 44 Low
Pineapple 11.9 Medium 155 (1 cup) 66 Medium
Plum 1.7 Low 66 (1 plum) 24 Low
Prunes 34.2 High 132 (1 cup) 29 Low
Raisins 20.5 High 43 (small box) 64 Medium
Strawberries 3.6 Low 152 (1 cup) 40 Low
Watermelon 7.2 Low 152 (1 cup) 72 High

VEGETABLES: Glycemic Index & Glycemic Load

FOOD GLYCEMIC LOAD RANKING SERVING SIZE (g) GLYCEMIC INDEX RANKING
Beets (canned) 9.6 Low 246 (1/2 cup) 64 Medium
Broccoli (cooked) 0 Low 78 (1/2 cup) 0 Low
Cabbage 0 Low 75 (1/2 cup) 0 Low
Carrot (raw) 1 Low 15 (1 large) 92 High
Cauliflower 0 Low 100 (1 cup) 0 Low
Celery (raw) 0 Low 62 (1 stalk) 0 Low
Corn (yellow) 61.5 High 166 (1 cup) 55 Medium
Green Beans 0 Low 135 (1 cup) 0 Low
Mushrooms 0 Low 70 (1 cup) 0 Low
Parsnip 11.6 Medium 78 (1/2 cup) 97 High
Peas (frozen) 3.4 Low 72 (1/2 cup) 48 Low
Potato 36.4 High 213 (medium) 104 High
Spinach 0 Low 30 (1 cup) 0 Low
Sweet Potato 12.4 Medium 133 (1 cup) 54 Medium
Tomato 1.5 Low 123 (medium) 38 Low
Yam 16.8 Medium 136 (1 cup) 51 Low

CANDY: Glycemic Index & Glycemic Load

FOOD GLYCEMIC LOAD RANKING SERVING SIZE (g) GLYCEMIC INDEX RANKING
Corn Chips 11 Medium 50 42 Low
Dove Dark Chocolate Bar 4.4 Low 37 (1 oz) 23 Low
Fruit Roll-Ups 24 High 30 99 High
Honey 3 Low 15 (1 tbsp) 87 High
Jelly Beans 22 High 30 (1 oz) 78 High
Peanut M&Ms 5.6 Low 30 (1 oz) 33 Low
Popcorn (microwave, plain) 7 Low 20 65 Medium
Potato Chips 12 Medium 50 56 Low
Pretzels 16 Medium 30 83 High
Snickers Bar 23 High 60 (1/2 bar) 68 Low
Table Sugar 7 Low 8 (2 tsp) 68 Medium

DRINKS: Glycemic Index & Glycemic Load

FOOD GLYCEMIC LOAD RANKING SERVING SIZE (g) GLYCEMIC INDEX RANKING
Apple Juice 11.9 Medium 243 (1 cup) 41 Low
Carrot Juice 10 Medium 249 (1 cup) 57 Medium
Cranberry Juice 24.5 High 253 (1 cup) 68 Medium
Dairy Milk (whole) 4.4 Low 244 (1 cup) 40 Low
Gatorade Powder 11.7 Medium 16 (3/4 scoop) 78 High
Grapefruit Juice (sweetened) 13.4 Medium 250 (1 cup) 48 Low
Hot Chocolate Mix 11.7 Medium 28 (1 packet) 51 Low
Orange Juice 14.25 Medium 249 (1 cup) 57 Medium
Pineapple Juice 14.7 Medium 250 (1 cup) 46 Low
Soda (cola) 25.2 High 370 (12 oz) 63 Medium
Soy Milk 4 Low 245 (1 cup) 44 Low
Tomato Juice 3.4 Low 243 (1 cup) 38 Low

LEGUMES: Glycemic Index & Glycemic Load

FOOD GLYCEMIC LOAD RANKING SERVING SIZE (g) GLYCEMIC INDEX RANKING
Baked Beans 18.2 Medium 253 (1 cup) 48 Low
Chick Peas 13.3 Medium 240 (1 cup) 31 Low
Hummus 0 Low 30 6 Low
Kidney Beans 7 Low 256 (1 cup) 27 Low
Lentils 7 Low 198 (1 cup) 29 Low
Lima Beans 7.4 Low 241 (1 cup) 31 Low
Peanuts 1.6 Low 146 (1 cup) 13 Low
Pinto Beans 11.7 Medium 171 (1 cup) 39 Low
Soy Beans 1.4 Low 172 (1 cup) 20 Low

DAIRY: Glycemic Index & Glycemic Load

FOOD GLYCEMIC LOAD RANKING SERVING SIZE (g) GLYCEMIC INDEX RANKING
Ice Cream 6 Low 72 (1/2 cup) 38 Low
Ice Cream (low fat) 9.4 Low 76 (1/2 cup) 47 Low
Milk (full fat) 4 Low 250 (1 cup) 31 Low
Milk (skim) 4 Low 250 (1 cup) 31 Low
Pudding 8.4 Low 100 (1/2 cup) 44 Low
Yogurt (plain) 6.1 Low 245 (1 cup) 36 Low

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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.

20 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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