Glycemic Index vs Glycemic Load

Often confused, glycemic index and glycemic load are two different measurements of how our bodies respond to carbohydrates. Glycemic index measures how quickly food breaks down to sugar in the bloodstream rated on a scale of 0-100. 

However, it does NOT take into account the actual serving size of food. Watermelon for example has a very high GI = approx 80 while its GL is a meager 5. What does this tell us? The GI is high because it is based on 5 cups of watermelon, not the standard 1 cup serving size. The relatively low GL shows that the carbohydrate content of 1 cup of watermelon isn't much at all because watermelon is mostly well, you guessed it, water.

Research suggests that the glycemic load is a better indicator of how carbohydrate will affect blood sugar because it takes into account the amount of carbs in food.

The formula used to determine glycemic load is GI x Carbohydrate (g) content per portion ÷ 100.

The bottom line is that low GL foods will keep you feeling fuller longer without significantly spiking your blood sugar. Focusing on minimally processed, fiber and nutrient rich food sources will keep your diet both low GI and GL and might possibly lower that scale number too.