Glycemic load of food – What is it and how is it calculated?

The glycemic load of foods (GL) is one of the most useful parameters in nutrition. It is even more important than the glycemic or insulin index.

The glycemic load is used to develop an eating plan for people with diabetes, prediabetes, or insulin resistance.

To better understand how this parameter works, the glycemic load formula is described below as well as a complete food table.

Glycemic load of foods (GL) – What is it?

The glycemic load ( GL ) is the indicator that quantitatively measures the increase in blood glucose that occurs after eating a meal.

Unlike the glycemic index (GI), the glycemic load takes into account not only the quality of carbohydrates in food; but also its quantity .

For example, carrot juice has a high GI glycemic index, but only contains a few grams of carbohydrates per serving. The result: a low glycemic load.

The glycemic load takes into account the amount of total carbohydrates in food and also the rate at which they are absorbed.

According to the latest research, it is not only products with a high glycemic index, but those with a high glycemic load that should be moderate for diabetics or people with insulin resistance . (1,2,3)

Read on to see a table with the differences between CG and IG.

Glycemic load – formula

The glycemic load tables of the foods presented at the end of this article were obtained through a mathematical calculation based on the following formula:

CG = GI * (number of grams of carbohydrates per serving) / serving size

The formulas are not only used to calculate the glycemic load of individual foods, but also the total GL needed per day.

The ideal in a healthy person is not to exceed a CG value of 100 units. In a type 2 diabetic diet, applying the glycemic load formula should not exceed 60-80 units per day.

Glycemic load chart How to use it?

According to the individual values ​​of the glycemic load of foods, these can be divided into three categories:

  • Low : less than 10
  • Media: 11-19
  • High : more than 20

The following ranges are used to calculate the total glycemic load of a person’s diet :

  • Healthy eating: no more than 100
  • Weight loss diet: no more than 80
  • Diabetic diet: 60 -70

A table of glycemic load of foods is described below:

Food IG Portion Glycemic load
Breads and derivatives
Banana bread 47 60 g 14
Vanilla cake 42 60 g 12
White bread 72 70 g 25
Pretzels 58 30 g 12
Pita bread 68 30 g 10
Corn tortilla 52 50 g 12
Pan integral 34 30 g 7
Drinks and refreshments
Coca Cola 63 250 mL 16
Boys 68 250 mL 12
Apple juice 44 250 mL 30
Gatorade 78 250 mL 24
Orange juice 50 250 mL 12
Tomato juice 38 250 mL 12
Cereals and derivatives
Sugary cereals 93 30 g 23
Muesli 66 30 g 16
Avena 40 250 g 13
Quinoa 53 150 g 13
White rice 83 150 g 43
Integral rice 50 150 g 16
Bulgur wheat 48 150 g 12
Milk and derivatives
Common ice cream 57 50 6
Whole milk 41 250 mL 5
Skimmed milk 32 250 mL 4
Skimmed yogurt with fruits 33 200 mL 11
Apple 39 120 6
Banana banana 62 120 16
Grapes 59 120 11
Pomelo 25 120 3
Oranges 40 120 4
Peach – peach 42 120 5
Pears 38 120 4
Watermelon 72 120 4
Legumes and nuts
White beans 40 150 7
Black beans 30 150 7
Lentils 29 150 5
Peanuts 7 50 0
Walnuts 7 50 0
Chestnuts with salt 27 50 3
Soy beans 15 150 1
Pasta and flours
Fetuccini 32 180 15
Macaroni 47 180 23
Raviolis 47 180 32
Fresh spaghetti 58 180 26
Spaghetti integral 28 180 14
Margarita pizza 60 100 19
four cheese pizza 80 100 22
Carrots 45 150 12
White potatoes 82 150 21
Sweet potatoes 70 150 22
Broccoli 10 150 4
Lettuce 10 150 3
Onion 60 150 16

Complete table of glycemic load of foods (3) (4)

How to lower the glycemic load?

A high glycemic load value of a food will mean a significant and rapid increase in blood glucose levels. This, in turn, will lead to the production of large amounts of insulin.

To lower the glycemic load, you should combine carbohydrate foods with foods with fiber and healthy fats . These two food groups are the lowest in value on the food charts.

Combining them with foods high in fiber or fat is effective in lowering the glycemic load values ​​at each meal.

Differences with the glycemic index and insulin index

The glycemic index of a particular food measures the rate of a rise in blood glucose after eating a serving.

The glycemic load uses the base of the glycemic index and adds the quantity parameter.

The insulin index considers the increase in insulin (not glucose) in the blood and is the most accurate indicator for diabetics. This value takes into account the effects of particular food combinations for example: dairy and meat.

It is important to know that to achieve optimal long-term health, all theories agree that you should avoid foods that are sugary or contain high content of other simple carbohydrates .

Avoiding excess sugar in the diet is essential to obtain good values ​​for both glycemic load, glycemic index and insulin index.


Glycemic load is an indicator that takes into account not only the rate at which blood sugar levels rise, but also the total amount of carbohydrates in each meal.

Its formula can be used to calculate the glycemic load, although there are also food tables.

The foods with the lowest glycemic load value in the table are foods rich in fiber and fat, for example vegetables and nuts.

This indicator is useful for developing an eating plan for people with diabetes or other metabolic disorders.

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