Glycemic Load Diet

By Mizpah Matus B.Hlth.Sc(Hons)

The Glycemic Load Diet


glycemic-load-dietThe Glycemic Load Diet, by Rob Thompson, MD is a refinement of earlier low-carbohydrate diets, and aims to reduce the glycemic load in the diet – the impact on blood glucose levels of a serving of a given food, as identified in the Glycemic Index.

The increased consumption of starchy carbohydrates, particularly wheat, is held to blame for the obesity problem. Also, the claim is made that insulin resistance (said to be present in 22% of the population) would be less evident if starchy carbs like rice, potatoes and bread were reduced. Insulin regulates glucose consumption in the body, mainly the muscles. If these become insensitive to insulin (called insulin resistance) then weight-gain results. Refined carbs are the major source of glucose in the diet. For example, it is suggested that no more than a quarter-serving of these foods be consumed at one sitting, alongside cutting out drinks and juices with added sugar.

The Glycemic Load Diet also requires 30-40 minutes of walking every other day, with the objective of activating ‘slow-twitch muscle’ to improve the insulin resistant condition.

Glycemic index/Glycemic load

The glycemic index measures the effect on blood glucose of a given amount of carbohydrate from a particular food source, in comparison to the same amount of carbohydrate in white bread as the standard (set at 100).

The glycemic load corrects that figure for serving size or amount consumed, and it this glycemic load which forms the basis of the Glycemic Load Diet. The advice given is that the total glycemic load in foods consumed each day should be under 500.

Examples of the glycemic load of common baked goods, breads and breakfast cereals.

This list is taken from the Glycemic Load Table in Dr. Thompson’s website as quoted in his book The Glycemic Load Diet.

As such it uses a different formula than other measures of Glycemic Load such as the University of Sydney.

Food Item
Description
Glycemic
Index
Typical
American
Serving
Glycemic Load
White bread
30 grams-1/2″ slice
100
1-1/16oz
100
Baked Goods:
Oatmeal cookie
1 medium
77
1oz
102
Apple muffin-sugarless
2-1/2″ diameter
69
2-1/2oz
107
Cookie: average all types
1 medium size
84
1oz
114
Croissant
1 Medium size
96
1-1/2oz
127
Crumpet
1 Medium size
69
2oz
148
Bran muffin
2-1/2″ diameter
85
2oz
149
Pastry
Average serving
84
2oz
149
Chocolate cake
1 slice (4″X4″X1″)
54
3oz
154
Vanilla Wafers
4 wafers
110
1oz
159
Graham cracker
1 rectangle
106
1oz
159
Blueberry muffin
2-1/2″ diameter
84
2oz
169
Pita bread
1 medium size
82
2oz
189
Carrot cake
1 square (3″X3″X1-1/2″)
88
2oz
199
Carrot muffin
2-1/2″ diameter
88
2oz
199
Waffle
7″ diameter
109
2-1/2oz
203
Doughnut
1 Medium size
108
2oz
205
Cup Cake
2-1/2″ diameter
104
1-1/2oz
213
Angel food cake
1 slice (4′X4″X1″)
95
2oz
216
English Muffin
1 medium size
109
2oz
224
Pound Cake
1 slice (4″X4″X1″)
77
3oz
241
Corn muffin
2-1/2″ diameter
146
2oz
299
Pancake
5″ diameter
96
2-1/2oz
346
Breads and Rolls:
Tortilla (wheat)
1 medium size
43
1-3/8oz
64
Pizza crust
1 slice
43
3.5oz
70
Tortilla (corn)
1 medium size
74
1-1/4oz
87
White Bread
1 slice-1/2″ thick
100
1oz
107
Whole meal rye bread
3/8″ slice
97
2oz
114
Sourdough bread
3/8″ slice
77
1-1/2oz
114
Oat bran bread
3/8″ slice
68
1-1/2oz
128
Whole Wheat Bread
1 slice-1/2″ thick
101
1-1/2oz
129
Light rye bread
3/8″ slice
97
1-1/2oz
142
Banana Bread-sugarless
1 slice (4″X4″X1″)
79
3oz
170
80% whole-kernel oat bread
3/8″ slice
93
1-1/2oz
170
Pita bread
8″ diameter
82
2oz
189
Hamburger Bun
Top & bottom-5″diameter
87
2-1/2oz
213
80% whole-kernel wheat bread
3/8″ slice
74
2.25oz
213
French Bread
1 slice-1/2″ thick
136
2oz
284
Bagel
1 Medium size
103
3-1/3oz
340
Breakfast Cereals:
All Bran
1/2 cup
54
1oz
85
Muesli
1 cup
69
1oz
95
Special K
1cup
98
1oz
133
Cheerios
1 cup
106
1oz
142
Shredded Wheat
1 cup
107
1oz
142
Grapenuts
1 cup
102
1oz
142
Puffed Wheat
1 cup
105
1oz
151
Instant Oatmeal (cooked)
1 cup
94
8oz
154
Cream of Wheat-cooked
1 cup
94
8oz
154
Total
1 cup
109
1oz
161
Corn Flakes
1 cup
116
1oz
199
Rice Crispies
1 cup
117
1oz
208
Rice Chex
1 cup
127
1oz
218
Raisin Bran
1 cup
87
2oz
227

Look here for low glycemic meal ideas here.

See Also

The book The Glycemic Load Diet (available at Amazon) contains about 80 pages of recipes. There are no meal plans as such.

By Mizpah Matus B.Hlth.Sc(Hons)
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  • Beware

    Find a better source for the Glycemic Load values because they don’t jive with ANY other source available that I’ve found, even considering the “americanized” adjustment or the factor of 10 adjustment the book author claimed to use for some reason.

    The values used are used to malign perfectly healthy foods and promote other foods that may have beneficial values but not in excess.

    The bottom line is if we didn’t eat an overly processed diet and didn’t work high-stress, overly sedentary lifestyles we wouldn’t need special diets to try to overcome problems that primarily increased over the last 30-40 years with lots of conflicting advice.

    TL;DR Everything in moderation works for most. And exercise!

  • Patricia Olsen

    Each food label lists # of carbs. I don’t have a list of glycemic index, so I do I figure the glycemic load by reading the carb list on the food label?

  • Tracy kim Claro

    i will be ordering your book the glycemic load diet,

  • betty davis

    I have the books and would like to try the diet. I did the Atkins diet years ago and lost all the weight I wanted. When I stopped the diet I gained it all back plus more. Now I am borderline diabetic. I read that 500gl,s a day is the lmit. What is the minimum level? I’m not prone to eating a lot of vegies.

  • Alfonso

    The glycemic index measures the ability of a food to rise blood sugar after you eat a it, the higher the GI, the higher the rise of sugar, therefore the higher the insuline response. The glycemic load only takes in consideration the amount of the food you it, as the amount of blood sugar depends also on how much you load yourself with it. The best general advice is to avoid high glycemic foods and to avoid eating more than 100 to 100 grams of carbohydrates a day, depending on age, sex, physical activity, desire of weight loss, etc. spikes ok insuline are atherogenic an lead to heart attacks, strokes and obesity.

  • sandie

    To calculate glycemic load (GL): Simply multiply the GI by the amount of carbohydrate and divide by 100.

    For example; an 80g serve of carrot with a GI of 92 has 4.2g per serve. 92 X 4.2 / 100 = 3.9
    This means you are measuring a serving not 100g all the time

    • Gary

      Isn’t the carb used in your formula carbs-fiber?

    • Suzee Dodd

      Thank-you! Your response has helped me figure things out!

  • Florent Berthet

    Karin, the GI basically measures how much glucose you have in your blood after eating an amount of food that will contain a given amount of carbs (usually, 50g). That means that, for example, if you want to measure the GI of a food that contains 10% of carbs, you will have to eat 500g of this food (in order to eat 50g of carbs).

    The GL measure how much glucose you have in your blood after eater a given amount of food. That’s it. This can be more useful to use because if you know the quantity of a food you will eat, it’s easy to measure its impact on your blood glucose; whereas if you use the GI, you have to take into account the % of carbs that is in the food before being able to calculate the impact the food will have on your blood glucose.

    Some food can have a high GI but a low GL. For example, watermelon has a GI of 72 (which means that if you eat enough watermelon to reach 50g of carbs, it will raise your blood sugar 0.72 times as much as eating 50g of pure glucose; with glucose as the base with a GI of 100). But since watermelon has A LOT of water, you would have to eat a big amount of watermelon in order to eat 50g of watermelon carbs. So, if you eat only 100g of watermelon you will eat maybe only 5g of carbs. Therefore, the GL of watermellon is low (3.6) even if its GI is high.

    In short, the glycemic load takes into account “the amount of food you eat”, while the glycemic index takes into account “the amount of food you would need to eat in order to reach 50g of carbs”. That’s a huge difference.

    Hope this helped.

    • Bonnie Stehr

      Thank You Florent, it helped me a lot! I’m going to find out more about GL instead of GI!

    • Suzee Dodd

      Thank-you from a ‘newbie’ @ this LGL Diet! Your explanation helped me quite a bit, not just with ‘what can I eat?’ but got the whole idea into perspective for me! I really needed that as I also have to eat gluten-free & that get’s trying rather frequently so throwing this ‘diet twist’ into the ‘mix’ was ‘one more thing to worry about’. Now, not so much! Thank-you!

  • Karin

    I am confused between GI Index and GI Loading, any advise would be great.

  • Susanne

    I just received the book today and I’m a third of the way through it. I’ve always felt better on a low-carb diet and did well on Atkins when I first started but it was too restrictive for long term. I’m really looking forward to starting this since lately I seem to be living on starch; cereal & toast for breakfast, pasta in soup or a sandwich for lunch & dinner depends on what’s available, maybe another bowl of cereal or a sandwich. I know I’ll lose & feel better when I get started on this.

  • Maryann Stevens

    I would like to try the glycemic load diet plan and see if it works for me.

  • Jess

    This comment is mostly in reference to Sky’s post:This is the dumbest diet since the all-meat thing. guys, if you want to lose weight, it’s called SELF-CONTROL, FRUITS AND VEGETABLES. Bread; white or wheat will not make you any less obese!!! Small amounts of everything especially starches, with loads of produce are the best thing to do. Seriously. Stop trying to trick people.

    This diet helps to eliminate the carbs that cause weight gain around belly which is deadly. “Apple” shapes, or people who carry their weight around their middle are increased for heart disease and my develop diabetes. This diet allows you to eat foods that eliminaate belly fat while still taking in the necessary nutrients. I have known a number of people who’ve tried this and have lost weight and lowered their cholesterol. I’m also not sure why you think startches are good for you… every doctor I know will tell you limit your “white” foods because they are unhealthy.

  • Patricia Garrett

    I give this diet a 5* rating! In two months, I have lost 16 pounds and my husband has lost 35 pounds. I haven’t measured inches yet, but I can see my belly shrink.

  • David Spector

    Found two errors on the home page of the Glycemic Load diet:

    1. The GI measure that is used is a discredited one based on white bread as being 100. Different samples of white bread have different values, and hence this definition is useless. The correct definition is glucose as 100, since glucose is (usually) 100% absorbed by the gut.

    2. The overall recommended limit of GL equal to 500 is way too high. Ketosis, the state in which fat is metabolized, is unlikely to be achieved at that high level. Experimentation is needed, but I would imagine that a limit of 100 to 200 GL per day would be more realistic. Remember, the goal is avoiding metabolic disorder, avoiding type 2 diabetes, and losing weight. I’ve achieved all that by limiting my total net carbs to about 30 grams. By using a proper GL measure, this number can safely be increased, but certainly not all the way to 500.

    • Margaret

      He is not trying to get people to go into ketosis. He addresses that in the book.

  • kathy bray

    this sounds interesting
    i am doing south beach

  • Donna

    I need to lose 45 pounds, I have HB and a problem with my potassium, will this be a good weight loss program for me. Can you give me a meal plan. Thank you.

  • Ruth Rebhun

    sounds like something I can do

  • sky

    This is the dumbest diet since the all-meat thing. guys, if you want to lose weight, it’s called SELF-CONTROL, FRUITS AND VEGETABLES. Bread; white or wheat will not make you any less obese!!! Small amounts of everything especially starches, with loads of produce are the best thing to do. Seriously. Stop trying to trick people.

  • Marthe

    I would like to know if the food listed are good for people with hypoglycemia as well. thank you

  • Marthe Angrand

    I was recently referred to this site as a guide for hypoglecemia diet.I haven’t tried it yet. i want to know if the food listed are good for people with hypoglycemia. Thank you

  • johnny smith jr.

    I found this article to be very informative. It prompted me to purchase the book.

  • cherylc

    Please send information on this diet, and how it affects your cholesterol levels. I don’t want to go on medicine. My total is 333.

    • patd

      I started on this diet, along with walking 20 minutes 3-4x/week. I lost 25 pounds and my total cholesterol dropped from 285 to 235 – all in six weeks.

  • Andrea

    I just have to say how much I love this diet. I found it easy to understand, easy to follow and based on common sense. The simplicity and freedom of choices within it means its very easy to stay motivated! I recently tried the Dukan diet which is much more restrictive on carbs, and found myself close to fainting after a few days. I have returned to the Low GL philosophy and feel much better for it. I whole-heartedly recommend this diet to anyone who wants to lose weight, especially to people who struggle with diets. Its good to be back :)

  • Penny

    I am a recently diagnosed type 2 diabetic that has been put on a 1400 calorie diet. In the first couple of days alone I lost 3 pounds. Its been 3 weeks now and I’m down 9 pounds and my blood glucose level is steadily decreasing. This GL load stuff is great. I also exercise every other day for at least 40 minutes. You have to reduce your food intake and exercise at the same time to optimize your weight loss. My clothes are getting looser and it gives me the motivation to stick to it 100%.

  • Ronnie

    After a lot of failed attempts at diets, following the Glycemic Load diet is the only diet I’ve followed that’s resulted in significant weight loss for me. After following the program for 3 months (particularly, religiously following the “no solid startches” and “no sugary drinks” rules), I lost 25 pounds. However, to be objective, I’ve not been able to budge much past that 25lb milestone. It could be the diet, or it could be me, as I found the variety of the diet very tiring, and would sneak in servings of startches spread through the week just to get some variety.

    In the short-term, my appetite has decreased, and when adhering strictly to the diet as I did in the first 3 months, the urge to snack decreased as well (something a serving of grapes and cheese always tended to fix). Long-term, I can’t attest to, but I love how simple the core rules are: they’ve made adherence (on the whole) much easier.

  • Debra

    I have been following the diet outlined in the book, more than faithfully for 5 weeks now. Not only have I not moved the scale at all, I have actually put on a couple of pounds. I don’t understand and don’t know what to do now.

  • Karen Leidal

    I would like more information on the Glycemic load diet and a list of foods with Glycemic load values

  • Wanda Hiebert

    I find this very interesting and would like to know more.

  • Dr. Mulenga Kasoma

    I would like more information on the Glycemic load diet and a list of foods with Glycemic load values

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