You may have heard about glycemic index, which measures how much a food raises your blood sugar, but glycemic load (GL) is a more useful measure to use. We’ll give you tips to choose lower GL foods and lose more weight.
Choose lower GL foods
Why not choose a lower-GL breakfast cereal? If you fill your bowl with a single serving of a medium-GL cereal instead of a high-GL one, your blood sugar will be lower after breakfast. And it’ll be even lower if you choose a low-GL cereal, like one composed entirely of bran.
Keep watching portions and slicing berries or an apple into your bowl, and you’ll really lower your blood sugar response to breakfast. Plus, you’ll give yourself a seriously healthy start to the day.
If you like numbers, consider this: a 60-gram (two-ounce) bowl of corn-based cereal has a GL of 48, whereas a 30-gram (one-ounce) bowl of bran cereal plus a whole medium apple has a GL of 15. That means your blood sugar will rise two-thirds less with the healthier option.
Here’s another example: at supper, instead of a potato, you might decide to make pasta since it has a lower GL. That’s a good substitution. A 140-gram (five-ounce) baked potato has a GL of 26, but the same size serving of pasta has a GL of 17. So the switch itself lowers the GL of that side dish by nine points, changing it from a “high” to a “medium” GL choice. You could serve the pasta with a little olive oil, freshly ground black pepper, and a tablespoon of Parmesan cheese and never miss the potato a bit.
Even if you’re choosing lower-GL foods, it’s still important to watch your portion sizes. That’s because if you eat twice the recommended portion of the food, the GL will double. It’s a simple concept, but one that many people miss.
Eat less overall
- In the past decade or two, we’ve started to eat more calories, nearly all of them from carbohydrates. And nearly all of those carbohydrates are high GL.
- One approach is to simply eat less of high-GL foods.
- Try to dial down your carb intake: eat fewer salty snacks out of bags, fewer french fries, less bread, fewer pastries, and drink a lot less soda and other sweetened drinks.
- Let’s say you start your day with a great big bowl of cereal. If you measured how much you poured, it would probably be at least twice the serving size suggested on the box. So the “just say less” approach is to pour out less cereal.
- Fill the rest of the bowl with berries, or other low-GL fruits that will bring down the overall GL of your breakfast. As a bonus, berries (and other fruits) are rich in fibre that can help fill you up.
Losing weight can feel like a complicated and difficult process, but glycemic load is a big part of the picture. By simply choosing foods with a lower GL, you can make your weight loss efforts significantly easier.