What does GL even mean?
Low Glycaemic Load (GL), high Glycaemic Load (GL). Low Glycaemic Index (GI) and high Glycaemic Index (GI). It’s all a bit confusing. So today I thought I would give a quick low down on what GL means, and how high GL foods impact the body.
When you eat carbohydrate based foods, the hormone insulin is released into the bloodstream to remove the glucose (sugar). Some glucose goes to the brain and muscles where it is used as an energy fuel, which is good. But any excess goes to the liver where it is turned into fat and stored, which unfortunately is going to cause us to gain weight.
Following a low GL diet is considered the most appropriate tool for stabilising blood sugar levels. Are you experiencing the need for a morning latte, the 11am biscuit, and the 3pm muffin? If so, you are experiencing sugar highs and lows. Your body is craving its next ‘fix’. So essentially you are a sugar addict!
Carbohydrate based foods; sugars and starches all have a GL score. What this number tells us is how these foods react with glucose in our blood. For example sugary products e.g. cake will have a very high GL score. The result is that this food will spike glucose levels in our blood giving us a ‘high’, with lots of energy. Great. But what happens next? We crash of course. With all highs must come lows! So we get tired, sleepy, can’t concentrate and just want a little nap!
If you want stabilised energy throughout the day. If you don’t want to hit that 3pm energy slump. If you want to be focused and on point all day then you need to ensure you are consuming low GL foods.
However it is not the case that only sugary foods have high GL scores. White bread, white pasta, along with most commercial breakfast cereal (especially kids cereal) can be high on the GL scale. See the table below as a nice little guide.
Incorporating low GL foods is especially important for diabetics and weight loss.
As a guide:
GL below 10 is considered low
GL level above 20 is considered to be high
Eat no more than 40 GLs a day
To help further:
Eat protein with carbohydrates
Graze don’t gorge
Eat every 3 to 4 hours
Never skip breakfast
As a guide:
|Low GL||High GL|
|Bread||Rye, sourdough, granary and pitta breads (moderate GL) oat cakes, rye crackers (moderate GL)||White, wholemeal, French stick, rice cakes, cream crackers, bread sticks|
|Cereal||Whole oats, oatmeal, porridge, no added sugar muesli, quinoa||Sweetened cereals, rice krispies, bran flakes, wheatabix, shredded wheat|
|Pasta||Egg-based pasta, mungbean noodles||Overcooked pasta and pasta ready meals requiring re-heating|
|Rice||Long grain, wild, and basmati rice. Bulgur wheat, couscous, pearl barley||Short grain, sticky white rice|
|Potatoes||Baby new potatoes, sweet potatoes||Large floury white potatoes, french fries, mashed potato|
Which are you?
So what do you take from this? Well if you are living a healthy balanced diet, nothing really. Continue to eat well and on occasion have the cake.
If you ‘need’ chocolate every day, it may be time to consider trying to detox from sugar and replace with more real foods. Baby steps though – why not try get used to some dark chocolate. I know it sounds horrific! But I used to be a chocoholic, now I can eat a small amount of 85% dark chocolate and be satisfied. Everyone has the ability to change their taste buds. It’s just a case of how much you want to.
Finally if you are the person who has lost weight on a low calorie diet or has those last few pounds to go. Maybe swapping your high GL white bread to a low GL sourdough, introducing low GL porridge instead of high GL special K. These simple steps may be the key to maintaining a healthy and balanced lifestyle.
So that’s it for this week guys.
Hope you had a good one.
The Wholesome Nut x