bulgar wheat salad

Low GL, High GL, Confused…I was!

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.

bulgar wheat salad
Low GL Bulgar wheat salad


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

Oat Pancakes
Low GL Oat Pancakes


To help further:

Eat protein with carbohydrates

Graze don’t gorge

Eat every 3 to 4 hours

Never skip breakfast

Farming fruit and veg wellies
Remember: All fruit and Veg are carbohydrates but lucky for us they are all low GL


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.

Sometimes there is just good 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


5 thoughts on “Low GL, High GL, Confused…I was!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s