Baffled by Glycemic Index vs Load?

Glycemic Index vs. Glycemic Load

Understanding the Differences


What are the facts about GI/GL foods and how can we use their quantifiable measures to understand blood sugar response? If you are a diabetic, you may have been advised to monitor your carbohydrate intake. However, different carbohydrate containing foods affect blood sugar differently and this can be measured by using glycemic index and glycemic load.

Glycemic Index- a ranking of carbohydrate foods according to how rapidly they are digested and released as glucose (sugar) into the bloodstream

Glycemic Load- a measure that describes both the quality and quantity of carbohydrates in a food serving.

GI scale.png

Let’s Compare!

Comparing different foods glycemic index and glycemic loads will help illustrate how GI and GL differ.

Doughnut vs. Watermelon

                                    Glycemic Index: 76            Glycemic Index: 76


                                     Glycemic Load: 17                  Glycemic Load: 8

The Watermelon and Doughnut both have the same GI but are very different foods based on their ingredients. Doughnuts are made from refined sugars and highly processed grains, while watermelons are a fruit containing water and fiber. So, even though they have the same GI their GL’s are very different. The Doughnuts GL is 17 and the watermelon’s Gl is 8. Therefore, watermelon is in fact the better food to consume.

Overall, low GI/GL foods are better for you and further support eating a variety of non-processed nutrient-rich whole foods. Being “glycemic conscious will help you balance blood sugar levels and give you better “glycemic control.” Use the list below to help compare the GI and GL content of foods and help you choose a well-balanced meal.


Tips for using the Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load:

·         Eat more fruits and vegetables.

·         Choose higher fiber foods and more whole grains. 

·         Limit high fat, lower GI foods such as candy and chocolate bars