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What is the Glycemic Load?

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Updated July 06, 2014

Stuffed Baked Potato
John E. Kelly/Photodisc/Getty Images
Question: What is the Glycemic Load?
Answer: The glycemic load of a food tells how much eating that food raises blood glucose. It is a similar concept as the glycemic index, except it takes serving sizes into account. The formula is to take the number of grams of carbohydrate in the serving, multiply by the glycemic index, and divide by 100. Theoretically, if a food has glycemic load of one point, it would raise the blood sugar as much as one gram of glucose.

A diet with a low glycemic load has been linked to a lower risk of heart disease. If a food has a low glycemic load, it almost surely has a low glycemic index, however, it is harder to guess the load from the index. A diet which is low in carbohydrates automatically has a low glycemic load.

Some nutritionists use the following categories for a diet's glycemic load:
  • Low Glycemic Load - Less than 80 points per day
  • Medium Glycemic Load - 80-120 points per day
  • High Glycemic Load - Over 120 points per day
Examples of the glycemic load of some foods:
  • 2 oz peanuts - 1
  • 1/2 large grapefruit - 3
  • 1/2 cup pinto beans - 6
  • 1 medium apple 2 3/4 inch in diameter - 3 per lb - 6
  • 2 cups popcorn - 7
  • 1 tablespoon honey - 9
  • 1 cup orange juice - 12
  • 1 cup corn flakes - 21
  • 1 cup brown rice - 23
  • 1 bagel, 3.5 inches across - 25
  • 1 baked potato, 3 inches in diameter (170 grams) - 28
  • 1 cup white rice - 33

Carb Profiles of Foods, Including Glycemic Index and Loads

  1. About.com
  2. Health
  3. Low Carb Diets
  4. Low Carb 101
  5. Frequently Asked Questions
  6. What Is the Glycemic Load in Some Foods?

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