A simple guide to high glycemic load foods

The glycemic load (GL) is the best measure of a food's effect on blood sugar. Here, we've listed some common high glycemic load foods:

A simple guide to high glycemic load foods

Understanding portion size and GL foods

You want to aim for as many low-GL foods as possible and eat high-GL foods more sparingly.

  • Since carbohydrate foods are the ones that contribute most to the GL of your diet, we've focused on those foods here.
  • Foods that are mostly protein or fat — such as meats, fish and cheeses — have little or no GL, so you won't find them.
  • Including protein-rich foods and "good" fats in your meals and snacks will help keep your GL score for the day moderate.
  • Remember that portion size makes a big difference:  if you eat two servings of a medium-GL breakfast cereal, it suddenly qualifies as a high-GL food.
  • On the other hand, if you just love a food in the high-GL category, go ahead and eat a small portion, preferably along with a small portion of a low- or medium-GL food.

Foods to avoid

If you're starting to count GL numbers to better your diet, it's important to know which foods are best to avoid. Here is a guide with many common dishes and their GL numbers:

Potatoes

  • 1 medium Baked russet Burbank potato = 26
  • French fries 140 g (5 oz) = 22

Grains

  • Sticky white rice 250 ml (1 c) cooked = 31
  • Millet 250 ml (1 c) cooked = 25
  • Couscous 250 ml (1 c) cooked = 23
  • Long-grain white rice 250 ml (1 c) cooked = 23

Pasta

  • Udon Japanese noodles 250 ml (1 c) cooked = 25
  • Spaghetti (cooked 20 minutes) 250 ml (1 c) cooked = 22

Breads

  • French baguette 2 slices = 30
  • Middle Eastern flatbread 1 large = 30
  • Italian white bread 2 slices = 22
  • Hamburger roll = 121
  • Light rye bread 2 slices = 20
  • Mini-bagel (Lender's)= 120
  • Wonder Bread 2 slices = 20

Breakfast Cereals

  • Kellogg's Cornflakes 30 g (1 oz/1 c) = 24
  • Rice Chex 30 g (1 oz/1 1/4 c ) = 23
  • Nabisco Cream of Wheat, instant30 g (1 oz/1 c) = 22
  • Rice Krispies 30 g (1 oz/3/4 c) = 22
  • Corn Chex 30 g (1 oz/1 c) = 21

Dried Fruit

  • Raisins 50 g (1/3 cup) = 28
  • Dates, dried, chopped 60 g (1/3 cup) = 25

Beverages

  • Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice Cocktail 375 ml (12 oz) = 36
  • Coca-Cola 375 ml (12 oz) = 24

Sweets

  • Mars Bar 60 g (2 oz) = 26
  • 20 Jelly beans = 22
  • Betty Crocker chocolate cake with chocolate icing 125 g (4 oz) = 20

There you have it -- a clear list of foods to cut back on or avoid completely thanks to their high GL numbers. Try replacing these foods with a healthy alternative whenever possible.

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