Here’s a low glycemic food list that is useful to use if you have insulin resistance. It has the scores for both glycemic index and glycemic load. However, before we consider the list we need to have a clear understanding of what the glycemic index is as well as how it differs from glycemic load.
Glycemic Index (GI)
Years ago people believed that simple carbohydrates (sugars) were absorbed and utilised faster than complex carbohydrates. This was due to the fact that simple carbohydrates are only made up of individual molecules (mono-saccharides) or at most two molecules bonded together (di-saccharides) whilst complex carbohydrates have many molecules bonded together (polysaccharides).
However, researchers in Toronto found that this wasn’t actually the case. They found that certain complex carbohydrates, like potatoes, caused a rapid increase in blood sugar whilst certain fruits had a more sustained influx of glucose into the blood stream.
As a result, the glycemic index was developed. It gave people a good guideline to follow when it came to how quickly a food caused an increase in the blood sugar level.
A food that scores between 70 and 100 is considered to be a high-glycemic index food. A moderate-glycemic index food scores between 50 and 69 and a low-glycemic index food scores less than 50.
Therefore, someone with insulin resistance could select foods that had a low or moderate GI score and could avoid, or at least minimise their intake of high GI foods.
Problems with the glycemic index (GI)
Whilst the glycemic index is useful, it is not something that needs to be relied upon too much. The fact is that the glycemic index is given to a food that is consumed on its own not when it is consumed as a part of a complete meal.
Therefore, if you intend on eating a baked potato on its own or a piece of bread on its own then the glycemic index is relevant. However, if you eat the potato or piece of bread with other foods, particularly foods containing fat, protein, or foods that are high in fibre, then the glycemic index is lowered and becomes virtually irrelevant! This is simply because the other components of the meal slow down the absorption rate of the carbohydrates.
Another problem with the glycemic index is the fact that it does not take into consideration how much of a carbohydrate-containing food is consumed. This is where the glycemic load (GL) comes in.
Glycemic Load (GL)
The glycemic load was developed by researchers at Harvard University and since it takes into consideration the portion size of a food, it may be considered a more useful measure.
The glycemic load is determined by multiplying the number of grams of carbohydrate contained in a portion of carbohydrate-containing food by the glycemic index of the food divided by 100.
For example, a 150-gram serve of white rice contains 40 grams of carbohydrate with a glycemic index of 76. Therefore, to determine the glycemic load of the serving of white rice the following calculation is made:
40 x 76 = 3040 / 100 = 30.4
Ideally, a person with insulin resistance should consume carbohydrates with a glycemic load less than 10. This is considered low glycemic load. A moderate glycemic load is between 11 and 20 and a high glycemic load is greater than 20. It’s important to keep in mind that even consuming a high glycemic index food may still have a low glycemic load depending on the portion size.
If we consider our example of white rice, which has a high glycemic index, by having a small portion the glycemic load may be low. For example, 50 grams of white rice has a low glycemic load, i.e. 13 x 76 = 988 / 100 = 9.88.
Of course 50 grams of white rice is quite a small amount so it’s a far better option to have a lower-density carbohydrate source with a lower glycemic so a larger portion can be consumed.
Problems with the glycemic load (GL)
The biggest drawbacks of the glycemic load are the fact that the food has to be weighed before consumption and that you need to use a table of carbohydrate contents to determine how many grams of carbohydrates you’re consuming.
A good carbohydrate table that separates carbs into high-density, medium-density, and low-density, and that provides the number of grams of carbohydrates per 100 grams or per serve (i.e. a piece of fruit) is the Macronutrient Information Table contained in my book, Look Good, Feel Great!
As was mentioned previously the glycemic index almost becomes irrelevant when you consume a carbohydrate containing food in a ‘complete meal’. This means having a meal with all 3 macronutrients, carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Of course, this is the structure all of your meals should have!
Therefore, probably a far better option, especially if you have insulin resistance, is to simply be aware of how many grams of carbohydrates you’re consuming per serve rather than worrying too much about the glycemic index or having to sit down with a calculator prior to a meal to determine the glycemic load!
Nevertheless, here is a low glycemic food list with foods that have both a low glycemic index as well as a low glycemic load.
Low Glycemic Food List
Glycemic Index (GI)
Glycemic Load (GL)
If you would like a more comprehensive low glycemic food list, please visit: The University of Sydney’s GI Foods Advanced Seach.
Also, if you would like to find out more about how to overcome insulin resistance, then read: How to Reverse Diabetes Now!