Glycemic Load

What is Glycemic load?
Glycemic Load (GL) is a measure of both the quality (the GI value) and quantity (grams per serve) of a carbohydrate in a meal. A food’s glycemic load is determined by multiplying its glycemic index by the amount of carbohydrate the food contains in each serve and dividing by 100.

Glycemic Load = GI x Carbohydrate (g) content per portion ÷ 100.

Using an apple as an example: GI value = 38; Carbohydrate per serve = 15g

GL= 38 x 15

The GL of a typical apple is 6

Similar to the glycemic index, the glycemic load of a food can be classified as low, medium, or high:

  • Low: 10 or less
  • Medium: 11 – 19
  • High: 20 or more


For optimal health, aim to keep your daily glycemic load under 100.

The GL of a mixed meal or diet can simply be calculated by summing together the GL values for each ingredient or component. For example, if breakfast was composed of 2 wheat biscuits (GL = 15), ½ a Cup of milk (GL = 4) and 2 teaspoons of sugar (GL = 6), its overall GL would be 25 (15 + 4 + 6).

For the whole day, a low GL diet has a GL less than 100 g/% for people consuming 8,700 kJ. Therefore, for people consuming 3 meals per day, a low GL meal would have a GL ≤ 33 g/%.

The simplest way to use the GL is to choose foods with the lowest GI within a food group or category, and to be mindful of your serve size.




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