Glycemic Index & Glycemic Load


Have you heard of the terms ´GI Index´ and ´glycemic load´? Perhaps from your physician or your health conscious friends? Do you know what they mean? Let us give you the gist of GI, to take a glycemic load off your back.

The glycemic index (GI) is a rating used to measure the level of sugar circulating in the blood in response to a carbohydrate meal or snack. The higher the GI number, the greater the rise in blood sugar. Low GI foods cause smaller rises in blood sugar, while higher GI foods trigger a big spike in blood sugar; hence why you see so many “low GI rating” labels on cereal boxes galore.

It`s always better to know what to look out for yourself, rather than simply believing the box of sugar-coated cornflakes which promises to keep you going throughout the day…. while it is in all actuality more likely to keep your blood sugar levels going bananas throughout the day! To that end, here are the GI benchmark ratings to bear in mind:


High GI Rating Medium GI Rating Low GI Rating
70 or more 56 to 69 55 or less

More recently, glycemic load (GL) has been recognized as a more complete measure of the impact of dietary carbohydrate on the body. It is important to take into consideration both GI and GL in order to understand a food’s effect on blood sugar, and in keeping with that GL calculations take the GI rating into account as well. The formula for working out the GL of a food is: GI multiplied by the amount of available carbohydrate in the food, then divided by 100.


High GI Rating Medium GI Rating Low GI Rating
20 or more 11 to 19 10 or less


Some examples of GL are:

  • Carrots have a GI of 47, a carbohydrate content of 7.5% and a GL of 3.5
  • Boiled white rice has a GI of 64, a carbohydrate content of 24% and a GL of 15.4
  • White bread has a GI of 95, a carbohydrate content of 50% and a GL of 48


Other factors that affect GI and GL include fiber, fats, and proteins. Fiber, which is also a carbohydrate, is digested more slowly than fiber-less carbohydrates. As illustrated above, this has a positive effect on GI and GL ratings. And yes, that does mean that your dad`s stodgy-looking, fiber-rich oat bran is probably a better, lower GI choice of breakfast than sugar coated cereal, no matter what kind creative labels they have! And “Remember that beans and vegetables are a great source of carbs and are loaded with fiber too!”

Fats and proteins also have their place in affecting GI. Since the digestion of fats is slower than carbohydrates, when fats are combined with carbohydrates, this slows down the digestion of the carbohydrates. The same goes for adding protein to a carbohydrate meal – the body takes more time to digest the meal and to release its energy. This means that combining good quality fats and protein with natural fiber to each meal, or a Diet with Balanced Nutrition, like Karviva Whole Plant Smoothies is a great way to minimize fluctuations in blood sugar levels and energy, while supporting insulin levels and assisting with weight management.

Controlling insulin levels goes a long way to maintaining optimal health, since chronic insulin over-secretion (and resulting insulin resistance) is linked to so many chronic health conditions seen in the western world today (e.g.: diabetes, obesity, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, cancer and others). I hope coming to grips with GI & GL may help loosen your grip on those cookies! All Karviva drinks were formulated to ensure low GI and GL, they are a great way to provide sustainable energy and healthy weight control.