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Refined Carbohydrates Turn Into Belly Fat. Learn the Glycemic Load for Reducing fat & Blood Sugar

Updated on July 24, 2015

Understanding Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load

So you ordered grilled or broiled fish over linguine and you’re so proud of yourself for eating healthy. Not so fast—you made the wrong choice. Refined carbohydrates are killing you. But, you say the glycemic index says I’m making good choices. The index is the wrong measurement. You need to follow the glycemic load. Let’s learn the difference.

The glycemic index measures how a carbohydrate containing food raises blood glucose. Foods are ranked on how they compare to a reference food (usually white bread.) The glycemic index (GI) measures the effect foods have on our actual blood sugar levels. Then the foods are ranked by a numerical number as an index.

The glycemic load (GL) compares foods that have been equalized in grams or closer to the amount you would eat. Technically, if you are so inclined to do so, the GL of a food is obtained by multiplying the GI by the amount of carbohydrates in grams of the food then dividing by 100. Just look at a chart, it is easier.

Think of it this way; the GL measures the amount of carbohydrates a food has and the GI measures the effect it will have on blood sugar. “The glycemic index ranks foods based on how quickly they’re digested and get into the bloodstream, “ says Sandra Meyerowitz, MPH, RD, a nutritionist and owner of Nutrition Works in Louisville, KY. “Its glycemic load takes into consideration every component of the food as a whole, so it’s a different number. It changes everything.” A food might have a high GI, but a low GL therefore it is a better choice.

Read, Glycemic Load Diet by Dr. Thompson

During my yearly physical I told my doctor that I found a doctor that says what I want to hear. As a diabetic, I’m always reading and looking for new ways to make my life easier. I found a new path in the book Glycemic Load Diet by Rob Thompson, M.D. Dr. Thompson is a board certified cardiologist. In his book he explains the harmful effect of refined carbohydrates. He also states my cholesterol is from my father and no diet will change that. His advice, take the pills. I strongly recommend reading his book.

The glycemic index is very misleading. You need to measure carbohydrates by the glycemic load. Let me explain—to measure the effects of food, scientists have to use the same amount of food. The figure of 50 grams of carbohydrates absorbed into the bloodstream was the base. The index was designed on eating 50 grams of a given food. A rate of less than 55 is considered ‘low.’ You want to eat foods that have a low glycemic index.

The example most often used in comparing is carrots and any other pasta. We will use one cup of spaghetti. You would think that carrots are better for you, but the glycemic index of carrots is 68, while the spaghetti is 64. Why, you ask? In order to get the base study of 50 grams, you would need to eat seven carrots and only one cup of the pasta. Let’s compare the GL of carrots 11 and the GL of spaghetti 166. The indexes of many fruits and vegetables are as high as many starchy carbohydrates. It’s the way it is measured that is wrong. You should aim for a daily total GL around 500. This will stop your body from producing too much insulin. Most foods with a GL rating under 100 are okay.

“It makes more sense to use the GL because when you eat a food you don’t just eat one food by itself—you eat a whole bunch of foods together,” says Meyerowitz. “Looking at the total picture of foods you eat, rather than just the individual pieces, gives you a clearer and more accurate picture of the foods that make up your diet.”

All Carbohydrates are not equal

Refined carbohydrates are processed differently than other food. As soon as the starch gets to your stomach, it turns to sugar. The sugar travels to the bloodstream and causes your sugar level to increase.

Starch provides very little vitamins, protein or minerals. Starch is good for stiffening shirt collars. Starch in food is toxic and can lead to serious problems like diabetes and heart disease. Statistics show excessive amounts of refined carbohydrates lead to obesity and diabetes.

All carbohydrates do not have the same effect on our health. The kinds of carbohydrates, not the amount you eat leads to obesity. Overweight people eat more refined carbohydrates including white bread and pasta. Refined carbohydrates add on extra pounds mostly due to their high glycemic index.

Dr. Gary Taubes spoke at the Nutrition and Health Conference in Phoenix, Arizona, 2008. He said, “dietary fat and cholesterol are the main causes of obesity and heart disease, but there is, in fact, little or no objective data is support that hypothesis. A more careful look reveals that the real obesity-epidemic drivers are increases consumption of refined carbohydrates, mainly sugar and white flour.”

What changed in our bodies?

When we were young, our body could burn up and use the starches, the pancreas made plenty of insulin and the tissues in our body used it. As we aged, the pancreas still made plenty of insulin but the body began to lose its responsiveness to it. If the pancreas can’t produce enough insulin, the glucose starts staying in the bloodstream leading to diabetes.

Diabetes is the last stage of high blood glucose levels or starch toxicity. One of the biggest problems is a tendency to build up body fat. The fat usually settles around the belly or mid-section of our bodies.

Eating more grain and sugar carbohydrates is the greatest risk for people to:

Feel bloated

Gain excess weight

Feel brain foggy

Have bots of fatigue

Feel depressed

Have bots of sleepiness

The foods we eat have a different effect on our health, our energy level and blood sugar. Knowing and using the GL of foods can have a greater effect on our health. A diet with a low glycemic load can make it easier to lose weight, easier to keep blood sugar levels constant, help you burn more calories, help prevent insulin resistance and lower your risk of heart disease.

Little changes go a Long Way

Just in case you’re not sure what a refined carbohydrate is, it is any grain that has been changed to flakes, puffs, shredded and taken all the natural stuff out. Carbohydrates also include any food that is called a starch, usually white processed foods, and all sugars.

Now you have the facts. You can make good healthy choices; you can lose weight, eat healthy, feel good and look great.

Here are a couple of websites for your reading pleasure: this is a supplement to Dr. Thompson’s book. Another useful site is This is a blog written by Dana Carpender who wrote the cookbook for the diet plan.


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    • poetryman6969 profile image

      poetryman6969 2 years ago

      Some very useful and interesting information. Thanks.