Glycemic DietThe glycemic load or GL fine tunes the glycemic index (GI) and by contrast, gives an indication of the glucose load the body has to deal with in order to keep blood glucose levels within normal limits. The bigger the portion, the larger the glycemic load, and the harder it is for the body to correct the glucose surge.

The GL incorporates both the quantity and the quality of carbohydrates.  GL = Carbohydrate per serving x GI / 100.

GL recommendation for meals and snacks:

• Breakfast and light meals < 20-25

• Main meals < 30

• Snack < 10-15

• Total daily GL < 80-100

It is important to note that you need not necessarily be adding up GI and GL values all the time. If you choose lower GI choices and manage portion sizes, the GL will take care of itself!

Visit for a comprehensive list of GI and GL values of many foods.

To look up the GI values of most commonly eaten foods in South Africa, use The South African Glycemic Index and Load Guide by G Steenkamp and L Delport (GIFSA, 2010). It is available from most book stores, some pharmacies and from the websites or


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