GL (Glycaemic Load) Diet

Discover the low GL (Glycaemic Load) diet, lose weight with a healthy diet and get diet help from Diet Freedom.

GL (Glycaemic Load) is more effective than low fat / low calorie diets

Overweight people lost more weight on low GL (Glycaemic Load) diets than on high GL or other weight reduction diets and their cardiovascular risk marker profile improved according to a review in July 2007 carried out by the highly respected and independent Cochrane Collaboration.

The Glycaemic Index (GI) is a test done in a laboratory with human volunteers involving blood tests to see how different foods affect our blood sugar level.

  • What is Glycaemic Load? An equation based on the GI that also takes into account the amount of carbs in each portion.
  • Why is GL better than GI? It’s a more accurate indicator of fat storage as it takes into account portion sizes and carbs so that you can balance your blood sugar level more easily.
  • Why is balancing your blood sugar level important? Eating a low GL diet helps keep your blood sugar level stable and is the key to weight loss, long term health and prevention / management of diabetes.

Choosing low GL foods that don’t produce more glucose (energy) than you need results in weight loss because excess glucose is stored as fat.

There are proven health benefits to a low GL diet:

  • Helps you lose weight
  • Increases body's sensitivity to insulin
  • Improves diabetes control
  • Reduces risk of heart disease
  • Reduces blood cholesterol levels
  • Helps to manage the symptoms of PCOS (Poly cystic ovary syndrome) 
  • Reduces hunger and keeps you fuller for longer
  • Prolongs physical endurance
  • Helps re-fuel carbohydrate stores after exercise
  • Helps prevent diabetes 
  • Improves diabetes control 
  • Helps protect heart health 
  • Helps prevent some forms of cancer 
  • Helps protect eye sight 
  • Improves acne  

As a Diet Freedom member you’ll quickly find out all you need to know to get into your ‘low GL groove’. Very soon you won’t need the comprehensive food lists provided, you’ll know which foods are low GL and with the help of our automatically generated shopping list, you’ll be able to whiz around the grocery store and gather up your healthy low GL goodies!

Find out more about the Member Benefits For him or For her or Sign Up now.

The science of GL

What is Glycaemic Index (GI)?

The GI is a recognised test done in a laboratory setting with human volunteers involving blood tests to see how different foods that contain carbs affect our blood sugar levels. You end up with foods being given a rating of high, medium or low GI.

What is Glycaemic Load (GL) and why is it better?

To work out the GL we take the GI rating, divide it by 100 and then multiply it by the amount of carbs in a normal sized portion which gives us a GL ‘per portion.’ Don’t panic if you are equation averse at this point - you don’t have to work this out - we’ve done it all for you.

So the GL relates to what we actually eat (whereas GI doesn’t) and it takes into account the carbohydrate amount in the food we eat. This means that the GL gives a far more accurate prediction of how foods will affect your blood sugar levels.

This is vital as keeping your blood sugars balanced is the key to weight loss and keeping you in good health.

Highs and lows

We get a huge amount of feedback which we love and one of the main changes Diet Freedom members report after lowering the GL of their diet is how much better they ‘feel.’ Balancing your blood sugar levels will also mean no more afternoon energy slumps or cravings. These are caused by eating high GL foods which raise your blood sugar levels too quickly, they then drop rapidly causing the slumps and cravings for more high GL foods, creating a vicious and very unhealthy cycle of blood sugar highs and lows. 

When you eat high GL foods they produce an excess of glucose in your blood. To keep you safe insulin (the most powerful hormone in your body) is triggered to rush in and remove the excess glucose and store it in your liver and muscles as energy for later use, but as these areas can’t store very much any excess is turned into fat.

That’s why choosing low GL carbs that don’t produce more glucose than you need results in weight loss.

So, back to the test results - you end up with foods being classed as high, medium or low GL. You don’t need to count or work anything out yourself, we’ve done all that. All you need do is choose the delicious low GL foods and snacks you prefer from our recommended lists and our low GL recipes. Easy peasy!

If you have tried a GI diet and found it complicated or confusing, or it didn’t work for you, then switching to low GL will be a revelation!

Stop counting

We HATE counting and restrictions - it makes eating seem like a sinful act – when it should be something you look forward to and enjoy! If you are used to painfully counting points / sins etc you will find this ‘very different’ but once you get into your ‘low GL groove’ you will love it and there will be no turning back – ever, we promise.

And so, on to the research bit – we highly recommend a low GL diet as it has many scientifically proven health benefits including:

  • Helps you lose and control weight
  • Increases your body's sensitivity to insulin
  • Improves diabetes control
  • Reduces risk of heart disease
  • Reduces blood cholesterol levels
  • Helps to manage the symptoms of PCOS
  • Reduces hunger and keeps you fuller for longer
  • Prolongs physical endurance
  • Helps re-fuel carbohydrate stores after exercise

What the experts say -

The GL was devised in 2001 by the highly respected Professor Walter Willett, Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School as an improvement over GI. Harvard is renowned for nutritional research having carried out the longest running nutritional studies in the world.

Although the GI of a food is helpful information, it is only part of the story, because the effect of eating a food on blood glucose and insulin levels depends on both the amount of carbohydrate and the GI of that carbohydrate. For this reason the concept of the 'Glycaemic Load' or GL has been developed. This is the amount of carbohydrate in a food multiplied by the Glycaemic Index of that carbohydrate. The GL better reflects a food's effect on your body's biochemistry than either the amount of carbohydrate or the GI alone.

Professor Walter Willett, Harvard Medical School

The increasing prevalence of diabetes has huge social and financial implications for developed countries. With increasing incidence of conditions such as the metabolic syndrome, predisposing people to diabetes, the trend is even more worrying. I am convinced that making diet and lifestyle changes to reduce the risk or improve the treatment of diabetes is one of the most critical steps and individual can take. The GL diet combines the fundamental principles of a healthy balanced diet with practical advice to help improve glycaemic control and long-term health.

Sir Michael Hirst, Trustee & Former Chairman, Diabetes UK

Rather than being just a fad diet, GL represents a sustainable lifestyle choice, which is healthy and satisfying in the long term. The science is well founded, and has been talked about in academic circles for years, but now, as we are becoming expert nutritionists, we should all be more aware and conscious of GL as part of a healthy balanced lifestyle.

Dr David Haslam, Clinical director of the National Obesity Forum

If you would like to read more in depth research about the health and weight loss benefits of eating a low GL diet see our GL Research page.  As a member you have access to a huge and constantly updated searchable database of health, advice and research.

Why is low GL better than low carb diets?

Low GL is based on slow carbs not no carbs. Low carb diets work by radically cutting out carbs and shocking your system. For a short period these diets are fine, but are not considered healthy or sustainable long term as they are very restrictive and you may end up cutting out some very nutritious foods. You can end up feeling tired with no energy if you radically cut out carbs.

GL takes the best of the GI science whilst also respecting the fact that the amount of carbs you eat is important. The focus is on eating good quality, slow-release carbs to help keep your blood sugar level balanced and provide a steady supply of energy throughout the day. Low GL also equals far more food choices than low carb.

Researchers have found out over the years that:

  • Having low blood sugar levels caused by eating high GL foods causes cravings and an urge to overeat.
  • Only carbohydrates – not fat and protein – have a major impact on blood sugar levels.
  • Low calorie and low fat diets have failed to offer sustained weight loss.
  • Low carb diets such as Atkins worked initially as they can help stabilise blood sugar levels but long term they are unsustainable and there are long term health concerns, particularly in regard to kidney and heart health. 
  • Scientists found out that not all carbohydrates affect our blood sugar levels in the same way – enter the Glycaemic Index or GI.
  • The GI of a food is a measure of how quickly the sugars within a food raise your blood sugar levels and for how long they remain elevated.
  • Diets based on eating low GI foods as a means to control appetite and weight have a major flaw in that the GI only tells us about the quality of the sugars in a food in respect of raising blood sugar levels but does not take into account the amount of carbohydrates.
  • Foods can have the same GI score but very different effects on blood sugar levels depending on how many carbs they contain.

The GL diet is an evolution of the GI diet

  • The GL is based on the GI score but then factors in the amount of carbohydrates in the food, combining quality and quantity for an accurate measurement.
  • GL is therefore a superior, quantifiable and accurate measure of a diet's effect on blood sugar levels, a best of both worlds scenario – by taking both the quantity of carbohydrate eaten (as per low carb diets) and the quality of carbohydrate eaten (as per GI diets).
  • Balancing blood sugar levels is the goal for weight loss and general health. By following a low GL diet you can achieve both without ever feeling deprived or hungry.

As a Diet Freedom member, we provide you with all the information you need to get into your ‘low GL groove’. Very soon you won’t need the comprehensive food lists provided, you’ll know which foods are low GL and with the help of our automatically generated shopping list, you’ll be able to whiz around the grocery store and gather up your healthy low GL goodies!

Find out more now about the great Member Benefits For Him or For Her and Sign Up today!