Can a Low Glycemic Diet Reduce the Risk of Diabetes?

A 20 year study that looked at the association between a low glycemic load diet and the risk of acquiring Type 2 diabetes (T2DM) concluded that a low glycemic load diet decreased the risk of type2 diabetes in women.

This study not only concluded that:

  1. eating a low glycemic load diet has long term positive health benefits, but that,
  2. a higher dietary glycemic load was strongly associated with an increased risk of T2DM.

Surprise, surprise, surprise…

So what are you supposed to do with this information?

This is not going to sound original, but:

  • Eat more fruits and vegetables
  • Eat less bread, pasta, rice, fruit juice, beer, wine, candy, cake, pie…
  • Eat more protein – healthy protein, not chicken fingers, bacon and hot dogs
  • Eat more ‘non-animal’ based oils like coconut, olive, walnut, flax, and hemp. Fats from game animals are acceptable for all of you hunters out there. Fish oils (high in Omega 3 fatty acids) have also been shown to have a positive effect on blood sugar.
  • Eliminate most processed foods in general

Reduce the Risk of Diabetes

  • And if you can’t/won’t eliminate the high glycemic load foods, at least try to start each meal with the veggies. At least that way, you may get full before you get to the high glycemic load foods. Start with a big salad or some grilled veggies or a big bowl of soup.

So what is Glycemic Load?

Glycemic load (GL) is a measurement and ranking system for the carbohydrate content in different foods, based on their glycemic index (GI) and the portion size.

Glycemic Index (GI) is a measurement of how quickly a fixed portion (usually 50g) of the carbohydrates in different foods breaks down into sugar.

And what exactly does that mean?

  • Carrots have a high glycemic index. That’s bad. That means that the carbohydrates in carrots are quickly digested into sugar. Scary stuff. That is why some nutritionists actually advise their clients to avoid baby carrots as a snack food.
  • But, since carrots are loaded with water and fiber, the glycemic load is reduced to a low level. Yay carrots.

Lesson Learned?

  • Sugar without fibre is bad
  • Sugar with fibre is better

Here is an abridged GI and GL list of foods – Keep in Mind that a Glycemic Index of 55 is low and a Glycemic Load of 10 is low.

List of foods and their glycemic load, per 100g serving


Glycemic index

Glycemic Load
Baguette, white, plain (France)



Banana, Mean of 10 studies



Carrots, Mean of 4 studies



Corn tortilla (Mexican)



Potato, Mean of 5 studies



Rice, boiled white, mean of 12 studies






For more info on this subject, check out the queen of the glycemic index, Dr. Jennie Brand-Miller.


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  1. Take a look folks.

    I just dropped by Jarret’s site and I think I will be spending a bit of time poking around his archives. Lots of interesting articles.

  2. There are some wonderful diet guidelines and great recipes for diabetics at They list carb amount, calories, fat, fiber content, Glycemic Index (GI), Glyco Load (GL). I haven’t seen any other sites that offer the GI and GL together in their recipes. Good site if you’re looking for new ideas and good info.

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