What is the Glycemic Scale & Why Should I Care?

You hear all the time, not to consume “sugars”. What exactly constitutes “sugar”? Is table sugar just as bad as fruit? Is juice okay? What about starches in the form of potatoes and carrots? To answer your questions, first, you must understand the glycemic scale.

What is the Glycemic Scale?

The glycemic scale is a scale determining the impact a certain food will have on your blood sugar.

Dr. William Davis author of Wheat Belly and a cardiologist who practices in Milwaukee, Wisconsin explains:

Glucose increases blood sugar to 100, hence a glycemic index of 100. The extent to what a particular food increases blood sugar relative to glucose determines that food’s glycemic index.

So when I was devising a strategy to help my overweight, diabetes-prone patients reduce blood sugar most efficiently, it made sense to me that the quickest and simplest way to get results would be to eliminate the foods that caused their blood sugar to rise profoundly.

In other words, the higher the glycemic scale, the more likely you are to store more bodyfat. If you are a person who is shredded (men under 10% body fat and women under 16%), you can get away with consuming these foods occasionally. If you are a person who is overfat (men over 10% body fat or woman over 16% body fat), high glycemic foods will prevent you from dropping those unwanted pounds.

Here are some examples of foods and their glycemic index:

What are you to do?

Limit the amount of high glycemic foods you consume. If you currently consume them throughout the day, reduce them to one or two servings per day. If you already only consume them once or twice a day, try to reduce them to once or twice a week. Remember if Dr. Davis saw results with his patients who were needing heart surgery, you can see similar successes without ever needing to see a cardiologist.

For information on 1-on-1 Personal Training or Nutrition Coaching, feel free to contact me at szahn@lifetimefitness.com.


Steven Zahn
ACE Certified Personal Trainer
NASM Certified Personal Trainer
Pre and Post Partum Certified
Dragondoor Publications: HKC Russian Kettlebell Certified