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Using Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load When Choosing Food for Weight Loss

When trying to lose weight there are many confusing, controversial, and fad “diet” tactics out there to differentiate in order to determine the best, and healthiest, choice for our personal needs.  There is no such thing as a “quick fix” that doesn’t also involve extreme sacrifices and, often, a quick regain of any weight lost.  For example, removing carbohydrates from one’s diet is a popular trend.  However, carbohydrates are a crucial fuel our bodies need to function and perform and cutting them completely from a diet, A) is nearly impossible, and B) leaves us with little to no energy for the important exercise and fitness component of weight loss.  The more beneficial approach is to alter the types and amounts of carbohydrates we consume.  Referencing a particular food’s glycemic index and glycemic load can assist in making informed choices.


What is Glycemic Index?

The glycemic index is, essentially, a ranking of the carbohydrates present in a particular food in relation to how quickly they are digested and absorbed into the bloodstream.  Our digestive system converts these carbohydrates to glucose, or blood sugar.

Foods with a high glycemic index cause a rapid spike in blood sugar (think of a “sugar rush”) which triggers the body to release more insulin.  This is followed a few hours later with a sharp drop in blood sugar (or “crash”), making you feel hungry again.  This increased insulin secretion also inhibits fat burning, which ultimately is our goal.

Aside from being counterproductive to weight loss, long-term cycles of these spikes in blood sugar and insulin bursts may exhaust the pancreatic cells that release the insulin and this can lead to diabetes.  High blood sugar may also increase the amount of triglycerides in your blood, as well as decrease the HDL (high-density lipoprotein, the good cholesterol), increasing the risk factors for cardiovascular disease.  

Graph, touched up

Okay, Now What is Glycemic Load?

A food’s glycemic load is a measurement of its impact on our blood sugar.  This figure combines the glycemic index and the amount of carbohydrates, in grams, of a food.

(GI x Carbs) ÷ 100 = GL

When we eat foods with a low glycemic load, glucose is more steadily released throughout our body.  Thus, our blood sugar levels remain more consistent over a longer period of time.  This lowers our insulin demands and potential future health risks. The most tangible benefit is feeling fuller for longer, and not experiencing a hard crash that sends us running for potato chips (bad!).

You may be familiar with the concept of eating 5 or so smaller meals throughout the day, or eating a little food every few hours.  When the snacks and meals we choose have a low glycemic load we sustain the satisfied feeling longer.  In between lunch and dinner, for example, reaching for a healthy snack can gently bump the blood sugar back up to a level we can maintain until our next meal.

How Do I Make Better Food Choices?

Since no one is telling you to erase carbohydrates from your memory, we need to examine what healthy ones should look like.  Depending on your individual needs and goals, you likely need to adjust several macronutrients in your meals (protein, fats, carbohydrates, fiber).  Many eating habits benefit from increasing your lean protein intake, which can help you feel full while consuming lesser amounts of starchy things.  Speaking with a nutrition expert, such as a certified holistic health coach, can address your personal goals and nutrient needs.

There is nothing inherently wrong with carbs such as brown rice or a sweet potato, but in America we have gotten used to grossly oversized proportions.  This is where glycemic load comes into play (grams of carbs per serving).  It helps to hone in on the quality of carbohydrate so we are optimally fueled without the blood sugar and insulin spikes.

For example, let’s compare two popular breakfast cereals:


When reading the side of the box you may look at how many carbohydrates it contains and see that they are very similar.  However, the glycemic index of Corn Flakes is much higher, meaning it has less beneficial carbohydrates that will be quickly converted to glucose and accelerated to your blood, causing the insulin spike and, later, crash.  All-Bran is made with a whole grain and an equal sized bowl will be more slowly digested and converted to glucose, and will sustain the feeling of satisfaction and steady energy for a longer period of time.

What is a “Bad Carbohydrate?”

The most beneficial carbohydrates can be summed up as whole grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables.  Carbs that do not provide much nutritional benefit are items such as white rice, white bread, potatoes, crackers, pasta, dried fruits, cookies, and sweets.  While the “good carbs” contain some sugars they are naturally occurring ones, as they are grown in nature.  They often contain a lot of fiber as well, which our body needs.  Items like white flours, rice, table sugar, and packaged foods are heavily processed, often diminishing the nutrient values.

Do not be fooled by some fruits, however!  Some fruits have very high GL, such as dried fruits and bananas, so do a little research before you shop.



The best ways to lower your overall daily glycemic load are:

  1. Increase whole grains, nuts, legumes, fruits, and non-starchy vegetables
  2. Decrease high glycemic index starchy foods such as potatoes, white rice, white bread
  3. Decrease sugary foods such as cookies, cake, processed foods, soft drinks
  4. Purchase whole foods, as in foods that look the same as they do when found in nature!


Talking Numbers

In order to determine the best foods based on GI and GL let’s review the established parameters:GLGI


Ready, Set, Go!

Keep in mind that glycemic load and glycemic index are only part of constructing a well-rounded eating plan for weight loss and health benefits.  Consider meeting with our nutrition expert and certified holistic health coach, Amanda Shipe, so you can be the healthiest you possible.  Amanda delivers a personalized plan for your overall health by examining your lifestyle, cravings, sleep quality, and more in her whole-body and whole food approach to helping you achieve your goals.  Utilizing tools such as BIA (bio-impedance analysis) can measure muscle-to-fat ratio and intracellular-to-extracellular health.  Over time, this can measure the progress of restoring good health through lifestyle changes.

For more information on nutrition counseling or the upcoming group nutrition workshop series, please reach out to:

Amanda Shipe
Owner and Founder, Mind Your Body Oasis
Certified Holistic Health Coach, Certified Pilates Instructor, Registered Yoga Teacher

By: Kathleen Kneeland


Atkinson, F.S., Foster-Powell, K., & Brand-Miller, J.C. (2008).  International tables of glycemic index and glycemic load values: 2008.  Diabetes Care, 31 (12), 2281-2283.

Retrieved from:

Foster-Powell, K., Holt, S.H.A., & Brand-Miller, J.C., (2002). International tables of glycemic index and glycemic load values: 2002.  The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 76, 5-56.

Higdon, J., Drake, V.J., & Liu, S., (2009). Glycemic index and glycemic load. Micronutrient Information Center.

*This link leads to a website provided by the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University.  Kathleen Kneeland is not affiliated or endorsed by the Linus Pauling Institute or Oregon State University.

Larsen, T.M., Stine-Mathilde, D., vanBaak, M., Jebb, S.A., Papadaki, A., Pfeiffer, A.F.H., …Astrup, A. (2010). Diets with high or low protein content and glycemic index for weight-loss maintenance.  New England Journal of Medicine, 363, 2102-2113. Doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1007137.

McMillan-Price, J., Petocz, P., Atkinson, F., O’Neill, K., Samman, S., Steinbeck, K., …Brand-Miller, J. (2006). Comparison of four diets or varying glycemic load on weight loss and cardiovascular risk reduction in overweight and obese young adults. JAMA Internal Medicine, 166, 1466-1475. Doi: 10.1001/archinte. 166.14.1466.

April 13th, 2016|Nutrition|

MYBO April Specials

Great Deals in April!

Spring has sprung with MYBO’s wonderful specials! We’re making yoga & Pilates classes as well as health and wellness more affordable for everyone in the DC area!

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March 30th, 2016|Integrative Wellness, Nutrition, Pilates, Spa, Specials, Workshops, Yoga|

MYBO March Specials

Mind Your Body in March!

Keep your body happy & healthy this month with our wonderful March Specials. Have a friend wanting to try Yoga & Pilates? Bring them in and we’ll gift you 2 free 30-minute Far Infrared sauna sessions once they sign up for their $69 Intro Month! Want more time in the sauna? All sauna drop-ins are 50% off in March! We are also gifting a free 60-minute massage to anyone who signs up for our Annual Massage Membership this month! Receive monthly massages at a discounted rate! Need to work on your food choices? Sign up for a free introductory Health Coach meeting and learn all about the coaching process! Email to reserve a spot!

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February 29th, 2016|Nutrition, Pilates, Spa, Specials, Workshops, Yoga|

Traditional Chinese Medicine Workshop

Come Experience Traditional Chinese Medicine!

Learn how to take care of your emotional state by using TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) such as Acupuncture and Chinese herbs. Arlington based Acupuncturist Tetsuhiro Ueno, L.Ac. is coming to Mind Your Body Oasis to share this exciting and unique form of healing February 27th, 2:30 – 3:3o pm! Sign up under workshops!

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January 26th, 2016|Integrative Wellness, Nutrition, Workshops|

Nutrition & Health 101 Series

Health Coaching in Arlington, VA!

Amanda Shipe, Certified Holistic Health Coach and Founder/Owner of Mind Your Body Oasis, is here to help you keep your 2016 healthy resolutions! Join us every Saturday from 1/9/16 – 2/6/16, 11:30 am – 12:30 pm.

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December 31st, 2015|Corporate Wellness, Detox, Integrative Wellness, Nutrition, Workshops|

MYBO Yoga Teacher Training

200-Hour Registered Yoga Teacher Training

Looking for a Yoga Teacher Training in the DC area? MYBO offers an amazing 200-hour program beginning 1/8/16. Students meet Friday evenings, Saturdays, and Sundays.

Beyond the certification, yoga teacher trainings have been known to be life-changing for many. Not only are you building a solid foundation in anatomy, meditation, breathing, devotion, mantra, vinyasa, restorative yoga, gentle hatha, diet, and nutrition, but you are embarking on a journey of self-discovery. Make this the next chapter in your life!

The Schedule 
The training is a 10 weekend program stretched over 3 months. This is an immersion and is meant to be intense in order to produce the most beneficial and transformative effects. The program begins 1/8/16 and ends on 4/3/16. The dates and times are below:

Off 2/12-14 for Presidents’ Day weekend
Off 2/19-21
Off for Easter 3/25-27

5:00-10:00 Class Practice and Instruction

11:00-3:30 Class Instruction
4-515 Hot Yinyasa (Required Practice) 5:45-7:30 Class Instruction


10:00-11:15 Hot Hatha Class (Required Practice)

11:45-6:30 Class Instruction

You are required to practice 5 times a week at MYBO. The 3 required classes will be taken as a group. You must then attend one restorative/yin class. The last class can be of your choosing. We are creating a container, a sacred space where we will support each other’s practice and evolution. To complete the program, you are required to teach 1 non paid community class as part of your final exam. You will also be required to adjust 3 classes during the training.

An unlimited yoga class pass will be included in the price of the training. During the 10 week intensive students can also enjoy a 25% discount on spa and nutrition services, Metagenics formulas and supplements, and free Far Infrared Sauna usage. You are required by Yoga Alliance to attend all of the classroom instruction, required and elective classes, as well as homework assignments in order to meet the 200 hour requirements. We understand life happens, but it will be your responsibility to make up the hours you miss. Missed days or weekends can be made up for the price of a one hour private session at $80/hr with the teacher whom you missed the material with. Depending on the material missed, we will decide if you need more than 1 private to make it up.

MYBO is a registered yoga school with Yoga Alliance. Once you graduate you will become a Registered Yoga Alliance Teacher at the 200 hour level (RYT-200). You will be able to teach multiple levels, styles, and practitioners and have the confidence to go out into the world and share your passion for yoga! This is an Oasis Flow training which is the format MYBO teaches.

We require students to have been practicing yoga for at least 6 months, preferably through MYBO class formats. You are also required to submit a 3 page essay by 1/1/16 (prior to training) concerning one of the books listed below and the ways in which it affected your perception or path of yoga. We have copies of these books available for purchase on the retail wall.

Gita Wisdom by Joshua M. Green

Yoga PH.D by Carol Horton

Yoga Sutras of Pantajali by Nicolai Bachman

The Four Agreements by Don Miguel

Hatha Yoga Pradipika by Swami Muktibodhananda

Comfortable with Uncertainty by Pema Chodron

Mat Companion Volume 1-4 or The key Muscles of Yoga by Ray Long

Mudras by Gertrud Hirschi

The Little Book of Hindu Deities: by Sanjey Patel


Application Fee – $300 (Non refundable, does not apply to price of program.)

Pay in Full before 1/7/15: $2700

Pay in Full by 01/8/16 or in 3 installments: $3300


Recommended Reading:

Yoga as Medicine: The Yogic Prescription for Health and Healing by Timothy McCall

Ayurvedic Cooking for self-healing by Dr. Vasant Lad and Usha Lad

A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle

Refining the Breath by Doug Keller

The Book of Secrets by Osho

Jivamukti Yoga by Sharon Gannon and David Life

The Gift by Hafiz

The Upanishads by Sri Aurobindo

Healing Mantras by Thomas Ashley Farrand.

Training and Practice: (80 Hours) Includes asana (poses), pranayama (breathing technique), meditation, japa (mantra meditation), and vinyasa, modifications and variations of poses. Gentle hatha and use of props in a restorative practice. We will go over technique and application, some analysis of how to teach as well as practice some guided practice of techniques themselves.

Anatomy and Physiology: (10 hours) Includes the physical anatomy and physiology (bodily systems, organs, muscular action, etc.) and energy anatomy and physiology (nadis, chakras, bandhas, etc.) We will discuss all the various application of yoga practice (benefits, contraindications, healthy alignment, etc.) and how to teach your students to discover their own movement patterns and ways to create new patterns of proper posture.

Electives: (20 hours) Will cover a basic introduction and understanding of Sanksrit, Nutrition, Detox, Essential Oils, and Philosophy from the Vedas and Bhagavad Gita.

Yoga Philosophy, Lifestyle, and Ethics: (20 hours) Yoga Philosophy in relation to the 8 limb path. Introduction to Yoga Philosophy: Historical development of yoga, includes a broad overview of Yoga Sutras, all the way up to modern yoga. Ethics of yoga for a yoga teacher. Lifestyle of a yoga teacher through nutrition, diet and karma yoga or seva (service).
Teaching Methodology: (20 hours) Includes qualities of a teacher and student, how to find and use language and voice, demonstration, observation, correcting and assisting postures. How to theme classes and teach workshops and privates. How to sequence intelligently and safely. How to teach beginners, all levels and intermediate to advanced.
Practicum: (20 hours) Includes practice teaching in pairs and in groups. Receiving feedback, observing and giving others feedback. Assisting a class while someone else teaches.

Business of Yoga: (5 hours) We will cover how to market and promote yourself as a practitioner, how to start a yoga studio including funding, construction, permits, leases, marketing of a studio, hiring/staffing guidelines, how to run the studio, etc.

Assignments outside of classroom: (20 hours) Involves homework and journal questions.

If you have any questions please contact the program leader Amanda Shipe – 703-447-6309/ or our studio manager Elmer Erazo – 703-567-1290/



December 8th, 2015|Nutrition, Teacher Training, Yoga|

December Specials

MYBO’s December Specials are in!

Help keep your holidays healthy this season with yoga, hot yoga, and Pilates classes as well as spa and health services in Arlington, VA!

Only $99 for unlimited classes and sauna use for all of December!

Only $99 for a nutrition session & BIA assessment!

Discounted Massages with new therapist Mac Campos!

As a bonus gift, we are continuing our $5 special for 30-minute Far Infrared Sauna sessions!

Call today or book online! 703.567.1290

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December 1st, 2015|Integrative Wellness, Nutrition, Pilates, Spa, Specials, Teacher Training, Yoga|

Black Friday 2015

Black Friday Specials!

Give the gift of whole body wellness this Black Friday with our best deals of the year! Gift to a friend or loved one, or even yourself! Available 11/23/15 – 11/29/15.

Email us with what you’d like to purchase and we’ll set everything up! (

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November 23rd, 2015|Detox, Integrative Wellness, Nutrition, Pilates, Spa, Specials, Yoga|

New Annual Class Membership!

A Healthy 2016
Make 2016 your year of total body wellness at the best yoga studio in Arlington, VA! To help keep you on track, we are presenting our new Annual Class Membership beginning Dec. 1! (Students may sign up for pre-sale.)
*Regular class packages will still be available!

November 17th, 2015|Nutrition, Pilates, Spa, Specials, Uncategorized, Yoga|