What is the Glycemic Index?

The glycemic index is a ranking of carbohydrate foods based on their immediate effect on blood sugar levels. Carbohydrates that breakdown quickly during digestion have the highest glycemic indexes. The blood glucose response is fast and high. Carbohydrates that breakdown slowly, releasing glucose gradually into the blood stream and have low glycemic indexes.

When you eat a slice of bread, the flour from the bread breaks down into sugar. The same thing happens when you eat a piece of fruit, drink a glass of milk or eat a chocolate bar. Each of these foods contains a different kind of sugar. Fructose is a sugar in fruit, lactose is found in milk and sucrose is found in a candy bar. All of these sugars are broken down during digestion and provide you with energy.

The speed at which a food is able to increase a person's blood glucose levels is the glycemic response. The glycemic response is influenced by many factors. Some factors may be the amount of food you eat, how the food is processed or the way the food is prepared. For example, pasta cooked 'al dente' (firm) is absorbed more slowly than pasta that is overcooked.

You can make this very difficult or simplify it. Simply, eating more low glycemic foods instead of high glycemic foods will have positive changes in your life.

What are the consequences of low GI foods?

  • A smaller rise in blood glucose levels after meals
  • Help people in weight loss
  • Improve the body's sensitivity to insulin
  • Help re-fuel carbohydrate stores after exercise
  • Improved control of diabetes
  • Keep you fuller for longer after eating
  • Prolong your physical endurance

Basics of a low GI Diet

  • Use breakfast cereals based on oats, barley and bran
  • Use "grainy" breads made with whole seeds
  • Reduce the amount of potatoes you eat
  • Enjoy all types of fruit and vegetables (except potatoes)
  • Eat plenty of salad vegetables with vinaigrette dressing
  • Reduce simple sugars – man-made products from your diet
  • Limit fruit juice in your diet

These values are just guides to help you make choices between foods. Talk to us about how to apply these guides to your daily life.

 
Cereals     Snacks     Pasta     Beans  
All Bran 51   chocolate bar 49   cheese tortellini 50   baked 44
Bran Buds 45   corn chips 72   fettuccini 32   black, boiled 30
Bran Flake 74   croissant 67   linguini 50   butter, boiled 33
cheerios 74   doughnut 76   macaroni 46   cannelloni beans 31
corn chex 83   graham crackers 74   spagh, 5min 33   garbanzo, boiled 34
cornflakes 83   jelly beans 80   spagh, 15min 44   kidney, boiled 29
wheat, crm 66   life savers 70   spagh, prot enr 28   kidney, canned 52
frost flake 55   oatmeal cookie 57   vermicelli 35   lentils 30
grapenuts 67   pizza, plain 60   Soups/Vegetables   lima, boiled 32
life 66   pizza hut, supr 33   beets, canned 64   navy beans 38
muesli 54   popcorn light 55   black bean soup 64   pinto, boiled 39
nutri-gran 66   potato chips 56   carrots, boil 49   red lentils, boiled 27
oatmeal 48   pound cake 54   corn, sweet 56   soy, boiled 16
puffed wheat 67   power bars 58   green pea soup 66   Breads
raisin bran 73   pretzels 83   green pea, frozen 47   bagel, plain 72
rice chex 89   saltine cracker 74   lima beans, frozen 32   baquette, french 95
shredded wheat 67   shortbrd, cookie 64   parsnips 97   croissant 67
special k 54   snickers bar 41   peas, boiled 48   dark rye 76
total 76   strawberry jam 51   split pea soup 66   hamburger bun 61
Fruit   vanilla wafers 77   tomato soup 38   Muffins
apple 38   wheat thins 67   Drinks   apple, cin 44
apricots 57   Crackers   apple juice 40   blueberry 59
banana 56   graham 74   colas 65   Breads
cantalope 65   rice cakes 80   gatorade 78   pita 57
cherries 22   rye 68   grapefruit 48   pizza, cheese 60
dates 103   soda 72   orange juice 46   pumpernickel 49
grapefruit 25   wheat thin 67   pineapple juice 46   sourdough 54
grapes 46   Cereal Grains   Milk Products   rye 64
kiwi 52   barley 25   chocolate milk 35   white 70
mango 55   basmati rice 58   custard 43   wheat 68
orange 43   bulgar 48   ice cream, van 60   Root Crops
papaya 58   couscous 65   ice milk, van 50   french fries 75
peach 42   cornmeal 68   skim milk 32   pot, new, boiled 59
pear 58   millet 71   soy milk 31   pot, red, baked 93
pineapple 66   Sugars   tofu frozen dest 115   pot, sweet 52
plums 39   fructose 22   whole milk 30   pot, white, boiled 63
prunes 15   honey 62   yogurt, fruit 36   pot, white, mash 70
raisins 64   maltose 105   yogurt, plain 14   yam 54
watermelon 72   table sugar 64            
                     
Low GI = 55 or less Medium GI = 56-69 High GI = 70 or more