Diabetic Glycemic Index of Foods
Low GI vs. High GI

The glycemic index of foods (GI) measures how high your blood sugar rises after you eat a particular food.

Low Glycemic Index Foods: Choose These

  • <30%
    • kidney beans
    • barley
    • grapefruit
    • fructose
    • cherries
    • soybeans
  • 30-40%
    • apple
    • pear
    • yogurt
    • skim milk
    • lentils
    • tomato soup
  • 40-50%
    • oatmeal
    • green peas
    • bulgur
    • pinto beans
    • garbanzo beans
    • spaghetti
    • oranges
    • peaches
    • grapes

High Glycemic Index Foods: Limit These

  • 100%
    • glucose
  • 80-90%
    • cornflakes
    • pretzels
    • baked potato
    • rice cakes
    • jelly beans
  • 70-80%
    • waffles
    • french fries
    • soda crackers
    • bran flakes
    • bagel
    • corn chips
    • watermelon
    • white bread

High glycemic index foods are quickly digested and absorbed and result in a quick rise in blood sugar (and insulin) levels.

Low glycemic index foods are digested and absorbed slowly so they produce a gradual rise in blood sugar (and insulin) levels. This is ideal.

Here's an easy way to remember: Low glycemic index foods are s(low) digesting.

Choose low GI foods over high ones whenever possible.

Why should you care about the glycemic index of foods?

By choosing the right foods, you can moderate your blood sugar levels to help control appetite, fat storage, energy levels, and diabetes.

Your blood sugar is closely correlated with what you eat...especially the amount and type of carbs you eat.

There's no need to avoid carbs (even if you have diabetes!) You just need to choose the right (low glycemic index) ones.

Glycemic Index of Foods: "Good Cabohydrates" vs. "Bad Carbohydrates"

Low GI foods are often called "good carbohydrates" (because they're slow digesting and help control hunger and appetite) and high GI foods are often called "bad "carbohydrates."

Diabetic Glycemic Index: The Numbers

Foods are ranked on a scale 0-100 according to the extent which they raise blood sugar levels.

(Glucose...the simplest sugar there is, and the fastest digesting...is assigned a score of 100 and every food is measured against it.)

The closer to 100 a food scores, the faster it digests and raises blood sugar.

  • High glycemic index foods are generally considered those with a GI of 70 or higher.
  • Low glycemic index foods are generally considered those with a GI of 40 or lower.

As a general rule of thumb, high glycemic index foods are usually "junky" foods:
  • white bread
  • white pasta
  • white rice
  • low-fiber cereals
  • baked goods
Low glycemic index foods are generally healthier foods:
  • most fruits
  • vegetables
  • beans
  • whole and minimally processed grains

Limitations of the Diabetic Glycemic Index of Foods

The GI measures how high your blood sugar rises after eating one food, by itself (nothing else in combination with it).

When you eat more than one food at a time, the glycemic index of the meal is essentially the average of all the individual foods.

Tip: If you want to eat a high GI food, have it with a low glycemic index food at the same time.

Factors that Influence Diabetic Glycemic Index

Protein, fat, and acidity (lemon juice, vinegar) in a meal delay digestion and therefore moderately lower the glycemic index of a meal.

Another Tip:If you want to eat a high GI food, have some protein or fat or something acidic at the same time.

For example, eat watermelon for dessert as the ending to a meal consisting of chicken and veggies vs. snacking on watermelon all by itself in the middle of the afternoon. Make sense?

Want the GI at Your Fingertips?

This Shopper's Guide to the Glycemic Index of Foods is easily portable and features more than 1,200 foods and their GI values as well as nutritional data for calories, fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, fiber, and sodium.

If you want more info about the diabetic glycemic index of foods and all the GI values along with low glycemic recipes, I strongly recommend
The New Glucose Revolution.

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