Glycemic Index Chart

The glycemic index, or GI, is a ranking of foods based on their immediate effect on blood glucose levels i.e., blood sugar response. Foods with a high GI are those that are rapidly digested and absorbed, resulting in a spike in blood sugar levels. Low-GI foods, on the other hand, are slowly digested and absorbed, resulting in a gradual rise in blood sugar levels.

The glycemic index was originally developed as a way to help people with diabetes control their serum glucose. However, it has since become popular as a tool for anyone looking to manage their weight or improve their overall health.

Introduction

There is some debate over whether or not the glycemic index is an accurate measure of how healthy a food is. However, there is no doubt that foods with a high GI can cause spikes in blood sugar levels, which can be dangerous for people with diabetes. For this reason, it is generally recommended that people with diabetes avoid high-GI foods.

Low glycemic index foods, on the other hand, are generally considered to be healthier. This is because they cause a gradual rise in blood sugar levels, which is less likely to lead to spikes. Low-GI foods are also often more filling and satisfying than high-GI foods, making them a good choice for people who are trying to lose weight.

The glycemic index is just one tool that can be used to make healthy food choices. It is important to remember that not all high-GI foods are unhealthy, and not all low-GI foods are healthy. The best way to eat for good health is to focus on eating whole, unprocessed foods that are packed with nutrients.

Glycemic index range for low, medium and high glycemic index foods.

Low glycemic index foods: 55 or less

Medium glycemic index foods: 56-69

High glycemic index foods: 70 or more

Benefits of low glycemic index foods

1. May help with weight loss: Low-GI foods have been shown to help with weight loss. One reason for this is that they help you feel fuller for longer. This is because they take longer to digest, meaning that you feel satisfied for longer after eating them.

2. May improve blood sugar control: Low-GI foods can be beneficial for people with diabetes or insulin resistance. This is because they cause a gradual rise in blood sugar levels, which is less likely to lead to spikes.

3. May reduce the risk of heart disease: Some studies have found that a low-GI diet may reduce the risk of heart disease. This may be because it helps to improve blood sugar control and because it generally involves eating more healthy, unrefined carbs.

4. May reduce the risk of cancer: Some studies have found that a low-GI diet may also reduce the risk of cancer. This may be because it helps to keep blood sugar levels under control and because it involves eating more healthy, unrefined carbs.

A list of low glycemic foods

1. Apples

2. Bananas

3. Carrots

4. Garlic

5. Green beans

6. Lettuce

7. Onions

8. Tomatoes

9. Zucchini

10. Brown rice

11. Chickpeas

12. Lentils

13. Oatmeal

14. Quinoa

15. Sweet potatoes

16. Whole wheat bread

17. Yogurt

18. Almonds

19. Avocados

20. Eggs

21. Fish

22. Lean meat

23. Olive oil

24. Peanut butter

25. Seeds

26. Dark chocolate

27. Red wine

28. Black beans

29. Edamame

30. Kidney beans

31. Navy beans

32. Pinto beans

33. Pumpkin seeds

34. Sunflower seeds

35. Tahini

36. Watermelon

37. Barley

38. Broccoli

39. Cauliflower

40. Grapefruit

41. Peaches

42. Strawberries

43. Tofu

44. 100% whole grain bread

45. Air-popped popcorn

46. Applesauce

47. Cherries

48. Chia seeds

49. Coconut water

50. Dried apricots

51. Dried figs

Low glycemic index foods are generally considered to be healthier because they cause a gradual rise in blood sugar levels, which is less likely to lead to spikes. Try incorporating some of these foods into your diet if you’re looking for healthier options!

Risks of high glycemic index foods

1. Can cause spikes in blood sugar levels: High-GI foods can cause spikes in blood sugar levels, which can be dangerous for people with diabetes. For this reason, it is generally recommended that people with diabetes avoid high-GI foods.

2. May increase the risk of heart disease: Some studies have found that a high-GI diet may increase the risk of heart disease. This may be because it leads to spikes in blood sugar levels, which can damage the arteries over time.

3. May increase the risk of cancer: Some studies have found that a high-GI diet may also increase the risk of cancer. This may be because it leads to spikes in blood sugar levels, which can promote the growth of cancer cells.

If you’re looking to cut down on high-GI foods, try avoiding processed foods such as refined carbs, sugary snacks and desserts, and anything made with white flour. Instead, focus on eating more low-GI foods, such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. These foods will help you feel fuller for longer and may reduce your risk of some chronic diseases.

A list of high glycemic foods

1. White bread

2. Bagels

3. Corn

4. Pretzels

5. Rice cakes

6. Saltine crackers

7. Popcorn

8. Instant oatmeal

9. Muffins

10. Pancakes

11. Waffles

12. Pizza dough

13. White rice

14. Macaroni and cheese

15. Ice cream

16. Cookies

17. Cake

18. Doughnuts

High glycemic index foods can cause spikes in blood sugar levels, which can be dangerous for people with diabetes. For this reason, it is generally recommended that people with diabetes avoid high-GI foods. If you’re looking to cut down on high-GI foods, try avoiding processed and refined carbs, sugary snacks and desserts, and anything made with white flour.

what is glycemic load?

The glycemic load is a measure of the impact a food has on blood sugar levels. It takes into account both the glycemic index and the amount of carbohydrate in a food. It is defined as the GI multiplied by the amount of carbohydrate per serving of food in grams and dividing the total by 100. It was introduced as a measure of the overall effect of a food on blood glucose and insulin levels. The GL is a more accurate indicator of the relative response to carbohydrate ingestion.

Glycemic Load = (Carbohydrate content in grams x Glycemic Index) / 100

Foods with a high glycemic load raise blood sugar levels more than foods with a low glycemic load. Foods with a high glycemic load are often refined carbohydrates, such as white bread and sugary drinks. These foods are quickly digested and absorbed, causing spikes in blood sugar levels.

Low-glycemic-load foods, on the other hand, tend to be unrefined carbohydrates, such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. These foods are slowly digested and absorbed, resulting in a gradual rise in blood sugar levels.

Low glycemic load: 10 or less

Medium glycemic load: 11-19

High glycemic load: 20 or more

International table of glycemic index and glycemic load values

The glycemic index values, glycemic load, and carbohydrate amount of various reference food products are based on an important publication by Foster-Powell et al. See the glycemic index chart below.

Food productGICarbohydrate content (g/serving)GL per serving
Chocolate cake38 ± 35220
Coca Cola53 ± 72614
Apple juice, pure, clear, unsweetened44 ± 23013
Orange juice50 ± 42613
Pineapple juice, unsweetened 463416
Bagel, white, frozen723525
Gluten-free white bread76 ± 51511
Gluten-free multigrain bread79 ± 131310
Rye-kernel bread41125
All-Bran (Kellogg’s)30154
Basmati, white, boiled58 ± 83822
Parboiled rice (USA)723626
Yogurt36 ± 493
Banana, ripe, all yellow512513
Banana, underripe30216
Dates, dried103 ± 214042
Grapefruit, raw25113
Pear, raw33134
Pineapple, raw66 ± 7106
Plum, raw, NS39 ± 15125
Watermelon, raw72 ± 1364
Baked beans48 ± 8157
Chickpeas, canned in brine42229
Kidney beans 23256
Spaghetti, white or type NS, boiled44 ± 34821
Cashew nuts, salted22 ± 5133
Popcorn, plain72 ± 17118
Pretzels, oven-baked83 ± 92016
Mashed potato74 ± 52015
Sweet potato61 ± 72817
Yam (Canada)37 ± 83613
Ga kenkey, prepared from fermented cornmeal (Ghana)12 ± 1137
Cassava, boiled, with salt (Kenya)462712
Gari, roasted cassava dough (Manihot utilissima) (Ghana)56 ± 32715
Unripe plantain (Musa paradisiaca)(Ghana)40 ± 43413
Yam (Dyscoria) (Ghana)663623
Hummus (chickpea salad dip)6 ± 450
Moroccan couscous58 ± 92917
Jasmine rice, white109 ± 104246
Rice noodles40 ± 43915

The American diabetes association’s recommendation is that people with diabetes should aim for foods with a glycemic index below 50. However, it is important to remember that the glycemic index is only one factor to consider when making food choices. Other factors, such as the amount of fat and fiber in a food, can also affect blood sugar levels. Therefore, it is important to consult with a registered dietitian or certified diabetes educator to create a meal plan that is right for you.

Our professional advice is to always check with a certified diabetes educator, registered dietitian or other qualified clinician to help you make the best choices for your individual needs.

Reference

Foster-Powell K, Holt SH, Brand-Miller JC. International table of glycemic index and glycemic load values: 2002. Am J Clin Nutr. 2002 Jul;76(1):5-56. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/76.1.5.

Akuffo Quarde MD
Akuffo Quarde MD

Board Certified in Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism. Board Certified in Internal Medicine.

The opinions expressed here represent the views of a practicing hormone specialist (endocrinologist) and must not substitute the advice of your health care provider. This blog post is written for a non-medical audience interested in learning more about hormonal disorders. The author has no commercial conflicts of interest to declare. Also, read our privacy policy.

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