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Glycemic Index


The glycemic index (GI) is a helpful way to tell how quickly foods that contain carbohydrate may raise your blood sugar.

As a general rule, a low glycemic diet raises your blood sugar slowly and a high glycemic diet quickly. This is because the low glycemic foods break down slowly in your body and release sugar into the blood gradually, and the high glycemic foods break down very fast and make blood sugar rise too fast.

Carbohydrates usually raises blood sugar more quickly than other nutrients like proteins and fats. But some foods that have carbohydrates raise blood sugar more slowly than other foods with carbohydrates. For example, white bread raises blood sugar more quickly than whole grain bread.

In a glycemic index, foods are given a number from 0 to 100. The higher the number, the higher the GI. These numbers are compared to glucose (sugar). It has a rank of 100.

When you read a glycemic index, you may interplate the numbers using the following rules:

  • Foods that raise blood sugar quickly are high. They are rated 70 or more.
  • Foods that raise blood sugar moderately are medium. They are rated 56 to 69.
  • Foods that raise blood sugar slowly are low. They are rated 55 or less.

If you are on a low glycemic diet, most of the carbohydrate-rich foods that you eat should be low or medium on the index.

Low glycemic foods include:

  • Dried beans and legumes like lentils.
  • Nonstarchy vegetables, such as broccoli and peppers.
  • Some starchy vegetables, such as yams.
  • Some whole grains and cereals, such as oatmeal and whole wheat bread.
  • Many fruits, such as apples, berries, dried apricots, and cherries.

Moderate glycemic foods include:

  • Apricots (fresh).
  • Pineapple.
  • Shredded wheat cereal.
  • Spaghetti.

High glycemic foods include:

  • White bread.
  • Sticky rice.
  • Some fruits, such as dates and watermelon.
  • A few vegetables, such as some types of potatoes.

Since people respond differently to the glycemic content of foods, the only way to know for sure how a food affects your blood sugar is to check your blood sugar before and after you eat that food.

Please note that eating mixed foods can change their index.

Here is the glycemic index chart of some common foods.

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