Sunday, December 15, 2019

The Glycemic Index

September 1, 2015 by  
Filed under Featured

examples of the glycemic index

Meal planning should be a priority for diabetics. The Glycemic index is a major part of a properly put together meal plan.

The glycemic index (GI) is a measurement of how foods containing carbohydrates raise blood glucose levels. A food with a high glycemic index raises blood glucose levels more than a food with a medium or low glycemic index

Foods that have carbohydrates include, breads, beans, starchy and non-starchy vegetables, fruits, and cereals. Foods like meats and fats do not contain carbohydrates, so they would not have a glycemic index.

There are several factors that contribute to the GI of the food. Fats and fiber can take longer to break down, thus lowering the GI. Typically the more processed a food is the higher the GI it will have. The more ripe the a fruit or vegetable is the higher the GI. The type of food can also be a factor. For example, long grain white rice has a lower GI than brown rice, but short grain white rice has a higher GI than brown rice. The way you cook your food will also affect the GI, an al dente noodle is harder to digest thus it has a lower GI than a noodle that has been cooked soft.

Here are some examples of some foods and how they rank in the glycemic index scale.

Low GI (55 or less)

  • Fruits and non-starchy vegetables
  • Sweet potatoes, corn, peas, legumes, lentils, and lima beans
  • barley, pasta, converted rice
  • oatmeal and oat bran
  • 100% stone ground whole wheat bread

Medium (56-69)

  • Quick cooking oats
  • brown rice, basmati rice, and couscous
  • whole wheat, pita, and rye breads

High (70 or more)

  • White potatoes
  • melons and pineapple
  • popcorn, crackers, rice cakes, and pretzels
  • short grain white rice, rice pasta, pasta
  • instant oatmeal, corn flakes, bran flakes, puffed rice
  • white bread

One thing to keep in mind when developing a meal plan is the glycemic index of a food only shows how it will affect your blood glucose levels alone. When you combine it with another food that food will impact the overall GI of the meal. It is important to include a mix of low, medium, and high GI foods in your diet.

When making your meal plan looking solely at the glycemic index might seem a daunting task. To make it easier, try looking at the levels of carbohydrates in the food. Typically the carbohydrate level is going to be a good indicator of what that food’s impact is going to be on your blood glucose levels. If you are curious about the particular glycemic index of a food The University of Sydney has a easy to use tool to look up foods you are considering including in your meal plan.    

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