What is the glycemic index of a food? The GI refers to a food’s ranking of how rapidly or slowly it raises blood sugar (glucose). A high GI food (like orange juice or candy) raises blood sugar quickly, and a low GI food (like strawberries and unprocessed meat) has a slow effect on glucose increase.
Do you have a high glycemic diet?
Foods that are marketed as “healthy” often cause a rapid rise in blood sugar, such as meal replacement and breakfast bars, meal replacement shakes, “nutrition” drinks in a can and cereals. Most white and beige foods have a high glycemic index: breads, pancakes, waffles and rice cakes, for example.
These high GI foods have lower GI counterparts, such as whole-grain versions and brown or wild rice.
Any kind of “junk” food is very high on the glycemic index; that’s a given: baked goods, brownies, cake, cookies, toaster tarts, muffins, etc. The absence of white flour doesn’t mean the food is low GI; added sugars will cause your blood sugar level to quickly soar.
Why is a high glycemic diet bad?
An overload of sugar in the body can raise your risk of cancer, heart disease, type II diabetes and impair the immune system, not to mention cause hunger. The pancreas must work extra hard to pump out insulin to bring down the rapidly rising blood sugar level; this over time may wear down the pancreas. Other fallouts are headaches, fatigue and irritability.
Pure sugar rates at 100. All other ratings for foods are relative to this. For more stabilization of blood sugar and better overall health including hunger suppression, stick to foods with a low rating.
- High GI foods: over 70
- Intermediate GI foods: 55-70
- Low GI foods: 55 or lower
Foods 90 and over: Commercial-brand corn flakes, instant and puffed rice, rice pasta, carrot juice, russet potatoes, dates.
80-89: Baked and white potato, pretzels, candy, jelly beans.
70-79: White bread/bagel, white waffles, whole-wheat bread, watermelon, corn tortilla, corn chips.
60-69: Croissant, sweet/boiled corn, canned beets, cantaloupe, bran muffins, raisins, dried figs.
50-59: Basmati rice, steamed brown rice, white pita bread, whole-grain bread, blueberry muffin, red-skin and sweet potato, potato chips, ripe banana, popcorn, grapes.
40-49: Pumpernickel/rye bread, oatmeal, green peas, carrots, canned baked beans, pears, blueberries, oranges, orange and grapefruit juice.
30-39: Apples, yam (peeled and boiled), lima beans, dried apricots, tomatoes, peaches, strawberries, skim milk, yogurt, flaxseeds.
20-29: Pearled barley, lentils, grapefruit, cherries, plums, whole milk.
10-19: Peanuts, radishes, greens, cauliflower, most unprocessed meats/fish.
Zero: Raw broccoli, celery, lettuce.
Though ratings will differ from one source to the next, the variation is minimal. Green vegetables, for example, will never be rated with a high glycemic index, and bagels will never have a low number.