Glycemic index for foods: GI

Glycemic index for foods: GI

The Glycemic index (GI) is a rating system for foods containing carbohydrates. It demonstrates how rapidly each food lowers your blood sugar (glucose) level when consumed alone.

More about the Glycemic index

The Glycemic index (GI) for foods indicates how a diet containing carbohydrates affects blood glucose levels quickly, moderately, or slowly. This indicates that it might be helpful for you to control your diabetes. GI is a ranking of how quickly blood glucose levels rise after consuming each carbohydrate-based food and beverage. Different carbs are digested and absorbed at different rates.

Pure glucose, which has a GI of around 100, is typically used as the reference for the GI index, which ranges from 0 to 100. Low-GI foods, such as most fruits and vegetables, unsweetened milk, nuts, legumes, some whole-grain cereals, and bread, contain slowly digested carbs that have a GI rating of 55 or lower. According to research, adopting low-GI meals can especially help type 2 diabetics control their long-term blood glucose (HbA1c) levels. In persons with type 1 diabetes, there is fewer data to support this, but we do know that choosing low GI foods on a daily basis can assist maintain stable blood glucose levels after eating.

Not all low-GI foods are good options; for instance, the majority of chocolates have a low GI because the fat in them inhibits the absorption of carbohydrates.

The overall GI of a meal is changed when items with different GIs are combined. By choosing a low GI option with each meal or snack, you may maximize the benefits of GI. Avoid lower GI foods that are heavy in calories like chocolate, especially if you’re attempting to lose weight. Keep them for special occasions only.

High GI foods

Foods heavy in carbohydrates have a high GI rating because they produce a quick rise in blood sugar levels after eating them. Foods with a high GI include:

  • foods high in sugar
  • sweetened soft drinks
  • potatoes and white bread
  • white rice

Low and medium GI foods

Foods with a low or medium GI digest more slowly and raise blood sugar levels gradually over time. Examples include:

a few fruits and vegetables wholegrain foods, including porridge oats, and pulses.

Glycemic index for foods: GI

Image source: The Power of Carbohydrates, Proteins, and Lipids Authors: J. A. Bittencourt

GI-low foods: are they healthier?

We should eat some low GI items as part of a healthy, balanced diet, such as wholegrain foods, fruit, vegetables, beans, and lentils.

However, it can be inaccurate to use the Glycemic index to determine whether specific foods or dietary combinations are healthful.

Not all foods with a low GI are healthy, and not all foods with a high GI are necessarily unhealthy. For instance, chocolate cake has a lower GI rating than watermelon and occasionally parsnips.

Additionally, foods that contain or are prepared with fat, protein, and carbohydrates have a lower GI since they take longer to absorb carbohydrates. For instance, potatoes cooked without fat have a lower GI than crisps. Crisps, however, are heavy in fat and should only be used in moderation.

Your diet may be imbalanced and rich in fat if you solely consume items with a low GI.

Low-GI foods as part of a balanced, healthy diet

Low-GI carbohydrates are simple to incorporate into regular meals:

  • Pick spaghetti, noodles, or basmati rice that is simple to prepare. Or, for a change, try bulgur wheat, quinoa, or plantains.
  • Eat roti made from whole wheat and incorporate dhal in your meals.
  • Try sweet potatoes as a change of pace in place of old potatoes.
  • Consider rye, pumpernickel, or granary bread as an alternative to white and wholemeal bread.
  • Replace frozen chips with noodles or pasta.
  • Try wholegrain cereals, natural muesli, or porridge for breakfast.

Educate yourself about GI

Books exist that provide a lengthy list of GI levels for numerous different foods. There are some restrictions on this kind of list. In actuality, we typically eat things in combination with meals, so the GI value only applies to the food taken on its own. For instance, bread is typically eaten with butter or a spread made of vegetable oil, and potatoes can be consumed with both meat and vegetables.

Another issue is that whereas GI analyses the Glycemic impact of a quantity of food having 50g of carbohydrates, in actuality, we eat various portions of food containing various quantities of carbohydrates.

Notably, GI alone has less of an impact on blood glucose levels than the number of carbohydrates you consume.

How else does the Glycemic index change?

  • Food prepared with frying, boiling, and baking.
  • Processing, fruit and vegetable maturity, and some veggies
  • Whole grains and other meals high in fibre operate as a physical barrier to inhibit the absorption of carbohydrates. This is not the same as “wholemeal,” which contains the entire grain but has been ground up rather being left whole. For instance, certain wholegrain mixed grain bread has a lower GI than wholegrain or white bread.
  • A food’s GI is lowered by fat. In contrast to potatoes cooked without fat, crisps actually have a lower GI than chocolate because of their fat content.
  • Protein reduces a food’s GI. Due to their high protein and fat content, milk and other dairy products have a low GI.

Is it okay to only give heed to GI?

Your diet may be unbalanced, and heavy in fat and calories, which could cause weight gain (making it more difficult to maintain your blood glucose levels) and raise your risk of heart disease if you only pay attention to the GI of foods and ignore other factors. It’s vital to consider the balance of your meals, which should contain more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and oily salmon while being low in saturated fat, salt, and sugar.

Blood glucose levels are more influenced by the number of carbohydrates you consume than by GI alone. For instance, pasta has a lower GI than watermelon, but pasta also contains more carbohydrates. As a result, if you eat the same amount of both foods, the pasta will have a greater effect on your blood sugar levels thereafter. The most crucial step is to control your portion sizes; once you achieve this, choosing low-GI options will have an added benefit.

Can meals with a low Glycemic index aid in weight loss?

You might feel fuller for longer if you eat low-GI meals since they encourage your blood sugar levels to increase and fall gradually. If you’re attempting to reduce weight, this might help you manage your appetite.

However, not all foods with a low GI are healthful, as was already noted. As a result, depending just on GI is not a reliable way to determine if particular foods or food combinations are healthy.

Can people with diabetes benefit from the Glycemic index?

For those who have type 2 diabetes, the Glycemic index can be helpful because eating meals with low GI scores can help regulate blood sugar.

But there are other things that need to be considered as well. According to research, the amount of carbohydrates you consume—rather than their GI score—has the most impact on your blood sugar levels after meals.

Eating a healthy, balanced diet that is abundant in fruit and vegetables and low in fat, sugar, and salt is also essential. A diabetes dietitian can assist you in creating a diet plan if you have been told to adjust your diet or need assistance. Ask your doctor to send you to a dietician.

Monitoring carbohydrate effects can assist with glucose control.

Foods are given a glycemic index score depending on how quickly and significantly they raise blood sugar levels. Low glycemic index (GI) foods have a tendency to release glucose gradually and continuously. Foods with a high glycemic index quickly release glucose. Meals with a high GI help with energy recovery after exercise or to counteract hypo- (or insufficient) glycemia, while foods with a low GI tend to promote weight reduction. Long-distance runners tend to prefer foods with a high glycemic index, whereas persons with pre- or fully-developed diabetes should focus on foods with a low GI.


The Glycemic index (GI) is a rating system for foods containing carbohydrates. GI indicates how a diet affects blood glucose levels quickly, moderately or slowly. According to research, adopting low-GI meals can especially help type 2 diabetics control their long-term blood glucose (HbA1c) levels. It can be inaccurate to use the Glycemic index to determine whether specific foods or dietary combinations are healthful. Foods with a high GI include foods high in sugar and foods that are heavy in calories like chocolate.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *