The Glycemic index (GI) is a measure of how quickly a food can make your blood sugar (glucose) rise. Only foods that contain carbohydrates have a GI. Foods such as oils, fats, and meats do not have a GI, though in people with diabetes, they can affect the blood sugar. An international scientific consortium has recognized that the GI can help people with prediabetes and type 2 diabetes (T2DM) make better choices about foods to eat. Understanding how carbohydrates effect the body is key!
In general, low GI foods increase glucose slowly in your body. Foods with a high GI increase blood glucose quickly. If you have diabetes, high GI foods can make it harder to control diabetes. MedlinePlus has a short page on the topic. It is recommended that when you eat carbohydrates, that you eat foods that have a low GI as they are less likely to raise your blood sugar level quickly or for as long a period of time.
Low, medium, high GI
Eating carbohydrates is required by our bodies. However, once we understand how they effect our bodies we can select foods that have a lower GI to help us manage blood sugar spikes after a meal. Some example foods are below:
Low GI 55 or less
- Oatmeal (rolled or steel cut), muesli
- Sweet potatoes
- Most fruits and non-starchy vegetables
Medium GI 56-69
- Whole wheat, rye and pita bread
- Quick oats
- Brown, wild or basmati rice, couscous
High GI 70 or more
- White bread
- Pretzels, popcorn, rice cakes
Searching the glycemic index
The University of Sydney has developed a searchable database of foods and their measured GI.
Search Halebee’s recipe page for more healthy recipes that incorporate low GI foods.