High and Low Glycemic Index Foods - Diet

What low glycemic index foods have you incorporated into your diet?

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What are high and low glycemic foods?

It can be tricky to estimate the glycemic index of different foods. In general, foods high in carbohydrates have a high glycemic index because they break down into glucose more quickly. Foods higher in protein or fats have a lower glycemic index.

But the amount of fiber in a food can offset the carbohydrates it contains. That's because fiber slows digestion, which causes glucose to release more slowly into the bloodstream. "Foods that are higher in fiber don't spike your blood sugar," Ginn-Meadow says. For example, vegetables are mostly carbohydrate, but they also have very high fiber content.

Examples of foods with a high glycemic index include:

  • Breakfast cereals
  • Fruit juice
  • Soft drinks
  • Cookies
  • White bread
  • Watermelon
  • Pineapple
  • White potatoes

Other factors also can affect a food's glycemic index. These include:

  • Processing. Processed foods tend to have a higher glycemic index because you digest them more easily. Whole wheat bread has about the same glycemic index as white bread. Juice has a higher glycemic index than whole fruit.
  • Cooking time. Foods cooked longer have a higher glycemic index. Pasta cooked until it is soft has a higher glycemic index than al dente pasta.
  • Ripeness and storage time. Ripe fruits and vegetables tend to have higher glycemic indexes.
  • Type. Sometimes glycemic index varies widely within a single food category. Converted long grain white rice has a lower glycemic index than brown rice. At the same time, short grain white rice has a higher glycemic index than either brown rice or long grain white rice.
  • Foods eaten with it. Different foods in a meal can affect each others' glycemic index. For instance, dipping bread in olive oil will reduce the glycemic index of the bread.
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