- Low GI Food List
- What Is GI?
- Glycemic Load (GL) vs. GI
- GI Value Levels
- Low GI Foods for Diabetics
- Importance of GI With Diabetes
- Low vs. High Glycemic Index Foods
Which are the low-glycemic foods?
Some of the common low-glycemic foods are as follows:
- Most vegetables
- Green peas
- Leafy greens such as spinach, collards, kale, and beet
- Green beans
- Bok choy
- Brussels sprouts
- Peppers including bell peppers and jalapenos
- Crookneck squash
- Snow peas
- Certain fruits
- Dried apricots
- Unripe banana
- Whole or minimally processed grains
- Whole wheat
- Oat bran and rice bran cereals
- Whole-grain pasta
- Whole-grain pumpernickel bread
- Sourdough bread
- Wheat tortilla
- Dairy and dairy substitute products
- Plain yogurt
- Cottage cheese
- Soy milk and yogurt
- Nuts and nut butter
- Seeds such as pumpkin, chia, sunflower, and flax seeds
- Poultry such as chicken and turkey
- Eggs and egg whites
- Fish and shellfish
- Meat such as beef and pork
- Oils such as extra virgin olive oil and canola oil
- Fats such as lard, shortening, and butter
Studies report that raw green vegetables, most citrus fruits, raw carrots, kidney beans, chickpeas, lentils, and bran breakfast cereals are low GI foods.
|Food||Serving size in grams||Glycemic index (GI)||Glycemic load (GL)|
|Coarse barley bread, 75 to 80 percent kernels, average||30||34||7|
|100 percent whole-grain bread (natural ovens)||30||51||7|
|Converted, white rice||150||38||14|
|Whole wheat kernels||50||30||11|
|Milk, full fat||250 mL||41||5|
|Milk, skim||250 mL||32||4|
|Reduced-fat yogurt with fruit||200||33||11|
|Peach, canned in light syrup||120||40||5|
|Pear, canned in pear juice||120||43||5|
|Chickpeas, canned in brine||150||38||9|
|Spaghetti, white, boiled||180||46||22|
|Spaghetti, whole grain, boiled||180||42||17|
What is a glycemic index?
The glycemic index (GI) is a numeric value assigned to foods based on how slowly or quickly they can increase your blood glucose levels. It is a rating system for carbohydrate-containing foods. Foods having a low GI are the ones that tend to release glucose slowly and steadily. By contrast, foods that fall high on the GI scale release glucose rapidly.
Foods with a low GI help to facilitate weight loss and promote satiety. People who have or are at risk of diabetes should eat foods with a low GI. This is because they tend to have low amounts of insulin (type 1 diabetes) or a high degree of resistance to insulin (type 2 diabetes).
- Insulin is the hormone that keeps blood glucose levels under check.
- In its absence, blood sugars may increase when a person eats high-glycemic foods.
- Low-glycemic foods release sugar gradually and thus will prevent an abrupt increase in blood sugar.
High-glycemic foods help with energy recovery after exercise. High-glycemic foods also aid recovery from low blood glucose levels (hypoglycemia).
GI is assigned concerning pure glucose that is arbitrarily given a GI of 100. Thus, if a food has a GI of 30, it means it will boost blood glucose by only 30% compared with pure glucose.
What are the glycemic load and gycemic index?
The glycemic load (GL) is a relatively recent method of assessing the impact of a carbohydrate diet that includes the glycemic index (GI) but provides a better picture than the GI alone.
A GI rating merely reflects how quickly a carbohydrate converts to sugar. It does not say how much of that carbohydrate is in a serving of a certain dish. People must understand both GI and GL to understand how food affects blood sugar levels.
There is a formula to determine the glycemic load (GL) in a particular food.
- To calculate, the glycemic index (GI) and weight of carbohydrates in grams of that food are needed.
- GI is calculated by multiplying total carbohydrates in grams with glycemic index and dividing by 100.
GL = Total no. of carbohydrates in grams × glycemic index (GI)/100.
What value constitutes a low glycemic index?
- A low glycemic index (GI) refers to a GI value of 55 or less. Low-GI foods include most fruits and vegetables, whole or minimally processed grains, beans, pasta, low-fat dairy products, and nuts.
- Foods with a GI of 56 to 69 come under the category of moderate-GI foods. They include potatoes, white rice, corn, couscous, and breakfast cereals such as Mini-Wheats and Cream of Wheat.
- High GI means a GI of 70 or more. Foods with high GI include white bread, cakes, doughnuts, cookies, rice cakes, most crackers, bagels, croissants, and most packaged breakfast cereals.
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What are the best low glycemic foods for diabetics?
The food people consume contains carbohydrates that provide energy when it gets metabolized in the body. Blood sugar levels increase as carbohydrates are absorbed in the blood.
- The glycemic index (GI) is higher if the carbs are digested more quickly.
- This results in high blood glucose levels in the body.
- So, it is recommended that people with diabetes consume food with a low glycemic index.
- This helps digest slowly and releases glucose gradually into the blood, which helps maintain good blood glucose levels.
The GI Index is classified as:
- Low GI: 1 to 55
- Medium GI: 56 to 69
- High GI: 70 and higher
What is the importance of glycemic index in people with diabetes?
According to the American Heart Association, people with diabetes are two to four times more likely than people without diabetes to die from heart disease or have a life-threatening stroke.
For people who do not effectively manage their condition, the chances of developing health problems ranging from cardiovascular problems to nerve damage and renal disease increase tremendously. That is why people with diabetes need to maintain good blood sugar levels. This may be achieved by consuming food with a low glycemic index.
The glycemic index (GI) indicates how much sugar levels are raised in the blood after consuming a particular food.
What are the indications of consuming food with different glycemic indexes in people with diabetes?
Low glycemic index foods
Foods having a low glycemic index (GI) aid in weight loss and increase satiety. People who have diabetes or are at risk of developing it should consume foods with a low GI.
Insulin is the hormone that regulates blood glucose levels and blood sugar levels may rise when a person consumes high-glycemic meals in the absence of insulin. Low-glycemic meals release sugar gradually, preventing a rapid rise in blood sugar.
Diabetes is of two types.
- Type I diabetes: The patient naturally has low insulin levels.
- Type II diabetes: The patient has a high level of insulin resistance
High glycemic index foods
Foods with a high GI are easily digested and actively absorbed raising the blood glucose levels, so they are to be avoided by people with diabetes.
This type of food can be taken after strenuous physical activity when the body needs more glucose to work and during bouts of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar levels).
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Medscape Medical Reference
Harvard Medical School https://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/a-good-guide-to-good-carbs-the-glycemic-index
University of Michigan Health System. Diabetes: Eating Low-Glycemic Foods. https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/aba5112
Harvard Health Publishing. The lowdown on glycemic index and glycemic load. https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/the-lowdown-on-glycemic-index-and-glycemic-load
Diabetes Care. Glycemic index and glycemic load for 100+ foods. https://extension.oregonstate.edu/sites/default/files/documents/1/glycemicindex.pdf
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