How To Live Healthy Using the Glycemic Index

Untitled1What is the Glycemic Index?

Not all carbohydrate foods are created equal, in fact they behave quite differently in our bodies. The glycemic index (or GI) describes this difference by ranking carbohydrates according to their effect on our blood glucose levels. Choosing low GI carbs – the ones that produce only small fluctuations in our blood glucose and insulin levels – is the secret to long-term health reducing your risk of heart disease and diabetes and is the key to sustainable weight loss.

What are the benefits of the Glycemic index?

Eating a lot of high GI foods can be detrimental to your health because it pushes your body to extremes. This is especially true if you are overweight and sedentary.

Low GI diets:

  • help people lose and control weight
  • improve diabetes control
  • reduce the risk of heart disease
  • reduce blood cholesterol levels
  • reduce hunger and keep you fuller for longer
  • prolong physical endurance and increase energy overall

How to Switch to a Low GI Diet

You don’t need to do any sort of mental arithmetic to make sure you are eating a healthy, low GI diet.  You can slowly eat moderate portions (look on the box for actual serving size) of the following vs. the typical “white” carbs:

  • Use breakfast cereals with high fiber, absolute minimum should be 3g – look for oats and bran in the ingredients
  • Use breads with 100% whole grains
  • Reduce the amount of potatoes you eat
  • Enjoy all lower glycemic types of fruit and vegetables  (see chart below)
  • Enjoy 100% whole grain pasta, kasha, quinoa (again at least 3g of fiber)
  • Eat plenty of salad with a vinaigrette dressing

Glycemic Index of Common Foods

A GI of 70 or more is high, a GI of 56 to 69 inclusive is medium, and a GI of 55 or less is low. Please note that combining a protein or fat with any food will reduce the GI as well.
FOOD
Glycemic index (glucose = 100)
Serving size (grams)
BAKERY PRODUCTS AND BREADS
Sponge cake, plain4663
Waffles, Aunt Jemima (Quaker Oats)7635
Bagel, white, frozen7270
Baguette, white, plain9530
Hamburger bun6130
Pumpernickel bread5630
Wonderª bread, average7330
100% Whole Grainª bread (Natural Ovens)5130
Pita bread, white6830
Corn tortilla5250
Wheat tortilla3050
BEVERAGES
Coca Cola¨, average63250 mL
Apple juice, unsweetened, average44250 mL
Cranberry juice cocktail (Ocean Spray¨)68250 mL
Gatorade78250 mL
Orange juice, unsweetened50250 mL
Tomato juice, canned38250 mL
BREAKFAST CEREALS AND RELATED PRODUCTS
All-Branª, average5530
Coco Popsª, average7730
Cornflakesª, average9330
Cream of Wheatª (Nabisco)66250
Cream of Wheatª, Instant (Nabisco)74250
Grapenutsª, average7530
Muesli, average6630
Oatmeal, average55250
Instant oatmeal, average83250
Puffed wheat, average8030
Raisin Branª (Kellogg's)6130
Special Kª (Kellogg's)6930
GRAINS
Pearled barley, average28150
Sweet corn on the cob, average60150
Couscous, average65150
Quinoa53150
White rice, average89150
Quick cooking white basmati67150
Brown rice, average50150
Converted, white rice (Uncle Ben's¨)38150
Whole wheat kernels, average3050
Bulgur, average48150
COOKIES AND CRACKERS
Graham crackers7425
Vanilla wafers7725
Shortbread6425
Rice cakes, average8225
Rye crisps, average6425
Soda crackers7425
DAIRY PRODUCTS AND ALTERNATIVES
Ice cream, regular5750
Ice cream, premium3850
Milk, full fat41250mL
Milk, skim32250 mL
Reduced-fat yogurt with fruit, average33200
FRUITS
Apple, average39120
Banana, ripe62120
Dates, dried4260
Grapefruit25120
Grapes, average59120
Orange, average40120
Peach, average42120
Peach, canned in light syrup40120
Pear, average38120
Pear, canned in pear juice43120
Prunes, pitted2960
Raisins6460
Watermelon72120
BEANS AND NUTS
Baked beans, average40150
Blackeye peas, average33150
Black beans30150
Chickpeas, average10150
Chickpeas, canned in brine38150
Navy beans, average31150
Kidney beans, average29150
Lentils, average29150
Soy beans, average15150
Cashews, salted2750
Peanuts, average750
PASTA and NOODLES
Fettucini, average32180
Macaroni, average47180
Macaroni and Cheese (Kraft)64180
Spaghetti, white, boiled, al dente46180
Spaghetti, white, boiled 20 min58180
SNACK FOODS
Corn chips, plain, salted, average4250
Fruit Roll-Ups¨9930
M & M's¨, peanut3330
Microwave popcorn, plain, average5520
Potato chips, average5150
Pretzels, oven-baked8330
VEGETABLES
Green peas, average5180
Carrots, average3580
Parsnips5280
Baked russet potato, average111150
Boiled white potato, average82150
Instant mashed potato, average87150
Sweet potato, average70150
Yam, average54150
MISCELLANEOUS
Hummus (chickpea salad dip)630
Chicken nuggets, frozen, reheated in microwave oven 5 min46100
Pizza, plain baked dough, served with parmesan cheese and tomato sauce80100
Honey, average6125