Glycemic Index

Dieting to control your blood sugar level

The Glycemic Index (G.I.) is a system that was created to measure how much a particular carbohydrate affects your blood sugar level. All foods are given a number from one to100, to determine the effect they may have on your body. Foods can be classified as high, medium, or low on the Glycemic Index. Those that rate high (with a G.I. above 70) are quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, causing your blood sugar levels to spike immediately after consumption, then quickly dip back down. Those foods in your diet with a low or medium G.I. rating will take longer to absorb into your system, but will provide a gradual rise in blood sugar level and provide a continuing source of energy.

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How is the Glycemic Index measured?

The Glycemic Index number a particular food is assigned depends on the structure of the starch molecule, the fat content, the acidity (i.e. vinegar can lower the G.I.) and the type of starch (amylase vs. amylopectin). The G.I. score will also vary depending on how the food is prepared. For example, raw carrots have a higher rating than cooked carrots.

Portion size is another factor that can affect the G.I. score of a food, depending on ripeness, length of cooking time, and whether the meal is mixed with fats and protein. Sugar is the standard measurement to which all foods are compared - it has a G.I. rating of 100, as it significantly raises your blood sugar level.

How does the Glycemic Index help with my diet?
By consuming foods in your diet that rate low to medium on the Glycemic Index, you are able to stabilize your blood sugar level and control your hunger level. Foods that are high on the G.I. may give you an initial surge in energy, but they’ll leave you feeling hungry shortly after. For best results, try to eat low to moderate G.I. food choices with each meal. Foods that are higher in the G.I. should be consumed only occasionally.

Glycemic Index Rating of Common Foods

High More than 70
Glucose 100
Baked potato 85
Rice cakes 82
Donuts 75
Watermelon 72
White bread 70

Moderate 56-69
Orange juice 57
Corn 55
Brown rice 55
Sweet potato 54
Banana 50
Apple juice 41

Low Less than 55
Apple 36
Skim milk 32
Green beans 30
Lentils 29
Grapefruit 25
Broccoli 15