What is the Glycemic Index?

The glycemic index and how it impacts our health.

The glycemic index (GI) is a measurement of how the foods we eat affect our blood sugar management. Foods high in refined carbohydrates and sugar are digested more quickly and often have a high GI, while foods high in protein, fat, or fiber typically have a low GI. Low GI foods have lesser impact on our blood sugar and insulin levels than high GI foods. Consumption of high GI foods often results in blood sugar swinging rapidly from high to low once insulin over-production kicks in to use up the glucose.

High GI foods can negatively impact our weight management, blood sugar levels, immunity, aging rate, skin health, ability to concentrate, inflammation levels and management of cholesterol levels.

The glycemic index rates foods on a scale between 0-100, depending on their impact on blood sugar levels. Foods that contain no carbs are not given a GI rating.

 

Glycemic Rating Examples
Low: 55 or less
(Choose most often)
Apples, grapes, cashews, peaches, non-starchy vegetables, brown rice, sour-dough bread, popcorn, peas, berries, oranges, mangos, plums, prunes, almond milk, yogurt, beans, sweet potatoes, quinoa, bananas (unripe), green vegetables
Medium: 56-69
(Choose less often)
Raisins, pineapples, sugar, bananas (ripe), brown rice, rye bread, oats, corn, beets, cherries, figs, kiwi
High: 70 or above
(Choose least often)
Bread, naan, cereals, white rice, rice cakes, carrots, soda crackers, pretzels, bananas (overripe), watermelons, rice, milk, potatoes, (baked, mashed, boiled, instant), cornflakes

Source:Diabetes Canada

 

Learn more: Get the glycemic index of many common foods.

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