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Glycemic Index

What is the Glycemic Index?

The Glycemic Index is a ranking of carbohydrates based on their immediate effect on blood sugar levels.

Since the 80s it has been known that different types of foods with the same amount of carbohydrates have different effects on the blood sugar levels. The different affect that different carbohydrates have on the blood sugar levels is referred to as the Glycemic Index.

The Glycemic Index (GI) provides the affect that the carbohydrates (or food) have on the blood sugar levels in the form of a ranking system. The affect that glucose has on the blood sugar levels is used as a basic value. Glucose is one of the fastest carbohydrates available and is therefore used as a reference. It is given an arbitrary value of 100 and the other carbohydrates are given a number relative to glucose. The glycemic index is therefore defined as the area under the curve of the blood sugar value i.e. a GI of 50 means that the blood sugar levels only rise half as much as glucose.

Foods with a high GI are those which result in increased and rapid fluctuations in blood sugar levels .

Foods that produce gradual rises in blood sugar and insulin levels after consumption have a low glycemic index.

Measuring the Glycemic Index

The blood sugar levels are measured after the consumption of foods containing 50 grams of carbohydrates to determine the glycemic index.

The glycemic index fluctuates from person to person. The GI values have been determined in studies with standard conditions. They are only valid for individual foods and not for food combinations such as bread with butter and marmalade or prepared meals with different nutrients. The GI is therefore only a ranking system with approximate values.

Most foods are rarely eaten individually. The glycemic index is therefore a theoretical ranking system of the affects that foods have on blood sugar levels.

In order to compare foods, one must use portions of food with comparable amounts of carbohydrates.


The G.I. Diet
Rick Gallop


The Complete Idiot's Guide to Glycemic Index Weight Loss, 2nd Edition, Lucy Beale, M.S., R.D., C.D.E., Joan Clark-Warner


The Glycemic-Load Diet: A powerful new program for losing weight and reversing insulin resistance, Rob Thompson


Glycemic Index: Classification of Foods

High Glycemic Index
Foods that cause the blood sugar levels to increase rapidly have a glycemic index between 70 to 100 e.g. mashed potatoes, boiled rice, white bread, honey, cornflakes, Coca Cola, beer and cake.

Medium Glycemic Index
Foods with a medium GI (glycemic index) are rated between 55 and 70 e.g. muesli bars, boiled potatoes, bananas, sugar, unsweetened fruit juices. The glycemic index of table sugar is not high as opposed to what many believe. It is only average.

Low Glycemic Index
Foods that produce gradual rises in blood sugar and insulin levels have a GI (glycemic index) below 55, e.g. milk, yoghurt, fruit, durum wheat pasta, legumes (peas, beans, lentils), nuts and vegetables.

Glycemic Index of certain foods:

110 beer
108 doughnut
100 glucose
95 roast potatoes
95 rice flour
95 modified starch
90 French fries
90 mashed potato powder
90 chips
85 boiled potatoes
85 pretzel
85 quick cook rice
85 rice pudding
85 puffed rice
80 honey
80 cornflakes, popcorn
80 boiled broad beans
80 Coca-Cola, lemonade
75 water melon
75 large pumpkin
70 sugar
70 white bread, baguette
70 croissant
70 popcorn
70 chocolate
70 boiled potatoes
70 biscuits
70 corn
70 white rice
70 pasta, ravioli
65 raisins
65 mixed grain bread
65 jacket potatoes
65 beets
65 pineapples
65 sweetened marmalade
60 white semolina
60 long grain rice
60 banana, melon
55 cooked spaghetti
55 short bread
50 whole meal or bran bread
50 brown rice
50 Basmati rice
50 canned peas
50 sweet potatoes
50 whole meal pasta
45 spaghetti (al dente)
45 orange juice
45 wild rice
40 fresh peas
40 peaches /plums
40 whole meal wheat flakes without sugar
40 oats
40 red beans
40 freshly squeezed fruit juice, no sugar
40 Pumpernickel
40 whole meal bread
40 whole meal pasta (al dente)
35 figs, dried apricots
35 Indian corn
35 apple, pear
30 kidney beans
30 raw carrots
30 dairy products
30 dry beans
30 brown/yellow lentils
30 chick peas
30 other fresh fruit
30 green beans
30 rice noodles
30 fruit spread
25 full cream milk
22 green lentils
22 dry peas
22 black chocolate
20 fructose
15 Soya, peanuts
15 fresh apricots
<15 green vegetables, tomatoes
<15 egg plants, zucchini...
<15 garlic, onions


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