The glycemic index is a number associated with a particular type of food that indicates the food’s effect on a person’s blood glucose (also called blood sugar) level. The number typically ranges between 50 and 100, where 100 represents the standard, an equivalent amount of pure glucose. The glycemic index is usually applied in the context of the quantity of the food and the amount of carbohydrate in the food that is actually consumed.
Purpose of glycemic index
The purpose of a glycemic index (GI) diet is to eat carbohydrate-containing foods that are less likely to cause large increases in blood sugar levels. The diet is a means to lose weight and prevent chronic diseases related to obesity such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The glycemic index gives you a way to tell slower-acting “good carbs” from the faster “bad carbs.” You can use it to fine-tune your carb-counting and help keep your blood sugar more steady.
What You Can Eat
Sticking to a low glycemic index diet may help prevent conditions like diabetes and heart disease. Foods on the glycemic index diet are scored on a scale of 0 to 100 based on how much they raise your blood sugar level.
- High-GI foods (70 or higher): white rice, white bread, pretzels, white bagels, white baked potatoes, crackers, sugar-sweetened beverages
- Medium-GI foods (56-69): bananas, grapes, spaghetti, ice cream, raisins, corn on the cob
- Low-GI foods (55 and under): oatmeal, peanuts, peas, carrots, kidney beans, hummus, skim milk, most fruits (except those listed above and watermelon)