Written through Rachael Link, MS, RD ~ above June 2, 2020 — median reviewed by Jillian Kubala, MS, RD, Nutrition

The glycemic index is a tool that’s regularly used come promote far better blood street management.

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Several determinants influence the glycemic table of contents of a food, consisting of its nutrient composition, cooking method, ripeness, and also the amount of handling it has actually undergone.

The glycemic index have the right to not only help increase her awareness of what you’re putting on your plate but likewise enhance weight loss, decrease your blood sugar levels, and also reduce your cholesterol.

This post takes a closer look in ~ the glycemic index, including what that is, exactly how it can influence your health, and how to usage it.

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What is the glycemic index?
The glycemic index (GI) is a value used to measure exactly how much specific foods rise blood sugar levels.

Foods room classified as low, medium, or high glycemic foods and also ranked ~ above a scale of 0–100.

The reduced the GI of a certain food, the much less it may impact your blood street levels (1).

Here space the 3 GI ratings:

Low: 55 or lessMedium: 56–69High: 70 or above

Foods high in refined carbs and also sugar room digested much more quickly and often have a high GI, while foodstuffs high in protein, fat, or fiber typically have a low GI. Foodstuffs that contain no carbs room not assigned a GI and also include meat, fish, poultry, nuts, seeds, herbs, spices, and oils.

Other components that affect the GI that a food include the ripeness, food preparation method, type of street it contains, and also amount of processing it has undergone (2).

Keep in mind the the glycemic table of contents is various from the glycemic pack (GL).

Unlike the GI, which doesn’t take right into account the amount of food eaten, the GL determinants in the number of carbs in a offer of a food come determine how it may affect blood sugar levels (1).

For this reason, it’s crucial to take it both the glycemic index and glycemic fill into consideration when choosing foods to assist support healthy and balanced blood sugar levels (1).


The glycemic table of contents is supplied to measure exactly how much a certain food rises your blood sugar levels. The greater the GI, the higher the result on blood sugar levels.

The low glycemic diet entails swapping out foodstuffs with a high GI because that those v a reduced GI.


Following a low glycemic diet might offer several wellness benefits, including:

How to follow

A healthy, low glycemic diet should consist of mostly low GI foods, together as:

Fruits: apples, berries, oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruitNon-starchy vegetables: broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, spinach, tomatoesWhole grains: quinoa, couscous, barley, buckwheat, farro, oatsLegumes: lentils, black color beans, chickpeas, kidney beans

Foods there is no a GI worth or through a really low GI can additionally be enjoyed as part of a well balanced low glycemic diet. They include:

Meat: beef, bison, lamb, porkSeafood: tuna, salmon, shrimp, mackerel, anchovies, sardinesPoultry: chicken, turkey, duck, gooseOils: olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, vegetable oilNuts: almonds, macadamia nuts, walnuts, pistachiosSeeds: chia seeds, sesame seeds, hemp seeds, flax seedsHerbs and spices: turmeric, black pepper, cumin, dill, basil, rosemary, cinnamon

Although no foods items are strictly off-limits top top the diet, foods with a high GI should be limited.

Foods through a high GI include:

Bread: white bread, bagels, naan, pita breadRice: white rice, jasmine rice, arborio riceCereals: immediate oats, breakfast cerealsPasta and also noodles: lasagna, spaghetti, ravioli, macaroni, fettuccineStarchy vegetables: mashed potatoes, potatoes, french friesBaked goods: cake, doughnuts, cookies, croissants, muffinsSnacks: chocolate, crackers, microwave popcorn, chips, pretzelsSugar-sweetened beverages: soda, fruit juice, sports drinks

Ideally, shot to replace these foodstuffs with foods items that have a lower GI at any time possible.


Following a short glycemic diet requires swapping out foods that have actually a high GI through low GI alternatives. A short glycemic diet may help manage blood street levels, alleviate your cholesterol, and an increase short-term load loss.

Determining the GI of foods items that you frequently eat have the right to be valuable if you’re adhering to a short glycemic diet.

Here room the GI worths for a couple of ingredients (10, 11):


Apples: 36Strawberries: 41Dates: 42Oranges: 43Banana: 51Mango: 51Blueberries: 53Pineapple: 59Watermelon: 76


Carrots (boiled): 39Plantains (boiled): 66Sweet potato (boiled): 63Pumpkin (boiled): 74Potatoes (boiled): 78


Barley: 28Quinoa: 53Rolled oats: 55Couscous: 65Popcorn: 65Brown rice: 68White rice: 73Whole wheat bread: 74White bread: 75


Soybeans: 16Kidney beans: 24Chickpeas: 28Lentils: 32

Dairy products and dairy alternatives

Soymilk: 34Skim milk: 37Whole milk: 39Ice cream: 51Rice milk: 86


Fructose: 15Coconut sugar: 54Maple syrup: 54Honey: 61Table sugar: 65summary

Knowing whereby your favorite foods loss on the glycemic index can make it much easier to follow a low glycemic diet.

For details foods, the cooking technique used can impact the glycemic index.

For example, fried foods tend to contain a high lot of fat, which deserve to slow the absorption of street in the bloodstream and decrease the GI (12, 13).

Meanwhile, roasting and baking can malfunction resistant strength — a form of starch the resists digestion and is commonly found in foodstuffs like legumes, potatoes, and oats — thus increasing the GI (12, 14).

Conversely, cook is thought to assist retain an ext of the resistant starch and lead to a lower GI, compared with other food preparation methods (12).

The much longer you chef foods favor pasta or rice, the better the digestibility of their starch content, and thus the greater their GI. Together such, it’s ideal to only cook these foods until they reach an al dente texture, definition that they’re tho firm as soon as biting right into them (15, 16).

In addition to the cooking method used, the level of ripeness may also affect the GI of part fruits, consisting of bananas. This is since the quantity of resistant starch decreases throughout the ripening process, resulting in a greater GI (17).

For example, bananas that are completely ripened have a GI of 51, whereas under-ripe bananas have a GI of just 30 (11).

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The degree of ripeness, as well as the method that details foods room cooked and prepared, can influence the GI the the final product.