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The Glycemic Index

Posted by on Feb. 9, 2011 at 10:33 AM
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I thought I'd post about the glycemic index because not only is watching carbs important but the kind of carbs you do eat can be important, not just for warding off diabetes but to help you in losing weight by not spiking your bg levels (blood glucose)!  Diabetic or not your blood glucose levels go up and down everytime you eat.  Eating the healthy, lower GI foods can help you not spike your bg levels and allow you to burn off the energy they do give, rather than store it as excess body fat!


What is the glycemic index?The glycemic index, or GI, measures how a carbohydrate-containing food raises blood glucose. Foods are ranked based on how they compare to a reference food– either glucose or white bread. A food with a high GI raises blood glucose more than a food with a medium or low GI.

Meal planning with the GI involves choosing foods that have a low or medium GI. If eating a food with a high GI, you can combine it with low GI foods to help balance the meal. Examples of carbohydrate-containing foods with a low GI include dried beans and legumes (like kidney beans and lentils), all non-starchy vegetables and some starchy vegetables, most fruit, and many whole grain breads and cereals (like barley, whole wheat bread, rye bread, and all-bran cereal). Meats and fats don’t have a GI because they do not contain carbohydrate.

What affects the GI of a food?

Fat and fiber tend to lower the GI of a food. As a general rule, the more cooked or processed a food, the higher the GI; however, this is not always true.

Below are a few specific examples of other factors that can affect the GI of a food:

  • Ripeness and storage time – the more ripe a fruit or vegetable is, the higher the GI
  • Processing – juice has a higher GI than whole fruit; mashed potato has a higher GI than a whole baked potato, stone ground whole wheat bread has a lower GI than whole wheat bread.
  • Cooking method: how long a food is cooked (al dente pasta has a lower GI than soft-cooked pasta)
  • Variety: converted long-grain white rice has a lower GI than brown rice but short-grain white rice has a higher GI than brown rice.

Other things to consider if using the GI:

  • The GI value represents the type of carbohydrate in a food but says nothing about the amount of carbohydrate typically eaten. Portion sizes are still relevant for managing blood glucose and for losing or maintaining weight.
  • The GI of a food is different when eaten alone than it is when combined with other foods. When eating a high GI food, you can combine it with other low GI foods to balance out the effect on blood glucose levels.
  • Many nutritious foods have a higher GI than foods with little nutritional value. For example, oatmeal has a higher GI than chocolate. Use of the GI needs to be balanced with basic nutrition principles of variety for healthful foods and moderation of foods with few nutrients.

Is the GI a better tool than carbohydrate counting?

There is no one diet or meal plan that works for everyone with diabetes. The important thing is to follow a meal plan that is tailored to personal preferences and lifestyle and helps achieve goals for blood glucose, cholesterol and triglycerides levels, blood pressure, and weight management.

Research shows that both the amount and the type of carbohydrate in food affect blood glucose levels. Studies also show that the total amount of carbohydrate in food, in general, is a stronger predictor of blood glucose response than the GI.

Based on the research, for most people with diabetes, the first tool for managing blood glucose is some type of carbohydrate counting. Balancing total carbohydrate intake with physical activity and diabetes pills or insulin is key to managing blood glucose levels.

Because the type of carbohydrate does have an affect on blood glucose, using the GI may be helpful in "fine-tuning" blood glucose management. In other words, combined with carbohydrate counting, it may provide an additional benefit for achieving blood glucose goals for individuals who can and want to put extra effort into monitoring their food choices.

by on Feb. 9, 2011 at 10:33 AM
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Mom2Jack04
by Group Admin on Feb. 9, 2011 at 10:37 AM

It's going to take a few posts, but here is a basic chart based on the GI

Glycemic Index Food Chart

Foods with GI index less than 55 are considered Low Glycemic Index food (GI < 55). Foods with GI index between 55 and 70 are considered intermediate (55< GI <70). High Glycemic Index foods are with GI index more than 70 (GI >70).

| GI Food Chart | Low GI Foods | Medium GI Foods | High GI Foods |

Food List Rating Food Glycemic Index 

Bakery Products

*Pound cake Low 54
Danish pastry Medium 59
Muffin (unsweetened) Medium 62
Cake , tart Medium 65
Cake, angel Medium 67
Croissant Medium 67
Waffles High 76
Doughnut High 76

Beverages

Soya milk Low 30
Apple juice Low 41
Carrot juice Low 45
Pineapple juice Low 46
Grapefruit juice Low 48
Orange juice Low 52

Biscuits

Digestives Medium 58
Shortbread Medium 64
Water biscuits Medium 65
Ryvita Medium 67
Wafer biscuits High 77
**Rice cakes High 77
Mom2Jack04
by Group Admin on Feb. 9, 2011 at 10:38 AM

Breads

Multi grain bread Low 48
Whole grain Low 50
Pita bread, white Medium 57
Pizza, cheese Medium 60
Hamburger bun Medium 61
Rye-flour bread Medium 64
Whole meal bread Medium 69
White bread High 71
White rolls High 73
Baguette High 95

Breakfast Cereals

All-Bran Low 42
Porridge, non instant Low 49
Oat bran Medium 55
Muesli Medium 56
Mini Wheats (wholemeal) Medium 57
Shredded  Wheat Medium 69
Golden Grahams High 71
Puffed wheat High 74
Weetabix High 77
Rice Krispies High 82
Cornflakes High 83

Cereal Grains

Pearl barley Low 25
Rye Low 34
Wheat kernels Low 41
Rice, instant Low 46
Rice, parboiled Low 48
Barley, cracked Low 50
Rice, brown Medium 55
Rice, wild Medium 57
Rice, white Medium 58
Barley, flakes Medium 66
Taco Shell Medium 68
Millet High 71
Mom2Jack04
by Group Admin on Feb. 9, 2011 at 10:38 AM

Dairy Foods

Yogurt low- fat (sweetened) Low 14
Milk, chocolate Low 24
Milk, whole Low 27
Milk, Fat-free Low 32
Milk ,skimmed Low 32
Milk, semi-skimmed Low 34
*Ice-cream (low- fat) Low 50
*Ice-cream Medium 61

Fruits

Cherries Low 22
Grapefruit Low 25
Apricots  (dried) Low 31
Apples Low 38
Pears Low 38
Plums Low 39
Peaches Low 42
Oranges Low 44
Grapes Low 46
Kiwi fruit Low 53
Bananas Low 54
Fruit cocktail Medium 55
Mangoes Medium 56
Apricots Medium 57
Apricots  (tinned in syrup) Medium 64
Raisins Medium 64
Pineapple Medium 66
**Watermelon High 72
Mom2Jack04
by Group Admin on Feb. 9, 2011 at 10:38 AM

Pasta

Spaghetti, protein enriched Low 27
Fettuccine Low 32
Vermicelli Low 35
Spaghetti, whole wheat Low 37
Ravioli, meat filled Low 39
Spaghetti, white Low 41
Macaroni Low 45
Spaghetti, durum wheat Medium 55
Macaroni cheese Medium 64
Rice pasta, brown High 92

Root Crop

Carrots, cooked Low 39
Yam Low 51
Sweet potato Low 54
Potato, boiled Medium 56
Potato, new Medium 57
Potato, tinned Medium 61
Beetroot Medium 64
Potato, steamed Medium 65
Potato, mashed Medium 70
Chips High 75
Potato, micro waved High 82
Potato, instant High 83
**Potato, baked High 85
Parsnips High 97

Snack Food and Sweets

Peanuts Low 15
*M&Ms (peanut) Low 32
*Snickers bar Low 40
*Chocolate bar; 30g Low 49
Jams and marmalades Low 49
*Crisps Low 54
Popcorn Medium 55
Mars bar Medium 64
*Table sugar (sucrose) Medium 65
Corn chips High 74
Jelly beans High 80
Pretzels High 81
Dates High 103
Mom2Jack04
by Group Admin on Feb. 9, 2011 at 10:39 AM

Soups

Tomato soup, tinned Low 38
Lentil soup, tinned Low 44
Black bean soup, tinned Medium 64
Green pea soup, tinned Medium 66

Vegetables and Beans

Artichoke Low 15
Asparagus Low 15
Broccoli Low 15
Cauliflower Low 15
Celery Low 15
Cucumber Low 15
Eggplant Low 15
Green beans Low 15
Lettuce, all varieties Low 15
Low-fat yogurt, artificially sweetened Low 15
Peppers, all varieties Low 15
Snow peas Low 15
Spinach Low 15
Young summer squash Low 15
Tomatoes Low 15
Zucchini Low 15
Soya beans, boiled Low 16
Peas, dried Low 22
Kidney beans, boiled Low 29
Lentils green, boiled Low 29
Chickpeas Low 33
Haricot beans, boiled Low 38
Black-eyed beans Low 41
Chickpeas, tinned Low 42
Baked beans, tinned Low 48
Kidney beans, tinned Low 52
Lentils green, tinned Low 52
Broad beans High 79

Notes: *high in empty calories **low-calorie and nutritious foods

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