I am sure you have been told to stay away from or avoid food with a high GI, Glycemic Index. The Glycemic Index (GI) is a ranking that was developed specifically for carbohydrate-based foods. The scale uses a scoring range from 0 to 100. The GI ranking of a particular food lets us know what impact the food is going to have on our blood sugar levels after we have eaten it.

Food groups are ranked compared to a reference food, usually glucose, which has an index value of 100. In short foods high on the GI index elevate our blood sugar levels whereas those low on the GI index have a more stable impact on our blood sugar.

Foods that have a high GI are absorbed, digested and metabolized quickly. This expedited process is what leads to large fluctuations in our blood sugar. If your diet has too many foods with a high GI then you will not only gain weight but there are other problematic side affects you may experience, such as increased insulin levels. These increased levels can lead to  a physiological response in your body that shouts out “hunger” and then we eat more, again.

When we eat foods with a low GI, the result is slower changes in our blood sugar levels and lower insulin levels. These slower and lower changes help us feel full for longer as the “hunger hormones” ghrelin and leptin are controlled.

Research has also shown that when we eat diets rich in low-GI foods we are more likely to see weight loss. Also a low  GI diet reduces our risk of developing not only obesity but type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Below is a list of foods with a high GI as indicated in the number alongside the food item. I don’t think any of these food items would surprise us.

  • Bagel 72
  • Corn chips 72
  • Watermelon 72
  • Honey 73
  • Mashed potatoes 73
  • Cheerios 74
  • Puffed wheat 74
  • Doughnuts 75
  • French fries 76
  • Vanilla wafers 77
  • White bread 79
  • Jelly beans 80
  • Pretzels 81
  • Rice cakes 82
  • Mashed potatoes, instant 83
  • Cornflakes 84
  • Baked potato 85
  • Rice, instant 91
  • French bread 95
  • Parsnips 97
  • Dates 100

It’s healthier if we try to eat foods with a medium or low GI. Foods such as:

  • Most non starchy vegetable < 15
  • Peanuts < 15
  • Low-fat yogurt, no sugar < 15
  • Tomatoes 15
  • Cherries 22
  • Peas 22
  • Plum 24
  • Grapefruit 25
  • Pearled barley 25
  • Peach 28
  • Can peaches, natural juice 30
  • Soy milk 30
  • Baby lima beans 32
  • Fat-free milk 32
  • Low-fat yogurt, with sugar 33
  • Apple 36
  • Pear 36
  • Whole wheat spaghetti 37
  • Tomato soup 38
  • Carrots, cooked 39
  • Apple juice 41
  • All-Bran 42
  • Canned chickpeas 42
  • Custard 43
  • Grapes 43
  • Orange 43
  • Canned lentil soup 44
  • Macaroni 45
  • Pineapple juice 46
  • Banana bread 47
  • Long-grain rice 47
  • Bulgur 48
  • Canned baked beans 48
  • Grapefruit juice 48
  • Green peas 48
  • Oat bran bread 48
  • Old-fashioned porridge 49

There is so much more to cover on the Glycemic Index and how we can group specific foods together to reduce the impact other foods have on our blood sugar and insulin levels.  Check back in a few days for more on this.

Want to make some healthy replacements? For now, write a short list of four or five foods you eat that are found in the high GI category and then look over the low GI foods and begin to make some changes.

Remember – changing your behavior takes time, be patience and kind to yourself. A healthy lifestyle is a marathon and not a sprint!

Let me know what you plan to change and how it goes. Don’t despair if you fall off the GI Wagon, you can always get back up!