G is for Glycemic Index

NUTRITION TIP THURSDAY

G | Glycemic Index

by Lindsey Herr

What is the Glycemic Index?

The Glycemic Index is a scale used for carbohydrates to express how much they cause blood sugar to spike upon consumption when compared to straight glucose. This scale ranks from 0-100 with 100 being the highest blood sugar spikes. Having a quick spike means the food is rapidly digested and broken down and result in glucose fluctuations in the blood-which can cause health risks. Carbohydrates that take longer to absorb and metabolize, are better for your overall health, can reduce risk of chronic disease and promote weight loss. Aiming for foods low on the glycemic index (GI) may be helpful in helping you reach your overall health and nutrition goals.

*Talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian about this carbohydrate plan before making any large changes to your diet!*

American Diabetes Association’s List of Foods and their place on the GI:

Low GI Foods (55 or less)

  • 100% stone-ground whole wheat or pumpernickel bread

  • Oatmeal (rolled or steel-cut), oat bran, muesli

  • Pasta, converted rice, barley, bulgar

  • Sweet potato, corn, yam, lima/butter beans, peas, legumes and lentils

  • Most fruits, non-starchy vegetables and carrots

Medium GI (56-69)

  • Whole wheat, rye and pita bread

  • Quick oats

  • Brown, wild or basmati rice, couscous

High GI (70 or more)

  • White bread or bagel

  • Corn flakes, puffed rice, bran flakes, instant oatmeal

  • Short-grain white rice, rice pasta, macaroni and cheese from mix

  • Russet potato, pumpkin

  • Pretzels, rice cakes, popcorn, saltine crackers

  • Melons and pineapple

Factors that can affect the GI of a food:

  • Ripeness: as a fruit or vegetable ripens, the sugars/starches break down and become simple

  • Cooking: cooking food breaks down the sugars more, al dente pasta has a lower GI than overcooked pasta

  • Processing: eating a whole piece of fruit has a lower GI than the fruit juice because the whole fruit has fiber

Resources:

Diabetes.Org

Glycemic Index-Sydney


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