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  • Writer's pictureSomnath banerjee

What is Glycemic Index GI? Everything you need to know

A glycemic index is a tool that is frequently used to encourage better blood sugar management.

A food's glycemic index is influenced by a number of characteristics, including its nutrient values, cooking style, ripeness, and degree of processing.

The glycemic index can help you not only be more aware of what you're eating, but it can also help you lose weight, lower your blood sugar levels, and lower your cholesterol.

This article delves into the glycemic index, explaining what it is, how it might affect your health, and how to use it. Read how GI help reduce blood sugar levels

What exactly is the glycemic index?

The glycemic index (GI) is a measurement of how much certain foods raise blood sugar levels.

Foods are categorized as low, medium, or high glycemic on a scale of 0-100. The lower a food's GI, the less it may affect your blood sugar levels.

The three GI ratings are as follows:

  • Low: 55 or lower

  • Medium: 56 - 69

  • High: 70+

Those high in refined carbohydrates and sugar are digested more quickly and have a higher GI, whereas foods high in protein, fat, or fiber have a lower GI. Meat, fish, poultry, nuts, seeds, herbs, spices, and other foods with no carbohydrates are not assigned a GI.

Other factors influencing a food's GI include its ripeness, cooking style, the type of sugar it contains, and the amount of processing it has experienced.

Keep in mind that the glycemic index is not the same as the glycemic load (GL).

Unlike the GI, which does not include the quantity of food consumed, the GL considers the number of carbs in a portion of food to evaluate how it may alter blood sugar levels.

As a result, when choosing meals to assist support healthy blood sugar levels, it's critical to consider both the glycemic index and the glycemic load.

Low glycemic index diet

The low glycemic diet entails replacing foods with a high GI with those with a lower GI.


A low glycemic diet may have various health benefits, including:

Improved blood sugar control

A low GI diet has been shown in numerous trials to lower blood sugar levels and improve blood sugar management in persons with type 2 diabetes.

Increase in Weight Loss

According to certain studies, following a low GI diet may boost short-term weight loss. More research is needed to see how it impacts long-term weight management.

Reduction in Cholesterol Levels

A low GI diet may help lower total and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, both of which are risk factors for heart disease.

Glycemic Index: How to Do It?

A healthy, low glycemic diet should include largely low GI items like:

  • Apples, berries, oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruit

  • Broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, spinach, and tomatoes are examples of non-starchy vegetables.

  • Quinoa, couscous, barley, buckwheat, farro, and oats are examples of whole grains.

  • Lentils, black beans, chickpeas, and kidney beans are examples of legumes.

Foods with no or extremely low GI values can also be consumed as part of a well-balanced low glycemic diet. They are as follows:

  • Tuna, salmon, shrimp, mackerel, anchovies, and sardines are examples of seafood.

  • Poultry includes chicken, turkey, duck, and goose.

  • Olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, and vegetable oil are examples of oils.

  • Almonds, macadamia nuts, walnuts, and pistachios are examples of nuts.

  • Chia seeds, sesame seeds, hemp seeds, and flax seeds are examples of seeds.

  • Turmeric, black pepper, cumin, dill, basil, rosemary, and cinnamon are among the herbs and spices used.

Although no foods are explicitly forbidden, foods with a high GI should be avoided.

The following foods have a high GI

  • White bread, bagels, naan, and pita bread

  • Rice varieties include white rice, jasmine rice, and arborio rice.

  • Cereals include quick oats and breakfast cereals.

  • Pasta and noodle dishes include lasagna, spaghetti, ravioli, macaroni, and fettuccine.

  • Mashed potatoes, potatoes, and french fries are examples of starchy vegetables.

  • Cake, doughnuts, cookies, croissants, and muffins are examples of baked goods.

  • Chocolate, crackers, microwave popcorn, chips, and pretzels are some of the snacks available.

  • Soda, fruit juice, and sports drinks all contain sugar.

Whenever possible, attempt to substitute these items with foods that have a lower GI.

Food glycemic index

If you follow a low glycemic diet, determining the GI of commonly consumed items can be beneficial.

The GI values of a few substances are listed below.


  • Apples: 36

  • Strawberries: 41

  • Dates: 42

  • Oranges: 43

  • Banana: 51

  • Mango: 51

  • Blueberries: 53

  • Pineapple: 59

  • Watermelon: 76


  • Carrots (boiled): 39

  • Plantains (boiled): 66

  • Sweet potatoes (boiled): 63

  • Pumpkin (boiled): 74

  • Potatoes (boiled): 78


  • Barley: 28

  • Quinoa: 53

  • Rolled oats: 55

  • Couscous: 65

  • Popcorn: 65

  • Brown rice: 68

  • White rice: 73

  • Whole wheat bread: 74

  • White bread: 75


  • Soybeans: 16

  • Kidney beans: 24

  • Chickpeas: 28

  • Lentils: 32

Dairy products or other Alternatives

  • Soymilk: 34

  • Skim milk: 37

  • Whole milk: 39

  • Ice cream: 51

  • Rice milk: 86

  • Sweeteners

  • Fructose: 15

  • Coconut sugar: 54

  • Maple syrup: 54

  • Honey: 61

  • Table sugar: 65

Cooking and ripening effects

The cooking process used for various foods can influence the glycemic index.

Fried foods, for example, have a high-fat content, which can impede sugar absorption in the circulation and lower the GI.

Meanwhile, roasting and baking can break down resistant starch, a type of starch that resists digestion and is present in foods such as beans, potatoes, and oats, raising the GI.

When compared to other cooking processes, boiling is expected to help retain more of the resistant starch and result in a lower GI.

The longer you cook foods like pasta or rice, the more digestible the starch content becomes, and hence the higher the GI. As a result, it's advisable to only cook these meals until they're al dente, which means they're still firm when biting into them.

In addition to the cooking method, the degree of maturity of some fruits, such as bananas, may impact their GI. This is due to the fact that the amount of resistant starch reduces during the ripening process, resulting in a higher GI.

For example, fully matured bananas have a GI of 51, but underripe bananas have a GI of 30.

In conclusion

The glycemic index, or GI, is a measurement that determines how much a food affects blood sugar levels.

Several factors influence a food's glycemic index, including nutrient composition, ripeness, cooking method, and quantity of processing.

A low glycemic diet may have various health benefits, including balancing blood sugar levels, lowering cholesterol, and increasing short-term weight loss.



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