Wednesday, December 16, 2015

What is the Glycemic Index (GI)?

fresh fruit and vegetables
Photo: Fresh Fruit and Vegetables by Mary LaFrance

What is the Glycemic Index (GI)?

by Susan Elliott

According to Dr. Maria Collazo Clavell of the Mayo Clinic, the glycemic index (GI) is a guide that lists foods based on the effect that they have on the blood sugar level. Foods with a low glycemic index do not raise the blood sugar dramatically, while foods with a higher GI raise the blood sugar higher and at a faster rate. Foods that have a low glycemic index also have the added benefit of leaving a person feeling much more satisfied after meals.

There has been some discussion in recent years that a diet that strictly adheres to the glycemic index is the best diet for patients with Diabetes, and for people who want to lose weight. However, the Diabetes Association has concluded that there is not enough specific information regarding its potential benefits to recommend it for diabetic patients. With that said, implementing a diet based on the glycemic index has not been shown to be harmful, either. In fact, it may be the diet you need to reach your weight loss goals.

Testing a Food's GI

There is a simple way to determine if a food has a low glycemic index. Place a small morsel of food in your mouth and allow it to rest for a minute. If after that minute the foods has begun to break down the food has a high GI level. The breaking down is caused by the acid levels in the mouth. Food with a lower GI will still remain intact after placing it in the mouth for a minute.


According to Dr. Jennie Brand Miller, author of The New Glucose Revolution Low GI Eating Made Easy, beans are a good source of protein with a low glycemic index. Beans such as black beans, white beans, chick peas, navy beans, green lentils, soy beans, split peas, and mung beans should be included in the daily diet.


There are fewer dairy products that fall into the category of having a low glycemic index but some dairy products include low fat yogurt, one percent milk, 2% milk, skim, and soy milk.

fruit and vegetable assortment
Photo: Olearys


Apples, apricots, cherries, avocados, mangos, papaya, pineapple, and cantaloupe, oranges, strawberries, and raspberries are all good low glycemic index choices.



Green vegetables are always a good choice for people trying to eat foods with a low glycemic index. Green vegetables include asparagus, artichokes, Brussels sprouts, green beans, broccoli, peas, lettuce, spinach, zucchini, cabbage and leeks. Other vegetables that are considered to have a low glycemic index are onions, eggplant, cauliflower, mushrooms, radishes, corn, squash and carrots


10 Sites with Low Glycemic Recipes 


 With all the information above, you might decide to try some low GI meals. The recipes on the following sites will give you some good options:


To Learn More, Check Out These Books: 


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