Glycemic Index- simple stated the lower the glycemic index of a food the lower its ability to negatively impact blood sugar and insulin levels.  Foods with high glycemic index values can rapidly increase blood sugar and insulin levels.  Labile blood sugar levels leave us open to episodes of both hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and hyperglycemia (high blood sugar), insulin resistance and perhaps even diabetes.  Glycemic of a food is done in relation to the simple sugar glucose.  Glucose is assigned a number of 100, above 60 is considered high glycemic, below 45 is low glycemic and 45-60 is of course, in the middle.

Glycemic load is another term to take into account when making the determination of a food’s impact on blood sugar levels.  Glycemic load takes into account the amount of carbohydrates in an average serving size of that particular food.  So a food such as carrots can have a higher glycemic index but a low glycemic load because the total amount of carbohydrates in serving size of carrots is low compared, for example, a serving size of rice.  Some would argue that the important information is the glycemic load as it is more clinically relevant.  Here a glycemic load of less than 10 is considered low and greater than 20 is considered high.  While there are many glycemic index charts that are readily available, below I have listed a few common foods.

 

Low Glycemic load

High Glycemic load

 

Fruits

 

 

 

 

Blueberries

Pineapples

 

 

Cherries

Raisins

 

 

Apples

Dates

 

 

Grapes

 

 

 

Peaches

 

 

 

plums

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beverages

Tomato juice

Apple juice

 

 

Water

Cranberry juice

 

 

 

Orange soda

 

 

 

 

 

Cereal and grains

Pumpernickel bread

Instant oatmeal

 

 

Couscous

White rice

 

 

Quinoa

Corn flakes

 

 

 

Spaghetti

 

 

 

 

 

Beans and Nuts
(low glycemic)

Kidney beans

 

 

 

Lentils

 

 

 

Black bean

 

 

 

Chickpeas

 

 

 

almonds

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vegetables

Carrots

Corn on the cobb

 

 

Broccoli

Potatoes