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The Weight Loss Centre

The Glycemic Index Explained

 

The glycemic index is a ranking of carbohydrates based on their immediate effect on blood glucose (blood sugar) levels. It compares foods gram for gram of carbohydrate. Carbohydrates that breakdown quickly during digestion have the highest glycemic indexes. The blood glucose response is fast and high. Carbohydrates that break down slowly, releasing glucose gradually into the blood stream, have a low glycemic index.

 

Foods with a high glycemic index convert into sugar very quickly, with negative physical effects. Foods with a low glycemic index turn into sugar gradually, helping maintain your body's chemical balance. In general, foods with a low index are preferable.

 

Glycemic Load measures the amount of sugar a food actually releases in the body. Foods with a low glycemic load usually have a low glycemic index, yet still have a low glycemic load. Other foods have both a high index and a high load. You should avoid high load foods as a regular part of your meal plan.

 

When you choose carbohydrate foods, check both their glycemic index and glycemic load. Detailed tables with this information are widely available. Use the chart below to get started.

 

High Glycemic Index

Fruits and Vegetables

Starches

Corn Bagel
Cranberry juice Bread (white)
Orange juice* Refined cereal
Raisin Granola
  Muffin
  Pasta
  Potato
  Pretzel
  Rice
  Tortilla (flour)
 

Medium Glycemic Index

Fruits and Vegetables

Starches

Apricot French Fries
Grape Oatmeal
Pineapple Pita Bread
Watermelon Waffle
 

Low Glycemic Index

Fruits and Vegetables

Starches

Apple* Barley*
Asparagus* Black Beans*
Broccoli* Kidney Bean*
Brussles Sprout* Lentil*
Cauliflower*  
Celery*  
Cherry*  
Cucumber*  
Grapefruit*  
Green Bean*  
Green Pepper*  
Kiwi Fruit*  
Lettuce*  
Onion*  
Orange*  
Peach*  
Plum*  
Spinach*  
Strawberry*  
Tomato*  
Zucchini*  

 

* Low glycemic load foods

 

Simply eating more fruits and vegetables is not the answer - they must be the right fruits and vegetables. Starchy vegetables such as peas or lentils (200 to 250 calories per cup) are healthy, but they contain more calories than you may want.

 

If you need to eat more to satisfy your hunger, add low glycemic load vegetables. For example, spinach and asparagus are better choices than higher calorie corn and peas. A cup of spinach topped with 1/2 cup of tomato sauce has only about 90 calories, but it gives you nutrients from two colour groups.

 

Why Not Brown and Beige?

 

When considering which foods to enjoy sparingly, also use colour as a guideline. Many brown and beige carbohydrates, like pasta, beans and potatoes, while healthy, also tend to be high in calories.
 

 

Glycemic Index Range

Low Glycemic Index = 55 or less

Medium Glycemic Index = 56 - 69

High Glycemic Index = 90 or more

 

Glycemic Load Range

Low Glycemic Load = 10 or less

Medium Glycemic Load = 11 - 19

High Glycemic Load = 20 or more

 

 
 
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