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Glycemic Index (GI) - Definition, Effects, How Foods Raise Blood Sugar Compared to Glucose - Glycemic Load

Glycemic Index Explained

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What is the Glycemic Index?

Originally devised to help diabetics manage their blood-glucose levels, the glycemic index (GI) is a ranking of carbohydrates on a scale from 0 to 100 according to the rate at which they raise blood sugar levels after eating. (See also Glycemic Load for a related glycemic ranking system). GI replaces the older classification of carbohydrates into "simple" and "complex" carbs.

High Glycemic Index Foods

Foods with a high GI (70+) are those which are rapidly digested and absorbed and result in marked fluctuations in blood sugar levels. [Medium GI foods rank 56-69 on the glycemic index.] Foods with high glycemic index values are useful for dietary variety and for replenishing muscle fuel stores after strenuous exercise. For people with diabetes who have low blood glucose levels - hypoglycemia - high glycemic index foods can quickly bring blood glucose levels back to normal.

Low Glycemic Index Foods

Low-GI foods (55 or less), by virtue of their slow digestion and absorption, produce gradual rises in blood sugar and insulin levels, and have proven benefits for health. Low GI diets have been shown to improve both glucose and lipid levels in people with diabetes (type 1 and type 2). They have benefits for weight control because they help control appetite and delay hunger. Low GI diets also reduce insulin levels and insulin resistance. Foods with low glycemic index values are useful to include in each meal to lower the overall GI-effect of the diet. Having an eating pattern that is lower in glycemic index is associated with better long term health.

GI Dietary Values For Other Foods

Beans - Low-GI Beans - Bread Rolls - Bread Snacks - Breads - Bread - Low-GI Bread - Cereal - Breakfast Cereal - Low-GI Cereals - Cake - Candy - Cookies - Crackers - Dried Fruit - Fruit Juice - Fruit - Low-GI Fruit - Grains - Low-GI Grains - Ice Cream - Jam/Jelly - Lentils - Milk - Muffins - Noodles - Low-GI Noodles - Nuts - Oats - Pancakes/Waffles - Pasta - Low-GI Pasta - Pastry - Pizza - Potatoes - Low-GI Potatoes - Rice - Low-GI Rice - Snacks - Soft Drinks - Soy Foods - Spaghetti - Sugar - Vegetables - Vegetable Foods - Low-GI Vegetables - Yogurt

Studies into Diet and Glycemic Index

Recent studies from Harvard School of Public Health indicate that the risks of diseases such as type 2 diabetes and coronary heart disease are strongly related to the GI of the overall diet. In 1999, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) recommended that people in industrialised countries base their diets on low-GI foods in order to prevent the most common diseases of affluence, such as coronary heart disease, diabetes and obesity.

Low Glycemic Index Diet Plan

To have a low glycemic index diet, there is no need to eat only low-GI carbohydrate foods - simply substitute one high GI food that you would normally eat (eg. potatoes, white bread) with a low GI food (eg. pasta, whole grain bread) at each meal.

Related Glycemic Index Resources

Low GI Diet
Low GI Diet Foods
Low-GI Diet Meals
Low GI Diet Snacks
How is Glycemic Index Measured
Glycemic Index Advice
Glycemic Index & Weight Loss
Glycemic Index Diets and Obesity
Low GI Diets: Weight Loss Study
Glycemic Index: List of Foods
High GI Foods
Glycemic Index and Foods
What Determines Glycemic Index Values of Carbs
Effects of Fiber on Glycemic Index Value of Foods
Effect of Acid on Glycemic Index Value of Foods
Effects of Fat on Glycemic Index Value of Foods
Glycemic Index and Meals
Low GI Diet and Potatoes
GI Value of Rice, Potatoes, Pasta and Bread
GI Value of Carrots
GI Value of Sugar
Glycemic Index and Fruit
Glycemic Index and Diabetes
Carbs and Glycemic Index

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