3 MIN READ | Wellness

Robert Haynes

Glycemic Index Chart: What It Is and How to Use It

Cite This
Robert Haynes, (2021, October 7). Glycemic Index Chart: What It Is and How to Use It. Psychreg on Wellness. https://www.psychreg.org/glycemic-index-chart-what-it-is-how-use-it/
Reading Time: 3 minutes

It is commonly known that some foods can lead to a drastic sugar spike in the human blood. But, at the same time, many foods can decrease your blood sugar level and stabilise the necessary insulin level in your blood.

This factor becomes especially important when dealing with diabetes, when excess quantities of sugar in human blood may have unfortunate consequences.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, there is much increase in new diabetes cases among people younger than 20 years. 

Nowadays, nearly 34.2 million Americans have diabetes, and more than 88 million American adults live with the risk of having prediabetes. It is the proper link between consuming wrong and bad foods. 

If you live with diabetes, your food choices become one of the essential aspects directly influencing your body. That’s because the total sugar level in your blood now depends on the products you eat every day.

What is a glycemic index chart?

A glycemic index chart is a unique tool that helps maintain better blood sugar management. A few factors can impact the glycemic index of certain foods, including factors such as nutrient composition, cooking method, and ripeness.

Thanks to the glycemic index, people with diabetes can expand their knowledge of the food that they consume, enhance their weight loss, and decrease the level of sugar in their blood and reduce bad cholesterol.

As a rule, foods are classified into three different categories and ranked on a scale of 0–100.

  • Law glycemic 55 and less
  • Medium glycemic 56–69
  • High glycemic 70 or above 

Do not worry, and it sounds much creepier than it is in reality. The lower the glycemic index of a food, the less it may influence your blood sugar levels.

Foods with high levels of carbs and sugar are digested quicker and have a relatively high glycemic index. Foods that do not obtain carbs are not assigned a glycemic index. They usually involve fish, meat, nuts, poultry, herbs, spices, seeds, and oils.

A low glycemic diet may bring lots of health benefits into your life. Among them are:

  • Regulated blood sugar management
  • Increased weight loss
  • Reduced cholesterol level

Generally, a low glycemic diet involves foods such as:

  • Fruits, mostly citrus, such as oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit
  • Non-starchy vegetables, like broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, spinach, tomatoes
  • Whole grains, such as oats, quinoa, couscous, barley, buckwheat, and farro
  • Meat: Beef, pork, lamb, bison
  • Seafood, like tuna, salmon, shrimp, mackerel, sardines
  • Poultry: turkey, chicken duck, goose
  • Oils, among them, are olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, and vegetable oil
  • Nuts such as walnuts, pistachios, almonds, and macadamia nuts
  • Herbs and spices like black pepper, turmeric, cumin, dill, basil, rosemary, cinnamon
  • Seeds: chia, sesame, hemp, and flax seeds

Here are also several examples of foods with a high concentration of glycemic index:

  • Bread: bagels, white bread, naan, pita bread
  • Cereals: instant oats breakfast cereals
  • Pasta and noodles, including lasagna, spaghetti, ravioli, macaroni, fettuccine
  • Baked goods, like cookies, croissants, and cakes
  • Snacks including chocolate, crackers, chips, and pretzels
  • Sweet drinks such as soda, fruit juice, and energy drinks

It sounds a little bit complicated. So let’s try to go further and try to figure out the glycemic index of certain foods that you consume every day:

Fruits 

  • Apples 36
  • Strawberries 41
  • Oranges 43
  • Banana 51
  • Mango 51
  • Pineapple 59
  • Blueberries 53
  • Watermelon 76

Vegetables

  • Carrots 39
  • Sweet potatoes 63
  • Pumpkin 74

Grains

  • Quinoa 53
  • Popcorn 65
  • Brown rice 68
  • White rice 73
  • White bread 75

Legumes

  • Soybeans 16
  • Kidney beans 24
  • Lentils 32

Sweeteners

  • Fructose 15
  • Coconut sugar 54
  • Maple syrup 54
  • Honey 61
  • Table sugar 65

The method of cooking is important

When you are dealing with diabetes, you should keep in mind that how you prepare certain foods can affect the glycemic index. Thus, fried food has more fat in it during the making process. Therefore, we suggest that you give your preference to baking and grilling. Another helpful fact regarding prepping foods is that the longer you cook certain foods such as rice or pasta, the higher your glycemic index. 

Takeaway

By summarising our talk regarding the glycemic index chart, we would like to stress that when you are dealing with diabetes, you should be extra careful and consume solely the right products that will not make things worse. 

By being aware of the glycemic index of the foods you consume every day, you can maintain the right sugar level in your blood and avoid all the negative consequences caused by diabetes.


Robert Haynes did his degree in psychology at the University of Hertfordshire. He is interested in mental health and well-being.


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