Glycemic index (GI) offers an estimate of how meals have an effect on blood glucose ranges. The purpose of utilizing the index is to handle blood sugar spikes and keep regular power all through the day.

Some folks with sort 2 diabetes, these on low-carb diets, or those that try to shed some pounds may select to make use of glycemic index. Nevertheless, not everybody agrees that the numbers are correct sufficient to be useful.

There may be contradictory and considerably complicated data surrounding the usage of the glycemic index to decide on particular meals to eat. Here is what it’s best to find out about how GI works.


Some research counsel that following a weight loss plan decrease in glycemic index may also help to handle diabetes. Selecting meals which can be much less prone to produce a blood sugar spike could be a wholesome preventative alternative for individuals who have issues processing giant will increase in blood glucose (resembling these with diabetes, prediabetes, insulin resistance, or metabolic syndrome).

The GI quantity assigned to every meals offers an estimate of how that meals impacts blood sugar ranges. Selecting meals or avoiding meals based mostly on GI may assist to handle blood sugar or weight; nevertheless, GI is sophisticated, and there are numerous variables to contemplate.

The GI of anyone meals can range relying on a number of components resembling cooking, mixing, form, density, molecular construction, fiber content material, and meals processing strategies. Meal mixtures and whether or not or not you eat protein and fiber together with your carbohydrates also can play a job in glycemic response and the way complete GI is calculated.

Generally, sure meals selections could also be decrease in GI however will not be thought of to be wholesome meals selections. For instance, watermelon has a GI of 72, and a Snickers sweet bar has a GI of 41. For many of us who eat sufficient energy each day, selecting watermelon over a sweet bar shall be a greater meals alternative.

The glycemic index just isn’t the one instrument accessible. There are various strategies that may assist folks handle blood sugar and select wholesome carbohydrate meals.


To totally perceive the professionals and cons of utilizing the glycemic index, it’s useful to find out how the numbers are calculated and assigned.

Researchers used a bunch of wholesome folks to find out the index. To start, the people within the research ate meals with a normal quantity of carbohydrates (often 50 grams). Then, their blood was examined each quarter-hour to see how a lot (and how briskly) their blood sugar rose.

Utilizing the glycemic index, every meals consumed is rated on a scale of 1–100. Meals that elevate blood sugar sharply and shortly are given the next rating. Meals that raises blood sugar modestly and at a extra regular tempo is assigned a decrease rating.

As a degree of reference, consuming pure glucose (sugar) is assigned a GI rank of 100. All different meals are ranked in relation to glucose’s GI.

A GI rating of lower than 55 is taken into account to be a low GI. A rating increased than 70 is taken into account excessive GI.

A meals with a glycemic index of 95 would elevate blood sugar nearly as a lot as pure glucose, whereas a meals with a GI of 20 wouldn’t elevate blood sugar a lot in any respect.

The College of Sydney in Sydney, Australia, maintains a world database of GI scores. Since 1995, a bunch of researchers, dietitians, and scientists on the Boden Institute of Weight problems, Vitamin, Train, and Consuming Issues, and Charles Perkins Centre have maintained the database and associated web site.

Glycemic Load

The glycemic index doesn’t take portion measurement under consideration—an necessary truth to notice for many who must handle their blood sugar.

A meals’s influence on blood glucose is decided by its sugar content material and the quantity consumed. Due to this fact, the glycemic load (GL) makes an attempt to mix these ideas.

A meals’s glycemic load is a rating that takes each the glycemic index and portion measurement under consideration.

Meals with a low glycemic load could have a quantity starting from 1 to 10. Meals with a excessive glycemic load are assigned a GL of 20 or extra. Medium GL meals fall inside these ranges.



Whereas the glycemic index is usually a useful instrument for some, there are issues in regards to the accuracy of the numbers.

Many components affect the ultimate GI quantity, resembling bodily variations between the folks examined, meals preparation strategies, laboratory methods, and regular variations between meals.

Moreover, the ultimate quantity assigned is an estimate based mostly on the averages of all particular person bodily responses—which have been presumably based mostly on research carried out in places world wide.

For instance, a GI quantity for Froot Loops cereal was assigned a GI of 69, however the vary reported by particular person take a look at topics was between 60 and 78.

A meals’s GI rating is usually introduced as a spread representing the best and lowest values from totally different research. However meals and people can range an amazing deal. The glycemic index can present normal details about carbohydrates, and the idea will be helpful in some conditions. Nevertheless, customers must maintain the scope of the index in thoughts. The easiest way to inform how a meals impacts your blood sugar is to verify your personal blood sugar earlier than and two hours after consuming.

Total Vitamin

One other concern amongst some well being consultants is that the glycemic index doesn’t take general vitamin under consideration. For instance, a meals with a low GI rating won’t have a powerful influence on blood sugar, however that doesn’t essentially imply the meals is wholesome.

For instance, ice cream is usually a low GI meals, with a minimal rating of 21. Most vitamin consultants would agree that ice cream is a much less wholesome alternative than brown rice—a excessive fiber meals that has a GI vary of fifty to 87.

Glycemic index additionally doesn’t account for a meals’s sodium, vitamin, or mineral content material, nor different vitamin components that an individual would need to think about earlier than together with a meals of their weight loss plan.

Restricted Meals

Meals examined for the glycemic index are excessive in carbohydrates. Holding in thoughts that the usual quantity of carbohydrate is 50 grams, spaghetti is included within the index as a result of it’s affordable that one may eat 1¼ cups of spaghetti (the quantity it might take so that you can get 50 grams).

However, it might be troublesome to get 50 grams of carbohydrate from consuming uncooked broccoli (you’d must eat roughly 10 cups in a single sitting). Thus, broccoli (and different meals you’d must eat quite a lot of to tip the carb meter) will not be examined for the glycemic index.

Diversified GI Reactions

When a meals is examined for the glycemic index, there’s often a considerable quantity of variation between the members within the research. This makes it troublesome to inform how a selected particular person will react to a selected meals. 

A research from 2015 that investigated consistency in meals responses discovered that every particular person within the research reacted equally to meals on totally different days. That stated, there was additionally an amazing diploma of variation between folks consuming the identical factor.

Restricted Vary

Meals examined for the glycemic index fall into a reasonably slim vary. Listed below are just a few examples.

  • Potatoes and pancakes usually have a GI of over 90.
  • Medium-grain rice, rice pasta, many baked items, and a few processed cereals are above 80.
  • Sports activities drinks, white bread, rutabaga, and watermelon rank within the 70s.
  • Numerous beans, grapefruit, and nuts are on the low finish of the size with GIs under 40.

Many of the meals examined have GIs between 40 and 70. Holding in thoughts that GIs are based mostly on averages and never actual numbers, it’s troublesome to estimate the precise distinction between meals.

Does Not Account for Meals

The glycemic index solely offers data for a single given meals. Nevertheless, in most circumstances, we eat multiple meals at a time. The truth is, we create most meals and snacks by combining meals.

After we eat totally different carbohydrate meals in a meal, how can we depend it? Protein and fats have a tendency to decrease a meal’s glycemic response, however we now have no approach of realizing how a lot—in need of every particular person testing their very own blood (which is unreasonable in on a regular basis life).


Researchers have studied the usage of glycemic index with combined outcomes. Many of the analysis has been centered on the usage of the GI for weight reduction, decreasing the danger of heart problems, and diabetes administration.

A assessment performed in 2012 acknowledged that changing fatty meals with sugary meals can have a detrimental impact on weight management and an individual’s danger for cardiovascular and inflammatory illness. It additionally recommended that utilizing the GI to decide on more healthy meals may cut back a few of this danger.

One other managed feeding research in contrast a DASH-type weight loss plan with low GI meals to a DASH-type weight loss plan with increased GI meals (each with low carbohydrate content material). The researchers concluded that selecting low GI meals didn’t lead to enhancements in insulin sensitivity, lipid ranges, or systolic blood stress.

A research printed in African Well being Sciences in 2016 examined the advantages and shortcomings of utilizing the ideas of low glycemic indices and glycemic load meals as key drivers within the dietary administration of sort 2 diabetes. In view of discrepancies in GI and GL scores, the researchers concluded that folks ought to stability the numbers with different data earlier than together with particular meals within the weight loss plan.

A 2018 assessment analyzing the usage of GI for illness prevention printed related findings. The assessment’s authors acknowledged that “Different measures of dietary high quality, resembling fiber or complete grains, could also be extra prone to predict well being outcomes.”

Analysis has offered combined outcomes on the usage of the glycemic index to handle diabetes, weight, or danger for heart problems. Many scientists conclude that different components could have a larger influence on general well being.

Glycemic Index Record

Listed below are just a few examples of how meals evaluate based mostly on glycemic index, in keeping with the College of Sydney Glycemic Index Database:


Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

All of those are 50g parts.

  • Fructose: 21-23
  • Glucose: 93-100
  • Honey, pure: 58
  • Lactose: 43-46
  • Sucrose (granulated desk sugar): 60
  • Maltitol: 26

Dairy Merchandise

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman 
  • Milk, common (full fats): 11–41
  • Milk, skim: 32-37
  • Yogurt with out added sugar: 17-21


Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman
  • White bread, Marvel, enriched flour: 71-77
  • Complete wheat bread made with 100% complete wheat flour: 52–87
  • Muffins: can vary based mostly on components from 37 to over 100
  • Muffins: can vary considerably based mostly on components from low 30s to excessive 80s
  • Pancakes: can vary based mostly on components from 46 to over 100
  • Waffles: some manufacturers estimated to be about 76


Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman
  • Rice Muffins: 61–91
  • Excessive-fiber rye crispbread: 59
  • Stoned Wheat Thins: 67

Chilly Cereal

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman
  • All-Bran breakfast cereal: 30–55
  • Bran Buds: 58
  • Bran Buds with Psyllium: 47
  • Cornflakes: 72–92 (American cornflakes have been 92)
  • Corn Chex: 83
  • Froot Loops: 69
  • Golden Grahams: 71
  • Grape Nuts: 67–80
  • Life: 66
  • Puffed Wheat: 67–80
  • Rice Chex: 89
  • Rice Krispies: 82
  • Shredded Wheat: 67-83
  • Particular Ok: 54–84
  • Whole: 76
  • Weetabix: 75

Sizzling Cereal

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman
  • Cream of Wheat: 66
  • On the spot Cream of Wheat: 74
  • Oatmeal from rolled oats (not on the spot): 50–75
  • Fast-cooking oats: 65


Grains listed are boiled complete until acknowledged in any other case.

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman
  • Barley: 22–48
  • Barley, cracked: 50
  • Barley, rolled: 66
  • Buckwheat: 49–63
  • Cornmeal boiled in water: 69
  • Couscous (processed wheat): 61–69
  • Millet: 71
  • Rice, long-grained white: 50–69
  • Rice, quick and medium-grained white: 75-89
  • Rice, brown: 50–87
  • Wheat, complete kernels: 30–48
  • Wheat, bulgur (cracked wheat): 46–53


Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

The glycemic index of pasta constituted of wheat (most pasta) is determined by the way in which it’s cooked and what it’s cooked with.

Pasta cooked “al dente” (considerably agency) has the bottom glycemic index. The longer you cook dinner it, the softer it’s, and the upper the GI.

  • Mung bean noodles, boiled: 39-45
  • Rice pasta (together with brown) 51–92
  • Wheat pasta: Most research present GIs within the 40s and 50s
  • Gluten-free pasta: 54


Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman
  • Apples: 28–44
  • Apricots, uncooked: 34-57
  • Apricots, canned in gentle syrup: 64
  • Apricots, dried: 30-32
  • Apricot fruit unfold, lowered sugar: 55
  • Banana, underripe: 30
  • Banana, overripe: 52
  • Banana, not specified: 46–70
  • Cantaloupe: 65-70
  • Cherries, bitter: 22
  • Dates, not specified: 62
  • Grapefruit: 25
  • Grapes: 43–49
  • Kiwi fruit: 47–58
  • Mango: 41–60
  • Orange: 31–51
  • Papaya: 56–60
  • Peach: 28–56
  • Pear: 33–42
  • Pineapple: 51–66
  • Plum: 24–53
  • Raisins: 49-66
  • Strawberries: 40
  • Watermelon: 72-80

Fruit Juice

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  • Carrot juice: 43
  • Cranberry juice cocktail: 52–68
  • Grapefruit juice: 48
  • Orange juice: 46–57
  • Pineapple juice: 46
  • Tomato juice: 33

Non-Starchy Greens

Most non-starchy greens will not be examined as a result of an individual must eat a big amount to achieve the 50 grams of carbohydrate required for the take a look at.

Many greens trigger little or no rise in blood sugar as a result of the small quantity of carbohydrate they comprise is balanced with fiber. Because of this, low-glycemic diets typically name veggies “free” meals.

Some greens, resembling tomatoes and carrots, for instance, comprise extra carbohydrates and due to this fact can lead to a elevate in blood sugar. In accordance with the College of Sydney database, uncooked carrots have an glycemic index of 16.

Starchy Greens

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman
  • Beets: 64
  • Corn: 52
  • Parsnips, peeled, boiled: 52
  • Potato: 23–118 (relying on potato sort and preparation)
  • Potato, on the spot: 74–97
  • Rutabaga: 72
  • Candy potato: 44–94

Candy potatoes and yams cowl all kinds of species which can be known as totally different names relying on the place you might be on the earth. For instance, garnet yams within the U.S. are a kind of candy potato. Species are seldom given within the tables.


Except in any other case famous, the numbers listed seek advice from dried beans or peas that are boiled.

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman
  • Black-eyed peas: 33–50
  • Butter beans: 26–36
  • Chickpeas (garbanzo beans): 31–36
  • Chickpeas, canned: 38-42
  • Kidney beans (dried and boiled): 23–42
  • Kidney beans, canned: 52
  • Navy beans: 30–39
  • Navy beans, stress cooked: 29–59
  • Peas, dried, break up: 25
  • Pinto beans: 39
  • Pinto beans, canned: 45

Nuts and Snack Meals

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman
  • Cashews: 22-27
  • Corn chips: 42-74
  • Ice Cream: 21–80
  • Peanuts: 7–23 (common 14)
  • Popcorn: 55–89
  • Pop Tarts: 70
  • Potato chips: 51–60


Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman
  • Jelly beans: 76–80
  • Kudos Chocolate Chip Snack Bar: 62
  • Life Savers: 70
  • Mars Bar: 62–68
  • Skittles: 70
  • Snickers: 41-68 (for plain taste)

Gentle Drinks

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman
  • Coca Cola: 53–63
  • Gatorade: 78
  • GatorLode, orange taste: 100

A Phrase From Verywell

Whereas utilizing the glycemic index is useful for some, it’s not an efficient instrument for others. In case you think about using it, attempt to collect extra details about a meals’s vitamin to make an knowledgeable choice. Speak to your healthcare supplier, registered dietitian, or diabetes educator about how greatest to handle your medical situation and general wellness.

Why Low Glycemic Meals Could Not Work for Weight Loss