Glycemic Index

Understanding Glycemic Index (GI)

Glycemic Index or GI is an indication of how quickly carbohydrates are absorbed by the body and converted to glucose. It is a scientific range from 0 to 100 and based on a comparison with pure glucose that is set at level 100. Foods that are high in GI (70-100) are rapidly digested, absorbed, and release of glucose into the bloodstream, while foods low in GI (created from 0-55) are I digested and absorbed and therefore release of glucose into the bloodstream at a much slower rate.

Glycemic Index Food Groups

Generally, Glycemic Index values can be grouped into three (3) categories

  • High GI (70-100): These carbohydrates are rapidly digested and absorbed into the bloodstream, raising blood sugar levels quickly within 1 to 2 hours after eating.
  • Medium GI (56-69): These carbohydrates are digested and absorbed at an intermediate rate and appear to have less of an effect on blood sugar. However, blood sugar still rises after about 2 to 3 hours.
  • Low GI (0-55): These carbohydrates are slowly digested and absorbed, providing a more gentle rise in blood sugar and a slower release of energy over a longer period.

Low Glycemic Index Foods

Low GI carbohydrates can be found in a variety of foods including fresh vegetables, legumes, pulses, and some fruits such as apples and plums. Foods that are lower in GI are generally unprocessed, less refined carbohydrates and contain more fibre.

  • Vegetables - cauliflower, broccoli, sweet potato, spinach, green beans, kale, lettuce, cucumbers and carrots
  • Legumes and pulses – kidney beans, black beans, chickpeas, split peas and lentils
  • Fruits – apples, plums, oranges, strawberries, blueberries
  • Whole grains – barley, quinoa, oats and brown rice

Health Benefits of Low GI Foods

Eating low GI foods provides several health benefits, including:

  • Improved blood glucose control
  • Reduced risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Enhanced feeling of fullness
  • Lower cholesterol levels
  • Reduced inflammation

In addition, low GI foods are generally higher in fibre and antioxidants than their high GI counterparts, which can help protect against chronic diseases and may even promote weight loss.