The Glycemic Index/Glycemic Load Chart was designed to help people with meal planning and weight loss by identifying what foods to eat/not eat, based on two numbers: the Glycemic Index (GI) and the Glycemic Load (GL).
The Glycemic Index (GI) is a measurement (on a scale from 1 to 100) of how fast a specific food is absorbed and raises your blood sugar. The higher the number, the faster that specific food is absorbed and raises your blood sugar.
Foods with a glycemic index of 70 or higher are high GI foods that are absorbed the fastest. Foods with a glycemic index of 55 or less are low GI foods that are absorbed slower.
The Glycemic Load (GL) is a number that estimates how much a specific food will raise your blood glucose sugar after eating it. One unit of glycemic load approximates the effect of consuming one gram of glucose.
Glycemic Load accounts for how much carbohydrate is in the food, and how much each gram of carbohydrate in the food raises blood sugar levels. Glycemic Load is defined as the grams of available carbohydrate in the food multipled by the food's GI / 100.
For one serving of a food, a GL greater than 20 is considered high, a GL of 11-19 is considered medium, and a GL of 10 or less is considered low. Foods that have a low GL in a typical serving size almost always have a low GI. Foods with an intermediate or high GL in a typical serving size range from a very low to very high GI.
Examples of Low and High GI Foods
Examples of carbohydrate-containing foods with a low GI include all non-starchy vegetables (like broccoli and spinach), dried beans and legumes (like kidney beans and lentils), some starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes, most fruits (like blueberries and apples), and many whole grain breads and cereals (like barley, whole wheat bread, rye bread, and all-bran cereal).
Below are examples of foods based on their GI.
Low GI Foods (55 or less)
100% stone-ground whole wheat or pumpernickel bread
Oatmeal (rolled or steel-cut), oat bran, muesli
Pasta, converted rice, barley, bulgar
Sweet potato, corn, yam, lima/butter beans, peas, legumes and lentils
Most fruits, non-starchy vegetables and carrots
Medium GI Foods (56-69)
Whole wheat, rye and pita bread
Brown, wild or basmati rice, couscous
High GI Foods(70 or more)
White bread or bagel
Corn flakes, puffed rice, bran flakes, instant oatmeal
Shortgrain white rice, rice pasta, macaroni and cheese from mix
Russet potato, pumpkin
Pretzels, rice cakes, popcorn, saltine crackers
Melons and pineapple
Glycemic Index/Glycemic Load Chart (JPEG)
Below is a jpeg (picture) of a Glycemic Index/Glycemic Load Chart that identifies some of the more popular foods.
Glycemic Index/Glycemic Load Chart (PDF Download)
Here is the PDF version (link) of this chart.
Problems with the GI/GL Chart
The GI principle was first developed as a strategy for guiding food choices for people with diabetes. An international GI database is maintained by Sydney University Glycemic Index Research Services in Sydney, Australia. The database contains the results of studies conducted there and at other research facilities around the world.
A basic overview of carbohydrates, blood sugar and GI values is helpful for understanding glycemic index diets, but several new studies show that diets based on the glycemic index, like the South Beach Diet, do not effectively control blood sugar levels.
This is one of the reasons why the author of the Death to Diabetes Diet designed a simpler way for diabetics to identify foods that help to effectively control blood sugar.
One of the other reasons occurred when the author was working as a volunteer for the American Diabetes Association. During a couple of the nutrition and meal planning classes, several members of the ADA diabetic support group complained that the glycemic index was very confusing; plus, it didn't help them with controlling their blood sugar.
Another reason was because the glycemic index, which measures how quickly carbohydrates convert to sugar in your blood, has never been accepted by many dietitians and nutritionists.
A recent study, which examined food questionnaires from more than 1,000 people over the course of five years, did not find any link between the glycemic index of foods and the blood-sugar levels of participants.
The underlying premise, that some foods can seriously raise your blood sugar and as a result cause harm and damage in your body, is true. The main problem is that the glycemic index is not a valid tool to use to determine which foods will do that for you.
A GI value tells us nothing about other nutritional information. For example, whole milk has a GI value of 31 and a GL value of 4 for a 1-cup (250-milliliter) serving. But because of its high fat content, whole milk is a poor choice for weight loss or weight control.
The published GI database is not an exhaustive list of foods, but a list of those foods that have been studied. Many healthy foods with low GI values are not in the database.
The GI value of any food item is affected by several factors, including how the food is prepared, how it is processed and what other foods are eaten at the same time.
The glycemic index values have far too many exceptions to be consistently useful. A classic example is fructose, which has a very low glycemic index yet has been clearly established as a major reason why many people are overweight. This new data clearly supports my assertion that you should avoid using the glycemic index to select your foods.
More importantly, the glycemic index fails to take into account the harm that chemicals and substances (like sucralose, sorbitol, fructose, wheat, gluten) do to your body. Some of these substances cause inflammation while others convert directly into triglycerides and adipose tissue instead of blood glucose, accelerating obesity, diabetes, hypoglycemia and cardiovascular disease.
In addition, the glycemic index doesn't take into account the critical nutrients within the food that nourish the body andcan help to fight a disease like Type 2 diabetes, e.g. vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, antioxidants.
For all of these reasons and more, the author designed a new meal planning model by identifying the 7 key attributes of a healthy food that would address high blood sugar, inflammation, oxidation, glycation and toxicity.
High blood sugar, inflammation, oxidation, glycation and toxicity happen to be 5 of the key biological processes that fuel diseases such as Type 2 diabetes and heart disease and cause major harm and cell damage throughout the body.
If you need more help with your meal planning, we recommend that you get one or more of the following books or guides:
- Death to Diabetes Cookbook
- 90-Day Meal Planner
- Diabetes Meal Planner & Schedule Template
- Boot Camp Meal Planner & Food Tips
- Grocery Meal Planning
- Raw Food Diet & Meal Plan
- Meal Plan for a Typical Day
- 1-Day Meal Planning Guide
- Food Tips for Favorite Foods
Disclaimer: This site does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
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