As a ranking system for carbohydrates, the Glycemic index (GI) is based on their immediate effect on blood glucose levels. It compares carbohydrates gram for gram in individual foods, rating them on a scale of 1-100.
The Glycemic index is a useful tool to help you make better food choices.
It is a good idea to get to know and understand the Glycemic Index, because choosing foods with a low GI rating more often than choosing those with a high GI may help you to:
- Control your blood glucose levels
- Lower your risk of getting diabetes
- Control your cholesterol levels
- Control your appetite
- Lower your risk of getting heart disease
Carbohydrates that break down rapidly during digestion have the highest GI's. Such carbohydrates require less energy to be converted into glucose, which results in faster digestion and a quicker increase of blood glucose.
Carbohydrates that break down slowly, releasing glucose gradually into the blood stream, have a low GI. A lower GI suggests slower rates of digestion and absorption of the sugars and starches in the foods. Choosing foods with lower GI's will keep hunger at bay and help with weight control.
Here are some examples for food and there GI ratings:
- Low GI Below 55 - sour dough bread (54), apple juice (40), pumpernickel (50), oatmeal (48), pasta (54)
- Intermediate GI 56 to 69 - Indian Basmati Rice (58) croissant (67), coca-cola (63), raisin bran (61), whole meal bread (65)
- High GI Above 70 - white bread (70), corn flakes (80), doughnut (76), white rice (98)