• Sakro

Carbs and the Glycemic Index

ou may have heard about the glycemic index and wondered what it is all about.

The glycemic index is a ranking of carbohydrates based on their immediate effect

on blood glucose (blood sugar) levels. It compares foods gram for gram of

carbohydrate. Carbohydrates that breakdown quickly during digestion have the

highest glycemic indexes. The blood glucose response is fast and high.

Carbohydrates that break down slowly, releasing glucose gradually into the

bloodstream, have low glycemic indexes.

Foods with a high glycemic index convert into sugar very quickly, with negative

physical effects. Foods with a low glycemic index turn into sugar gradually, helping

maintain your body's chemical balance. In general, foods with a low index are


Glycemic Load measures the amount of sugar a food actually releases in the body.

Foods with a low glycemic load usually have a low glycemic index, yet still have a

low glycemic load. Other foods have both a high index and a high load. It's best to

avoid high load foods as a regular part of your meal plan.

When you choose carbohydrate foods, check both their glycemic index and

glycemic load. Detailed tables with this information are widely available. Use the

chart below to get started.

High Glycemic Index

Fruits and Vegetables

* Corn

* Cranberry juice

* Orange juice*

* Raisin


* Bagel

* Bread (white)

* Refined cereal

* Granola

* Muffin

* Pasta

* Potato

* Pretzel

* Rice

* Tortilla (flour)

Medium Glycemic Index

Fruits and Vegetables






French Fries


Pita Bread


Low Glycemic Index

Fruits and Vegetables

* Apple*

* Asparagus*

* Broccoli*

* Brussels sprout*

* Cauliflower*

* Celery*

* Cherry*

* Cucumber*

* Grapefruit*

* Green Bean*

* Green pepper*

* Kiwi*

* Lettuce*

* Onion*

* Orange*

* Peach*

* Plum*

* Spinach*

* Strawberry*

* Tomato*

* Zucchini*

* * Low glycemic load foods.

Simply eating more fruits and vegetables is not the answer - they must be the

right fruits and vegetables. Starchy vegetables such as peas or lentils (200 to 250

calories per cup) are healthy, but they contain more calories than you may want. If

you need to eat more to satisfy your hunger, add low glycemic load vegetables. For

example, spinach and asparagus are better choices than higher calorie corn and

peas. A cup of spinach topped with 1/2 cup of tomato sauce has only about 90

calories, but it gives you nutrients from two color groups.

Why Not Brown and Beige?

When considering which foods to enjoy sparingly, also use color as a guideline.

Many brown and beige carbohydrates, like pasta, beans and potatoes, while

healthy, also tend to be high in calories.

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