Glycemic Index of Foods

Glycemic Index of Foods

 Why Is it Important to Look at Glycemic Index of Foods?

Glycemic Index of foods is important because it determines how much insulin your body is going to need after the meal. The higher the Glycemic Load, the higher the Insulin Requirements. It is believed that eating high glycemic foods such as Bagels, Doughnuts, white breads, white rice, sweetened beverages etc., the body starts to go into Insulin Resistance. The Insulin Resistance, in turn will lead to higher levels of Insulin circulating in the blood stream at baseline setting the stage for insulin resistance. Since insulin is an anabolic(body building hormone), this can not only lead to weight gain, but also lead to central distribution of weight. Research has shown that central distribution of weight leads to increased risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and other health problems.

What happens if I am Insulin Resistant?

Studies have shown that up to 70% of the United States population currently has some degree of Insulin Resistance. If you are insulin resistant, your basal insulin levels will be high. Since Insulin is the principal anabolic(body building) hormone in the body, people with insulin resistance tend to gain weight, especially in the belly and upper part of the body, one area not good for the body to have a lot of fat! As per research from Mayo Clinic and other places, belly fat produces harmful chemicals that raise body’s inflammation which in turn raises the risk of many health problems including cardiovascular disease. In fact, most human disease starts with inflammation including that of Cancers. No wonder, obese people have higher risk of overall disease risk including that of cancer. Watch this excellent Youtube video to understand insulin

Tips for Avoiding Insulin Resistance

According to the American Diabetes Association, nearly two million new cases of diabetes were diagnosed in people aged 20 years and older in 2010. Since the grossly misleading food pyramid was introduced, the incidence of type 2 diabetes has gone up as much as 400 percent in the United States. Pre-diabetes, also called insulin resistance syndrome or metabolic syndrome, affects about a third of all Americans. If you have some extra weight especially around your waist, you might be insulin resistant! An obesity medicine physician specializing in the medical management of obesity and insulin resistance might be able to help. W8MD physicians have specialized obesity medicine training and are well versed with managing insulin resistance and other metabolic effects of weight. W8MD physicians can help you lose weight safely, effectively using proven non surgical methods. Call (800)W8MD-007 for more information.

  • Get enough protein. If the body gets carbohydrates without enough protein, it goes into insulin resistance. Most people need about 30 grams of protein at each meal. One egg is about 7 grams. As we evolved as hunters and gatherers, we are designed to eat a non-grain based diet rich in protein, fruits, nuts and vegetables.
  • Try to work more physical activity into your day. Both exercise and resistance training can help reduce your risk of diabetes, and also helps to control it once you have it.
  • Eat more fiber. Fiber helps reduce your risk of diabetes by improving your blood sugar control. Try more fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, nuts, and seeds.
  • Choose whole grains. When you do eat grains, look for the word “whole” in the ingredient list. Whole wheat, stone-ground whole wheat, brown rice, and oats are all whole-grain ingredients.
  • Eat fewer simple carbohydrates. These foods, with high glycemic index, break down quickly in the body, and can lead to rapid fluctuations in blood sugar levels. Go easy on foods like white rice, white bread, white pasta, refined flours, candy, fruit juice, soda pop, and baked goods made with white flour. The key is to understand glycemic Index of foods and focus on low glycemic foods.
  • Get enough sleep. When you’re sleep deprived, your body drives you to eat more simple carbohydrates. Get at least 7-8 hours a night.
  • Get help from Obesity Medicine physicians. You probably tried them all and still cannot lose weight! You might want to get help from physicians trained in Obesity Medicine that can help deal with the complex issues leading to weight gain.

W8MD Glycemic Index Guide

In general, you want to limit the high glycemic foods, have limited medium glycemic foods and have mostly low glycemic foods with adequate protein, fat, and other nutrients. Protein is generally low glycemic.

High GI foods = 70-100

Intermediate GI foods = 56-69

Low GI foods = 0-55

Glycemic Index of some common Foods

Food Carbohydrates (gm) Glycemic Index
 Glucose has a GI value of 100
Baked potato, Russet, baked without fat ( 1 small potato, 5 oz.)
Waffles, Aunt Jemima (1 piece)
Gatorade (1 cup)
Grapenuts (approx. 1 cup, Kraft)
French Baguette
Bread, white (1 slice)
Bagel, (white, frozen)
Stuffing ( approx. 1 cup)
Graham wafers (approx. 1 cup)
Grape nuts (approx. 1 cup, Kraft)
Shredded wheat (1 oz. serving)
Total (1 oz. serving, General Mills)
Cream of Wheat (1 oz. serving, instant, Nabisco)
Spaghetti, (plain, cooked, 3/4 cup)
Rice (brown, cooked, 3/4 cup)
Raisin bran (1 oz. serving, Kellogg’s)
Oatmeal (1 cup)
Bran muffin (large)
Green pea soup (1 cup)
Ice cream, regular(1/2 cup)
Blueberry muffin (1)
Raisins (1/4 cup)
Power bar, chocolate
Grapes (1 cup)
Carrot (raw, 1 medium)
Sweet corn (1/2 cup
Dried apricots (1/4 cup)
Peas (1/2 cup)
Bread 100% whole grain (1 slice) 51
Orange juice (3/4 cup, 6 oz.)
Fruit yogurt (reduced fat, 3/4 cup)
Tomato soup (1 cup)
*Skim milk (1 cup)
While Milk (1 cup) 27
Baked beans (1/2 cup)
Lentils (1/2 cup)
Kidney beans (1/2 cup)
Lima beans (1/2 cup, baby, frozen)
Garbanzo beans (1/2 cup)

*NB: Please note that whole milk has lower GI compared to skimmed or 2% milk

(Chart adapted from *The New Glucose Revolution)

Other Resources on Glycemic Index

  • The GI Diet Guide – A very useful and practical list of foods. A must visit link – – Very useful and practical!
  • University of Sidney’s Glycemic Index Website –
  • Comprehensive Glycemic index list spread sheet: for A comprehensive list of Glycemic Index, get the excel spread sheet here and look up the glycemic Index. Please note reduced fat milk has higher glycemic index compared to whole milk!

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