Glycemic Index


Learn about the Glycemic Index which is a scoring system that ranks carbohydrate foods in value from 0 to 100 based on their effect on increased concentrated blood-sugar levels.

Learn about the glycemic index of foods.

Learn about Glycemic Index


Glycemic index is a standard of measure based on scores assigned to foods that rank carbohydrates based on how quickly, and in what time span, the food is converted into a simple sugar or glucose in the blood. The rank or number a carbohydrate receives is determined by testing. Testing a food for its glycemic index value is accomplished by human trial. A person is given a standard portion of food after a 12 hour fast. Measurements are then taken at specific intervals of time to determine how rapidly the food converts to glucose in the bloodstream. Notice the carbohydrate foods illustrated in the image above, note the variety of fruits, breads, juices, and fruits. Can you identify the foods in the image that might score the highest on the glycemic index?

Foods that breakdown quickly during digestion are assigned a higher number on the glycemic index. Foods that break down slowly are assigned a lower number on the glycemic index. The standard of measure of glucose, or simple sugar, is rated at 100. Essentially, when you eat foods like bread, white potatoes, rice, pasta, candy or cookies your blood sugar will rise quickly. These foods are assigned a high number on the glycemic index because the food breaks down during digestion very quickly causing a surge of sugar in the blood. This is called high blood sugar. People who frequently eat high glycemic foods can develop insulin resistance. In insulin resistance, liver, fat, and muscle cells do not respond properly to insulin and therefore cannot absorb glucose from the bloodstream. Because of insulin resistance, the pancreas creates higher levels of insulin to help glucose leave the bloodstream to enter cells. Over time, this process of insulin resistance can play a part leading to type 2 diabetes.

Click on the + sign to evaluate the glycemic index of common foods.

FOOD Glycemic index (glucose = 100) Serving size (grams) Glycemic load per serving
BAKERY PRODUCTS AND BREADS
Banana cake, made with sugar 47 60 14
Banana cake, made without sugar 55 60 12
Sponge cake, plain 46 63 17
Vanilla cake made from packet mix with vanilla frosting (Betty Crocker) 42 111 24
Apple, made with sugar 44 60 13
Apple, made without sugar 48 60 9
Waffles, Aunt Jemima (Quaker Oats) 76 35 10
Bagel, white, frozen 72 70 25
Baguette, white, plain 95 30 15
Coarse barley bread, 75-80% kernels, average 34 30 7
Hamburger bun 61 30 9
Kaiser roll 73 30 12
Pumpernickel bread 56 30 7
50% cracked wheat kernel bread 58 30 12
White wheat flour bread 71 30 10
Wonder™ bread, average 73 30 10
Whole wheat bread, average 71 30 9
100% Whole Grain™ bread (Natural Ovens) 51 30 7
Pita bread, white 68 30 10
Corn tortilla 52 50 12
Wheat tortilla 30 50 8
BEVERAGES
Coca Cola®, average 63 250 mL 16
Fanta®, orange soft drink 68 250 mL 23
Lucozade®, original (sparkling glucose drink) 95±10 250 mL 40
Apple juice, unsweetened, average 44 250 mL 30
Cranberry juice cocktail (Ocean Spray®) 68 250 mL 24
Gatorade 78 250 mL 12
Orange juice, unsweetened 50 250 mL 12
Tomato juice, canned 38 250 mL 4
BREAKFAST CEREALS AND RELATED PRODUCTS
All-Bran™, average 55 30 12
Coco Pops™, average 77 30 20
Cornflakes™, average 93 30 23
Cream of Wheat™ (Nabisco) 66 250 17
Cream of Wheat™, Instant (Nabisco) 74 250 22
Grapenuts™, average 75 30 16
Muesli, average 66 30 16
Oatmeal, average 55 250 13
Instant oatmeal, average 83 250 30
Puffed wheat, average 80 30 17
Raisin Bran™ (Kellogg’s) 61 30 12
Special K™ (Kellogg’s) 69 30 14
GRAINS
Pearled barley, average 28 150 12
Sweet corn on the cob, average 60 150 20
Couscous, average 65 150 9
Quinoa 53 150 13
White rice, average 89 150 43
Quick cooking white basmati 67 150 28
Brown rice, average 50 150 16
Converted, white rice (Uncle Ben’s®) 38 150 14
Whole wheat kernels, average 30 50 11
Bulgur, average 48 150 12
COOKIES AND CRACKERS
Graham crackers 74 25 14
Vanilla wafers 77 25 14
Shortbread 64 25 10
Rice cakes, average 82 25 17
Rye crisps, average 64 25 11
Soda crackers 74 25 12
DAIRY PRODUCTS AND ALTERNATIVES
Ice cream, regular 57 50 6
Ice cream, premium 38 50 3
Milk, full fat 41 250mL 5
Milk, skim 32 250 mL 4
Reduced-fat yogurt with fruit, average 33 200 11
FRUITS
Apple, average 39 120 6
Banana, ripe 62 120 16
Dates, dried 42 60 18
Grapefruit 25 120 3
Grapes, average 59 120 11
Orange, average 40 120 4
Peach, average 42 120 5
Peach, canned in light syrup 40 120 5
Pear, average 38 120 4
Pear, canned in pear juice 43 120 5
Prunes, pitted 29 60 10
Raisins 64 60 28
Watermelon 72 120 4
BEANS AND NUTS
Baked beans, average 40 150 6
Blackeye peas, average 33 150 10
Black beans 30 150 7
Chickpeas, average 10 150 3
Chickpeas, canned in brine 38 150 9
Navy beans, average 31 150 9
Kidney beans, average 29 150 7
Lentils, average 29 150 5
Soy beans, average 15 150 1
Cashews, salted 27 50 3
Peanuts, average 7 50 0
PASTA and NOODLES
Fettucini, average 32 180 15
Macaroni, average 47 180 23
Macaroni and Cheese (Kraft) 64 180 32
Spaghetti, white, boiled, average 46 180 22
Spaghetti, white, boiled 20 min, average 58 180 26
Spaghetti, wholemeal, boiled, average 42 180 17
SNACK FOODS
Corn chips, plain, salted, average 42 50 11
Fruit Roll-Ups® 99 30 24
M & M’s®, peanut 33 30 6
Microwave popcorn, plain, average 55 20 6
Potato chips, average 51 50 12
Pretzels, oven-baked 83 30 16
Snickers Bar® 51 60 18
VEGETABLES
Green peas, average 51 80 4
Carrots, average 35 80 2
Parsnips 52 80 4
Baked russet potato, average 111 150 33
Boiled white potato, average 82 150 21
Instant mashed potato, average 87 150 17
Sweet potato, average 70 150 22
Yam, average 54 150 20
MISCELLANEOUS
Hummus (chickpea salad dip) 6 30 0
Chicken nuggets, frozen, reheated in microwave oven 5 min 46 100 7
Pizza, plain baked dough, served with parmesan cheese and tomato sauce 80 100 22
Pizza, Super Supreme (Pizza Hut) 36 100 9
Honey, average 61 25 12

Harvard Medical School. “Glycemic index and glycemic load for 100+ foods.” Harvard Health Publications, 28 May 2005. Web. 08 Sept. 2014.

Eating foods that rank on the mid to low end of the glycemic index scale can help you to keep stable blood sugar levels. Foods in this category are whole foods that contain fiber and macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates, and fat). For example, fibrous vegetables eaten along with foods that contain healthy fats and protein is better than eating high sugar foods alone. If you eat an apple, eat the whole apple because the skin of the apple contains fiber. The apple’s skin aids in lowering the glycemic index of the apple when compared to eating the apple without the skin. In addition to eating foods that contain fiber and macronutrients that are ranked lower on the glycemic index scale, getting adequate sleep nightly, daily physical exercise, and maintaining your ideal healthy weight can keep you healthy.


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nutrition was last modified: April 7th, 2016 by Derek Curtice