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Glycemic Index in Some Common Foods

Glycaemic IndexCarbohydrates (i.e. breads, cereals and fruit) are broken down to glucose, which provides energy for our bodies. The Glycemic Index (GI) is a scale which ranks carbohydrate by there glycemic response, which is the amount and speed they raise blood sugar levels. The reference food is compared to either glucose or white bread. The lower the glycemic index, the lower the rise in blood sugar. Why Should I Choose Foods Low in Glycemic Index? Eating foods with a low glycemic index may help to:

  • control your blood sugar and blood cholesterol levels
  • control your appetite
  • lower your risk for developing heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Glycaemic Index Foods with a higher glycemic index break down faster during digestion. High glycemic foods are useful for some groups of people, including athletes, who need a fast supply of glucose to fuel their muscles during and after competition. Most starchy foods have a high Glycemic Index. Foods with high fibre content typically have a lower GI. Choose medium and low GI foods more often.  

Table 1: Glycemic Index of Some Common Foods

Low GI (55 or less)*

Medium GI (56-69)*

High GI (70 or more)*

Breads: 100% stone ground whole wheat Heavy mixed grain Pumpernickel Breads: Whole wheat Rye Pita Breads: White bread Kaiser roll Bagel, white
Cereal: Bran cereal Oat bran cereal Cereal: Puffed wheat Oatmeal, Quick oats Cereal: Corn cereal Rice cereal
Grains: Barley, Bulgur Pasta/noodles Parboiled rice Grains: Basmati rice, Brown rice Couscous Grains: Short-grain rice
Other: Sweet potato, Yams Legumes, Lentils Chickpeas, Kidney beans, Split peas, Soy beans, Baked beans Other: Potato (white) Sweet corn, Popcorn Black bean soup Green pea soup Other: Potato, baking (Russet) French fries Pretzels Rice cakes Soda crackers

*Expressed as a percentage of the value for glucose Ref: Diabetes of Canada website, 2008