Low Glycemic Index Diet

The Glycemic Index (GI) was originally devised to help diabetics. The index is a ranking of carbohydrate foods which measures the rate at which the blood glucose (or blood sugar) levels rise when a particular food is eaten.

Pure glucose has a rating of 100 – so the nearer a food is to 100, the higher its Glycemic Index rating is.

This indicates how quickly the food is converted to blood sugar, and, how quickly the blood sugar levels will drop. Foods with a low GI rating will be absorbed more slowly, helping to keep blood sugar levels constant.

Traditional thinking has told us that complex carbohydrates like rice and potatoes were absorbed slowly, and that simple and refined carbohydrates, like candies and jams resulted in a sharp rise in blood sugar.

However recent research has indicated that this is not necessarily the case. There are more factors involved than just simple vs. complex or refined vs. natural.

Typical GI Diet

A typical low glycemic index diet is low in fat and high in carbohydrates — but specifically low-GI carbs. Often a simple change from high GI carbs, to low GI carbs may being about weight loss. It may also give the feeling of more energy, due to less blood sugar / insulin spikes during the day.

Oatmeal with raisins and skim milk.
Orange juice.
Vegetable soup with sourdough bread.
Lean beef bolognese on wholemeal pasta.
Green salad.
Low-fat yogurt.
Water, tea (skim milk), herbal teas.

Look for other low glycemic meal ideas here.

Glycemic Index Food List

LOW GI (< 55) MEDIUM GI (55-70) HIGH GI (> 70)

Apple and apple juice
Baked Beans, dried beans, butter beans, chick peas, soy beans, lentils
Breakfast cereals (oats, muesli, bran)
Whole grain / nutty bread
Fruit Loaf
Milk, Yogurt

Pineapple Juice (unsweetened)
Corn (still on cob)
Salad Vegetables
Sweet Potato

Basmati Rice
Bread (white and brown)
Ice Cream
Orange juice
Pineapple, mango, melon
Pita bread
Potatoes (new)
Potato chips

Rye bread
Sports drinks
Water melon
Crackers and crisp breads
Broad beans
French Fries

What About Glycemic Load?

Glycemic Index alone does not provide enough information about the glycemic affect of a food. For example; carrots have a high GI, but you would have to eat boxes and boxes of them to have any pronounced affect on blood sugar. This is because the amount of carbohydrate in carrot is very small.

To calculate glycemic load (GL): Simply multiply the GI by the amount of carbohydrate and divide by 100.

For example; an 80g serve of carrot with a GI of 92 has 4.2g per serve. 92 X 4.2 / 100 = 3.9

Popular Low Glycemic Diets

Glycemic Impact Diet A newer diet implemented by eDiets – takes the best of the Zone and South Beach Diet. Very good diet.
Montignac Method The original Low Glycemic Index Diet first made popular in 1986.
Glycemic Load Diet Glycemic Index corrected for serving size is the Glycemic Load – the diet aims to produce healthy weight by maintaining a daily load under 500.
South Beach Diet Carb choices are based around low-glycemic foods – although the diet begins with a very low carbohydrate phase.
NutriSystem This portion-controlled program is based around low-glycemic foods.
Healthy Pancreas Diet The Pancreatic Oath explains how eating the right foods can protect your pancreas and promote health, whereas when you eat unhealthy foods you are abusing your pancreas.
Sugar Solution From Prevention magazine – a diet to correct blood sugar imbalances.
Feed Your Brain, Lose Your Belly written by neurosurgeon Dr. Larry McCleary and is based on the concept that the calories people are consuming are bypassing their brains and being stored in fat cells.

Books and Resources

A number of books have been written about the GI – with one of the biggest selling being The New Glucose Revolution. Rick Gallop’s The GI Diet is also very popular.

Available from Amazon →

http://www.glycemicindex.com/ – A database providing GI index and GI load for a huge list of foods.

 By Mizpah Matus B.Hlth.Sc(Hons)
  • Jenkins, D. J., Wolever, T. M., Taylor, R. H., Barker, H., Fielden, H., Baldwin, J. M., … & Goff, D. V. (1981). Glycemic index of foods: a physiological basis for carbohydrate exchange. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 34(3), 362-366. link
  • Wolever, T. M., Jenkins, D. J., Jenkins, A. L., & Josse, R. G. (1991). The glycemic index: methodology and clinical implications. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 54(5), 846-854. link
  • Brand-Miller, J., Hayne, S., Petocz, P., & Colagiuri, S. (2003). Low–Glycemic Index Diets in the Management of Diabetes A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Diabetes care, 26(8), 2261-2267. link

4 Comments or Reviews

Comments now closed
  1. Roger

    To Carole: Rush Limbaugh lost his weight by using illegaly prescribed “methamphetamines”. He is a speed junkie.

  2. lynda

    I am looking for a diet that tells you when to eat fruit and when to eat veggies and meat. I was told you don’t eat fruit at night. That when you eat things make a difference do you know what diet that is?

  3. carole

    I am looking for the “QUICK WEIGHT LOSS CENTER” DIET


  4. Halli Magg

    I would like to comment on one sentence here which I believe is not all that correct. Here it is “A typical low glycemic index diet is low in fat and high in carbohydrates”
    Many low GI diets I read about are difficult to tell apart from low carb diets. That is because in essence both of these diets are trying to accomplish the same thing, lowering the negative/harmful effects of carbs. Both diets usually allow for room for much of non starchy vegetables but limit starchy one and all starchy carbs. Youre diet can be a relatively high fat diet and still be a low GI or a low carb diet.
    Another argument agains that most GI diets are low in fat and high in carbs (it is the high carb part in the sentence that I have the problem with) is that many low GI authors realize that it is important also to take the Glygemic load (GL) into account and quite frankly it is impossible or extremely difficult to keep a low GL diet on a low fat/high carb regime.
    I am well aware of that low GI diets in general advocate less fat then low carb diets. But the fat ratio doesn’t define these diets, the carb does, or more correctly, the quantity of carbs in the low carb diet and the GI of carbs in the low GI diet.
    So I believe saying a typical low GI diet is high in carbs is not correct, but at the same time not entirely wrong as there are probably low GI diets out there which are high in carbs.