Carbohydrates found in starchy foods have the biggest impact on blood glucose. Some foods cause a slow steady rise, while others elevate blood glucose quickly and to a much higher level. Higher peaks mean steeper drops, often causing blood glucose to dip to levels lower than before you ate – when this happens, your energy stalls and hunger strikes again sending you on a blood sugar roller coaster.
The Glycemic Index (GI) is a system that rates foods according to how fast and how high they raise blood glucose. High GI foods cause the greatest boost in blood glucose. People who eat a lot of these foods tend to carry more fat around their waists. Low GI foods give a smaller, slower, steadier rise in blood glucose. The GI index classifies food between 1 and 100 (lowest GI to highest GI).
Here are some examples of low, medium and high GI foods:
|Low (55 or less)||Medium (56-69)||High (70 or more)|
Ask your Copeman dietitian for a more complete list.
Research shows that eating a low glycemic index diet minimizes ups and downs in blood glucose levels which can help to:
- Control hunger and appetite levels
- Stabilize blood glucose and energy levels
- Control cholesterol levels
- Lower risk of developing heart disease and Type 2 diabetes
The glycemic index is only one tool to help us make healthy food choices. Regular balanced meals in reasonable portions are the basis for good nutrition.
- Plan your meals with foods with low to medium glycemic indexes
- Enjoy vegetables, fruits and low-fat milk with your meals
- Choose breakfast cereals based on oats, barley and bran
- Use whole grain and sprouted grain breads
- Eat potatoes less often or substitute with sweet potatoes
For dietitian-approved tips and recipes sign up to our monthly Smart Dish newsletter
Are you interested in learning more about other macro-nutrients? Check out our guide.