What Is the Glycemic Index?
Carbohydrates are found in breads, cereals, fruits, vegetables and dairy products, and they are an essential part of a healthy diet.
When you eat any type of carbohydrate, your digestive system breaks it down into simple sugars that enter the bloodstream.
Not all carbohydrates are the same, as different types have unique effects on blood sugar.
The glycemic index (GI) is a measure that ranks foods according to their effect on your blood sugar levels. It was created in the early 1980s by Dr. David Jenkins, a Canadian professor (1Trusted Source).
The rates at which different foods raise blood sugar levels are ranked in comparison with the absorption of 50 grams of pure glucose, which is used as a reference food and has a GI value of 100.
The following are the three GI ratings:
- Low: 55 or less
- Medium: 56–69
- High: 70 or more
Foods with a low-GI value are the preferred choice, as they are slowly digested and absorbed, causing a slower and smaller rise in blood sugar levels.
On the other hand, foods with a high GI value should be limited since they are quickly digested and absorbed, resulting in a rapid rise and fall of blood sugar levels.
It is important to note that foods are only assigned a GI value if they contain carbohydrates. Hence, foods containing no carbs, such as beef, chicken, fish, eggs, herbs and spices, won’t be found on GI lists.
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