What is the glycemic index?

The glycemic index (GI) is a measurement used to identify how specific foods cause our blood sugar levels to rise. This value classifies food as low, medium, and high on GI, on a spectrum of 0 – 100. The lower the GI score of a particular food, the lesser it affects a person’s blood sugar level. To be more specific:

  • Low GI = 55 or less
  • Medium GI = 56 – 69
  • High GI = 70 or above

Foods that are rich in refined carbs and sugar digest quickly. These food items fall under high GI category. On the other hand, those under the low GI category are high in fiber, healthy fat, and protein – such as lentils, kidney beans etc. Additionally, some foods are not categorized or assigned a GI because of the absence of carbs. The best examples are herbs, oils, fish, nuts, spices, and seeds.

Following a low GI diet

Research suggests that several health benefits are associated with a low GI diet, regardless of your blood sugar status. However, this is especially true for people with diabetes. A diet with low GI can help a lot in managing blood sugar levels and preventing diabetes-related complications. These health benefits are: 

A low GI diet can help in weight loss.

One of the obstacles in managing type 2 diabetes is overweight or obese. Uncontrolled obesity can make type 2 diabetes more complicated, paving the way for more health complications. The positive impact of low GI food on short-term weight loss is unrivalled as it is associated with low carbs consumption.

A low GI diet is good for the heart.

LDL (bad) cholesterol is one of the primary contributors to heart disease. If LDL continues to accumulate in the arteries, there’s a bigger chance of developing unwanted cardiovascular condition. Thankfully, people can prevent this by opting for a low-GI diet. This diet helps reduce cholesterol levels and prevent fatal heart conditions.

A low GI diet boosts blood sugar regulation.

Besides supporting weight loss, a low GI diet can help reduce blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. It acts positively in regulating blood sugar and preventing episodes of diabetes attacks. However, this diet also requires regular exercise and proper observance of diabetes medications.

Glycemic Index Chart

To give you a complete picture of the glycemic index, we listed some common food varieties with their GI. Please go through the chart below:

Fruits and Vegetables

Name of FoodGlycemic Index (Score)
Sweet Potatoes63

Grains and Legumes

Name of FoodGlycemic Index (Score)
Rolled Oats55
Brown Rice68
White Rice73
Whole Wheat Bread74
White Bread75
Kidney Beans24

Dairy Products and Food Sweeteners

Name of FoodGlycemic Index (Score)
Skim Milk37
Whole Milk39
Ice Cream51
Rice Milk86
Coconut Sugar54
Maple Syrup54
Table Sugar65


In planning for your every meal, learn to check the food’s glycemic index. Ensure that you fill your plate with more fiber and protein. Limit your carbs intake to ensure you manage your blood sugar levels well.