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The Glycemic Index & food list

A low Glycemic Index diet will produce greater weight reduction than an equivalent low energy diet which was not designed to achieve a low insulin response.

The Glycaemic Index (GI) is a method of assessing and classifying the blood glucose response (glycaemic response) to carbohydrate-containing foods.  It is a ranking of foods based on their glycaemic impact in comparison to a standard food, usually white bread or glucose.

How is it Calculated?
Eating foods containing carbohydrates results in a rise in the level of glucose circulating in the blood.  Insulin quickly controls this rise.  It is this rise in blood glucose levels which is used to determine the Glycemic Index of a food.

What May Influence the Glycemic Index of a Food?

Type of Carbohydrate

Sugar versus starch
In the body there is no bioloGlycemic Indexcal difference between the Glycemic Index of foods made with and without sugar.  The Glycemic Index lowering effect of sucrose is related to the fructose content of sucrose (1 molecule of glucose joined to 1 molecule of fructose)

Glucose versus fructose
Fructose Glycemic Indexves a lower glycaemic response than glucose.

Amylose versus Amylopectin
These are found in starch.  Foods which have higher amounts of amylopectin, which are easily digested, have a higher Glycemic Index.  Starchy foods contain 25-30% amylose and legumes 30-40%.  Basmati rice has a lower Glycemic Index than calrose rice.

Processing Methods
Highly milled cereals break up cell walls and this results in these foods being digested more quickly.  For example, rice bubbles and wholemeal bread will Glycemic Indexve a higher blood glucose response than will wholegrain rice and wholegrain bread.

Dietary Fibre
Viscous fibres in fruit, vegetables and grains, such as oats, exert a minor Glycemic Index effect.

Fat reduces Glycemic Index.  When fat is added to a food, such as potato fries, this will have a lower Glycemic Index than a plain potato.   However, due to the added saturated fat this is not a health advantage!

Applications of the Glycemic Index

Weight loss Management – low Glycemic Index foods produce greater satiety than high Glycemic Index foods.  This means that fewer Kj need to be eaten to obtain the same feeling of fullness.  In obese (as measured by the Body Mass Index) people, many of whom have exaggerated insulin secretion, a low Glycemic Index diet reduces the concentration of insulin in the blood after meals.  A low Glycemic Index diet will produce greater weight reduction than an equivalent low energy diet which was not designed to achieve a low insulin response.  Following a low Glycemic Index diet assists in lowering blood lipids as well as body weight.

Diabetes – in diabetic diets the current diet can be improved by replacing high Glycemic Index foods with low Glycemic Index foods (that is, foods listed as having a Glycemic Index of 50 or below are ideal for  diabetics.


The Glycemic Index can be used to manipulate blood glucose levels and muscle glycogen storage.  This is significant during the acute phase of exercise, immediately before, during and after performance.

Important Note:  Some foods have a low Glycemic Index but are nevertheless high in fact and/or salt and are therefore not appropriate choices! (eg. peanuts).

Below is a glycemic index food list. The glycemic index foods list shows the food category and also the glycemic index for each particluar food in that category.

Breakfast Cereals
Kellogg’s All Bran  30
Kellogg’s Coco Pops  77
Kellogg’s Cornflakes  77
Mini Wheats  58
Muesli – toasted  43
– untoasted  56
Kellogg’s Nutrigrain  66
Porridge (av)  50
Sanitarium Pufffed Wheat 80
Rice bran  19
Kellogg’s Rice Bubbles  89
Kellogg’s Special K  54
Kellogg’s Sultana Bran  52
Kellogg’s Sustain  68
Uncle Toby’s Vita Brits  61
Sanitarium Wheatbix  75

Buckwheat  54
Bulgur  48
Rice – long grain white  50
Calrose  83
Doongar/Basmati  59
Brown  55
Sunbrown quick  80
Noodles – instant  47
Pasta – egg fettuccini  32
Ravioli (meat)  39
Spaghetti (av)  41
Vermicelli  35
Taco shells  68

Bagel  72
Croissant*  67
Crumpet  69
Fruit loaf (white)  47
Kibbled barley bread (av) 45
Mixed grain bread (av)  45
Oat bran bread (av)  44
Pita bread  57
Rye bread – kernel
eg. pumpernickel  50
Flour eg. blackbread  76
White bread (av)  70
Wholemeal bread (av)  77

Jatz  55
Kavli  71
Puffed crispbread  81
Ryvita  69
Sao  70
Watercracker  78

Sweet Biscuits
Arrowroot  69
Morning coffee  79
Oatmeal  55
Shredded wheatmeal  62
Shortbread (commercial) 64

Cake, etc.
Apple muffin  44
Banana cake*  47
Sponge cake  46
Waffles  76

Beetroot  64
Carrots  49
Parsnip  97
Peas (green)  48
Potato – baked (av)  85
Potato – new (av)  62
Pontiac  56
French fries  75
Pumpkin  75
Sweet corn  48
Sweet potato  48
Swede  72
Yam  51

Baked beans (av)  48
Broad beans (av)  79
Butter beans (av)  31
Chickpeas (av)  33
Harricot beans (av)  38
Kidney beans (av)  27
Lentils (av)  28
Soya beans (av)  18

Apple (av)  36
Apricot (dried)  43
Banana (av)  60
Cherries  23
Grapefruit  25
Grapes  43
Kiwifruit  58
Mango  51
Orange  43
Papaya (paw paw)  56
Peach – canned in juice  30
– fresh  28
Pear (av)  36
Pineapple  66
Plum  24
Raisins  64
Rockmelon  65
Sultanas  56
Watermelon  72

Dairy Foods
Milk – whole (av)  27
Milk – skim  32
Milk – chocolate flavour  34
Custard (powder)  43
Ice cream (av = 61)  36-80
Ice cream – low fat  50
Yoghurt, flavour, low fat  33

Apple juice  41
Cordial (diluted)  66
Fanta  68
Lucozade  95
Orange juice  53

Snack & Convenience Foods
Corn chips*  72
Fish fingers  38
Peanuts*  14
Popcorn  55
Potato crisps*  57
Sausages*  28
Soup – lentil  44
Soup – pea  66
Soup – tomato  38

Chocolate*  49
Jelly beans  80
Life Savers  70
Mars bars*  68
Muesli bars*  61

Honey  87
Fructose  20
Glucose  100
Lactose  57
Maltose  105
Sucrose  59

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