The glycemic index GI of a food is a measure of how it affects your blood sugar. Foods with a high glycemic index lead to a quick and high spike in your blood sugar levels, followed by a dip. Foods with a lower GI have a less dramatic and healthier effect on your blood sugar. These are some guidelines that can help you follow a low-GI diet. The GI measures the effect of a food on your blood sugar levels, but there is one more detail: it measures the effect of the amount of that food with a specific number of grams of carbohydrates. That means it measures a huge amount of lower-carb foods, such as, say, carrots or watermelon, in comparison to smaller amounts of higher-carb foods, such as, say, brownies, which is also not a healthy carb. The glycemic load GL is a measure that takes into consideration the different amounts of carbohydrates in foods. The GL for a food is calculated by multiplying the GI by the number of grams of carbohydrates in a serving of that food. The GL can give a more accurate picture of your blood sugar response to a food.
Eat a healthful type of protein, such as beans, fish, or skinless chicken, at most meals. Limit concentrated sweets—including high-calorie foods with a low glycemic index, such as ice cream—to occasional treats. The carbs help replenish your muscle glycogen, which is their source of fuel, while the protein assists in muscle repair. Eat slowly and stop when full. American Diabetes Association. There are various research methods for assigning a GI value to food. The foods you eat can have a major impact on diabetes and blood sugar levels. LGID-approved foods. That is not healthy!
A low-glycemic diet can help you control your weight by minimizing spikes in your blood sugar and insulin levels. This is particularly important if you have type 2 diabetes or at risk of developing it. Low-glycemic diets have also been linked to reduced risks for cancer, heart disease, and other conditions. Disclaimer: As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician. Eight principles of low-glycemic eating Eat a lot of non-starchy vegetables, beans, and fruits such as apples, pears, peaches, and berries. Even tropical fruits like bananas, mangoes, and papayas tend to have a lower glycemic index than typical desserts. Eat grains in the least-processed state possible: “unbroken,” such as whole-kernel bread, brown rice, and whole barley, millet, and wheat berries; or traditionally processed, such as stone-ground bread, steel-cut oats, and natural granola or muesli breakfast cereals. Limit white potatoes and refined-grain products, such as white breads and white pasta, to small side dishes. Limit concentrated sweets—including high-calorie foods with a low glycemic index, such as ice cream—to occasional treats.