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Glycemic load foods list: Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load | Linus Pauling Institute


How This Tool Can Aid Blood Sugar Management

Have you ever eaten a snack in hopes of curing your afternoon slump only to feel up and then down again? That’s called a blood sugar (glucose) dip, and while for people with diabetes this kind of fluctuation can be more pronounced and dangerous, as John Hopkins Medicine notes, for everyone else, it can be the ultimate downer and productivity killer.

Fortunately, there’s a free, easy-to-use tool that can help you keep your blood sugar level steady, regardless of whether you have diabetes.

Meet: the glycemic load.

By using an easy formula (no major arithmetic required!) you can learn how quickly foods that contain carbs — from cookies to carrots — lead to blood sugar spikes or dips, and, if you have diabetes, potentially help or hurt your A1C number. (That’d be the two- to three-month average of your blood sugar levels, as the American Diabetes Association notes.)

Here’s how glycemic load and its counterpart glycemic index work.

RELATED: How Many Carbs Are in That? A Cheat Sheet for Type 2 Diabetes

Glycemic Load vs. Glycemic Index: What’s the Difference?

Maybe you’ve already heard of glycemic index. “The glycemic index ranks foods based on how quickly they’re digested and raise blood glucose levels,” says Sandra Meyerowitz, MPH, RD, owner of Nutrition Works in Louisville, Kentucky.

Glycemic load is similar but markedly different, especially when it comes to making food choices to better manage diabetes, notes the Mayo Clinic. “It’s glycemic load that takes into consideration every component of the food as a whole,” Meyerowitz adds, “so it’s a different number. It changes everything.”

Because the glycemic load of a food looks at multiple components, the same food can be high on the glycemic index but carry an overall low glycemic load. In these cases, the food is a better choice for blood sugar management than suspected, according to Harvard Medical School.

Glycemic load is a classification of foods with carbohydrates that measures their impact on the body and blood sugar. “It’s used to help you know how high your blood sugar could go when you actually eat the food, and this measurement also lets you know how much glucose per serving a particular food can deliver,” explains Melissa Nieves, RD, with Kemtai, a virtual personal trainer company and who is based in Bayamón, Puerto Rico.

The glycemic index ranges from 0 to 100, where 100 is pure glucose or sugar, according to the British Diabetic Association (BDA). “The lower a food’s glycemic index, the slower blood sugar rises after eating that food, and vice versa,” continues Nieves.

RELATED: The Best and Worst Foods to Eat in a Type 2 Diabetes Diet

How to Calculate a Food’s Glycemic Load With Glycemic Index

According to researchers at the University of Sydney, who were among the first to study glycemic load, you can calculate a GL with the following formula:

GL = (GI x the amount of carbohydrate) divided by 100

They provide the following example with an apple: (40 x 15) divided by 100 = 6

Thus, a medium-sized apple would have a low glycemic load, making it a great snack for people managing diabetes. More on this next!

RELATED: 8 Fruits That Are Good for People With Type 2 Diabetes

Glycemic Load and Diet: The Effect on Your Health

The University of California in San Francisco (UCSF) defines glycemic load values as:

  • Low GL: 10 or less
  • Medium GL: 11 to 19
  • High GL: 20 or higher

Look at the GI ranges, as a comparison:

  • Low GI: 55 or less
  • Medium GI: 56 to 69
  • High GI: 70 or higher

According to Diabetes.co.uk, a global diabetes community, this information helps determine which foods can keep your blood sugar level consistent, meaning that you avoid the highs and lows caused by blood sugar jumping too high and quickly dropping — aka the candy bar effect.

For optimal health, the Glycemic Index Foundation recommends keeping your daily glycemic load under 100. This will help get your A1C down if you have diabetes and make you less likely to avoid unpleasant side effects of low blood sugar called hypoglycemia, which can trigger irritability, confusion, headaches, fatigue, and even seizures, warns the American Diabetes Association (ADA). If your blood sugar is too high in diabetes, called hyperglycemia, symptoms may include frequent urination, increased thirst, vomiting, and shortness of breath, the ADA warns.

Keeping the glycemic load of your diet in mind can help you avoid diabetes-related complications as well. For example, a past study found that when 100 participants with poorly managed diabetes, who were on insulin or oral diabetes medications, followed a low-glycemic load diet for 10 weeks, they lost weight, lowered their cholesterol levels, and improved their A1C. Another small past randomized study found that low-glycemic-load foods, regardless of calorie restriction, was more helpful with weight loss than a diet rich in high-glycemic-load foods. However, insulin secretion was needed to see the benefit.

“It makes more sense to use the glycemic load because when you eat a food, you don’t just eat one food by itself — you eat a whole bunch of foods together,” says Meyerowitz. Looking at the total picture of foods you eat, rather than just the individual pieces, gives you a clearer and more accurate picture of the foods that make up your diet.

RELATED: 7 Healthy Meal Tips for Type 2 Diabetes

Glycemic Load and Diet: Glycemic Loads in Favorite Foods

Here is a glycemic load reference list with many common foods to let you know which are low, medium, and high, per UCSF.

Foods with a low glycemic load of 10 or less include:

  • ¼ cup peanuts (GL of 1)
  • 8 oz skim milk (GL of 4)
  • 2 cups watermelon (GL of 4.3)
  • 1 cup kidney beans (GL of 7)
  • 1 cup all bran cereal (GL of 9)

Foods with a medium glycemic load of 11 to 19 include:

  • 1 cup cooked oatmeal (GL of 11.7)
  • 1 tablespoon (tbsp) honey (GL of 11.9)
  • 1 large banana (GL of 12.4)
  • 1 medium donut (GL of 17)
  • 1 cup boiled brown rice (GL of 18)

Foods with a high glycemic load of 20 or more include:

  • 1 cup corn flakes (GL of 21)
  • 10 large jelly beans (GL of 22)
  • 1 Snickers candy bar (GL of 22.1)
  • 1 medium baked russet potato (GL of 23)
  • 2 tbsp raisins (GL of 27. 3)

Why Using Glycemic Load Independently Isn’t Enough to Maintain Health

Knowing the glycemic load of food is a helpful meal planning tool, but you shouldn’t rely on this ranking system alone.

“There is research to support that diabetic patients benefit from knowing how to apply GI and GL as a dietary approach for diabetes management, but it’s important to mention that variability in nutritional content of different foods with the same GI value is a concern,” warns Sotiria Everett, EdD, RD, clinical assistant professor in the department of family, population, and preventive medicine’s nutrition division at Stony Brook Medicine in Stony Brook, New York.

Plus, various factors can change where a food ranks on the glycemic index. For example, some foods with carbs become easier to digest after a longer cooking time, which can subsequently raise their glycemic load, says the Canadian Society of Intestinal Research.

So while adding low glycemic load foods can help balance your glycemic response, focusing on overall dietary quality and promoting the healthful aspects of a diet may be a better approach to help reduce chronic disease, says Dr. Everett. “Glycemic index and glycemic load are both tools to assist with diet and nutrition, but not to be completely relied upon as the sole source and guide for all meal planning.”

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International Tables of Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load Values: 2008 | Diabetes Care

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Clinical Care / Education / Nutrition / Psychosocial Research|
December 01 2008

Fiona S. Atkinson, RD;

Kaye Foster-Powell, RD;

Jennie C. Brand-Miller, PHD

Corresponding author: J. Brand-Miller, [email protected]

Diabetes Care 2008;31(12):2281–2283


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September 13 2008



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Fiona S. Atkinson, Kaye Foster-Powell, Jennie C. Brand-Miller; International Tables of Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load Values: 2008. Diabetes Care 1 December 2008; 31 (12): 2281–2283. https://doi.org/10.2337/dc08-1239

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OBJECTIVE—To systematically tabulate published and unpublished sources of reliable glycemic index (GI) values.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS—A literature search identified 205 articles published between 1981 and 2007. Unpublished data were also included where the data quality could be verified. The data were separated into two lists: the first representing more precise data derived from testing healthy subjects and the second primarily from individuals with impaired glucose metabolism.

RESULTS—The tables, which are available in the online-only appendix, list the GI of over 2,480 individual food items. Dairy products, legumes, and fruits were found to have a low GI. Breads, breakfast cereals, and rice, including whole grain, were available in both high and low GI versions. The correlation coefficient for 20 staple foods tested in both healthy and diabetic subjects was r = 0.94 (P < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS—These tables improve the quality and quantity of GI data available for research and clinical practice.

The relevance of dietary glycemic index (GI) and glycemic load (GL) is debated. While the World Health Organization (1), the American Diabetes Association (2), Diabetes UK (3), and the Canadian Diabetes Association (4) give qualified support for the concept, many health professionals still consider GI and GL complex and too variable for use in clinical practice (5). The availability of reliable tables of GI is critical for continuing research and resolution of the controversy. New data have become available since previous tables were published in 2002 (6). Our aim was to systematically tabulate published and unpublished sources of reliable GI values, with derivation of the GL.

We conducted a literature search of MEDLINE from January 1981 through December 2007 using the terms “glyc(a)emic index” and “glyc(a)emic load.” We restricted the search to human studies published in English using standardized methodology. We performed a manual search of relevant citations and contacted experts in the field. Unpublished values from our laboratory and elsewhere were included. Values listed in previous tables (6,7) were not automatically entered but reviewed first. Final data were divided into two lists. Values derived from groups of eight or more healthy subjects were included in the first list. Data derived from testing individuals with diabetes or impaired glucose metabolism, from studies using too few subjects (n ≤ 5), or showing wide variability (SEM > 15) were included in the second list. Some foods were tested in only six or seven normal subjects but otherwise appeared reliable and were included in the first list. Two columns of GI values were created because both glucose and white bread continue to be used as reference foods. The conversion factor 100/70 or 70/100 was used to convert from one scale to the other. In instances where other reference foods (e.g., rice) were used, this was accepted provided the conversion factor to the glucose scale had been established. To avoid confusion, the glucose scale is recommended for final reporting. GL values were calculated as the product of the amount of available carbohydrate in a specified serving size and the GI value (using glucose as the reference food), divided by 100. Carbohydrate content was obtained from the reference paper or food composition tables (8). The relationship between GI values determined in normal subjects versus diabetic subjects was tested by linear regression. Common foods (n = 20), including white bread, cornflakes, rice, oranges, corn, apple juice, sucrose, and milk were used for this analysis.

Tables A1 and A2 (available in an online appendix at http://dx.doi.org/10.2337/dc08-1239) list 2,487 separate entries, citing 205 separate studies. Table A1, representing reliable data derived from subjects with normal glucose tolerance, contains 1,879 individual entries (75% of the total). Table A2 contains 608 entries, of which 491 values were determined in individuals with diabetes or impaired glucose metabolism (20% of the total). The correlation coefficient for 20 foods tested in both normal and diabetic subjects was r = 0.94 (P < 0.001; line of best fit y = 0.9x + 9.7 where x is the value in normal subjects). Table A2 also lists 60 values derived from groups of five or fewer subjects and 57 values displaying wide variability (SEM >15). A summary table (Table 1) comprising values for 62 common foods appears below. More reliable values are available for many foods, including carrots (GI = 39) and bananas (GI = 51).

The 2008 edition of tables of GI and GL has doubled the amount of data available for research and other applications. Most varieties of legumes, pasta, fruits, and dairy products are still classified as low-GI foods (55 or less on the glucose reference scale). Breads, breakfast cereals, rice, and snack products, including whole-grain versions, are available in both high- (70 or greater) and low-GI forms. Most varieties of potato and rice are high GI, but lower GI cultivars were identified. Many confectionary items, such as chocolate, have a low GI, but their high saturated fat content reduces their nutritional value. The GI should not be used in isolation; the energy density and macronutrient profile of foods should also be considered (1). The high correlation coefficient (r = 0.94) between values derived from testing the same foods in normal and diabetic subjects indicates that GI values in Table A1 are relevant to dietary interventions in people with diabetes.

Although data quality has been improved, many foods have been tested only once in 10 or fewer subjects, and caution is needed. Repeated testing of certain products indicates that white and wholemeal bread have remained remarkably consistent over the past 25 years, but other products appear to be increasing in GI. This secular change may arise because of efforts on the part of the food industry to make food preparation more convenient and faster cooking. Some foods, such as porridge oats, show variable results, which may reflect true differences in refining and processing that affect the degree of starch gelatinization (9). Users should note that manufacturers sometimes give the same product different names in different countries, and in some cases, the same name for different items. Kellogg’s Special K and All-Bran, for example, are different formulations in North America, Europe, and Australia.

Assignment of GI values to foods requires knowledge of local foods. Ideally, branded product information is available because manufacturers prepare and process foods, particularly cereal products, in different ways. This variability is not unique to the GI but true of many nutrients, including saturated fat and fiber. In the absence of specific product GI information, these tables provide the basis for extrapolation. In the case of low-carbohydrate products, a GI value of 40 for vegetables, 70 for flour products, and 30 for dairy foods could be assigned.

In summary, the 2008 edition of the international tables of GI improves the quality and quantity of reliable data available for research and clinical practice. The data in Table A1 should be preferred for research and coding of food databases. The values listed in Table A2 may be helpful in the absence of other data.

Table 1—

The average GI of 62 common foods derived from multiple studies by different laboratories

High-carbohydrate foods

Breakfast cereals

Fruit and fruit products


White wheat bread* 75 ± 2 Cornflakes 81 ± 6 Apple, raw 36 ± 2 Potato, boiled 78 ± 4 
Whole wheat/whole meal bread 74 ± 2 Wheat flake biscuits 69 ± 2 Orange, raw 43 ± 3 Potato, instant mash 87 ± 3 
Specialty grain bread 53 ± 2 Porridge, rolled oats 55 ± 2 Banana, raw 51 ± 3 Potato, french fries 63 ± 5 
Unleavened wheat bread 70 ± 5 Instant oat porridge 79 ± 3 Pineapple, raw 59 ± 8 Carrots, boiled 39 ± 4 
Wheat roti 62 ± 3 Rice porridge/congee 78 ± 9 Mango, raw 51 ± 5 Sweet potato, boiled 63 ± 6 
Chapatti 52 ± 4 Millet porridge 67 ± 5 Watermelon, raw 76 ± 4 Pumpkin, boiled 64 ± 7 
Corn tortilla 46 ± 4 Muesli 57 ± 2 Dates, raw 42 ± 4 Plantain/green banana 55 ± 6 
White rice, boiled* 73 ± 4   Peaches, canned 43 ± 5 Taro, boiled 53 ± 2 
Brown rice, boiled 68 ± 4   Strawberry jam/jelly 49 ± 3 Vegetable soup 48 ± 5 
Barley 28 ± 2   Apple juice 41 ± 2   
Sweet corn 52 ± 5   Orange juice 50 ± 2   
Spaghetti, white 49 ± 2       
Spaghetti, whole meal 48 ± 5       
Rice noodles 53 ± 7       
Udon noodles 55 ± 7       
Couscous 65 ± 4       
High-carbohydrate foods

Breakfast cereals

Fruit and fruit products


White wheat bread* 75 ± 2 Cornflakes 81 ± 6 Apple, raw 36 ± 2 Potato, boiled 78 ± 4 
Whole wheat/whole meal bread 74 ± 2 Wheat flake biscuits 69 ± 2 Orange, raw 43 ± 3 Potato, instant mash 87 ± 3 
Specialty grain bread 53 ± 2 Porridge, rolled oats 55 ± 2 Banana, raw 51 ± 3 Potato, french fries 63 ± 5 
Unleavened wheat bread 70 ± 5 Instant oat porridge 79 ± 3 Pineapple, raw 59 ± 8 Carrots, boiled 39 ± 4 
Wheat roti 62 ± 3 Rice porridge/congee 78 ± 9 Mango, raw 51 ± 5 Sweet potato, boiled 63 ± 6 
Chapatti 52 ± 4 Millet porridge 67 ± 5 Watermelon, raw 76 ± 4 Pumpkin, boiled 64 ± 7 
Corn tortilla 46 ± 4 Muesli 57 ± 2 Dates, raw 42 ± 4 Plantain/green banana 55 ± 6 
White rice, boiled* 73 ± 4   Peaches, canned 43 ± 5 Taro, boiled 53 ± 2 
Brown rice, boiled 68 ± 4   Strawberry jam/jelly 49 ± 3 Vegetable soup 48 ± 5 
Barley 28 ± 2   Apple juice 41 ± 2   
Sweet corn 52 ± 5   Orange juice 50 ± 2   
Spaghetti, white 49 ± 2       
Spaghetti, whole meal 48 ± 5       
Rice noodles 53 ± 7       
Udon noodles 55 ± 7       
Couscous 65 ± 4       
Dairy products and alternatives


Snack products


Milk, full fat 39 ± 3 Chickpeas 28 ± 9 Chocolate 40 ± 3 Fructose 15 ± 4 
Milk, skim 37 ± 4 Kidney beans 24 ± 4 Popcorn 65 ± 5 Sucrose 65 ± 4 
Ice cream 51 ± 3 Lentils 32 ± 5 Potato crisps 56 ± 3 Glucose 103 ± 3 
Yogurt, fruit 41 ± 2 Soya beans 16 ± 1 Soft drink/soda 59 ± 3 Honey 61 ± 3 
Soy milk 34 ± 4   Rice crackers/crisps 87 ± 2   
Rice milk 86 ± 7       
Dairy products and alternatives


Snack products


Milk, full fat 39 ± 3 Chickpeas 28 ± 9 Chocolate 40 ± 3 Fructose 15 ± 4 
Milk, skim 37 ± 4 Kidney beans 24 ± 4 Popcorn 65 ± 5 Sucrose 65 ± 4 
Ice cream 51 ± 3 Lentils 32 ± 5 Potato crisps 56 ± 3 Glucose 103 ± 3 
Yogurt, fruit 41 ± 2 Soya beans 16 ± 1 Soft drink/soda 59 ± 3 Honey 61 ± 3 
Soy milk 34 ± 4   Rice crackers/crisps 87 ± 2   
Rice milk 86 ± 7       

Data are means ± SEM.


Low-GI varieties were also identified.

Average of all available data.

View Large


Mann J, Cummings J, Englyst H, Key T, Liu S, Riccardi G, Summerbell C, Uauy R, van Dam R, Venn B, Vorster H, Wiseman M: FAO/WHO Scientific Update on carbohydrates in human nutrition: conclusions.

Eur J Clin Nutr







Sheard N, Clark N, Brand-Miller J, Franz M, Pi-Sunyer FX, Mayer-Davis E, Kulkarni K, Geil P: Dietary carbohydrate (amount and type) in the prevention and management of diabetes.

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Nutrition Subcommittee of the Diabetes Care Advisory Committee of Diabetes UK: The implementation of nutritional advice for people with diabetes.

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Canadian Diabetes Association: Guidelines for the nutritional management of diabetes mellitus in the new millennium. A position statement by the Canadian Diabetes Association.

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Franz M: The glycemic index: not the most effective nutrition therapy intervention.

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Foster-Powell K, Holt SH, Brand-Miller JC: International table of glycemic index and glycemic load values:



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Foster-Powell K, Miller J: International tables of glycemic index.

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U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service: USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference [article online], 2007. Release 20. Available at http://www.ars.gov/ba/bhnrc/ndl. Accessed 20 May



Bjorck I, Granfeldt Y, Liljeberg H, Tovar J, Asp N-G: Food properties affecting the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates.

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Published ahead of print at http://care. diabetesjournals.org on 3 October 2008.

J.B.M. is the director of a not-for-profit GI-based food endorsement program in Australia. F.S.A. is employed to manage the University of Sydney GI testing service.

Readers may use this article as long as the work is properly cited, the use is educational and not for profit, and the work is not altered. See http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/ for details.

The costs of publication of this article were defrayed in part by the payment of page charges. This article must therefore be hereby marked “advertisement” in accordance with 18 U.S.C Section 1734 solely to indicate this fact.

Supplementary data

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Supplemental Table- pdf file

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Glycemic index: what is it, load rate for a person and how to calculate it

Glycemic index: what is it, load rate for a person and how to calculate it | Blog

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Glycemic Index

February 13, 2022


Julia Gorshkova

Nutrition coach, nutritionist. I love food and help others understand nutrition issues. I love it when more people stop being afraid of food and start eating varied and tasty.

I collaborate with projects: justfood healthy food delivery service, Neplacebo evidence-based medicine clinic, Mary’s Academy nutrition courses, Kale Coach well-being platform.

What is the glycemic index

A phrase that forces you to look for special plates and check the product – to determine whether you can eat it or leave it on the store shelf.

Let’s figure out what the glycemic index (GI) is and why it is needed: it is a measure of the relative effect of foods containing carbohydrates on blood sugar levels compared to glucose (glucose is 100%). The more processed the product, the higher its GI, the more fiber or fat in food, the lower it is.

Usually, the focus of determining the level of GI are those that we attribute to carbohydrates: these are cereals, vegetables and fruits, pasta, potatoes, sweets and drinks.

Depending on its level, products are divided into three categories:

    1. High GI: 1 to 55;
    2. Medium GI: 55 to 69;
    3. low GI: above 70.

Why you need to know the glycemic index

In short, you can live without this information.

The glycemic index may be useful for people with type 2 diabetes if they are not aware of other healthy diet options (plate method or palm method). Knowing the GI of a product, one can assume changes in sugar levels and a feeling of satiety: foods with a high GI will help you quickly feel full, but not for long, foods with a low one, on the contrary, do not give satiety immediately, but it stays longer.

What affects the glycemic index

The GI is influenced by many factors. The same product under different conditions may have a different glycemic index. This is what affects it:

    ● Degree of processing: dehulled and germ-free grains have a higher GI than whole grains. Example of refined: white rice, white flour and products from it.
    ● Integrity: Finely ground grains digest faster than larger pieces. Example: whole grain oats and flour from it.
    ● Amount of fiber: Foods that are high in fiber contain more fiber, which is not digestible, than carbohydrates, which are absorbed in the intestines. Due to slow absorption, the increase in blood sugar is slow.
    ● Fat and protein content slows down the absorption of glucose, and thus lowers the GI. In other words, if we add meat and vegetable salad to fried potatoes, the GI of our plate will be lower.
    ● Method of preparation: for example, the GI of a fried potato will be higher than that of a chilled whole potato; pasta cooked al dente will digest more slowly and have a lower GI than overcooked.
    ● Ripeness: Ripe fruits and vegetables have a higher GI than unripe ones.

However, some foods have a non-descriptive glycemic index. Among them, ice cream – having a low GI, it contains a lot of saturated fats; Potatoes, on the other hand, have a high GI but contain nutrients such as potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, and fiber. Thus, one indicator does not give us a complete picture of the product.

In order to comprehensively evaluate a carbohydrate product, it is worth considering: the presence of whole grains and nutrients, the content of fiber, protein and fat, the degree of processing and the presence of added sugar. This will definitely give more bonuses even to fried potatoes and carrots than just GI.

If the glycemic index does not carry important information, then there is another indicator, more useful – the glycemic load. For healthy people, like the glycemic index, it is not as important (there are more understandable guidelines), but for people with type 2 diabetes, endocrinologists consider it more indicative.

Glycemic load

Glycemic load (GL) is a measure that takes into account the amount of digestible carbohydrates in a serving of food. For diabetics, this figure, along with total carbohydrate intake, can be important to maintain optimal blood glucose levels (consult a physician for an accurate recommendation). The glycemic load is usually calculated not for a single product, but in total per day.

GN, as well as GI, are divided into three groups:

    1. low: 10 and below;
    2. medium: 11-19;
    3. high: 20 and up.

The value of GL is more indicative than GI, because a low GI food can have a high GL. This means that this product is likely to lead to a strong increase in blood sugar, but the index will not tell us about it. For example, watermelon has a high glycemic index of 80. But there are so few carbs per 100g of watermelon that it has a glycemic load of just 5.

You can find this out using the following formula:

GL = GI x (grams of carbs per serving) / 100

List of low glycemic load foods

    ● Cereals with bran;
    ● Apple;
    ● Orange;
    ● Beans;
    ● Lentils;
    ● Wheat tortilla;
    ● Cashew;
    ● Peanuts;
    ● Carrot.

List of foods with an average glycemic load

    ● Brown rice;
    ● Oatmeal;
    ● Bulgur;
    ● Rice cakes;
    ● Whole grain bread;
    ● Whole grain pasta.

List of foods with a high glycemic load

    ● Baked potatoes;
    ● French fries;
    ● Refined breakfast cereal;
    ● Drinks with sugar;
    ● Sweets;
    ● Couscous;
    ● Basmati rice;
    ● White pasta.

Should You Avoid High GI or High GL Foods

As it has already become clear from what was written above, the most harmless ones fall into the number of products with a high GI. For example, carrots, pumpkin, pineapple, watermelon, melon, millet. Other characteristics of the listed products give us completely different information – they are full of vitamins, minerals, fiber and taste. It would be sad to deprive yourself of such a set of benefits!

All three lists of foods with different levels of GN contain those that can also be regularly included in our diet. Even sweets and sugary drinks have a place – there is no clause in the recommendations for healthy people that would prohibit them. But there is a recommendation to limit sweets to 5-10% of the total daily diet – the amount depends on the level of physical activity.

Another point in favor of legalizing everything, even sugary foods, is that bans violate our relationship with food. No matter how strange this phrase may sound, this is how it works: when we want something, but do not allow ourselves, we want this product more. With any opportunity to eat it, it is more difficult to eat a small portion – this provokes overeating. If we set even stricter rules, we go in a vicious circle.

Slimming products

How, then, to reduce weight, if you can do everything and better not limit yourself in variety? One of the most common questions in the topic of nutrition is what to eat to lose weight?

Unfortunately, it’s not individual foods that help you lose weight (it would be convenient to eat broccoli and feel the reduction in volumes), but the amount of what we eat and the balance in the combination of different food groups. We can also influence the daily calorie intake, because only the right calorie deficit helps to smoothly reduce weight. And we don’t need to count calories for that. You can use the following rules:

    ● eat enough vegetables – they are usually low in calories;
    ● do not exceed the norm of fat – monitor the amount of saturated fat, add a small amount of oil to meals;
    ● remember that one serving of cheese is 30 g, unlike other protein products;
    ● a teaspoon of peanut butter, which was “intercepted” on the way from the workplace for a glass of water – also considered – add to the meal, try not to bite;
    ● We eat when we feel hungry and finish our meal when we feel a little full, optimally when we are 80% full. This saves you from biting.

It turns out that diet for weight loss should be varied! And not only for weight loss – for health and joy too.

How to make the right diet

A correct and healthy diet is, first of all, a varied diet. Variety is when we have several sources of fiber at every meal, we eat fish 2-3 times a week, legumes every or almost every day, experimenting with new combinations of foods, including spices, or trying new things outside the home.

Rules may apply:

    1. It is useful to combine any carbohydrates with foods containing fiber: vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts and seeds – this GI of the entire serving reduces and brings us closer to balance.
    2. At each meal, fill half of the plate with vegetables, herbs or fruits. You can use the principle of the rainbow – the more colors, the better.
    3. It would be nice to add protein to the already mentioned carbohydrates and other fiber options: meat, fish, legumes, cottage cheese, tofu – protein together with fats prolong satiety.
    4. We prefer whole products that have undergone a minimum of processing. This applies to carbohydrates, among which those that have a shell have greater nutritional value for us, meat – for him a less preferred option – sausages, and other products that can go through several stages of preparation.
    5. Add spices to dishes for a variety of flavors. Flavor is important too!
    6. We delight ourselves with a variety of textures: food is soft, crispy, creamy, porous, crumbly. Combine and enjoy!

These rules underlie all dietary recommendations: for healthy people and for those who have diseases. In any state, it is important for us to follow the balance of consumption of proteins, fats and carbohydrates. For clarity, it is made out in the form of a plate.


The glycemic index is an interesting indicator that can be useful when calculating servings for people with diabetes. Its glycemic load complements it well – it is more informative, because. helps to evaluate the quality of carbohydrates. But for healthy people, these calculations are not needed – it is long, not always accurate and not as simple as, as a rule, plates and other recommendations for the formation of a healthy diet. It does not require calculations, but it solves the problem of achieving a healthy weight.


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a complete list of foods with a low and high glycemic index in the table, doctors’ reviews

The glycemic index (GI) of foods is taken into account when planning a diet. But at the same time, it cannot be said that foods with a high GI are unambiguously harmful, and those with a low GI are beneficial. Harm and benefit for each person with their own characteristics is determined individually. If we talk about proper nutrition, then in addition to the glycemic index, it is necessary to take into account the calorie content of foods, the balance of micronutrients, the distribution of calories throughout the day, the ratio of carbohydrates to proteins and fats, etc.

For people with diabetes and those who want to lose weight, the glycemic index is an important indicator. After all, low-glycemic foods help keep you feeling full longer (1). But for weight loss, it is not enough to choose foods with low GI – they should be rich in vitamins and minerals, dietary fiber.

Before embarking on your path to slimness on a low GI diet, you should consult with a nutritionist or gastroenterologist to select a diet that takes into account chronic diseases and body characteristics.

What is the glycemic index

The glycemic index refers to the rate of absorption of carbohydrates from food, which increase blood sugar levels. Those foods that, when broken down, quickly turn into glucose, can be harmful to health – they contribute to the accumulation of extra pounds and depletion of the pancreas.

GI is measured in conventional units. Glucose was taken as the standard: its GI level is 100 units. The glycemic index of other foods is measured relative to glucose.


The glycemic index is not an indicator of the energy and nutritional value of foods.

Useful information about the glycemic index

High glycemic index From 70 units and above. This level of GI distinguishes products with carbohydrates, which are digested too quickly and lead to a sharp jump in blood sugar.
Average glycemic index 55 to 69 units.
Low glycemic index Up to 55 units. These are foods with carbohydrates, from which energy is released slowly, without sharp jumps in glucose.
What affects the level of the glycemic index • Fiber – the more it is in foods, the slower this food is absorbed.
• Cooking Method – Cooking increases GI.
• The ratio of fats and proteins. For example, the GI of pasta with meat sauce is lower than just pasta.
• Varieties of products, growing conditions and place.
• Storage conditions.
• Food processing technology.

High Glycemic Foods List

High GI foods are fast carbohydrate foods. With serious physical or mental stress, this type of carbohydrate can even be useful. But if you do not spend the energy that is released during their assimilation, it will turn into body fat.

However, it is not necessary to completely exclude foods with a high GI from the diet, if this is not necessary and there is no threat to health.


Rice has the highest glycemic index in this category. And in its different variations: from porridge to noodles. The highest GI in rice flour is 95 units. The glycemic index of rice noodles and instant rice porridge is slightly lower – 90. Rice porridge cooked in water has a GI of 80 units, and in milk – 75. The glycemic index of white steamed rice is 83 units.

Millet, semolina, couscous are on the lower border of products with a high glycemic index – from 71 and below.

Vegetables and root crops

Rutabaga is a clear example of the fact that it is wrong to evaluate the benefits or harms of a product only by the glycemic index. This root vegetable has the highest glycemic index among vegetables – 99 units. But at the same time, swede contains a large amount of fiber, calcium, other minerals, and vitamins.

Potato is a starchy product, and starch according to GI is not inferior to reference glucose – 100 units. It is expected that this vegetable is also in the lead in terms of the glycemic index. In baked or fried potatoes GI 95 units, in mashed potatoes – 90, in chips – 80.

The glycemic index is high in stewed or boiled carrots, celery root – 85 units.

Zucchini and pumpkin have the same GI – 75, turnips and sweet potatoes also have 70. In different sources, the numbers vary from 103 to 148 units. Watermelon also has a high index – 76-103 units (in different tables).

Raw apricots have only 20 GI units, while canned ones jump up to 91. A similar story with peaches: 90 units for canned (as in pies or hot dogs), and only 30 for fresh.

Flour products

At the very top of the food glycemic index tables are wheat bagels – 103 units, as well as white bread toast and toast – 100 units. Slightly inferior to them are hot dog buns (92), rich buns (88), donuts (80).

Near-average savory waffles, French baguette (75 units), soft wheat pasta, puff pastries (70).

Dairy products

The glycemic index of milk ice cream is 79 units, about the same as sweetened condensed milk – 80. Regular milk with its 32 units is far behind.

Other products

Honey (90 units), live beer (110) have a high glycemic index. Milk chocolate, sugar, jam, halvah have 70 GI units.


In addition to the glycemic index, there is also such an indicator as the glycemic load (GL) – the amount of carbohydrates per 100 g of product. And it doesn’t always depend on the GI. For example, the glycemic index of watermelon is 75, and the glycemic load is 4. This parameter is preferable when choosing products. For example, the GI of watermelon and chocolate are similar, while the glycemic load of watermelon, which is healthier than chocolate, is several times lower.

List of foods with a low glycemic index

Foods with a low GI are digested for a long time, give a feeling of satiety for a long time. Sugar in the blood during their use enters slowly. Low GI foods are useful for those who want to lose weight and people with diabetes.


Barley has the lowest glycemic index of all types of cereals (22). Low glycemic index in buckwheat and oatmeal.

Vegetables and root crops

There are a lot of vegetables in this list. Cabbage, onions, tomatoes, eggplant, broccoli, green peppers, spinach, mushrooms, lettuce – 10 units each. Radish, daikon, boiled cauliflower, stewed cabbage, sauerkraut, red pepper, asparagus, ginger, olives – 15 each. Glycemic index of cucumbers – 20 units. Dill, parsley, oregano – 5 units each.

Fruits and berries

Stone fruits have a low GI. Apricots, cherries, grapefruit, plums, cherries – 20-25 units. Raspberries, currants, apples, pears, strawberries, sea buckthorn, oranges, figs – 30-35 units.

Legumes and nuts

Chickpeas, sesame seeds, fresh green peas, beans have 35 units each. Glycemic index of lentils – 30, almonds – 25, peanuts – 20.

Dairy products

Cheese glycemic index – 45, natural low-fat yogurt, milk, low-fat kefir – 30 units each. Low-fat cottage cheese has the lowest GI – 25.

Other products

And among the sweets there are products with a low GI. These are, for example, dark chocolate (22 units), sugar-free marmalade (30).

Soy milk (30), pumpkin seeds (25), shrimp, mussels (5 units) differ in small indicators.

How to Calculate the Glycemic Index

The glycemic index measures how high and how long your blood sugar rises after eating 50 g of carbohydrates from a particular food. The resulting indicator is compared with the consumption of 50 g of glucose.

The GI of most foods has already been measured and listed in tables that are easy to find on the Internet. You can focus on them, but still it should be borne in mind that the indicators may vary depending on the type of processing of products, their combination and other factors, even the time of use.

Physician’s Review

— For people who are overweight and have insulin resistance, it is important to choose foods with a low glycemic index. This will prevent blood glucose levels from rising significantly and help avoid spikes in insulin, says our expert Anna Volkova, biochemist, nutritionist . “This is important because when insulin levels are high, glucose levels drop significantly, causing hypoglycemia. In this case, there is hunger and an irresistible desire to eat something. And if it is again a product with a high glycemic index, the cycle will repeat. Thus, for the whole day you can eat a large amount of high-calorie foods, and not even notice it, since the feeling of hunger will be constant.

There are ways to lower the glycemic index. For example, fatty foods or fiber slow down the absorption of sugar. Of course, the amount of carbohydrates cannot be changed, but the insulin surge will no longer be so high if you eat a vegetable salad or have a hearty lunch before dessert. Then the state of hypoglycemia will not arise and you will not want to eat again for a long time.

– All types of metabolism suffer from a large amount of carbohydrates, especially “fast” ones in the diet. Carbohydrate first. Therefore, the glycemic index and glycemic load should be taken into account not only for patients with diabetes mellitus, but also for everyone who seeks to reduce body weight, who wants to lead a healthy lifestyle with the goal of active longevity, – notes Elvira Fesenko, gerontologist, nutritionist, candidate of medical sciences . – Occasional consumption of foods with a high glycemic index will not cause much harm to carbohydrate metabolism and metabolism in general. An excess of high GI foods is dangerous. And not only because of the large amount of sugar, but also because of the deep processing. The more processed the product, the more undesirable substances (trans fats, sweeteners, preservatives, etc.) in it, and the higher the glycemic index. Even vegetables and fruits after simple heat treatment have a higher GI than raw ones.

There are different ways to neutralize a high glycemic index. For example, eat vegetables and fruits raw, cook pasta until al dente. Eating chicken meat lowers the glycemic response to white bread and rice. Vegetables, then meat, and then rice is the optimal sequence of eating foods to reduce the glycemic response, in which the need for insulin does not increase. The catechins contained in green tea have shown their effectiveness in lowering fasting and postprandial glucose levels. But everything is purely individual.

Not only food, but also a low level of physical activity affects the increase in blood sugar. We move less – the body’s use of insulin worsens, body weight increases, muscle strength decreases. So, with a sedentary lifestyle, you can not lean on foods with a high glycemic index. An improper diet also contributes to weight gain, leads to sudden changes in glucose levels and increases the risk of developing hyperglycemia.

Why monitor the glycemic index

Knowledge about the glycemic index of foods is useful for people who strive for a healthy lifestyle and nutrition. This information is important for those who want to lose weight and people with diabetes to eat right and not harm their health (2).

But you need to monitor the glycemic index taking into account your lifestyle. For example, a person who is engaged in hard physical labor or an athlete after a grueling workout can afford fast carbohydrates with a high GI. Such food quickly increases the level of glucose, which the body uses to restore energy, it will not be deposited in fat. Foods with a high glycemic index provide energy to the body. And low GI foods improve stamina.

High and low glycemic index food tables

Experts have compiled glycemic index tables for different foods. The indicators in them may differ slightly, but not significantly. Meat, fish, eggs contain practically no carbohydrates, they have zero GI, so they are not indicated in such tables.


Keep in mind that GI is not a constant value. It also depends on the processing of cereals: the degree of their crushing, hydrothermal treatment, etc. To lower the glycemic index, whole grains are preferred. For example, oatmeal or instant oatmeal has a higher GI than oatmeal.

9020 7

9021 2

Steamed white rice 83
Millet 71
Bulgur 68
Semolina 65
Instant oatmeal 66
White rice 60
Buckwheat 50
Oatmeal 49
Brown rice 45
Barley 22

Vegetables, root vegetables, legumes

Glycemic index of vegetables may vary depending on the way they are prepared. So, baked potatoes and boiled in uniform are in different “weight categories” according to the GI criterion.

902 08 10 Cabbage 10

902 12

Rutabaga 99
Baked potatoes 75
Pumpkin 75
Boiled corn 70
Boiled potatoes 65
Beets 64
Canned green peas 48
Colored beans 42
Fresh green peas 40
White beans 40
Fresh carrots 35
Red lentils 25
Crushed yellow peas 2 2
Eggplant 10
Cucumber 20
Onions 10
Tomatoes 10
Lettuce and lettuce 10
Garlic 10

Fruits, berries

Not everything is clear here either. For example, if you remove the stone from a cherry with a glycemic index of 32, the index will drop to 25. In general, fresh berries and fruits are much more preferable than canned ones in terms of GI.

9021 2

90 208 Currant 9020 8 Grapefruit
Dates 148
Watermelon 103
Canned apricots 91 9 0209
Pineapple 66
Melon 65
Ripe bananas 65
Kiwi 50
Blueberry 42
Grape 40
Orange 9 35
Dried apricots Pear 34
Strawberry 32
Green banana 30
Peach 30
Apple 30
Raspberry 90 209

Sea buckthorn 30
cherry 25
cherry 22
Plum 22
Fresh apricot 20

Nuts , seeds

Nuts belong to the group of products with a low glycemic index. In addition, it is a source of fiber and protein.

90 208 20

Sesame 35
Almonds 25
Pumpkin seeds 25
Walnuts 15
Sunflower seeds 8

9 0077 Flour products

Indicators of calorie content and GI of flour products depend on the type of flour. And in the use of such products there are tricks:

  • choose pasta from durum wheat and almost cook them until cooked;
  • give preference to whole grain bread;
  • in regular bread, the GI can be reduced by freezing it for 20 minutes and then thawing it at room temperature.
  • Bu hot dog trays 92 Donuts 88 Unsweetened waffles 75 Black bread 65 Wheat flour fritters 9 0209

    62 Oatmeal biscuits 55 Butter biscuits 55 Bran 51 Rye bread 40 Wheat pasta 38 90 209 Chinese vermicelli 35


    Glycemic index of honey, as a rule, is presented as generalized. However, it can vary from 30 to 90 units, depending on the variety, place and time of collection, etc.

    Honey 90
    Milk chocolate 70
    Marmalade 70
    Sugar 70
    Sugar-free marmalade 30
    Dark chocolate (70% cocoa) 22
    Fructose 20

    Dairy products

    The glycemic index of whole milk products is generally low. High GI distinguishes dairy products with added sugar.


    Sweetened condensed milk 80
    Ice cream 79
    Curd 9% 32
    Natural milk 30
    Natural yoghurt 1 ,5% 30
    Low fat kefir 30
    Low fat cottage cheese 25


    There are high glycemic and low glycemic options in this category.

    902 07

    Beer 110
    Fruit compote without sugar 60
    Natural coffee without sugar 9 0209

    Grape juice without sugar 48
    Apple juice without sugar 40
    Carrot juice 40
    Orange juice without sugar 40
    Tomato juice 15

    Popular questions and answers

    KP together with nutritionist Elvira Fesenko answers popular questions from readers about GI.

    What is the difference between glycemic index and insulin index?

    The glycemic index measures the rate at which carbohydrates are converted into sugar in the blood. Its value is affected by many factors: the amount of sugar, the content of fiber in the product, etc. the release of this hormone into the blood can also provoke products without carbohydrates (3).

    What food glycemic index is considered acceptable?

    – There is no golden mean and the cherished figure for the glycemic index. From the point of view of a positive effect on carbohydrate metabolism and metabolism in general, one should adhere to the correct nutrition patterns in terms of the content of micro- and macronutrients, proteins and carbohydrates, emphasizes nutritionist Elvira Fesenko. – You can’t consider foods with a high GI to be absolutely harmful, and with a low one – unequivocally useful. It is important that the diet is correct and balanced and the regimen is observed.

    Minimize or eliminate highly processed foods from the diet: confectionery, foods with sweeteners, high sugar content, carbonated sugary drinks, fast food.

    What happens if you refuse foods with a high glycemic index?

    Foods with a high glycemic index help in situations where you need to quickly restore energy. Therefore, healthy people should not completely refuse them.