What’s the Deal With the Glycemic Index?

Posted on

How to Use the GI Scale 

While the GI scale can be useful, it’s not a perfect science. It doesn’t factor in portion size, because it looks at the response to specifically 50 grams of carbohydrates. So some healthy foods, such as unbuttered popcorn or watermelon, rank higher on the GI than others, like a chocolate-and-peanut candy bar—but that’s not taking into account how much you normally eat (and how many carbs are in that portion). “That’s where glycemic load comes in,” Jarosh and Clarke say. “It measures the change in blood sugar levels in response to a typical portion of food.”

What’s more, the GI value reflects the effect of each kind of food on its own. But when’s the last time you ate only one type of food at a meal? Think about that sandwich you had for lunch. The white bread on its own is high on the GI, but when you eat it with all your sandwich fixings, your blood sugar won’t spike as high as you might think it would from the bread’s GI value alone, Jarosh and Clarke say. 

How Do Your Foods Rank?   

As a rule of thumb, foods that are processed and cooked longer tend to fall higher on the GI; for example, instant oatmeal has a higher GI value than rolled-oat oatmeal. Foods that contain more fiber and fat usually rank lower. Here are some examples of where foods fall in the scale.

High-GI Foods (70 or more)
Mashed potato (87)
Cornflakes (81)
Instant oatmeal (79)
Boiled potato (78)
Watermelon (76)
White bread (75)
White rice (73)

Medium-GI Foods (56 to 69)
Brown rice (68)
Couscous (65)
Popcorn (65)
Boiled sweet potato (63)
Pineapple (59)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *