The glycemic index or GI is a common way to track how beneficial low glycemic foods are for blood sugar levels. The ideal diet for diabetes and weight loss would be to stabilize the amount of blood glucose and avoid unnecessary spikes. Because low GI foods contribute to this, regularly consuming them helps prevent diabetic complications and fat storage.
Low, high and moderate glycemic indices
The accepted glycemic index of foods have been measured with glucose as reference. Pure glucose has a glycemic index of 100.
Low GI foods include many fruits and vegetables and have a glycemic index ranging from 0 to 55. Medium GI foods like whole wheat and sweet potato have a glycemic index of 59 to 69. High glycemic foods like white bread and breakfast cereals have a glycemic index of 70 and higher.
Vegetables as low glycemic foods
Many vegetables are low GI foods, meaning they have a glycemic index below 55. Vegetables which have a glycemic index of less than 15 include salad ingredients such as lettuce, tomatoes, zucchini and cucumber. Legumes like snow peas and green beans also have a glycemic index of 15.
Other GI 15 vegetables include all kinds of peppers, spinach, summer squash, cauliflower, broccoli, spinach, eggplant, celery, asparagus and artichokes. Dried peas have a glycemic index of 22 while boiled kidney beans and green lentils have a glycemic index of 29. Tinned chickpeas, kidney beans and baked beans are also considered low GI foods.
Fruits as low glycemic foods
Low glycemic fruits with their respective glycemic indices include dried apricots (31), cherries (22), plums (39), apples (38), pears (38) and grapefruit (25).
Other low GI foods include bananas (54), oranges (44), grapes (46), peaches (42) and kiwi fruit (53). Other fruits are medium glycemic foods but this does not mean that you have to avoid eating them.
In fact, watermelon is considered a high glycemic food because it has a glycemic index of 72. However, since watermelon is low in calories and high in fiber and water, you do not need to strike it off from your diet.
If you enjoy eating fruits, try to mix low GI foods and medium or high glycemic fruits in order to balance your goals of lowering your blood sugar and enjoying your meals.
Other low glycemic foods
Multigrain bread (GI 48), whole grain bread (GI 50), all-bran cereal (GI 42), non-instant porridge (GI 49), pearl barley (GI 25), rye (GI 34), and parboiled rice (GI 48) are also low GI foods.
Consider substituting your usual carbohydrate sources like white bread, white rice or breakfast cereals with these low GI foods in order to decrease your blood sugar and promote weight loss.