Defining Low-, Medium-, and High-Glycemic Foods
1 of 10 in Series: The Essentials of Choosing Low-Glycemic Foods
Determining whether a food is high- or low-glycemic is pretty straightforward. The glycemic index is broken into high-, medium-, and low-glycemic foods. High-glycemic-index foods have the quickest blood sugar response; low-glycemic-index foods have the slowest. Here are the measurements on a scale of 0 to 100:
Low glycemic index: 55 or less
Medium glycemic index: 56 to 69
High glycemic index: 70 or greater
Keep in mind that high-glycemic foods aren’t necessarily unhealthy foods. Similarly, low-glycemic foods aren’t always healthy. The glycemic index simply lets you know how quickly your blood sugar will rise from eating that food.
The following table shows the glycemic index numbers and measurements of some popular foods. Some foods fall right into line with what you probably predicted: Brown rice is a low-glycemic food, and basmati white rice and spaghetti are medium-glycemic foods. But it’s not always that clear-cut. Notice how jasmine rice has a significantly higher glycemic index number than basmati rice even though both types of rice are white? This is where specific types of products vary. Even though foods of the same type may appear the same, each variety can produce a different blood sugar response for many reasons.
|Food||Glycemic Index Number||Measurement|
|Basmati white rice||57||Medium|
|Baked potato without skin||98||High|
Note that some candy has low glycemic content, whereas baked potatoes and watermelons have some of the highest. This doesn’t mean that candy is suddenly healthier for you than a potato or fruit. Baked potatoes and watermelons are high in many different vitamins, minerals, and fiber as well as glycemic content, and candy is high in lots of undesirable categories such as calories — and empty calories at that!