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Foods High on the Glycemic Index but Low on Glycemic Load

In the early days of the glycemic index's popularity, experts appeared on television screens next to a table full of foods, talking about which ones were good and which ones were bad. Almost always they came to high-glycemic foods such as potatoes and watermelon and announced them as being equivalent to pure sugar.

First of all . . . of course foods that contain mostly carbohydrates are all sugar . . . all carbohydrates break down into sugar, so that's a bit of an unfair comment to begin with. But in the experts’ defense, they were operating with the glycemic index alone.

Thanks to the glycemic load, carrots and other high-glycemic fruits and veggies that got such a bad rap aren't considered so bad for you anymore. That's a darn good thing because those same fruits and veggies are loaded with important nutrients.

If you're one of those people following the old rules, or if you've been leery of following a low-glycemic diet because it puts certain foods such as watermelons in the “bad” category, take these foods off of your taboo list. The following foods not only have a low-glycemic load but are also healthy, low-calorie choices:

  • Cantaloupe (GI 65; GL 4): This fruit offers a full array of nutrients, including vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium, and fiber.

  • Papaya (GI 59; GL 10): This incredible fruit that you may not have eaten much has a rich, tropical taste and is high in vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, folate, magnesium, and fiber.

  • Pineapple (GI 59; GL 7): Being a tropical fruit, pineapple is naturally loaded with vitamin C, but it also contains a special substance called bromelain, which has shown potential as an anti-inflammatory as well as a digestive aid.

  • Pumpkin (GI 75; GL 3): You can safely include pumpkin in your glycemic index diet thanks to its low-glycemic load of 3. This food is an excellent source of vitamins A and C as well as fiber. It's also wonderfully sweet and can be used in everything from soups to healthy desserts.

  • Watermelon (GI 72; GL 4): This delicious summer fruit may at first look like a high-glycemic food with its glycemic index of 72, but it actually has a very low-glycemic load. Why? Because it's made up of a lot of water, hence the name. Watermelon is also loaded in antioxidants with high levels of both vitamin C and vitamin A. It also contains lycopene, which is shown to be helpful for heart health.

When you take glycemic load into account, you find that nearly all fruits and vegetables are acceptable on your low-glycemic diet.

This is an important realization because fruits and veggies (which are naturally low in calories) also provide the majority of nutrients and fiber in your diet. Including five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables in your diet will help you lose weight in a way that you can eat plenty of food and not starve yourself!

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