The Glycemic Index is a measurement of how quickly carbohydrate in particular
foods turns to glucose.
Lower Glycemic Index Carbohydrates are foods that are more slowly digested
and absorbed. Eating these foods in place of foods that are quickly digested
may help improve blood sugar level. Examples of low GI foods are:
- Lentils and dried beans
- Milk and yogurt
- Certain fresh fruit such as peaches, apples, grapefruit and pears
- Nuts and seeds
- Bran cereals and oatmeal
Higher Glycemic Index Carbohydrates are foods that raise blood sugar
levels more rapidly. Examples are:
- White potatoes
- White bread and bagels
- Short grain rice
- Watermelon, ripe bananas and pineapple
Studies of the effect of using the glycemic index to help control type 2 diabetes
have been inconsistent. Some have shown that low glycemic index foods reduce
blood sugar levels and hemoglobin A1c levels. Others have found that the glycemic
index of a meal does not predict the blood sugar response. More research will
clarify whether or not the glycemic index is a useful tool.
Currently, the American Diabetes Association recommends focusing on total
carbohydrate instead of the glycemic index of specific foods or an entire meal.
With that said, lower glycemic index foods are often healthier choices because
they are made from whole grains and are high in fiber.
Review Date: 5/1/2006
Reviewed By: Alan Greene, M.D., F.A.A.P., Department of Pediatrics, Packard Children's Hospital, Stanford University School of Medicine; Chief Medical Officer, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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