What is the glycemic index (GI), how to lower the glycemic index of foods?


Glycemic indexis a commonly used tool to improve blood sugar control. GI is a value that measures how much a food raises blood sugar, and foods are classified as low, medium, or high glycemic index foods. Foods are ranked into 3 groups on a scale from 0 to 100, the glycemic index of the 3 groups and the most commonly consumed foods is as follows:

  • Low GI: 55 or less (apple: 36, barley: 28, whole milk: 39, soy milk: 34, banana: 51, oatmeal: 55)
  • Average GI: 56–69 (Popcorn: 65, Table Sugar: 65, Ripe Apricot: 57, Pineapple: 66)
  • High GI: 70 or more (white rice: 73, white bread: 75, watermelon: 76)

Optionally, you can enter the glycemic index of foods that interest you or that you eat regularly. University of SydneyYou can access it from the glycemic index table developed in .

Important note: All information and recommendations in this article are based on scientifically sound articles prepared for general informational purposes and do not contain expert advice. The content of the page does not include elements containing information about therapeutic medical care. See your doctor for diagnosis and treatment.

The lower the GI of a food, the the less it affects blood sugar levels. Foods high in refined carbohydrates and sugar digest faster, raise blood sugar levels, and tend to have a high glycemic index. Foods that are high in protein, fat, or fiber usually have a low GI.

Healthy blood sugar supportWhen choosing foods for children, it is important to consider the glycemic index. Especially, diabetes, obesity, heart disease people with health problems such as low glycemic index diet applications are required. Otherwise, many factors that threaten holistic health may arise. The glycemic index not only helps you become more aware of what you put on your plate, but also It promotes weight loss/maintenance and lowers blood sugar and cholesterol levels.

On the other hand, one of the terms that is often confused with the glycemic index is glycemic load, but they do not mean the same thing. While the glycemic index is used to standardize the blood sugar rise curve from foods, the glycemic load describes the total sugar load that carbohydrates in any food place on blood sugar levels. Generally, foods with a high glycemic index also have a high glycemic load. A low glycemic index diet, which is important for healthy eating and chronic disease prevention, can be achieved in many ways. Factors that affect the GI of a food include variables such as the method of preparation, the type of sugar it contains, and the amount of processing it goes through. Thus, several factors can help lower a food’s glycemic index.

How to lower the glycemic index of foods?

A low glycemic diet can help you control your weight by minimizing spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels. Especially in cases where there are health concerns such as type 2 diabetes or risk of developing it, obesity, metabolic disorders, a low GI diet becomes even more important. Low glycemic index diets are also important in reducing the risk of developing serious diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular disease. The following methods are known to be effective in lowering the glycemic index of foods:

  • Eat your own fruits and vegetables: The fiber and pulp of fruits and vegetables reduce their glycemic load. Hence, eating them instead of squeezing helps with a low GI diet. The GI of 1 serving of fruits or vegetables is lower than the glycemic index of their juice.
  • Eat fiber: As a general rule, the more fiber a food has, the lower its glycemic index. Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains have a low GI due to their high fiber content. You can create a low GI diet by adding high fiber foods to your diet.
  • Use spices: Many spices effectively lower the glycemic index of foods. Cinnamon is the spice of choice for low glycemic diets. Adding cinnamon powder to yogurts or dairy desserts helps lower the glycemic index. On the other hand, spices such as black pepper, cayenne pepper, basil, and garlic play a role in lowering the glycemic index as well as adding flavor to your meals. When it comes to spices, you need to pay attention to choosing products with truly natural, organic and pure ingredients. Otherwise, processed spices containing dyes can threaten your health, as well as increase the glycemic index.
  • Avoid processed foods: The closer a food is to its most natural state, the more health benefits it provides. Processed foods often have a high glycemic index due to their high sugar content. For this reason, it is important to consume as many organic foods as possible instead of packaged ones.
  • Eat alternative carbohydrates: Carbohydrates such as white bread, white rice and pasta have a high glycemic index. For this reason, you may want to try lower glycemic index alternatives instead. You can consider options like brown rice, bulgur, or whole grain bread. However, if you don’t want to consume alternatives, you can lower the glycemic index of foods you have cooked, such as rice and pasta, by storing them in the refrigerator and eating them cold. Also, when you eat pasta by cooking it al dente for about 5 minutes, you can lower the glycemic index.
  • Eat potatoes the right way: Potatoes are a starchy carbohydrate that converts quickly to sugar and has a high GI. That is why it is so important to eat as little as possible, and the portions should be small. On the other hand, you should avoid frying when you want to eat it. This is because french fries have a high GI. Boiled or baked potatoes have a lower glycemic index when fried. Also, as with pasta or rice, eating chilled potatoes helps lower their glycemic index.
  • Combine dishes correctly: You can mitigate the effect of foods with a high glycemic index by combining them with foods with a low GI. You can combine carbohydrates with proteins and healthy fats. For example, if you want to have something sweet with a bagel for breakfast, you can have a scoop of 100% peanut butter instead of high-sugar jam.
  • Increase the acidity of food: Adding acidic sauces to food helps lower the glycemic index. You can add high acid liquids such as apple cider vinegar and lemon juice to your food. Here you need to pay attention to the fact that you mix your salads with natural sauces that you have prepared yourself; otherwise, prepared salad dressings have a high GI, especially Caesar dressing.
  • Eat slowly: Our body reacts to how we eat as well as what we eat. That is, the speed at which food enters the stomach has a significant impact on the glycemic response. When you eat slowly, you chew the pieces more and send them to the stomach, which helps lower blood sugar levels. Digestion begins in the mouth, and saliva, which helps break down food in the mouth, contains a powerful starch-digesting enzyme called ptylin, so chewing carbohydrates thoroughly is especially important.
  • Control your portions: Low glycemic foods only keep you healthy when you can control your portion. Otherwise, no matter how much you lower the glycemic index of foods, eating large portions of low glycemic foods will cause blood sugar spikes. For this reason, you should regulate your portions in a controlled manner, with attention to lowering the glycemic index of foods.

In addition to all of these things to consider, Harvard Health Publications highlights the need to have 3 main meals and one or two snacks each day for a low GI diet and emphasizes not to skip breakfast. Finally, he draws attention to the fact that a person should stop where he feels full, and should not force himself to eat more.

Foods to eat on a low GI diet

You don’t have to count calories or keep track of protein, fat, or carbohydrates on a low GI diet. Instead, a low GI diet involves replacing high GI foods with low GI alternatives. health line The following foods are included in the recommended low GI diet. If you wish, you can complement your meals inspired by this list and try various alternatives:

Whole grain bread, rye, sourdough bread, oatmeal, bran cereal, apples, strawberries, apricots, tomatoes, carrots, broccoli, yams, pumpkin, lentils, chickpeas, rice noodles, brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, soy milk, salmon, tuna, olive oil, avocado oil, basil, dill, garlic…

If you’d like to check out our various articles on the glycemic index, you can also view our headings below:

For a long-lasting feeling of satiety: glycemic index
The Healthiest Way to Eat: Pay Attention to the Glycemic Index
How to Balance Your Blood Sugar: Healthy Lifestyle Habits That Help Regulate Blood Sugar

Important note: All information and recommendations in this article are based on scientifically sound articles prepared for general informational purposes and do not contain expert advice. The content of the page does not include elements containing information about therapeutic medical care. See your doctor for diagnosis and treatment.

Source: Healthline, glycemicindex, Cleveland.clinic, Health.Harvard.

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