The Glycemic Index
What is the Glycemic Index of food?

The Glycemic Index (GI) is a scale that ranks carbohydrate rich foods by how much they raise blood glucose levels compared to a standard food. The standard food is glucose or white bread.

Why should I eat foods with a low Glycemic Index?

Eating foods with a low Glycemic Index may help you to:
  • Control your blood glucose level
  • Control your cholesterol level
  • Control your appetite
  • Lower your risk of getting heart disease
  • Lower your risk of getting type 2 diabetes

Use these meal planning ideas to include the Glycemic Index as part of healthy eating:

  • Enjoy vegetables, fruits, and low-fat milk products with your meals. These are carbohydrate rich foods that, in general, have a low glycemic index.
  • Plan your meals with foods in the low and medium Glycemic Index starch choices on the list that follows.
  • Try foods such as barley, bulgar, couscous, or lentils, which have a low Glycemic Index
  • Consult a registered dietitian for help with choosing low GI foods, adapting recipes, and other ways to incorporate low GI foods in your meal plan.

If I eat foods with a low Glycemic Index, can I eat as much as I want?

  • No. Using the Glycemic Index to choose foods is only one part of healthy eating.

Healthy eating also means:

  • Eating at regular times
  • Choosing a variety of foods from all food groups
  • Limiting sugars and sweets
  • Reducing the amount of fat you eat
  • Including foods high in fibre
  • Limiting salt, alcohol and caffeine.

Remember that checking your blood glucose before and 1 or 2 hours after a meal is the best way to know how your body handles the meal.

A lot of starchy foods have a high Glycemic Index (GI). Choose medium or low GI foods more often.