Is the Glycemic Index Diet Always Good for Diabetes?

The Glycemic Index Diet ranks foods based on they Glycemic Index or the rate at which they break down in the body to form glucose. Foods that rank high break down quickly, boosting blood sugar levels, and leaving you wanting more within a brief span of time.

Low GI foods break down more slowly. Low GI foods keep you feeling satiated for a long period of time. Low GI foods include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, lean meats, and low-fat dairy. All of these foods are packed with nutrients and provide prolonged energy release.

High GI foods such as refined carbohydrates basically have been stripped of important nutrients.

People who are trying to lose weight should as much of the low GI foods as they want, and steer clear of high GI foods. They can eat intermediate GI level foods intermittently.

Glycemic Index Range

  • Low – 55 or less
  • Intermediate 55-70
  • High – 70 or higher

Is the GI diet always good for diabetes?

The GI diet can help diabetics keep their blood sugar under control. However, low GI foods tend to be high in fat. For instance, cheese pizza has a GI of 60 (intermediate level), yet someone with heart disease should avoid eating some. On the other hand, caramel-flavored rice cakes, a fibrous, low-fat, low-calorie food has a GI of 82.

Since obesity and heart disease have links to diabetes, this means that you can use the GI Index as reference for monitoring your blood glucose levels. However, you should not refer to its measurement values to keep the pounds off, which is crucial for diabetics.

Different factors affect the GI Index of a certain food. For instance, what other foods are eaten with it? How was it prepared? 

Another factor to consider is the glycemic load. The glycemic load is the result of multiplying the GI index of a food by the total carb content of a single serving. This gives you a more concrete idea not only of how quickly a certain food breaks down into sugar, but also how much of it is in a serving.

Lastly, remember that when checking a food’s Glycemic Index the reference food (the food to which other foods are compared) is glucose itself. Glucose has a GI of 100. most systems use it as the reference point with no other food ranking higher. But there are other GI Indexes that use white bread as the highest indicator, ranking it at 140.


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