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Making Sense of Foods

How to Choose Low-GI Foods

Need to control your blood sugar or reduce your risk of developing diabetes? Choosing foods that raise blood sugar values more modestly—ones that have a low Glycemic Index (GI)—rather than ones that cause a rapid increase in blood sugar is recommended for these and a number of other health reasons. Let's start by learning more about what the Glycemic Index is. Then we'll discover how to use this information to make healthier food choices.

What Is the Glycemic Index?

All digestible carbohydrates are broken down into sugar, the main energy source for your body's needs. Some foods enter the blood stream and raise blood sugar values more quickly than others. The Glycemic Index is a measurement of just how fast this happens.

How Is It Measured?

Pure glucose is used as a reference food and is assumed to be the most quickly absorbed; it is given a GI rating of 100. Other foods are tested and blood sugar is measured over time; the results for these foods are then compared to glucose and rated on a relative scale. The higher the number, the higher the GI—and the higher and faster a person's blood sugar climbs after eating a given food.

Why Choose Low-GI Foods?

Studies have shown numerous health benefits attained by eating low GI foods and keeping blood sugar values from spiking and falling throughout the day.

  • Better blood sugar control
  • Increased satiety
  • Weight loss/maintenance
  • Lower risk for developing diabetes


How to Choose Low GI Foods: What Factors Influence the GI of a Food? >>