Glycemic Index Reference Guide

Following food low in glycemic index remains the gold standard for disease prevention, overall health and weight management. Food low in Glycemic Index do not result in a rise in blood sugar after consumption. This rise is sugar in the blood is a carbohydrate surge connected to heart disease, diabetes, vascular disease, eye disorders, neurodegenerative disease and obesity.

The FitMed Partners team of doctors, nurses, nutritionists and exercise physiologists recommend consulting your Glycemic Index regularly when making food choices. For ease, The GI Index is below for your reference. Also consider using the GI Foundation “Swap It” tool to decide how to better replace high GI food choices with low GI food choices. Click the GI logo below to connect to “Swap It” options.

glycemic index foundation

GI INDEX CHART

What is the Glycemic Index?

 

The Glycemic Index ranks carbohydrates based on how they impact your blood sugar level on a scale from 1 to 100. Foods with a glycemic index of 55 or less are low GI foods and foods with a glycemic index of 70 or higher are high GI foods.

Low GI Foods vs. High GI Foods

Foods with a low glycemic index are digested slowly and have a more steady impact on your blood sugar level (i.e. have a slow glycemic response). These foods provide sustained energy to your body and keep you fuller for longer. Foods with a high glycemic index are digested quickly and cause a more immediate spike in your blood sugar level (i.e. have a fast glycemic response). These foods give you a burst of energy, followed by a plateau or crash which leads to hunger and cravings.

What is Glycemic Load?

The glycemic index on its own is an incomplete measurement. While it tells you how quickly a carbohydrate impacts your blood sugar level, it does not take into account how much of the carbohydrate you’re actually consuming per serving and therefore how much of an impact it makes on your blood sugar level. This is an important consideration because if you consume a high GI food that only has a few grams of carbohydrates in it, you don’t have to worry about impact on blood sugar level. Glycemic load fixes this problem by using the following calculation: (Grams of carbohydrate in the food x GI of the food) / 100

Low GL Foods vs. High GL Foods

Foods with a glycemic load of 10 or less are low GL foods and foods with a glycemic load of 20 or more are high GL foods.

Example: Pumpkins have a glycemic index of 72 which makes them a high GI food, however, they only have 6 grams of carbohydrate per 100 gram serving, giving them a low glycemic load. You can eat pumpkin without having to worry about spikes in your blood sugar level. Using the calculation above, we get a glycemic load of (6 x 72) / 100 = 4.32 which is less than 10.

Glycemic index and glycemic load for 100+ foods

Glycemic index and glycemic load offer information about how foods affect blood sugar and insulin. The lower a food’s glycemic index or glycemic load, the less it affects blood sugar and insulin levels. Here you’ll find a list of the glycemic index and glycemic load for more than 100 common foods. The table below was developed by Harvard Medical School as a reference guide.

FOOD Glycemic index (glucose = 100) Serving size (grams) Glycemic load per serving
BAKERY PRODUCTS AND BREADS      
Banana cake, made with sugar 47 60 14
Banana cake, made without sugar 55 60 12
Sponge cake, plain 46 63 17
Vanilla cake made from packet mix with vanilla frosting (Betty Crocker) 42 111 24
Apple, made with sugar 44 60 13
Apple, made without sugar 48 60 9
Waffles, Aunt Jemima (Quaker Oats) 76 35 10
Bagel, white, frozen 72 70 25
Baguette, white, plain 95 30 15
Coarse barley bread, 75-80% kernels, average 34 30 7
Hamburger bun 61 30 9
Kaiser roll 73 30 12
Pumpernickel bread 56 30 7
50% cracked wheat kernel bread 58 30 12
White wheat flour bread 71 30 10
Wonder™ bread, average 73 30 10
Whole wheat bread, average 71 30 9
100% Whole Grain™ bread (Natural Ovens) 51 30 7
Pita bread, white 68 30 10
Corn tortilla 52 50 12
Wheat tortilla 30 50 8
BEVERAGES      
Coca Cola®, average 63 250 mL 16
Fanta®, orange soft drink 68 250 mL 23
Lucozade®, original (sparkling glucose drink) 95±10 250 mL 40
Apple juice, unsweetened, average 44 250 mL 30
Cranberry juice cocktail (Ocean Spray®) 68 250 mL 24
Gatorade 78 250 mL 12
Orange juice, unsweetened 50 250 mL 12
Tomato juice, canned 38 250 mL 4
BREAKFAST CEREALS AND RELATED PRODUCTS      
All-Bran™, average 55 30 12
Coco Pops™, average 77 30 20
Cornflakes™, average 93 30 23
Cream of Wheat™ (Nabisco) 66 250 17
Cream of Wheat™, Instant (Nabisco) 74 250 22
Grapenuts™, average 75 30 16
Muesli, average 66 30 16
Oatmeal, average 55 250 13
Instant oatmeal, average 83 250 30
Puffed wheat, average 80 30 17
Raisin Bran™ (Kellogg’s) 61 30 12
Special K™ (Kellogg’s) 69 30 14
GRAINS      
Pearled barley, average 28 150 12
Sweet corn on the cob, average 60 150 20
Couscous, average 65 150 9
Quinoa 53 150 13
White rice, average 89 150 43
Quick cooking white basmati 67 150 28
Brown rice, average 50 150 16
Converted, white rice (Uncle Ben’s®) 38 150 14
Whole wheat kernels, average 30 50 11
Bulgur, average 48 150 12
COOKIES AND CRACKERS      
Graham crackers 74 25 14
Vanilla wafers 77 25 14
Shortbread 64 25 10
Rice cakes, average 82 25 17
Rye crisps, average 64 25 11
Soda crackers 74 25 12
DAIRY PRODUCTS AND ALTERNATIVES      
Ice cream, regular 57 50 6
Ice cream, premium 38 50 3
Milk, full fat 41 250mL 5
Milk, skim 32 250 mL 4
Reduced-fat yogurt with fruit, average 33 200 11
FRUITS      
Apple, average 39 120 6
Banana, ripe 62 120 16
Dates, dried 42 60 18
Grapefruit 25 120 3
Grapes, average 59 120 11
Orange, average 40 120 4
Peach, average 42 120 5
Peach, canned in light syrup 40 120 5
Pear, average 38 120 4
Pear, canned in pear juice 43 120 5
Prunes, pitted 29 60 10
Raisins 64 60 28
Watermelon 72 120 4
BEANS AND NUTS      
Baked beans, average 40 150 6
Blackeye peas, average 33 150 10
Black beans 30 150 7
Chickpeas, average 10 150 3
Chickpeas, canned in brine 38 150 9
Navy beans, average 31 150 9
Kidney beans, average 29 150 7
Lentils, average 29 150 5
Soy beans, average 15 150 1
Cashews, salted 27 50 3
Peanuts, average 7 50 0
PASTA and NOODLES      
Fettucini, average 32 180 15
Macaroni, average 47 180 23
Macaroni and Cheese (Kraft) 64 180 32
Spaghetti, white, boiled, average 46 180 22
Spaghetti, white, boiled 20 min, average 58 180 26
Spaghetti, wholemeal, boiled, average 42 180 17
SNACK FOODS      
Corn chips, plain, salted, average 42 50 11
Fruit Roll-Ups® 99 30 24
M & M’s®, peanut 33 30 6
Microwave popcorn, plain, average 55 20 6
Potato chips, average 51 50 12
Pretzels, oven-baked 83 30 16
Snickers Bar® 51 60 18
VEGETABLES      
Green peas, average 51 80 4
Carrots, average 35 80 2
Parsnips 52 80 4
Baked russet potato, average 111 150 33
Boiled white potato, average 82 150 21
Instant mashed potato, average 87 150 17
Sweet potato, average 70 150 22
Yam, average 54 150 20
MISCELLANEOUS      
Hummus (chickpea salad dip) 6 30 0
Chicken nuggets, frozen, reheated in microwave oven 5 min 46 100 7
Pizza, plain baked dough, served with parmesan cheese and tomato sauce 80 100 22
Pizza, Super Supreme (Pizza Hut) 36 100 9
Honey, average 61 25 12

The complete list of the glycemic index and glycemic load for more than 1,000 foods can be found in the article “International tables of glycemic index and glycemic load values: 2008” by Fiona S. Atkinson, Kaye Foster-Powell, and Jennie C. Brand-Miller in the December 2008 issue of Diabetes Care, Vol. 31, number 12, pages 2281-2283.