Glycemic index and glycemic load for 100+ foods

Measuring carbohydrate effects can help glucose management
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The glycemic index is a value assigned to foods based on how slowly or how quickly those foods cause increases in blood glucose levels. Also known as "blood sugar," blood glucose levels above normal are toxic and can cause blindness, kidney failure, or increase cardiovascular risk. Foods low on the glycemic index (GI) scale tend to release glucose slowly and steadily. Foods high on the glycemic index release glucose rapidly. Low GI foods tend to foster weight loss, while foods high on the GI scale help with energy recovery after exercise, or to offset hypo- (or insufficient) glycemia. Long-distance runners would tend to favor foods high on the glycemic index, while people with pre- or full-blown diabetes would need to concentrate on low GI foods. Why? People with diabetes can't produce sufficient quantities of insulin—which helps process blood sugar—which means they are likely to have an excess of blood glucose. The slow and steady release of glucose in low-glycemic foods is helpful in keeping blood glucose under control.

But the glycemic index tells only part of the story. What it doesn't tell you is how high your blood sugar could go when you actually eat the food, which is partly determined by how much carbohydrate is in an individual serving. To understand a food's complete effect on blood sugar, you need to know both how quickly the food makes glucose enter the bloodstream, and how much glucose it will deliver. A separate value called glycemic load does that. It gives a more accurate picture of a food's real-life impact on blood sugar. The glycemic load is determined by multiplying the grams of a carbohydrate in a serving by the glycemic index, then dividing by 100. A glycemic load of 10 or below is considered low; 20 or above is considered high. Watermelon, for example, has a high glycemic index (80). But a serving of watermelon has so little carbohydrate (6 grams) that its glycemic load is only 5.

To help you understand how the foods you are eating might impact your blood glucose level, here is a listing of the glycemic index and glycemic load, per serving, for more than 100 common foods.

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 muffin, made with rolled oats and sugar 44 60 13
Apple muffin, made with rolled oats and without sugar 48 60 9
Waffles, Aunt Jemima® 76 35 10
Bagel, white, frozen 72 70 25
Baguette, white, plain 95 30 14
Coarse barley bread, 80% kernels 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, average 75 30 11
Wonder® bread, average 73 30 10
Whole wheat bread, average 69 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® (US formula) 63 250 mL 16
Fanta®, orange soft drink 68 250 mL 23
Lucozade®, original (sparkling glucose drink) 95 250 mL 40
Apple juice, unsweetened, 41 250 mL 12
Cranberry juice cocktail (Ocean Spray®) 68 250 mL 24
Gatorade, orange flavor (US formula) 89 250 mL 13
Orange juice, unsweetened, average 50 250 mL 12
Tomato juice, canned, no sugar added 38 250 mL 4
BREAKFAST CEREALS AND RELATED PRODUCTS
All-Bran®, average 44 30 9
Coco Pops®, average 77 30 20
Cornflakes®, average 81 30 20
Cream of Wheat® 66 250 17
Cream of Wheat®, Instant 74 250 22
Grape-Nuts® 75 30 16
Muesli, average 56 30 10
Oatmeal, average 55 250 13
Instant oatmeal, average 79 250 21
Puffed wheat cereal 80 30 17
Raisin Bran® 61 30 12
Special K® (US formula) 69 30 14
GRAINS
Pearled barley, average 25 150 11
Sweet corn on the cob 48 60 14
Couscous 65 150 9
Quinoa 53 150 13
White rice, average 73 150 43
Quick cooking white basmati 63 150 26
Brown rice, average 68 150 16
Parboiled Converted white rice (Uncle Ben's®) 38 150 14
Whole wheat kernels, average 45 50 15
Bulgur, average 47 150 12
COOKIES AND CRACKERS
Graham crackers 74 25 13
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, average 62 50 8
Ice cream, premium (Sara Lee®) 38 50 3
Milk, full-fat, average 31 250 mL 4
Milk, skim, average 31 250 mL 4
Reduced-fat yogurt with fruit, average 33 200 11
FRUITS
Apple, average 36 120 5
Banana, raw, average 48 120 11
Dates, dried, average 42 60 18
Grapefruit 25 120 3
Grapes, black 59 120 11
Oranges, raw, average 45 120 5
Peach, average 42 120 5
Peach, canned in light syrup 52 120 9
Pear, raw, average 38 120 4
Pear, canned in pear juice 44 120 5
Prunes, pitted 29 60 10
Raisins 64 60 28
Watermelon 72 120 4
BEANS AND NUTS
Baked beans 40 150 6
Black-eyed peas 50 150 15
Black beans 30 150 7
Chickpeas 10 150 3
Chickpeas, canned in brine 42 150 9
Navy beans, average 39 150 12
Kidney beans, average 34 150 9
Lentils 28 150 5
Soy beans, average 15 150 1
Cashews, salted 22 50 3
Peanuts 13 50 1
PASTA and NOODLES
Fettucini 32 180 15
Macaroni, average 50 180 24
Macaroni and Cheese (Kraft®) 64 180 33
Spaghetti, white, boiled, average 46 180 22
Spaghetti, white, boiled 20 min 58 180 26
Spaghetti, whole-grain, boiled 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 7
Potato chips, average 56 50 12
Pretzels, oven-baked 83 30 16
Snickers Bar® 51 60 18
VEGETABLES
Green peas 54 80 4
Carrots, average 39 80 2
Parsnips 52 80 4
Baked russet potato 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.

To get the lowdown on glycemic index and glycemic load, read more about it here.

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