Glycaemic index (GI) can be a confusing concept. It is a measure of how fast a carbohydrate containing food breaks down into glucose when you eat it. A ‘high’ GI food breaks down to glucose fast and often spikes your glucose level too high as a result. A ‘low’ GI food breaks down to glucose slowly and will give a better glucose result as it is giving your pancreas more time to secrete insulin to help process the glucose. What can make things confusing is that you still need to consider how much of these foods you eat and realise that not all lower GI foods are healthy options.
Here is a basic overview of some common examples of lower and higher GI foods. Try to include a lower GI food with each meal/snack you have. (Please note, most brands listed here are Australian.)
Lower GI: Burgen, Tip Top 9 Grain, Bakers Delight Cape Seed, sourdough bread, Bakers Delight Low GI white.
Higher GI: White, wholemeal, some seed breads.
Lower GI: Guardian, All-Bran Original, Goodness Superfoods 1st range, raw muesli, rolled oats.
Higher GI: Weet-Bix, most flake cereals, instant oats.
Crackers & biscuits
Lower GI: Vita-weats, Snackright Fruit Slice, Shredded Wheatmeal, Rich Tea, Highland Oatmeal.
Higher GI: Sao, rice crackers and rice cakes.
Lower GI: Basmati rice, Doongara rice, all pasta, buckwheat, quinoa, bourghul (cracked wheat), hokkein noodles.
Higher GI: Jasmine rice, white and brown rice, couscous.
Lower GI: Kidney beans, baked beans, lentils, chickpeas/ garbanzo beans, butter beans/ lima beans.
Higher GI: Broad beans.
Lower GI: Apples, citrus fruit, pears, berries, stone fruit.
Higher GI: Melon, pineapple, ripe bananas.
Lower GI: Sweet potato/ yam/ kumara, new potato, Coles Carisma potatoes, Nicola potatoes, corn.
Higher GI: Most white potato varieties.
Lower GI: Low fat milk, low fat yoghurt, low fat ice-cream, low fat custard, soy products.
Higher GI: Full cream ice-cream.