The glycaemic index or GI ranks carbohydrates according to their effect on blood glucose levels. The lower the GI, the slower the rise in blood glucose levels will be when the food is consumed. The effect may differ from person to person.
It is recommended that people with diabetes have moderate amounts of carbohydrates and include high fibre foods that also have a low GI (not all high fibre foods have a low GI).
Some research has shown that by following a diet with a lower GI, people with diabetes can reduce their average blood glucose levels. This is important in reducing the risk of developing diabetes-related complications.
GI numbers are to be used as a guide only as individual foods do not have the same response in all people with diabetes.
- Low GI foods are foods with a GI less than 55.
- Intermediate GI foods are foods with a GI between 55 and 70.
- High GI foods are foods with a GI greater than 70.
The recommendation is to eat more low and intermediate GI foods, not to exclude high GI foods.
The GI is only a small part of the healthy eating plan for people with diabetes.
For more information: visit the Glycemic Index and GI Database website.