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Glycemic index

The glycemic index (GI) ranks carbohydrates according to how they affect blood glucose levels. The lower the GI, the slower the rise in blood glucose levels 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 for 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 on the University of Sydney website.