For a diabetic, glycemic index is a very important indicator. The glycemic index (GI) is a measure of how much a food containing carbohydrate will raise a person’s blood glucose level. Each food is rated in comparison to a “base reference,” which is either glucose or white bread. Food with a high GI raises the blood sugar level, while food with a low GI will lower it. Foods that don’t contain carbohydrate (meats, fats) don’t have a GI. A food lower on the diabetic glycemic index scale will enter your bloodstream more gradually, preventing an unhealthy spike in your blood glucose level. Because this will keep your blood sugar more balanced over time, it is best to concentrate on low GI foods. They also tend to be the foods highest in fiber and nutrients. The University of Sydney provides an online search tool to find the GI of various foods (


The Diabetic Index, and What Affects a Food’s GI


Various factors will influence a food’s GI. Foods that are cooked or processed tend to be higher on the diabetic glycemic index scale than those that are raw and unprocessed. The length of time a food is cooked matters too; the same food cooked for a longer time will have a higher GI. Fruits and vegetables that are riper will have a higher GI. Varieties of a certain food can make a difference as well – brown rice has a lower GI than short-grain white rice. The combination of foods in the body affects the overall GI.


The Glycemic Index and Diabetic Aids – Is It Enough?


Keep in mind that one must still pay attention to the amount of food one eats; the diabetic glycemic index does not address portion size. When planning a meal, consider the combination of foods, as they will act together (low GI balances out high GI). Also, just because a food has a low GI doesn’t necessarily mean it’s good for you. Chocolate has a low GI, but is not very nutritious. It’s important to consider other important issues when deciding on your overall diet, such as the food’s nutritional value.

Beware of foods that have a low GI but high fat (and are therefore unhealthy), such as fatty meats and dairy products. The worst foods are those with high fat and high carbs – for example, hamburgers, French fries, ice cream, donuts, potato chips and croissants. If you want to stay healthy, avoid these foods like the plague!

For a diabetic diet and glycemic index considerations, choose high fiber foods like fruits and vegetables, whole grains and legumes (peas, beans, lentils, soy, peanuts, alfalfa). Fresh and raw foods are always better than canned or processed. The diabetic glycemic index should be just one of the tools you use to maintain a healthy, balanced diet.