High Glycemic Index Foods

High Glycemic Index Foods – Overview

Do you remember being told not to eat too many sweets together? Elders have better knowledge of health and food. Eating too many sweets or foods with a high glycemic index (GI) can significantly increase blood glucose levels. And that’s not a good thing for you. High glycemic index foods should have a regulated intake in your diet.

What is the Glycemic Index (GI)

The Glycemic Index is a measurement that ranks food containing carbohydrates and their potential to raise blood sugar levels. The GI categorizes foods based on how quickly and how much they raise blood glucose levels after eating (1). While sugar in simple carbohydrates like soda breaks down easily, sugar in complex carbs like whole wheat and vegetables takes more time to absorb. 

The Glycemic Index Foundation (GIF) classifies the GI into three broad categories: low, medium, or high.

CategoriesGI Levels
Low55 or less
High70 or greater

What Factors Affect the Glycemic Index of Food?

High Glycemic Index Foods

High Glycemic Index Foods – Cooking Methods can Affect the Glycemic Index

Many factors cause a certain food to raise blood sugar levels. Some main factors are:

  1. Physical and chemical structure of the food
  2. Amount of fiber
  3. Amount of protein, fat, and acid
  4. If and how much the food is refined
  5. Method of cooking

Refined and highly processed foods usually spike blood sugar quickly, whereas foods with fats, protein, and fiber release glucose slowly. The time taken to cook food also determines the release of glucose after consumption.

Benefits of low glycemic index foods 

High-GI food tends to increase blood sugar sharply, simultaneously causing insulin levels to increase rapidly. After a while, blood sugar levels drop quickly, leaving the person feeling low in energy and in a poor mood.

A long-term dysregulation in blood sugar levels can cause insulin resistance. A low GI diet can potentially cause some health benefits. Especially for people who are suffering from diabetes or are in a pre-diabetic state, low GI foods can help control blood sugar and minimize the risk of long-term illness.

Further studies suggest that a low GI diet has the potential to help lose weight.

Are Low-GI Foods Healthier?

A low GI diet aims to choose foods that do not spike your blood sugar levels drastically. A balanced diet regularly includes low-GI foods, including whole grains, fruit, vegetables, beans, lentils, etc.

Only using GI to decide whether a food or diet is healthy isn’t enough. GI values do not tell you about food’s nutritional values. Preparing food with fiber and protein can lower GI levels, too. For example, watermelon has a GI of 76, and chocolate, on the other hand, only has a GI of 49.

The GI database currently does not rate or classify all foods. It’s just a list of foods that have been studied till now. By no means is it an endpoint.

Overall, it is good to know GI levels, but it does not necessarily mean that you are eating healthy food, and by no means should it be the only indicator of a healthy diet.

5 High Glycemic Index Foods

#1. Bread made of white flour

White flour is processed from wheat after removing the bran and germ layers, making it less healthy. Since the amount of fiber in processed white flour is less, it spikes blood sugar levels. A large piece of white bread has 71 markings on the GI list.

#2. Breakfast Cereals

Cereals are a popular choice for breakfast. Easier to prepare and make, cereals are also quite affordable but not necessarily healthy. One cup of cornflakes has a GI of 79. Instant oatmeal has a GI of 83.

#3. Potatoes

GI can vary significantly depending on the type, preparation, and cooking method. For example, a boiled white potato has a GI of around 78-82.

#4. Soft Drinks

Sugary soft drinks typically have a high sugar content that can lead to rapid spikes in blood sugar levels, despite some having a moderate glycemic index rating. However, their high sugar content can contribute to rapid spikes in blood sugar levels, and their empty calories offer no nutritional benefit, making them a less healthy choice. Sugary soft drinks can contribute to obesity and are not healthy. 

#5. Rice

Are you a rice lover? Well then, we have mixed news for you. The Glycemic Index of white rice can vary, generally around 73, but this can differ based on the type and preparation. Brown rice generally has a lower GI, averaging around 50 to 68, offering more fiber and nutrients, making it a healthier choice than white rice. If you regularly consume rice, eating it with a healthy serving of vegetables, lentils, and beans is best. Also, controlling the portion of rice is a good idea.

Bottom Line

GI levels inform us about the potential of a spike in blood sugar levels by a particular food. It is not an overall indicator of what a balanced diet should or should not include. High-level Index foods should be avoided in large quantities. It is one tool you can use while making food choices, especially if you are diabetic or prone to diabetes. Your ultimate option is a well-balanced diet with healthy carbs, fats, and protein.

See Also

Low Glycemic Foods List PDF

Low Glycemic Snacks

Low Glycemic Diet Plan

Low Purine Foods List

Coke Zero vs Diet Coke

Snacks for Diabetes

Current Version
March 6, 2024
Updated By
Guido Forti
March 1, 2024
Updated By
Guido Forti
March 21, 2023
Written By