Glycemic Index and Diabetes

The glycemic index measures how fast a food is likely to raise your blood sugar. This can be helpful. For example, if your blood sugar is low and continuing to drop during exercise, you would prefer to eat a carb that will raise your blood sugar quickly. On the other hand, if you would like to keep your blood sugar from dropping during a few hours of mild activity, you may prefer to eat a carb that has a lower glycemic index and longer action time. If your blood sugar tends to spike after breakfast, you may want to select a cereal that has a lower glycemic index.

The numbers below give that food’s glycemic index based on glucose, which is one of the fastest carbohydrates available. Glucose is given an arbitrary value of 100 and other carbs are given a number relative to glucose. Faster carbs (higher numbers) are great for raising low blood sugars and for covering brief periods of intense exercise. Slower carbs (lower numbers) are helpful for preventing overnight drops in the blood sugar and for long periods of exercise.

Note that these numbers are compiled from a wide range of research labs, and often from more than one study. These numbers will be close but may not be identical to other glycemic index lists. The impact a food will have on the blood sugar depends on many other factors such as ripeness, cooking time, fiber and fat content, time of day, blood insulin levels, and recent activity. Use the Glycemic Index as just one of the many tools you have available to improve your control.

For additional information on the glycemic index, Carb Counting and blood sugar control, we also recommend Using Insulin or Pumping Insulin. You may also want to read about the Satiety Index, How Carbs Vary, or check out Diet Books

Glycemic Index
All Bran, avg44chocolate bar49cheese tortellini50baked40
Bran Buds + psyll45corn chips42fettucini32black beans, boiled30
Bran Flakes74croissant67linguini50black-eyed peas50
Cheerios74doughnut76macaroni50butter, boiled33
Coco Pops, avg77fruit Roll-Ups99Mac and Cheese (Kraft)64cannellini beans31
Corn Chex83graham crakers74spagh, white, boiled46chickpeas10
Cornflakes81jelly beans80spagh, white, 20 min boiled58garbanzo, boiled34
Cream of Wheat66Life Savers70spagh, whole-grain, boiled42kidney, boiled29
Cream of Wheat, Instant74M&Ms, peanut33vermicelli35kidney, canned52
Frosted Flakes55oatmeal cookie57Soups/Vegetableslentils, green, brown30
Grapenuts75pizza, cheese & tom80beets, canned64lima, boiled32
Life66Pizza Hut, supreme36black bean soup64navy beans39
muesli, natural56popcorn, plain, ave65carrots, fresh, boil39pinto, boiled39
Nutri-grain66popcorn, light micro55corn, sweet56red lentils, boiled27
oatmeal, instant79potato chips56french fries75soy, boiled16
oatmeal, old fash55pound cake54green peas54Breads
Puffed Wheat80Power bars58grean pea, soup66apple, cin44
Raisin Bran61pretzels83green pea, frozen47bagel, white, plain95
Rice Chex89saltine crakers74lima beans, frozen32baguette, Frnch95
Shredded Wheat67shortbread cookies64parsnips52blueberry59
Special K69Snickers bar41peas, fresh, boil48croissant67
Total76strawberry jam51pot, new, boiled59dark rey76
Fruitvanilla wafers77pot, red, baked93hamburger bun61
apple, avg36Wheat Thins67pot, russet, baked111kaiser roll73
apricots57Cookies and Crackerspot, sweet70oat & raisin54
banana, raw, avg48graham74pot, white, boiled82pita68
cantalope65rice cakes82pot, white, mashed70pizza, cheese60
cherries22rye64split pea soup w/ham66pumpernickel56
dates, dried, avg42soda74tomato soup38sourdough54
grapefruit25shortbread64yam, avg54rye64
grapes, black59Wheat Thins67Milk Productstortilla, corn52
kiwi52Vanilla wafers77chocolate milk35tortilla, wheat
mango55Cereal Grainscustard43white, Wonder bread73
orange, raw, avg45barley25ice cream, van62wheat69
papaya58basmati white rice63milk, full-fat, avg50Drinks
peach, avg42bulgar47milk, skim, avg31apple juice41
pear, raw, avg38couscous65soy milk31Coca Cola63
pineapple66cornmeal68tofu frozen dessert115Cranberry68
plums39millet71yogurt, fruit36Fanta, orange68
prunes, pitted29quinoa53yogurt, plain14Gatorade, orange89
raisins64rice, brown, steamed50Sugarsgrapefruit juice48
watermelon72rice, white, boiled72fructose22Lucozade95
honey61orange juice50
maltose105pineapple juice46
table sugar64Tomato Juice38

*Actually, the GI indirectly measures a food’s effect on blood sugar. It actually measured the “area under the blood sugar curve” following a set intake of that carb.

To learn carb counting, these books really help: Pumping Insulin, and Using Insulin. A Gram Scale for your kitchen makes it easy to accurately measure carbs in cereal, fruit, pancakes, rice, pasta, and more.