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 show 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 not identical to other glycemic index lists. The impact a food will have on 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
Cereals Snacks Pasta Beans
All Bran, avg 44 chocolate bar 49 cheese tortellini 50 baked 40
Bran Buds + psyll 45 corn chips 42 fettucini 32 black beans, boiled 30
Bran Flakes 74 croissant 67 linguini 50 black-eyed peas 50
Cheerios 74 doughnut 76 macaroni 50 butter, boiled 33
Coco Pops, avg 77 fruit Roll-Ups 99 Mac and Cheese (Kraft) 64 cannellini beans 31
Corn Chex 83 graham crakers 74 spagh, white, boiled 46 chickpeas 10
Cornflakes 81 jelly beans 80 spagh, white, 20 min boiled 58 garbanzo, boiled 34
Cream of Wheat 66 Life Savers 70 spagh, whole-grain, boiled 42 kidney, boiled 29
Cream of Wheat, Instant 74 M&Ms, peanut 33 vermicelli 35 kidney, canned 52
Frosted Flakes 55 oatmeal cookie 57 Soups/Vegetables lentils, green, brown 30
Grapenuts 75 pizza, cheese & tom 80 beets, canned 64 lima, boiled 32
Life 66 Pizza Hut, supreme 36 black bean soup 64 navy beans 39
muesli, natural 56 popcorn, plain, ave 65 carrots, fresh, boil 39 pinto, boiled 39
Nutri-grain 66 popcorn, light micro 55 corn, sweet 56 red lentils, boiled 27
oatmeal, instant 79 potato chips 56 french fries 75 soy, boiled 16
oatmeal, old fash 55 pound cake 54 green peas 54 Breads
Puffed Wheat 80 Power bars 58 grean pea, soup 66 apple, cin 44
Raisin Bran 61 pretzels 83 green pea, frozen 47 bagel, white, plain 95
Rice Chex 89 saltine crakers 74 lima beans, frozen 32 baguette, Frnch 95
Shredded Wheat 67 shortbread cookies 64 parsnips 52 blueberry 59
Special K 69 Snickers bar 41 peas, fresh, boil 48 croissant 67
Total 76 strawberry jam 51 pot, new, boiled 59 dark rey 76
Fruit vanilla wafers 77 pot, red, baked 93 hamburger bun 61
apple, avg 36 Wheat Thins 67 pot, russet, baked 111 kaiser roll 73
apricots 57 Cookies and Crackers pot, sweet 70 oat & raisin 54
banana, raw, avg 48 graham 74 pot, white, boiled 82 pita 68
cantalope 65 rice cakes 82 pot, white, mashed 70 pizza, cheese 60
cherries 22 rye 64 split pea soup w/ham 66 pumpernickel 56
dates, dried, avg 42 soda 74 tomato soup 38 sourdough 54
grapefruit 25 shortbread 64 yam, avg 54 rye 64
grapes, black 59 Wheat Thins 67 Milk Products tortilla, corn 52
kiwi 52 Vanilla wafers 77 chocolate milk 35 tortilla, wheat
mango 55 Cereal Grains custard 43 white, Wonder bread 73
orange, raw, avg 45 barley 25 ice cream, van 62 wheat 69
papaya 58 basmati white rice 63 milk, full-fat, avg 50 Drinks
peach, avg 42 bulgar 47 milk, skim, avg 31 apple juice 41
pear, raw, avg 38 couscous 65 soy milk 31 Coca Cola 63
pineapple 66 cornmeal 68 tofu frozen dessert 115 Cranberry 68
plums 39 millet 71 yogurt, fruit 36 Fanta, orange 68
prunes, pitted 29 quinoa 53 yogurt, plain 14 Gatorade, orange 89
raisins 64 rice, brown, steamed 50 Sugars grapefruit juice 48
watermelon 72 rice, white, boiled 72 fructose 22 Lucozade 95
honey 61 orange juice 50
maltose 105 pineapple juice 46
table sugar 64 Tomato Juice 38

*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.