5 ways using GL & GI can help blood sugar levels

Getting to know glycemic measures can help you control your blood sugar, and even lower your chances of getting diabetes. Here's the basics on these measurements, and how to use them to start eating healthier.

5 ways using GL & GI can help blood sugar levels

1. Know the difference between GI and GL

  • The glycemic index (GI) ranks carbohydrates and other foods based on their effects on blood-sugar levels.
  • Carbs that break down quickly in the body have the highest GI ratings. Carbs that release sugar gradually into the bloodstream are low on the GI index.
  • Researchers say that eating low-GI foods can cut your risk of diabetes, heart disease and even cancer.
  • Glycemic load (GL) was devised by scientists to include both glycemic index and the amount of carbohydrates in a diet.

2. Use GL over GI, when possible

  • GI is more popular because it's been around longer, but GL is the better measure. That said, for most foods, the numbers correlate pretty well.
  • The only area where they diverge is the group of foods with naturally-occurring containing sugars, like carrots or sweet potatoes.

3. Research foods before you buy them

  • The simplest way to know the GL or GI of a food is to find a list of rankings on the Internet.
  • Print it out and refer to it as you choose foods to buy and eat. Once you learn the foods that spike your blood-sugar levels, you won't even need to use the list.
  • You may continue to check new foods you wish to try.

4. Follow some simple rules of thumb

How will you know which foods have a high GI? To start out, follow these rules of thumb:

  • Stay away from white foods — sugar, refined flour, potatoes, white rice. They have the highest GI rankings.
  • Eat breakfast cereals based on oats, barley or bran, as well as whole-grain breads. They have GI measures in the healthy range and are great fuel for your body.
  • Choose whole fruits rather than higher-GI juices.
  • Eat lots of veggies.
  • Choose vinaigrette dressing for salad. Researchers have found that vinegar reduces a meal's glycemic index significantly.
  • Have some fat and protein. They have the lowest GI rankings, because they contain no carbs.
  • Snacking on baby carrots or an apple, two foods that are fairly high on the GI list? Add a dab of peanut butter to balance out the overall GI of the snack.

5. Get started with the basics

Here are the glycemic loads of some everyday foods. The lower the GL, the less effect the food has on your blood-sugar levels.

  • Green beans: 0
  • Celery: 0
  • Beef: 0
  • Chicken: 0
  • Eggs: 0
  • Fish: 0
  • Hummus: 0
  • Peanuts: 1
  • Green peas: 3
  • Carrots: 3
  • Grapefruit: 3
  • Skim milk: 4
  • All-Bran cereal: 4
  • Orange: 5
  • Apple: 6
  • Whole-grain bread: 7
  • Black beans: 7
  • White bread: 10
  • Potato chips: 11
  • Barley: 11
  • Banana: 13
  • Oatmeal: 13
  • Coca-Cola: 15
  • Corn on the cob: 17
  • Pretzels: 16
  • Fettuccine: 18
  • Cornflakes: 21
  • Plain pizza: 22
  • White rice: 23
  • Cranberry juice cocktail: 24
  • Plain bagel: 25
  • Baked potato: 26
  • Packaged macaroni and cheese: 32

Foods that are well-rated on GI and GL can help you control your blood sugar levels and keep you healthy. Learn about which foods are low on the scales, and which ones aren't, so that you can create meals that can keep you healthy, now and into the future.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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