Diet Plan Information: Glycemic Index Diet

Glycemic Index Diet Plan


What is the Glycemic Index Diet Plan?

The Glycemic Index diet (sometimes called the Low-Glycemic diet) suggests that eating food that contain carbohydrates that also are low on the glycemic index. Different foods have a different glycemic index (GI); the lower the GI, the less the food affects blood sugar levels. The higher the GI, the more the food affects blood sugar levels. “Carbohydrates with a low GI value (55 or less) are more+ slowly digested, absorbed and metabolised and cause a lower and slower rise in blood glucose and, therefore usually, insulin levels” (Glycemic Index Foundation, n.d.).


How Do You Implement the Glycemic Index Diet Plan?

In order to start a low-glycemic diet, you’ll need to consume foods that are low on the GI. Originally, this diet was developed for people with diabetes who need to carefully manage their insulin levels. However, the diet can still be implemented by those who want to lose weight or want to eat healthier. “Foods with a low GI are digested and absorbed at a slower rate, and subsequently, cause a slower rise in blood sugar levels. These are typically rich in fiber, protein and/or fat” (Ellis, 2019).

There are three levels of GI from low to high. Low GI foods are those with a GI of 1 to 55. Medium GI foods are those with a GI from 56 to 69. High GI foods have a GI of 70 and above. It should be noted that how a food is cooked can impact the GI. For example, soft-cooked pasta has a higher GI than al dente pasta.


What Can and Can’t You Eat on the Glycemic Index Diet Plan?

In general, to adhere to the glycemic index diet, you’ll want to consume mostly low GI foods. That doesn’t mean that you’re never able to eat high GI foods but you should only consume them once in a while. Below is a list of approximate glycemic indices for a number of different foods.

Low Glycemic Index Foods (1-55 GI)

    • Fructose (15)
    • Kidney Beans (24)
    • Chickpeas (28)
    • Carrots (35)
    • Chocolate (40)
    • Yogurt (41)
    • Sweet Potatoes (54)

Medium Glycemic Index Foods (56-69 GI)

    • Snickers Bar (55)
    • Potato Chips (56)
    • Oatmeal (58)
    • Soda (59)
    • Honey (61)
    • Macaroni and Cheese (64)
    • White Rice (64)

High Glycemic Index Foods (70+ GI)

    • Popcorn (72)
    • Whole Wheat Bread (74)
    • Gatorade (78)
    • Tapioca Pudding (81)
    • Pretzels (83)
    • Baked Potato (85)
    • Rice Crackers (87)


Pros of the Glycemic Index Diet Plan

  • Satiety: Low GI foods help you to feel fuller and more satiated for longer periods of time. You’ll feel fuller which means that you’re less likely to over-eat or to eat when you’re not hungry as many of us tend to do.
  • Weight Loss: Similar to satiety, you’re likely to lose weight on the GI diet. “A modest increase in protein content and a modest reduction in the glycemic index led to an improvement in study completion and maintenance of weight loss” (Larsen et al., 2010).
  • Other Health Benefits: A GI diet has been proven in some studies to have other health benefits. One study showed a decrease in migraines (Evcili et al., 2018) while another showed a decrease in blood pressure (Evans et al., 2017) on a low-glycemic diet.

Glycemic Index Diet Chart


Cons of the Glycemic Index Diet Plan

  • Research: You’ll need to use a reference book or a GI app to keep track of which items are low GI and which are high GI. This can be frustrating for people who don’t have a lot of time to decide how and what they eat.
  • Imperfect GI Measurements: As stated before, the same food can have a varying GI value depending on how it’s cooked. Additionally, fruits can have a wide variety of GI values depending on how ripe it is. An under-ripe banana can have a GI value of 28 while an over-ripe banana can have a GI value of 67.


Books on the Glycemic Index Diet Plan

  • The G.I. (Glycemic Index) Diet (Gallop & Sole): “It’s the easiest, most satisfying eating plan possible. Both a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller, here’s the book that explains how to lose weight permanently without feeling hungry, counting calories, or jeopardizing your health. Based on the Glycemic Index, or G.I., the breakthrough nutritional discovery that measures the speed at which the body digests food and the impact it has on weight and well-being, The G.I. Diet organizes food into color-coded categories according to their G.I. Rating.”
  • The Glycemic Index Diet and Cookbook: Recipes to Chart Glycemic Load and Lose Weight (Healdsburg Press): “Lose weight and prevent disease with the glycemic index diet High blood sugar levels in your system can be the culprit in everything from weight gain to type II diabetes to heart disease. The glycemic index is the best tool to measure how your diet affects your blood sugar and make positive changes for a longer, healthier life.”
  • The G.I. Diet Express: For Busy People (Gallop): “Giving the green light to healthy weight loss even with today’s fast-paced lifestyle, this guide is based on choosing foods low on the Glycemic Index scale. In addition to 50 brand-new, super-quick recipes, many time-saving tips and shopping shortcuts are included—all in a handy, accessible format.”


Evidence-Based Studies on the Glycemic Index Diet Plan

  • Better Satiation: “Diets with higher protein content and lower glycemic index may lead to weight loss because of higher satiety sensation” (Pedroll et al., 2017).
  • Weight Loss in Patients with Asthma: “The ad libitum high protein-low GI diet resulted in a greater loss of fat mass among non-obese patients with asthma” (Geiker et al., 2018).
  • Fewer Migraines on GI Diet: “The results of the study revealed that low glycemic index diet intake can be an effective and reliable method to reduce migraine attacks” (Evcili et al., 2018).
  • Weight Loss: “In this large European study, a modest increase in protein content and a modest reduction in the glycemic index led to an improvement in study completion and maintenance of weight loss” (Larsen et al., 2010).
  • Lower Blood Pressure: “This review of healthy individuals indicated that a lower glycemic diet may lead to important reductions in blood pressure” (Evans et al., 2017).

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