What is the glycemic index?

The blood sugar level in a person with diabetes depends on the glycemic index (GI) and amount of the food eaten, plus the combination of carbohydrate, protein, fiber and fat eaten at the same time.

When carbohydrates only are eaten during a meal or snack, the GI number of the carbohydrate has a greater influence on the blood sugar level. The glycemic index rates foods on a scale of 0 to 100. Carbs with a GI of 55 or lower (such as most fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes) tend to be slowly released into the blood and raise blood sugar gradually. Carbs with a GI of 70 or higher (including foods high in table sugar or corn syrup, white potatoes, breads or pastas, and highly processed cereals) are quickly released into the blood and raise blood sugar faster and, perhaps, higher than lower-glycemic carbs.