What is ‘GI’ and a List of Common Foods

What is ‘GI’?

‘GI’ stands for glycemic index. The Glycemic Index is a numerical Index that ranks carbohydrates based on their rate of glycemic response (i.e. their conversion to glucose within the human body). Pure glucose is given an arbitrary rating of 100 as a reference point and all other carbohydrates are rated from 0 onwards. Any carbohydrate with a rating below 55 is considered a “low GI food”, and conversely any food 70 and up is generally considered a “high GI food”

Why Are Low ‘GI’ Foods Important?

Our bodies perform best when our blood sugar (blood-glucose) levels remain at a relatively constant level, supplying our bodies with equal amounts of fuel throughout the day. For our lifestyle choice it is important to have an equal, constant stream of glucose in order for muscle glycogen conversion. Low ‘GI’ foods are less rapidly absorbed by the body than foods with high ‘GI’ and therefore provide a more constant stream of fuel.

Is The Glycemic Index the Only Tool To Measure Carbs?

Although the Glycemic Index is our most useful tool when discerning which carbohydrates to eat, it is not our only one. Of the other branches which apply to the ‘GI’ the Glycemic Load is the most useful. When you intake carbohydrates it is not only important to note what the rate of glucose conversion will be, but how much total carbohydrate you are taking in, this is where GL comes into play. Glycemic load is used to determine (with GI) what your bodies total glycemic response will be. It is measured by dividing the GI by 100 and multiplying that by the net carbs (net carbs are equal to total carbs minus dietary fibre)
(GL=GI/100 x Net Carbs)

Should High GI Foods Be Completely Avoided?

Although low-GI, complex carbohydrates should be the vast majority of your caloric intake for carbs to ensure consistent glycemic response, there are times when a rapid increase in blood sugar is desirable. For this purpose some individuals choose to intake high GI foods after strenuous activity in hopes of causing an insulin spike in order to move glucose to the muscles to be converted to glycogen. Though not all agree with this method it has been utilized successfully, though the risk for adipose storage can be an issue. (in excess)

Is GI Fail-Proof

Absolutely not, as with any measuring formula the Glycemic Index is prone to some fallacies. Some of these limitations are noted below

Wide Spectrum Of Measurements

Normally, the reported GI value of a carbs is the average of many test results. Because of this there are often conflicting reports on the GI of common foods. For example the common potatoe has been reported as low as 55 and as high as 100.

Individual Glycemic Response

Each one of our bodies is unique in it’s processing of the food we intake. Each individuals rate of glycemic response, and conversely, insulin response is different, so although the GI is a useful tool it should not be religiously followed. The best method of utilizing the GI is to experiment to discover what your own bodies GI response is to craft the perfect “low GI diet” for you.


The GI of any given carbohydrate can be modified, sometimes significantly, by the method of preparartion. Any significant processing such as cooking, boiling, baking, or grinding may alter the GI of the food. Also, combination with other foods may also alter the initial GI of both carbs. When foods are combined at times a ‘mixed GI rating’, an average of both the foods GI’s can be implemented to rate the entire meal. However, this can also be misleading as often times the foods will have a synergistic effect and cause an overall higher glycemic response than either individual part may have had.

How Should I Best Implement the GI

Quite simply by using it as a guideline, and determining what is best for you. Many factors, such as the ones listed above have to be taken into account when determining which carbohydrates will most effectively allow you to put on LBM whilst keeping fat down. Consider your roomate who eats Burger King five times a week, drinks a two litre of Cola a day, and puts in minimal effort at the gym, yet still has an equal physique to you. Obviously, your individual insulin/glycemic resonse times greatly differ from eachother, and therefore have to eat greatly differing diets to maintain the same body. As said above a specifically tailored diet, implementing low GI foods, will allow you to most effectively use the Glycemic Index..

Common Food Listing

Food Glycemic Index


Bagel, white 103
Hamburger bun 87
Melba toast 100
Oat bran bread 68
Rye kernel bread 66
Pumpernickel 71
Rye flour bread 92
Linseed rye bread 78
Wheat bread, white 100
Wheat bread, high fibre 97
Wheat bread, gluten-free 129
Wheat bread, wholewheat 99
Wholewheat snack breads 105
Pita, white 82
Mixed grain bread 64

Breakfast cereals

All-bran 60
All-bran with raisins 74
Cocoapops 110
Cornflakes 119
Cream of wheat 100
Muesli 80
Oat bran 78
Oatmeal 87
Puffed wheat 105
Rice bran 27
Rice crispies 117
Shredded wheat 99
Special K 77

Cereal grains

Barley, pearled 36
Barley, cracked 72
Barley, rolled 94
Bulgur wheat 68
Couscous 93
Maize meal 97
Millet 101
Sweet corn 78
Rice, white 81
Rice, Basmati 83
Rice, brown 79
Rice, instant, boiled for 6 min. 128
Rice, instant, boiled for 1 min. 65
Rice, parboiled 68
Rice, wild 81
Rye kernels 48
Tapioca boiled with milk 115

Cakes and biscuits

Butter biscuits 79
Cake, angel food 95
Cake, banana loaf 67
Cake, sponge 66
Coffee cookies 113
Crispbead 116
Croissant 96
Crumpet 98
Digestive biscuits 84
Doughnut 108
Graham crackers 106
Maizena cookies 95
Muffins 88
Oat cookies 79
Pastry 84
Pizza base with cheese 86
Rice cakes 117
Rye crispbread 93
Shortbread 91
Waffle 109
Water biscuits 102
Wheat crackers 96


Cold drinks, sweetened 97
Cordials 94
Gatorade (energy drinks) 136

Fruit and Fruit Juices

Apple 52
Apple juice 58
Apricots, fresh 82
Apricots, canned in syrup 91
Apricots, dried 44
Banana 76
Cherries 32
Fruit ****tail 79
Grapefruit 36
Grapefruit juice, unsweetened 69
Grapes 62
Kiwi fruit 75
Mango 80
Orange 62
Orange juice 74
Pawpaw 83
Peach, raw 40
Peach, canned 79
Pear, raw 51
Pear, canned 63
Pineapple, raw 94
Pineapple juice 66
Plum 34
Raisins 91
Spanspek 93
Sultanas 80
Watermelon 103


Baked beans, canned 69
Beans, dry 40
Broad beans 113
Butter beans 44
Chickpeas 47
Chickpeas, canned 60
Kidney beans 42
Kidney beans, canned 74
Lentils 41
Lentils, green, canned 74
Lima beans, frozen 46
Soya beans 25
Soya milk 43
Split peas, boiled 45

Milk and dairy products

Ice cream 87
Ice cream, low-fat 71
Milk, whole 39
Milk, skim 46
Milk, chocolate 49
Milk, chocolate (artificial) 34
Custard 61
Yoghurt, low-fat, fruit, sweetened with sugar 47
Yogurt, low-fat, artificially sweetened 20
Yoghurt, plain 51


Fettucine 46
Gnocchi 95
Instant noodles 67
Macaroni 64
Macaroni and cheese 92
Ravioli, meat filling 56
Spaghetti, protein-enriched 38
Spaghetti, white 59
Spaghetti, durum 78
Spaghetti, wholewheat 53
Vermicelli 50

Snacks and sweets

Jelly beans 114
Lifesavers 100
Chocolate 70
Chocolate bars 91
Energy bars 81
Maize snacks 105
Muesli bars 87
Popcorn 79
Potato chips 77
Peanuts 21
Pretzels 116


Bean soup 92
Green pea soup, canned 94
Lentil soup, canned 63
Split pea soup, homemade 86
Tomato soup 54


Honey 104
Fructose 32
Glucose powder 138
Glucose tablets 146
Maltose 150
Sucrose (table sugar) 92
Lactose 65
High-fructose corn sugar 89
Maltodextrin 107


Beetroot 91
Carrots 101
Parsnips 139
Peas, dried 32
Peas, green 68
Potato, instant mash 118
Potato, baked 121
Potato, new 81
Potato, boiled 80
Potato, boiled, mashed 104
Potato, microwaved 117
Potato chips, deep-fried 107
Pumpkin 107
Sweet corn 78
Sweet potato 77

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