The glycemic index is a hypothetical ranking system for carbohydrates that measures how long it takes our bodies to turn these carbohydrates into glucose. In this sense, foods ranked low on the glycemic index contain complex carbohydrates that take a long time to turn to glucose in the body.
Foods that are low glycemic are ideal for both weight loss and diabetes management because they slowly release glucose into the bloodstream. On the other hand, foods ranked high on the glycemic index contain simple carbohydrates that break down too quickly and thus quickly release glucose into the bloodstream causing drastic ups and downs in the body’s blood sugar levels.
Glycemic Index Breakdown
Low Glycemic Foods GI = 55 or less Medium Glycemic Foods GI = 56-69 High Glycemic Foods GI = 70+
Note: High protein foods, such as skinless chicken breast, which contain almost no carbohydrates, receive a ranking of zero on the glycemic index scale.
It is important to note that a food’s ranking score on the glycemic index is not the same as its calorie count. For example, it is possible for a high carbohydrate and high calorie food, such as oatmeal, to receive a low score of 58 on the glycemic index. What this means is that even though oatmeal is a high carbohydrate and high calorie food it is still an extremely healthy option because it is a great source of complex carbohydrates for fuel as well as fiber and various other nutrients. Therefore, in order to lose weight or manage your diabetes using the glycemic index you must also count calories and balance your diet by pairing low glycemic foods with high protein foods.
Low Glycemic Index Grocery Shopping List
If you’re interested in giving the glycemic index method of weight loss and diabetes management a try consider purchasing the following items the next time you head to the grocery store. This low GI grocery shopping list is designed to help you create a weekly low GI meal plan. Below, I have taken the liberty of providing you with a few low GI meal planning ideas as well. I hope that you find this shopping list practical and useful.
If there is a low GI food that you think I have left out please feel free to let me know via comments or email and I will add it to this list.
Low Glycemic Breakfast
Arnold Low Carb Multi-Grain Bread GI = 59 Arnold Bakery Light 100% Whole Wheat Bread GI = 59 La Tortilla Factory Smart & Delicious Low Carb High Fiber Whole Wheat Tortillas (Small) GI = 57 Oatmeal (Old-Fashioned Steel-Cut Oats) GI = 58 Fiber One Cereal (Original) GI = 56 Skim Milk GI = 32 Liquid Egg Whites GI = 0 Fat Free Feta Cheese GI = 0 Sugar Free Raspberry or Strawberry Jam GI = 25
Low Glycemic Snacks
Hummus GI = 6 Whole Wheat Pita Bread GI = 58 Plain Walnuts GI = 15 Unsalted Cashews GI = 22 Sugar-Free Yogurt GI = 36 Unsalted, Roasted Peanuts GI = 15
Low Glycemic Lunch
Ground Turkey Breast GI = 0 Extra Lean Ground Beef GI = 0 All White Fish such as Tilapia and Cod GI = 0 Low Sodium Oven Roasted Turkey Breast Deli Meat (Not Glazed) GI = 0 Yams GI = 37 Asparagus, Zucchini, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Mushrooms, Spinach, Green Beans and Cherry Tomatoes GI = 0 Peas GI = 48 Baby Carrots GI = 41
Low Glycemic Dinner
Brown Rice GI = 50 Sweet Potatoes GI = 48 Green Lentils GI = 30 Baked Potato GI = 60 Fat Free Sour Cream GI = 23
Low Glycemic Dessert
Sugar-Free Ice Cream GI = 62 Custard GI = 35 Peaches (Canned in Natural Juice) GI = 30 Poached Pears (No Sugar Added) GI = 41 Milk Chocolate Square GI = 42
Low Glycemic Meal Ideas
Low GI Breakfast Ideas Approximate Calorie Count 1/2 cup oatmeal made with skim milk 300 calories 1 cup Fiber One Cereal (original flavor) with 1 cup skim milk 220 calories 1 cup cooked liquid egg whites wrapped in 2 low carb tortilla 320 calories 2 slices of toasted Arnold Multi Grain Bread with 1 serving of Feta cheese and sugar free raspberry or strawberry jam 200 calories 2 slices of toasted Arnold Bakery Light 100% Whole Wheat bread with 1 cup of cooked liquid egg whites 280 calories
Lunch & Dinner
Low GI Lunch & Dinner Ideas Approximate Calorie Count 1 cup ground turkey breast wrapped in 2 La Tortilla Low Carb tortilla and garnished with fat free sour cream 530 calories 1 cup ground beef wrapped in 2 La Tortilla Low Carb tortilla and garnished with fat free sour cream 580 calories 2 Tilapia fillet served with 1 yam, steamed vegetables and 1/2 cup green peas 420 calories 1 Cod fillet served with steamed vegetables, 1/2 cup green peas, and 1/2 cup brown rice 450 calories Oven roasted turkey breast sandwich, made with any of the listed three breads, with 1 cup of baby carrots 300-400 calories 2 Cod fillet served with 1 baked potato, topped with fat free sour cream 650 calories 1 cup of lentil soup served with 2 pieces of bread 400 calories 1 cup of oven baked sweet potato fries = 1 medium sweet potato (for substitution) 120 calories