The glycemic index, or GI, is a system of ranking carbohydrate foods on a scale of 0 to 100 2. These numbers quantify the degree to which a food raises blood sugar levels. A food with a high GI is one in which the body quickly digests and absorbs it, resulting in a rapid increase in blood sugar levels. Foods with lower GI values result in more gradual increases in blood sugar. Foods low on the GI also reduce insulin levels and insulin resistance.
GI of Green Peas
Green peas, which contain 9 grams of carbohydrate per 150-g serving, are relatively low on the glycemic index, with a value of 22 2.
How to Measure GI
Do Green Plantains Raise Your Blood Sugar?
To identify where a food falls on the glycemic index, healthy individuals eat a sample of the particular food after an overnight fast 2. Researchers take finger-prick blood samples from the individuals every 15 to 30 minutes for two hours after the individual eats the food. The researchers then plot the blood sugar responses on a graph, yielding a blood sugar response curve. The area below the curve that is graphed is used to calculate the total increase in blood sugar levels after eating the food. The area under the curve is then divided by the area under the curve for a sample of the same amount of glucose, and multiplied by 100.
- To identify where a food falls on the glycemic index, healthy individuals eat a sample of the particular food after an overnight fast 2.
Glycemic Index Versus Glycemic Load
Blood sugar levels increase and then fall after you eat a meal with carbohydrates. The length of time your blood sugar remains elevated and the extent to which your blood sugar increases depends on the glycemic index of the food, and also how much of the food you eat 2. The glycemic load reflects both the glycemic index and the quantity of the carbohydrate-containing food in one value, and is valued as a tool to predict blood sugar levels after eating varying types and quantities of foods 2.
Glycemic Index of Cheerios
While adhering to a low-glycemic index diet may help diabetics control their blood sugar, Eating Well magazine notes that the measure is not foolproof. Different people absorb carbohydrates in different ways, and not all low-GI foods are necessarily healthy. Potato chips, with a GI of 54, qualify as low-GI, for example. The Glycemic Index and Load of a food is also variable depending on its level of fat, because fat facilitates food absorption 2.
- While adhering to a low-glycemic index diet may help diabetics control their blood sugar, Eating Well magazine notes that the measure is not foolproof.
- Different people absorb carbohydrates in different ways, and not all low-GI foods are necessarily healthy.
Do Green Plantains Raise Your Blood Sugar?
Glycemic Index of Cheerios
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The Essential Guide to the Glycemic Index and Gluten Free Living
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List of Good Carbs for Diabetics
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- EatingWell.com: Can Understanding the Glycemic Index Help You Eat Better?
- University of Sydney: Home of the Glycemic Index
- Ojo O, Ojo OO, Adebowale F, Wang XH. The effect of dietary glycaemic index on glycaemia in patients with type 2 diabetes: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Nutrients. 2018;10(3):373. Published 2018 Mar 19. doi:10.3390/nu10030373
- Glycemic Index and Diabetes. American Diabetes Association
- Search for the Glycemic Index. The University of Sydney
- Zeevi D, Korem T, Zmora N, et al. Personalized Nutrition by Prediction of Glycemic Responses. Cell. 2015;163(5):1079-1094. doi:10.1016/j.cell.2015.11.001+
- Sacks FM, Carey VJ, Anderson CA, et al. Effects of high vs low glycemic index of dietary carbohydrate on cardiovascular disease risk factors and insulin sensitivity: the OmniCarb randomized clinical trial. JAMA. 2014;312(23):2531-41. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.16658.
- Vega-lópez S, Venn BJ, Slavin JL. Relevance of the Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load for Body Weight, Diabetes, and Cardiovascular Disease. Nutrients. 2018;10(10). doi:10.3390/nu10101361
- Glycemic Index Database. University of Sydney. Updated October 13, 2020
- Eleazu C. O. (2016). The concept of low glycemic index and glycemic load foods as panacea for type 2 diabetes mellitus; prospects, challenges and solutions. African health sciences, 16(2), 468–479. doi:10.4314/ahs.v16i2.15
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- International Carbohydrate Quality Consortium, Jenkins, D. J., Willett, W. C., Astrup, A., Augustin, L. S., Baer-Sinnott, S., … Wolever, T. M. (2014). Glycaemic index: did Health Canada get it wrong? Position from the International Carbohydrate Quality Consortium (ICQC). The British journal of nutrition, 111(2), 380–382. doi:10.1017/S0007114513003905
- Leroux, MarcusFoster-Powell, Kaye, Holt, Susanna and Brand-Miller, Janette. "International Table of Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load Values: 2002." American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Vol. 76, No. 1, 5-56, (2002).
- Lui, S., Willett, WC, et al. "A prospective study of dietary glycemic load, carbohydrate intake, and risk of coronary heart disease in US women.." American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 71(6):1455-61. (2001).
- Mayer-Davis, E.J., Dhawan, A et al. "Towards understanding of glycaemic index and glycaemic load in habitual diet: associations with measures of glycaemia in the Insulin Resistance Atherosclerosis Study.." British Nutrition Journal. 95(2):397-405. (2006).
- Sacks, F. M., Carey, V. J., Anderson, C. A., Miller, E. R., 3rd, Copeland, T., Charleston, J., … Appel, L. J. (2014). Effects of high vs low glycemic index of dietary carbohydrate on cardiovascular disease risk factors and insulin sensitivity: the OmniCarb randomized clinical trial. JAMA, 312(23), 2531–2541. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.16658
- Salmeron, J, Manson, JE, et al. "Dietary fiber, glycemic load, and risk of non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus in women.." Journal of the American Medical Association. 12;277(6):472-7. (1997).
- Vega-López, S., Venn, B., & Slavin, J. (2018). Relevance of the Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load for Body Weight, Diabetes, and Cardiovascular Disease. Nutrients, 10(10), 1361. doi:10.3390/nu10101361
- Zeevi, D. Korem N. et al. Personalized Nutrition by Prediction of Glycemic ResponsesCell. 163:(5):1079-94. November 2015.
Sarah Billian began writing in 2004 as a staff writer for her high school and later wrote for her college paper, the "Sophian." She writes regularly on the subjects of nutrition and health on various websites and on her food, nutrition and health blog, Grub First. Billian will receive her Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Smith College.