Glycemic Index Food GuidePDF

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Glycemic Index Food GuidePDF

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Glycemic Index Food Guide

The glycemic index (GI) is a scale that ranks a carbohydrate-containing food or drink by how much it raises blood sugar levels after it is eaten or drank. Foods with a high GI increase blood sugar higher and faster than foods with a low GI.
There are three GI categories:

Diabetes Canada recommends choosing lower GI foods and drinks more often to help control blood sugar.
Work with your Registered Dietitian to add foods and drinks to your lists, create action plans that include choosing lower GI foods, adapt your favourite recipes, and find ways to swap/substitute low GI foods into your meal plan.
Checking your blood sugar before, and 2 hours after, a meal is the best way to know how your body handles certain foods and drinks.

Green = Go Low GI (55 or less) Choose Most Often
Yellow = Caution Medium GI (56 to 69) Choose Less Often
Red = Stop and think High GI (70 or more) Choose Least Often
Foods in the high GI category can be swapped with foods in the medium and/or low GI category to lower GI.
A low GI diet may help you:
• decrease risk of type 2 diabetes and its complications
• decrease risk of heart disease and stroke • feel full longer • maintain or lose weight
Try these meal planning ideas to lower meal GI:
• Cook your pasta al dente (firm). Check your pasta package instructions for cooking time.
• Make fruits and milk part of your meal plate (Figure 1). These foods often have a low GI and make a healthy dessert.
• Try lower GI grains, such as barley and bulgur. • Pulses can be grains and starches or meat and
alternatives. Swap half of your higher GI starch food serving with beans, lentils or chickpeas. For example, instead of having 1 cup of cooked short grain rice, have ½ cup of cooked rice mixed with ½ cup of black beans.

Vegetables

Grains and Starches

Meat and Alternatives

Milk Fruit

Figure 1: The Plate Method. Using a standard dinner plate, follow this model to control your portion sizes. www.diabetes.ca/mealplanning
Some carbohydrate-containing foods and drinks have so little carbohydrate that they do not have a GI value. This does not mean they cannot be included as part of a healthy diet. Examples include green vegetables, lemons, and some lowcarbohydrate drinks. Diabetes Canada calls these foods and drinks “free” because they do not impact the blood sugar of people living with diabetes. You can put free foods in the green category, but they do not have a GI and have not been included in the food lists.
Items with this symbol are “sometimes foods” (foods and drinks eaten only on occasion)

Low Glycemic Index (55 or less)
Choose Most Often
Breads: Heavy Mixed Grain Breads Spelt Bread Sourdough Bread Tortilla (Whole Grain) Cereal: All-Bran™ Cereal All-Bran Buds™ With Psyllium Cereal Oat Bran Oats (Steel Cut) Grains: Barley Bulgur Mung Bean Noodles Pasta (Al Dente, Firm) Pulse Flours Quinoa Rice (Converted, Parboiled) Other: Peas Popcorn Sweet Potato Winter Squash
Additional foods: 1. 2. 3.

Grains and Starches
Medium Glycemic Index (56 to 69)
Choose Less Often
Breads: Chapati (White, Whole Wheat) Flaxseed/Linseed Bread Pita Bread (White, Whole Wheat) Pumpernickel Bread Roti (White, Whole Wheat) Rye Bread (Light, Dark, Whole Grain) Stone Ground Whole Wheat Bread Whole Grain Wheat Bread Cereal: Cream of Wheat™ (Regular) Oats (Instant) Oats (Large Flake) Oats (Quick) Grains: Basmati Rice Brown Rice Cornmeal Couscous (Regular, Whole Wheat) Rice Noodles White Rice (Short, Long Grain) Wild Rice Other: Beets* Corn French Fries Parsnip Potato (Red, White, Cooled) Rye Crisp Crackers (e.g. Ryvita Rye Crispbread™) Stoned Wheat Thins™ Crackers
Additional foods: 1. 2. 3.

High Glycemic Index (70 or more)
Choose Least Often Breads: Bread (White, Whole Wheat) Naan (White, Whole Wheat) Cereal: All-Bran Flakes™ Cereal Corn Flakes™ Cereal Cream of Wheat™ (Instant) Puffed Wheat Cereal Rice Krispies™ Cereal Special K™ Cereal Grains: Jasmine Rice Millet Sticky Rice White Rice (Instant) Other: Carrots* Potato (Instant Mashed) Potato (Red, White, Hot) Pretzels Rice Cakes Soda Crackers
Additional foods: 1. 2. 3.

* Most starchy/sweet vegetables (e.g. peas, parsnip, winter squash) provide 15 g or more carbohydrate per 1 cup serving. Beets and carrots often provide less than 15 g carbohydrate per serving (marked above with *). Most non-starchy (or free) vegetables (e.g. tomato and lettuce) have not been assigned a GI because they have very little carbohydrate and have very little effect on blood sugar.
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Low Glycemic Index (55 or less)
Choose Most Often
Apple Apricot (Fresh, Dried) Banana (Green, Unripe) Berries Cantaloupe Grapefruit Honeydew Melon Mango Orange Peach Pear Plum Pomegranate Prunes
Additional foods: 1. 2. 3.

Fruits
Medium Glycemic Index (56 to 69)
Choose Less Often
Banana (Ripe, Yellow) Cherries (Bottled) Cherries (Fresh) Cranberries (Dried) Figs (Fresh, Dried) Grapes Kiwi Lychee Pineapple Raisins

High Glycemic Index (70 or more)
Choose Least Often
Banana (Brown, Overripe) Watermelon

Additional foods: 1. 2. 3.

Additional foods: 1. 2. 3.

Some fruits have not been assigned a GI because they contain less than 15 g of available carbohydrate per serving (e.g. lemon and lime).

Many fruits and vegetables fall in the low or medium GI categories.

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Milk, Alternatives and Other Beverages

Low Glycemic Index (55 or less)
Choose Most Often

Medium Glycemic Index (56 to 69)
Choose Less Often

High Glycemic Index (70 or more)
Choose Least Often

Almond Milk Cow Milk (Skim, 1%, 2%, Whole) Frozen Yogurt Greek Yogurt Soy Milk Yogurt (Skim, 1%, 2%, Whole)
Additional foods: 1. 2. 3.

Additional foods: 1. 2. 3.

Rice Milk
Additional foods: 1. 2. 3.

Milk, alternatives, and other beverages listed include flavoured (e.g. chocolate), sweetened and unsweetened varieties.

Low Glycemic Index (55 or less)
Choose Most Often

Meat and Alternatives
Medium Glycemic Index (56 to 69)
Choose Less Often

High Glycemic Index (70 or more)
Choose Least Often

Baked Beans Chickpeas Kidney Beans Lentils Mung Beans Romano Beans Soybeans/Edamame Split Peas
Additional foods: 1. 2. 3.

Lentil Soup (ready-made) Split Pea Soup (ready-made)

Additional foods: 1. 2. 3.

Additional foods: 1. 2. 3.

Meat, poultry and fish do not have a GI because they do not contain carbohydrate. When ½ cup or more of pulses are eaten, they can be included in the Grains and Starches food group or the Meats and Alternatives group.
Diabetes Canada is making the invisible epidemic of diabetes visible and urgent. Eleven million Canadians have diabetes or prediabetes. Now is the time to End Diabetes - its health impacts, as well as the blame, shame and misinformation associated with it. Diabetes Canada partners with Canadians to End Diabetes through education and support services, resources for health-care professionals, advocacy to governments, schools and workplaces, and funding research to improve treatments and find a cure.
This document reflects the Canadian Diabetes Association 2013 Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Prevention and Management of Diabetes in Canada © 2013 The Canadian Diabetes Association. The Canadian Diabetes Association is the registered owner of the name Diabetes Canada. 115009 02/18

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