Making sense of the glycaemic index

The Glycaemic Index (GI) is a ranking between zero and 100 given to foods describing how quickly the carbohydrate in a food is digested and absorbed into the blood.

Carbohydrates are an important energy source for the body and carbohydrate-containing foods are an important part of a healthy diet, containing many essential nutrients and fibre. Choosing high quality carbohydrate foods in the correct amount is the challenge for many Australians.

Carbohydrate foods that are quickly digested and absorbed into the blood stream have a high GI (more than 55) whilst those which are slowly digested and absorbed have a low GI (less than 55).

Low GI foods include:

  • Wholegrain bread
  • Pasta
  • Oats
  • Apples, apricots and oranges
  • Yoghurt and milk
  • Dried beans and lentils.

High GI foods include:

  • White and wholemeal bread
  • Processed cereals
  • Short-grain rice
  • Potato
  • Most cracker biscuits
  • Watermelon.

Eating low GI foods may:

  • Help to keep hunger at bay for longer after eating
  • Provide a gradual, continuous supply of energy from one meal to the next
  • Reduce insulin levels and insulin resistance.
  • Help to keep blood glucose levels stable in those with diabetes, by providing a slower, more sustained release of glucose into the bloodstream.

Both high GI and low GI foods can be included in a healthy diet.

An Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD) can provide further information and support on how the GI can best be applied to your diet and lifestyle.