Low Glycemic Index Diet – Diet Plan, How It Works, And Benefits

The low glycemic diet is based on the glycemic index concept. According to studies, a low GI diet leads to weight loss, low blood sugar levels, and less risk of type-2 diabetes and heart disease. However, the way it ranks certain foods has been criticized for being misleading and failing to reflect foods for entire health.

What is the Glycemic index?

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Carbohydrates are present in cereals, bread, vegetables, fruits, and dairy products. They are an important part of a healthy diet.

When you consume any type of carb, the digestive system converts it into simple sugars that go into the bloodstream. Not all carbs are similar, as different kinds have unique effects on blood sugar.

The glycemic index is a measurement system, which provides rank to foods depending on their impact over the blood sugar levels. It was presented in the early 1980s by Dr.David Jenkins, a professor from Canadian (Source).

The rates at which certain foods increase sugar levels are ranked in contrast with the ingestion of 50 grams of pure glucose. Complete glucose is used for a reference food and provide a glycemic index value of 100.

Here are the 3 GI ratings are:

  • Low: 55 or fewer
  • Medium: 56–69
  • High: 70 or more

Foods containing a low GI value are preferred choice. They are generally digested and absorbed, leading to a slower and little rise in blood sugar levels. On the other hand, foods with more GI value should be limited. They are fast digested and absorbed, causing a rapid rise and drop in blood sugar levels.

Find out more information in this database to know GI value if they have carbs. Therefore, foods without any carbs will not be available on GI lists. Food examples include chicken, beef, fish, eggs, spices, and herbs.

Factors affecting the GI of a food

Several factors can impact the GI content of a food or meal, including:

Various types of sugar

Some people think that all sugars contain large GI. The GI of sugar varies from lesser as 23 for fructose to 105 for maltose. Therefore, the GI of food depends on sugar types.

The Starch Structure

Starch is a carb consist of two amylopectins and molecules-amylose. Amylose is challenging to digest, whereas amylopectin easily gets digested. Foods with more amylose content will provide a lower GI.

Refined Carb

Processing methods like rolling and grinding disrupt amylose and amylopectin molecules increase the GI. Generally speaking, high processed food has a higher GI.

Nutrient Composition

Including protein or fat to your diet can lower digestion and help to reduce the glycemic response in food.

Cooking method

The cooking and preparation method can affect the GI too. If you cook food more, its sugar content will get digested and absorbed quickly and increase GI.


Unripe fruit consists of complex carbs, which break down into sugars as the fruit gets ripe. The riper the fruit, the GI will increase. For example, an unripe banana provides a GI of 30, whereas an overripe banana provides GI of 48.

Carb Quantity Is Also Important

The rate at which food increase blood sugar levels depends on three factors, such as carbs type, nutrients composition, and the eating quantity. However, the GI is a relevant measure that does not take into account the quantity of food consumed. It is often criticized for this purpose.

The glycemic load rating was grown to solve this. The glycemic index is a measure of imbalanced blood sugar levels, taking both the type of GI and quantity into account.

Similar to the GI, the GL has three classifications:

  • Low: 10 or fewer
  • Medium: 11–19
  • High: 20 or more

The GI is still an essential factor to consider when you are on a low GI diet. However, the Glycemic index foundation, an Australian non-profit making awareness regarding the low GI diet, suggesting that people also monitor their GL and try to balance total everyday GL under 100.

Otherwise, choose foods with low GI and eat in moderation.

Low GI Diet Plan

Early Morning: Time: (7:00 to 7:30 am)

  • 2-cups of water at (room temperature)

Breakfast: Time: (7:45 – 8:15 am)

  • One average bowl porridge + 2-egg whites with one cup freshly pressed grapefruit juice
  • One average bowl oats bran + four almonds with one cup freshly squeezed apple juice

Mid-Morning: Time: (10:30 to 10:45 am)

  • Have a sandwich of tuna with
  • One kiwi
  • two walnuts
  • Salad – one small bowl
  • multigrain bread

Lunch: Time: (1:00 to 1:30 pm)

  • Eat 1-bowl of broccoli, carrots (sautéed), lima beans(steamed), and mushrooms
  • Sip 1-cup milk (full-fat)

Evening Snack: Time: (4:00 pm)

  • Eat one oatmeal cookie with 1-cup of green tea.

Dinner: Time: (6:45 to 7:00 pm)

  • Eat three oz grilled chicken breast with 1 average bowl of grilled sweet potato.
  • Veggies with one small bowl of muskmelon
  • Berries Brown lentil stew with veggies
  • One whole-wheat bread and one piece of dark chocolate

It is an ideal diet for a low-GI chart. If you can follow this diet or follow a similar diet, you will lose weight and also prevent obesity and lifestyle linked diseases.

Glycemic Index of Foods

Low Glycemic Food

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  • Cereals
  • Rolled oats, Oat bran, and porridge, natural muesli.
  • Bread
  • Multigrain bread, whole wheat bread, sourdough rye bread, sourdough wheat bread, soy bread, and dark rye bread.
  • Carbs
  • Buckwheat, Steamed brown rice, rice noodles, pearled barley, wheat pasta.
  • Snacks
  • – Walnuts, yogurt, Corn chips, pistachios, almonds, hummus, coconut, and peanut.
  • Fruits
  • Peach, Grapefruit, plum, grape, orange, apple, strawberry, kiwi, cherry, mango, prune, and fresh and dried apricots.
  • Veggies
  • Carrot, lettuce, tomato, Broccoli, cauliflower, onion, bell pepper, spinach, cabbage, green peas, spinach, sweet potato, new potato, green beans, cucumber, and kale.
  • Legumes
  • Brown lentils, garbanzo beans, red lentils, kidney beans, pinto beans, black-eyed peas, Navy beans, butter beans, yellow split peas, and baked beans.
  • Beverages
  • Soy milk, Full-fat milk, vegetable juice, freshly pressed low GI fruit and buttermilk, coconut water, and water.
  • Desserts
  • Homemade custard, Dark chocolate, Nutella, and milk chocolate.


Medium GI Foods

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  • Cereals – Eat Special K, shredded wheat, Mini-Wheats, Nutri-Grain, all-bran wheat flakes, and Weet-Bix.
  • Bread – Eat Wholemeal rye bread, Pita bread, hamburger bun, croissant, and a bran muffin.
  • Carbs – Eat basmati rice, White rice, Arborio rice, wild rice, gnocchi, cornmeal, couscous, and taco shells.
  • Snacks – Eat Plain popcorn, Oatmeal cracker, plain potato wafers, Ryvita cracker, homemade pancakes, blueberry muffins, and digestive biscuits.
  • Fruits – Eat Pineapple, Mango, papaya, fig, banana, raisin, and plum.
  • Veggies – Eat Beetroot, canned potato, and potato.
  • Beverages – Consume Vegetable juices, Packaged fruit energy beverages, flavored drinks, mocktails, cocktails, and alcohol.
  • Desserts – Sultanas.

High GI Foods List

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  • Cereals – Eat Rice bubbles, Puffed wheat, mini wheat, Kellogg’s Bran Flakes, Kellogg’s Chocos, instant porridge, Kellogg’s Coco Pops, and Kellogg’s Crispix.
  • Bread – Baguette, Bagel, wholemeal bread, and white bread.
  • Carbs – jasmine rice, Sticky rice, short-grain white rice, instant white rice, tapioca, glutinous rice, and boiled brown rice.
  • Snacks – Scones, Puffed crispbread, pikelets, pretzels, rice cakes, water crackers, and Sao crackers.
  • Fruits – dates, and Watermelon
  • Veggies – parsnips, Pumpkin, skinned potato, boiled, baked potato, and skinned.
  • Beverages –  Energy or Sports drinks.
  • Desserts – Candies, Jelly beans, Fruit Roll-Ups, waffles, and doughnuts.

Should You Only Eat Low GI Foods?

Low GI foods are best for your health, but that does not significantly make natural high GI foods harmful. It means that you can eat high GI foods, which are processed or artificial. For example, you can eat white rice with more veggies, lean proteins, and healthy fats to get GI down.

It essentially means that as long as you eat fiber, healthy fats, and proteins along with plant-based carbs, you can eat high or medium GI foods. Watch out for foods that carry added sugar, processed foods, and salt, because you cannot change their GI. They are not good in the long run.

How Low-GI Foods Benefit?

Low GI foods do not suddenly increase the postprandial levels of blood sugar. They are digested and absorbed slowly than high GI foods, thereby balance a controlled sugar release in the blood. These foods also raise colonic fermentation. This, in turn, raises the good gut bacteria function and improve amino acid metabolism. It also balances the absorption and production of short-chain fatty acids in the large intestine. Low-GI foods also limit the insulin resistance, control lipid profile, and lower the risk of cardiovascular and diabetes diseases.

Weight loss

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Results of 16 years of research that tracked the diet of 120,000 women and men were issued in 2015. Researchers discovered that diets containing high GL from consuming refined grains, sugars, and starches were linked with more weight gains.

Other research shows that a low GI diet may also boost weight loss and help to regulate weight loss. However, data from the different studies show a substantial range in individual GI values for similar foods. This range of variability in GI values makes an inaccurate guide when determining food choices.

Control Blood Glucose

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As per contemplates, the entire measure of carbohydrate found in the food is normally a more grounded indicator of blood glucose reaction than the glycemic index. Given the research, for the vast majority with different glucose, the best solution for overseeing blood glucose is sugar checking.

Some clinical study has shown that a low-gi diet may help people with blood sugar problems, although the perceived results may also be associated with moderate calorie, high fiber diet.

Appetite control

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One study about the effect of the low-glycemic index is appetite control. The belief is that high-GI food causes a rapid boost in blood glucose, a rapid insulin response, and a consequent rapid reaction to feeling hungry. Low-GI foods would, in turn, delay the hunger signals. Clinical research of this theory shown mixed results.

If a low GI diet suppresses the appetite, the long-term effect should be like a diet would have long term results in people choosing to eat less and manage weight. Long-term clinical research does not show these effects.

Heart Health

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The low glycemic index diet also improves heart health by lowering blood glucose before a meal, promote blood vessel walls elasticity, and blood flow.

It promotes blood cholesterol levels. A study of 28 randomized and controlled trials offer high-level proof that high fiber, reduced GI diet can lower total and bad cholesterol levels, and support weight loss.

Lower the atherosclerosis risk, which is a chronic disease influencing blood vessels by lowering inflammation. It assists abdominal fat reduction.

Regulate Energy Levels

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As blood glucose levels are essential for energy, the high glycemic index food gives a quick burst to the energy, whereas, low glycemic index food gives more time to energy.

Low glycemic index foods are changed slowly, flowing glucose into the body over time, and produce stable energy level. On the other hand, high GI foods create an abnormal spike in blood glucose, which may cause energy peaks.

When your blood glucose and insulin spike up and down rapidly or keep high, it will interfere with the natural blood glucose balance. Over time, it can cause the body to respond abnormally and leads to insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is linked with different health issues, including type2 diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, heart problem, and stroke.

Consuming low GI foods also help in concentration and energy. It also prevents cravings.

Promote Mental Performance

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Reduced glycemic index food offers a steady glucose supply to the brain, promote cognitive performance. The brain function on glucose and have not reserved. Therefore, a constant glucose supply must offer the whole day. For teens and children, consuming a low glycemic breakfast has been linked with better school performance and learning by improving concentration.

Increase Sports Performance

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The carbohydrate is the main source of fuel in the body, which is glucose. The carbohydrate you consume or drink that is not utilized quickly for energy is stored in the liver, muscles as glycogen. When the body needs energy, it quickly converts the glycogen into glucose for energy. For years, athletes have been utilizing GI science for their sports preparation and recovery. Low GI foods provide proven to increase endurance when consumed 1-2 hours before more strenuous exercise.

Decrease Breast Cancer Risk

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Studies tell that eating a high GI diet for 5-years or longer may raise the risk of breast cancer by 8% compared with a low GI diet.

Treat Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

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Females suffering from PCOS often grow resistance to the hormone insulin, which is required to keep blood glucose level normal. Following a healthy low glycemic diet promote insulin sensitivity and is one of the good and proven ways to help the PCOS symptoms, such as unnecessary weight gain.

Eye Health

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Growing proof recommends that a healthy low glycemic diet can prevent age-linked macular degeneration, which can cause blindness. High GI diets have been linked with a high risk of early-onset AMD.

Manage Acne

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High levels of insulin can cause consuming high glycemic food is linked with acne, and a low glycemic diet can help to reduce acne by promoting insulin imbalance. Research reveals that a low GI diet can lower acne by more than 50% in only 12 weeks.

Low-GI Diet Side Effects

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Every low glycemic index food does not include nutrition, and also you cannot say they do not have nutrition. It can be challenging for people who eat carbs. Some low GI foods can hold high saturated fat and salt, which can hinder weight loss.

To conclude, a low Glycemic Index diet is good for people with metabolic disorders. You can also follow the diet if you wish to consume healthy without piling on those pounds. As this diet becomes a part of a lifestyle, you will know better about the GI of your foods, and you will be able to plan accordingly. Therefore, try a low glycemic index diet and share your experience.


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