HealthThink twice before going fruit-heavy: The sweet risk of sugar spikes and the importance of glycemic index

Think twice before going fruit-heavy: The sweet risk of sugar spikes and the importance of glycemic index

Be careful with these fruits.
Be careful with these fruits.
Images source: © Getty Images | Kilito Chan

5:02 PM EST, January 13, 2024

Understanding the Glycemic Index

The glycemic index (GI) is a scale that quantifies the speed at which food elevates blood glucose levels relative to pure glucose, with a GI value of 100.

Items with a low glycemic index possess a GI value of less than 50, indicating they induce a gradual, steady escalation in blood glucose levels. Foods like most vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grain products have low GI values.

Medium glycemic index foods have a GI value between 55 and 70. Consumption of these can lead to a moderate increase in blood glucose levels.

A high glycemic index indicates a GI value exceeding 70. Consumables like white bread, white rice, sugary drinks, sweets, and processed foods exhibit high GI values. They cause a rapid and significant surge in blood glucose levels or a "sugar spike" in everyday terms.

Fruits and Vegetables with High Glycemic Index

While fruits and vegetables typically have low GI values, outliers exist. Among fruits, these outliers include watermelons, bananas (the riper, the higher the GI), oranges, mangoes, grapes, pears, and all dried fruits. Vegetables with higher GI values include potatoes, carrots, parsnips, sweet corn, and beets.

However, even if you are diabetic, you needn't entirely avoid these foods. Most are rich in vital nutrients to incorporate into your diet occasionally. It's essential, however, to be cautious and aim to pair high-GI foods with those possessing a lower index—this way, the composite GI of your entire meal will be lower.

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