Glycaemic Index – What is it and why is it important?

By August 16, 2019 No Comments

The Glycaemic Index (GI) is an indicator that measures the rate at which carbohydrates are digested and released into the bloodstream. There are two main types of Glycaemic Index.

High GI – Digested quickly and released rapidly into the bloodstream to provide a spike in blood sugar levels for a short period of time. (Usually provides maximum energy for 30 minutes and dramatically decreases before 1 hour).

Low GI – Digested slower and released more steadily into the bloodstream to provide a more even spread and rise in blood sugar levels for a longer period of time. (Usually provides maximum energy at 1 hour and continuous energy for up to 2 hours).


What are carbohydrates?

Carbohydrates are the main fuel source for our body’s major organs. They are found in sugars such as fructose, glucose, lactose and found in starchy vegetables, grains, rice, breads and cereals. Carbohydrates break down into glucose once digested and they raise the bodies blood sugar levels. It is important to note that the amount and type of carbohydrate that it consumed will affect your blood sugar levels.


Healthy carbohydrate options

  • Milk
  • Yoghurt
  • Fruit
  • Starchy vegetables (potato, corn, sweet potato)
  • Lentils/Legumes
  • Wholegrain bread and cereals
  • Grains (E.g. Quinoa and barley)
  • Pasta, noodles, rice

Less healthy carbohydrate options (Foods high in energy and sugar)

  • Biscuits/cakes
  • Sugar, honey, jam
  • Chocolate/confectionary
  • Regular soft drink/fruit juice
  • Ice cream, custard

Do you know what foods are low in GI? Let’s take a look by food groups –


Lower GI

Higher GI


✔Apple, Banana





✔Orange, nectarine, peach


✘Canned Lychee in Syrup



✔White potato (Nicola)

✔Sweet potato


✔Corn cob/kernels

✘Potato – White varieties (E.g. Desiree, New, Pontiac, Sebago)

✘Sweet Potato (Purple skin, Kumara)


✔Reduced fat yoghurt & milk

✔Soy & Almond milk

✘Oat Milk

✘Rice Milk



Untoasted Muesli

Multigrain Weetbix

Multigrain Bread

Traditional Sourdough

Bakers Delight Low GI White bread

Wholemeal Pita/Multigrain Wraps

Roti/Naan/Chapati made with whole wheat or chickpea flour

Instant Oats (Porridge)

Just Right, Corn Flakes, Rice Bubbles, Sultana Bran

White & Wholemeal Bread

Dark/Light Rye


Turkish Focaccia

White Pita


English Muffins

White/Wholemeal flour based




Wheat Pasta


Rice Noodles

Long Grain (e.g. Basmati, Doongara)

White Long Grain

Wild Rice

Black, Red

Chia & Quinoa Rice Blends

Kidney beans, chickpeas, brown lentils, baked beans

Corn/Rice Pasta


Instant noodles 


Medium Grain (White/brown)


Sushi rice


Are you surprised by some of these foods listed? So was I! Ensuring that most of your diet comes from Lower GI food products will help to ensure that you have stable blood sugar levels and that you consume the best quality of carbohydrates for more sustained hunger!




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