Are you scared that the simple sugars in fruits will spike your blood sugar? Glycemic index gives diabetics an idea of how quickly their body will process a fruit, but it doesn’t paint the whole picture. Learn why, and see the lowest glycemic fruits, plus the best fruits for diabetics.
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Glycemic index is a scale from 1 to 100 that shows how quickly or how slowly a food raises your blood sugar. Foods are assigned a value based on one serving eaten alone.
Low glycemic foods have a smaller affect on blood sugar than medium or high glycemic foods.
Here’s how the scale is broken into low, medium and high.
0 to 55 = Low glycemic
56 to 69 = Medium glycemic
70 to 100 = High glycemic
Glycemic index is determined by the food’s nutritional information like the number of carbohydrates, the type of carbohydrates (whether simple or complex), and the amount of fiber, fat, and protein in one serving.
Additionally, a food’s ripeness, processing, form (liquid or food, long or short grain), cooking method, and more affect its glycemic value.
1. Simple carbohydrates are already in their simplest form, so they enter the blood stream almost immediately when eaten. If a food has a significant amount of simple carbs, it is likely high glycemic.
2. Complex carbohydrates, on the other hand, need to be broken down into simple carbs, and this takes time so they enter the blood stream at a slower rate.
3. When a food has other nutrients that the body needs to process, like fiber, fat, and protein, the break down is even slower, causing the carbohydrates to enter the blood stream at an even slower rate.
This chart has the glycemic index, serving size, and basic nutritional information for common fruits at the grocery store; fresh and dried fruits. Any information left blank was either unavailable or unclear.
Be mindful that glycemic index alone should NOT be the deciding factor as to whether or not you can eat a certain fruit. Take a look at the total carbs, sugar and fiber.
For example, watermelon has a very high glycemic index of 76, but only 12g carbohydrates in 1 cup’s serving, whereas a small pear has a glycemic index of 39 and 23g carbs.
For this reason, manually calculating the glycemic index of a food isn’t worth your time.
Additionally, no food should be ruled out of your diet until you’ve tested it by eating a reasonable portion and pairing it with appropriate amounts of protein, fat and fiber.
Only then, after trial and error, can you truly determine if any food is not good for your blood sugar.
A food’s glycemic index cannot be lowered on its own, but if you eat it with another food that has significant protein or fat, you can slow down how quickly the carbs enter your blood stream. Examples:
A food’s glycemic value can be raised, however, by removing the more nutritious parts.
For example, eating an apple or pear without the peeling takes away fiber, and drinking just the juice from an orange removes the pith (white parts).
Here are the best low glycemic and low carb fruits.
Yes; all berries are low glycemic and great for diabetics. Blackberries and raspberries exceed other berries because of their high fiber and low sugar.
Here is a list of low glycemic fruits with their corresponding glycemic index.
Nopales (prickly pear) 7
Avocado, black skin 15
Apple, dried 29
Prunes, dried 29
Apricot, dried 30
Peach, dried 35
Pear, dried 46
Yes; grapes are low glycemic, but almost all of their carbohydrates are sugar. In a 1 cup serving, 23 of 27 carbohydrates are sugar.
Unfortunately, glycemia data is sparse for vegetables, but the same concept of food pairing applies.
Nonetheless, here’s a list of low glycemic vegetables based on them being non-starchy. These are vegetables that will have a small glucose response.