Glycemic Index Diet

Has anyone been using the glycemic index as a food plan, and has it been effective? What are some reliable sources for glycemic index values of foods?

I have found several US web sites ( and that list values for some foods. They can take a while to search through. There’s another British (? I think? Based on word choice–‘tinned’ instead of canned, etc.) site that is quick and easy to use, but I’m not sure how accurate it is, since it lists things like M & Ms as low glycemic index foods. (

I know one of the sites said that pasta made from durum semolina flour is actually quite low, and I have noticed that after eating pasta for dinner my 2-hour blood glucose is usually around 110 or lower, but once I had a baked potato for dinner and it spiked to something like 160!

I asked my nutritionist about it and she was sort of noncommittal. I’m just curious to see whether anyone has had success (or not) using this method, and whether it’s fairly easy to follow.

Hi Sophie,

Just my opinion & I’m sure no expert on GI, but I think counting carbs is a lot easier & more reliable than GI. As a Type 1, I’ve found that things with low GI effect me just as much as moderate GI. Foods with different sugar content may have the same GI score. Foods with different GI may have the same sugar content, so it’s confusing to use this to control BG levels, I think. Low glycemic foods release the sugar slower, not more or less of it.

GI is also effected by cooking & how much (or little) it’s cooked. This adds another dimension in figuring it out. Cooking (or raw) effects carbs also, but not as drastically.

Guess we all have to just experiment to figure out how different foods effect us.

The Low GI thing is basically a scam cooked up by the corporations who sell grains to fight back against the low carb diet craze of the late 1990s.

I have written a page about why it is a bad idea for people with diabetes to rely on Glycemic Index information:

Is the Glycemic Index a Scam?

To add to the confustion, I found it very helpful. I’ve been able to keep my BG under better control without the highs and lows that I was getting with just counting carbs. Also I don’t have the cravings I had on other plans. Best thing i can tell you try it yourself,see how you like it. It does take some work and you need to look at GL as well as GI.
Good Luck!

I know I could never deal with just eating a plate of leaves for dinner, so I’d rather put in the work and figure out which foods work for me … I know everyone is different … but were there specific foods that you found helpful?

The glycemic index was invented at the University of Toronto to add more control to the concept of just counting carbs.

Pasta from durum semolina flour may spike BG less than a baked potato. The more so if cooked aldente i.e. still crunchy. If I had to eat carbs I certainly would give this some consideration.

Fructose has very low GI but this does not mean it is good for you. It just means it will not turn into glucose in your body quickly.

I have given up on carb counting and glycemic index and glycemic load by getting rid of carbs as much as possible. BG under good control with 20 units of insulin per day less and I DO NOT FEEL UNCONTROLLABLY HUNGRY AS BEFORE.

And life is a lot simpler.


Want to second the suggestion to get Jenny’s book & check out her blog, too, if you haven’t. You don’t need to eat a plate of leaves:)

Linda’s Low Carb Recipes & Menus and The Low Carb Cafe have great recipes. Lots of other sites, as well, of course. Yummy, easy, lots of variety. I’ve found excellent recipes on gluten-free sites because these tend to be low carb because of the lack of wheat flours & I make easy adjustments to omit sugar, fruit, or whatever.

My husband changed his diet when I was diagnosed. He did it be supportive, but also because I do most of the cooking. Poor man didn’t have a choice:) Without any effort or deprivation, he lost 30 lbs. just like Judith’s husband. Tim eats things I can’t like bread & rice, & has still kept the weight off. We were both unabashed carb junkies before.

Bread and rice my BG soars just thinking about them. Yummy soft gouey bread what a dream, rice never like the stuff my mother used to boil it to absolute disintegration not yummy.

Mine, too! You would have loved the rice I used to make. Well, I still make it for Tim, but I can’t eat it. Have about 6 or 7 different kinds in the cupboard. The real stuff from Asia. My mother used to make an abomination called Minute Rice–bleech!

I found GI and GL helpful. But, and I stress, it’s not supposed to be used as a licence to eat as many carbs as you want. My dietician recommended 30 grams of carbs per meal, and the occasional 15 gram snack. This is more than Bernstein recommends, but is still far lower than the ADA. In other words, I used a compromise between low carb and low GI.

Chocolate is usually low GI, because of the high fat content. Fat slows down the release of the carbs.

Instant rice ,oat, potatoes or grits are worse than the type you you cook .I can handle a little brown rice if It is severed with something else that is low GI .

You make a very go point ;just because it’s low Gl or GL doesn’t make it better . French fries would be lower than boiled potatoes but that doesn’t make it better. But GI and GL is still a good tool .

Thanks Joe.

I used to drown my toast with some “healthy oil” to reduce it’s glycemic index. Endo was excited by concept. BG meter was not, still high short term spike and even long term highs. Much like another horror food pizza. This is like french fries vs baked.

Jenny had the best quote: " Let the meter chose what you eat" This is like making you own glycemic index. Of course you can use the published data for a starting point and if you have to eat carbs then the whole thing is a good tool as you said.

Fructose would be wonderful if some did not convert to tri-glygerides in the body which I think none of us need more of.

I find the glycemic index fairly accurate in determining how long I can expect food to be releasing carbs, and so it is quite useful. If I’m eating something with high GI, I shorten my dual wave bolus accordingly, and lengthen accordingly for low GI foods, and/or with foods mixed with fats. I have a number of type 2 aquaintances who find they can manage their diabetes with exercise or exercise and metformin if they stick to low GI foods. So, yes, I find it useful.

I used to boil whole rye kernels and eat the result with teryaki or soy sauce I found it yummier than rice. Dirt cheap at the health food store. It is kind of like the main ingredient in pumpernickel without the flour to bind it together. Worth a try if you are still in to low glycemic index carbs.

The best thing for you is to get the book . Check out glycemic index site The
University of Sydney.
Look at carrots for an example; raw carrots and cooked carrots or caned carrots all have about the same amount of carbs per serving(4.6) but the GI differs greatly but raw carrots only have a GI of 16 but cooked are 41 and caned 92 . This is important part of controling my BG . But don’t sacrafice good nutrition for just low GI. And remember it is just another tool for us .

Joe’s point here illustrates the effect of raw, cooked and totally mushed i.e. canned, the same carrot increases from reasonable GI to horrid. Possibly the same thing happens with pasta best to eat it as crunchy as you can tolerate.

Al dente is better than over cooked pasta but also try whole grain pasta . Same is true for oats the more they are cooked the higher GI is…

Fructose may not increase the BG higher than other sugers but it does have a greater impact on AGE Product. To much fructose can create extra inflamation in the arteries

Have you ever tried whole buckwheat that way?