Glycaemic Index (GI) is a measure of the effect an individual food or drink has on blood sugar levels after it is consumed.
Foods that are digested slowly and release glucose into the bloodstream gradually have a low GI value
Foods that are digested quickly and release glucose into the bloodstream rapidly have a high GI value
The GI Index is a Scale from 1-100
Glucose has the highest score of all foods at a GI of 100. All other foods are measured against this refence point.
Low GI Foods have a glycaemic index of 55 or lower
Medium GI Foods have a glycaemic index of 56-69
High GI Foods have a glycaemic index of 70 or more
Foods only appear on the GI index if they contain carbohydrates. This explains why you won't find foods like meat, chicken, fish, eggs and cheese in GI lists. However, you may find some processed foods like sausages or chicken nuggets in a GI list because they contain carbs.
Glycemic Load (GL) is based on a food’s glycaemic index and the carbohydrate content of a 100g serving of the food. Because GL takes account of the amount of carbs in a food it gives a more accurate idea of the food’s effect on blood sugar.
Why Are GI and GL Important?
Low GI (and GL) foods are better for us because they don't cause a rapid rise and fall in blood sugar levels, known as a sugar spike.
Sugar spikes can cause us to over eat because the fast fall in blood sugar can leave us feeling hungry.
Eating low GI foods help to keep us 'fuller for longer'. Especially important for those who want to lose weight.
Combinations of Foods
We mostly eat foods in combination, adding proteins like meat, fish and eggs, and fats, to our meals. This mitigates the effect of higher GI foods somewhat, and slows down the release of sugars into the blood.
The table at the bottom of this list will give you an idea of the effect of combining different foods. You'll also find plenty of low GI meal ideas in our low GI diet plan.
Glycaemic Index Food Lists
We’ve organised our tables into different food types so it’s easier to make comparisons between similar foods. Each table is split into 3 charts with low Gi foods at the top.
Gycaemic Index (GI) and Glycaemic Load (GL) is given for each food.
GI values for ‘low carb’ breads are not currently available on recognised glycaemic index lists. But it’s safe to assume that these products will have a lower GI than their normal carb counterparts.
These types of bread are increasingly available in supermarkets such as Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and Lidl. Livlife Seriously Seeded, Hovis Lower Carb Deliciously Seeded and Hi-Lo Seeded Wholemeal are all available in the UK.
Medium GI Bread
Wholemeal pitta bread
White pitta bread
High GI Bread
White bread (average)
Brown bread (average)
Wholemeal bread (average)
Soya & linseed bread (Burgen)
Seeded Batch Loaf (Warburtons)
French stick, white
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Table 2 - Other Carbs
The GI of other carbohydrate foods including potatoes, rice, pasta and grains.