Low Glycemic Food - Apple

Low Glycemic Foods

Glycemic index

The glycemic index (GI) is a numerical value assigned to foods that contain carbohydrates. This number indicates how rapidly and how high such foods can raise blood glucose levels after they are consumed. Foods with a low glycemic index (also called low glycemic foods) are foods that release glucose slowly, and consequently do not cause spikes in blood glucose levels. On the other hand, high glycemic foods are those that release glucose quickly, and thus lead to sharp spikes in blood sugar levels. The GI ranges from 0 to 100, where 0 is for foods that contain no sugar at all and 100 being the glycemic index of glucose. Lower numbers indicating low glycemic foods and higher numbers indicating high glycemic foods (1, 2).

The GI plays a vital role in our nutrition because it gives us an idea of how the foods we eat affect our blood sugar levels which have a direct impact on our health and general wellbeing. The regular consumption of high glycemic foods is implicated in the development of chronic diseases like diabetes, kidney disease, loss of vision and heart disease. Diabetics for example take the GI very seriously as they already suffer from a condition of high blood glucose level. So, they are always encouraged to go for low glycemic foods so as not to worsen their condition. On the other hand, athletes like long distance runners, tend to prefer high glycemic foods for the rapid release of glucose to replace stores that deplete during exercise (3, 4).

Low glycemic foods

Low glycemic foods release glucose slowly and steadily, enabling one to have a better control on their blood sugar levels. Thus, they are most recommended for diabetics. Also, the slow and gradual release of glucose keeps you fuller for longer and enables you reduce your food intake, the reason they are implicated in weight loss. Generally, foods have a high protein, fat, and fiber content tend to have a low GI. Thus most fruits and vegetables, milk and some dairy products are low glycemic foods (5). Generally, values between 0 – 55 are referred to as low GI, 55 – 69 are referred to as medium GI, and 70 or more are referred to as high GI (2). The table below shows the glycemic index for most consumed low glycemic foods (5, 6).


Glycemix index (glucose = 100)




28 ± 2

Corn tortilla

46 ± 2

Spaghetti, whole meal

48 ± 5

Spaghetti, white

49 ± 2

Specialty grain bread

53 ± 2



Fruit and fruit products


Apple, raw†

36 ± 2

Apple juice

41 ± 2

Apple juice

41 ± 2

Dates, raw

42 ± 4

Orange, raw†

43 ± 3

Peaches, canned†

43 ± 5

Peaches, canned†

43 ± 5

Orange juice

50 ± 2

Strawberry jam/jelly

49 ± 3

Banana, raw†

51 ± 3

Mango, raw†

51 ± 5





Carrots, boiled

39 ± 4

Vegetable soup

48 ± 5

Taro, boiled

53 ± 2





Soya beans

16 ± 1

Kidney beans

24 ± 4


28 ± 9


32 ± 5



Dairy products and alternatives


Soy milk

34 ± 4

Milk, skim

37 ± 4

Milk, full fat

39 ± 3

Yogurt, fruit

41 ± 2

Ice cream

51 ± 3






15 ± 4

Data are means ± SEM.


Average of all available data.


The glycemic index of foods guides us into making healthier food choices based on our individual needs. Low glycemic foods generally help you have a better control on your blood sugar level, and their regular consumption is associated with reduced risk of many chronic diseases for healthy individuals. For those who are diabetic, low glycemic foods is the way to go for a better glucose control. People with diabetes are two to four times more likely to get a stroke or die from a heart disease. A balance diet should have a decent amount of low glycemic foods, and care should also be taken as there is risk of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) if all you eat is very low glycemic foods (1, 7, 8).




  1. Williams, A. (2021, October 21). Glycemic index and how it affects your diet. Retrieved September 22, 2022, from Cleveland Clinic website: https://health.clevelandclinic.org/glycemic-index/

  2. Glycemic index diet: What’s behind the claims. (2020, August 25). Retrieved September 22, 2022, from Mayo Clinic website: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/glycemic-index-diet/art-20048478

  3. CDC. (2021, April 29). Manage blood sugar. Retrieved September 22, 2022, from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website: https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/managing/manage-blood-sugar.html

  4. Walton, P., & Rhodes, E. C. (1997). Glycaemic index and optimal performance. Sports Medicine (Auckland, N.Z.), 23(3), 164–172. doi:10.2165/00007256-199723030-00003

  5. LeWine, H. E. (2021, November 16). Glycemic index for 60+ foods. Retrieved September 22, 2022, from Harvard Health website: https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/glycemic-index-and-glycemic-load-for-100-foods

  6. Atkinson, F. S., Foster-Powell, K., & Brand-Miller, J. C. (2008). International tables of glycemic index and glycemic load values: 2008. Diabetes Care, 31(12), 2281–2283. doi:10.2337/dc08-1239

  7. Low-glycemic foods list guide. (n.d.). Retrieved September 22, 2022, from MedicineNet website: https://www.medicinenet.com/low-glycemic_foods_list_guide/article.htm

  8. Esfahani, A., Wong, J. M. W., Mirrahimi, A., Srichaikul, K., Jenkins, D. J. A., & Kendall, C. W. C. (2009). The glycemic index: Physiological significance. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 28(sup4), 439S-445S. doi:10.1080/07315724.2009.10718109






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