Foods that don't rapidly raise your blood sugar levels are known as low glycemic or low GI foods. Many popular diet plans are advocating low GI foods because they are more slowly digested by your body, keeping you feeling full longer. This keeps your calorie intake lower and your weight healthier. The GI index of food is shown as a number on most charts; anything under 55 is a low glycemic food.
Breads made with whole grain flours are a good choice. Whole wheat, rye and soy flours are acceptable. Avoid white bread unless it is the new, white, whole wheat style.
Most vegetables are low glycemic foods but there are some exceptions. Pumpkin and beets are quite high and corn and carrots, while still under 55, are higher than most.
Some very sweet fruits have a low glycemic index. Strawberries, cherries, grapes, peaches and dried apricots don't raise your blood sugar too quickly. Dates, however, are high enough to be considered off limits.
Good news for chocolate milk lovers: it's a low GI food. Most dairy is considered low enough for a low GI diet, but ice cream is higher than most yogurts, milk and custards.
Chocolate, nuts and corn chips are low GI foods, but they are high in fat and calories, so eat them in moderation. Pretzels and donuts are high GI foods, as are rice cakes and muffins.
Go for cereals based on nuts, oats, barley and--sometimes--bran. Some bran cereals contain corn syrup which put them high on the glycemic index. Choose cereals with the least artificial sweetening agents.
- The University of Sydney Glycemic Index
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Moira Clune is a freelance writer who since 1991 has been writing sales and promotional materials for her own and other small businesses. In addition, she has published articles on eHow.com, GardenGuides.com and VetInfo.com.