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The Glycemic Index and Your Blood Sugar

We've all been programmed to think of carbs as the bad guy but not all carbs are bad. However, carbs that spike blood sugar can possibly raise your risk of Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, not to mention possibly cancer, acne and Alzheimer's and can cause weight gain. Carbs low on the Glycemic Index (GI) are the good carbs that produce only small fluctuations in our blood glucose and insulin levels. These carbs are often considered the secret to health (you reduce your risk of heart disease and Type 2 diabetes) and promote weight loss. Jean Caper, a nutrition researcher from the University of Sydney, gives the low down on controlling your blood sugar spikes with these foods:

  • Chocolate. Despite its high sugar, chocolate has a low glycemic index and doesn't cause blood glucose to surge. Even diabetics need not eat reduced-sugar chocolate. But note that high-calorie chocolate is a weight gain risk.
  • Bread. Beware: Some whole-grain breads spike blood sugar as much as white bread. Smart choices: coarse, dense bread with visible grainy bits; and sourdough, pumpernickel, soy or fruit breads.
  • Juice. Unsweetened fruit juices have a low glycemic index but are hazardous when overdone. Restrict a serving to 3/4 cup, dilute with water, or mix high-sugar fruit juices with low-sugar vegetable juices. Better yet, eat the whole fiber-packed fruit.
  • For the scoop on veggies, salad dressing and to learn which carbs most/least apt to spike your blood sugar


  • Vegetables. Despite the claims of many diet books, carrots (raw, cooked or juiced) do not increase blood sugar. All fruits and veggies, except potatoes, have a low glycemic index.
  • Salad Dressing. All types of vinegar and lemon juice in salad dressings suppress blood sugar rises.

Carbs least apt to spike blood sugar: Legumes, fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables, milk, yogurt, ice cream

Carbs most apt to spike blood sugar: Most bread, bakery products, rice, breakfast cereals (your best bet: oatmeal that's not instant)

This is great information and are you as happy as I am that chocolate is still not off limits?! Woo hoo! To read more great nutritional tidbits, visit Jean's website at JeanCarper.com.

Join The Conversation
Basma Basma 10 years
Thanks for the info!
mandiesoh mandiesoh 10 years
gah! why must potatoes be the exception?! :(
lea88 lea88 10 years
oh,come on don't play with ur food.
Underdog Underdog 10 years
I didn't know Chocolate can do that.
Chameleah Chameleah 10 years
This is true. Some people do not need to limit nearly as much. My sister is also hyperglycemic and my mother is hypo. Strange. Generally, meals consist of meat, veggies, and 7 grain bread. I cook with olive oil and garlic. I buy from organic grocery stores. Nothing fake. Nothing processed. When I research different grocers, I find that I actually save money compared to eating out every day. It's not for everyone though.
cams cams 10 years
Truthfully, the evidence on GI is shaky. It's based on eating something like 100g of ONE food Bread may raise your blood sugar quickly, but how often do you eat A slice of bread? When you add things like veggies, meat, and/or cheese your going to affect the GI of your meal. Plus, a foods ripeness, point of origin, processing, etc can effect the GI of a single food. I think we can all basically agree that sugar is not so good and we should limit it.
Chameleah Chameleah 10 years
Thank you for this article! I was recently diagnosed hyperglycemia. The shaking and the hyperactivity sudden stopped when I completely cut sugar and carbs out of my diet. I have been seeing a neurologist for a year. They swear they had me pegged with Multiple Sclerosis. I found that this diet helps with my work out routine, my fatigue, and chronic pain from Fibromyalgia and Arthritis too! It's strict but I have found some wonderful replacements for the food I crave. Articoke heart pasta being my favorite! Higher the alkaline and antioxidents, the better. Keep the tips coming!
vrico2005 vrico2005 10 years
Thanks for the info! ---------------------------------------- It is only when they go wrong that machines remind you how powerful they are. Clive James
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