GI values: good and bad carbohydrates

Postdate: 21 July 2016

Carbohydrates are often considered to be fattening. For a healthy diet, it is important to know what kind of carbohydrates you eat. This is because you do need carbohydrates as fuel, but there is a difference between carbohydrates with a low glycaemic index (GI) value and those with a high glycaemic index value.

Glycaemic Index
The GI value indicates how fast or slow carbohydrates are digested and absorbed into the blood as glucose. The GI is indicated in a number between 0 and 100. GI values are a good guideline to keep your blood sugar level under control, which is especially important for people suffering from diabetes. The higher the GI value is, the more fast carbohydrates the product contains. These carbohydrates cause a strong and quick rise of the blood sugar level. A product with a GI value below 50 has complex, slow carbohydrates. These are not quickly absorbed by your body and they cause a weaker rise in the glucose level. A criterion you can use is: healthy is below 50, average is between 51 and 69, and unhealthy is above 70. By keeping the GI values low, you will have fewer peaks in your blood sugar level and the chance of getting type 2 diabetes is smaller.

Low or average GI value
Quinoa, wholemeal pasta, brown rice, sweet potato, fresh vegetables: lettuce, tomato, courgette, (chick)peas, kidney beans, soy beans, green beans, lentils, milk, yoghurt, rye bread, fruit, nuts, walnuts, cashew nuts, peanuts, and dark chocolate.

High GI value
White pasta, white rice, white bread, crisps, cornflakes, popcorn, mashed potatoes, fried or cooked potatoes, corn, millet, bagels, croissants, and candy bars.

The GI values are based on an average and on the number of carbohydrates in a product. The list is based on the International table of Glycaemic Index of Foster-Powell. It can be difficult to determine the GI value as the height can vary due to the composition and preparation of food products. In short: the most important thing is to listen to your body, finding a balance, and do what feels right.

'Good food is very often, even most often, simple food'

blood sugar level     carbohydrates     GI value     glycaemic index    


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