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Glycemic Values of Common American Foods

By David Mendosa

Last Update: February 3, 2004

What is the glycemic index and glycemic load of the most common American foods? Ever since the “Revised International Table of Glycemic Index (GI) and Glycemic Load (GL)” was published in the July 2002 issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and on my Web site, this has been one of the questions most commonly asked.

Carbohydrate content is the greater determinant of GL…

Until the editor of my forthcoming book asked me, I had begged off answering the question. But since he is paying me for the answer, his request was persuasive and you get the benefit of it.

Actually, the original list that I prepared for the book covered only the glycemic indexes of about 50 of the foods that Americans eat the most. They are divided into low, medium, and high, just like my editor requested.

It wasn’t until one of my faithful readers asked that I expanded this page to include glycemic load values as well. I thought at first that I would be able to simply combine the glycemic index and glycemic load values into one table.

But that turned out to be complicated. That’s because showing low, medium, and high index and load values in the same table requires all of nine separate divisions. A correspondent, Jon Landenburger, saw that the divisions would work much better as a two-dimensional table. He sent it to me, and I am pleased to include it in place of the one-dimension table I had originally prepared. The numbers after each food are its glycemic load and glycemic index respectively.

This leaves the question of which is the more important—the amount of carbohydrate in a food or its glycemic index? It is an obvious question, because the glycemic load of a food is determined by multiplying its glycemic index by its available carbohydrate content per serving.

In a letter to the editor published in the April 2003 issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition I addressed that question to the authors of the “International table of glycemic index and glycemic load values: 2002,” which was published in the July 2002 issue of that journal. The reply to my letter as published in the journal first explaining the statistics, then concluded that the carbohydrate content is the greater determinant of GL. But the GI value accounts for quite a bit of it too.  

Glycemic Index by Glycemic Load
LOW GL All-bran cereal (8,42)Apples (6,38)Carrots (3,47)Chana dal (3,8)Chick peas (8,28)Grapes (8,46)Kidney beans (7,28)Nopal (0,7)Oranges (5,42)Peaches (5,42)Peanuts (1,14)Pears (4,38)Pinto beans (10,39)Red lentils (5,26)Strawberries (1,40)Sweet corn (9,54)
Beets (5,64)Cantaloupe (4,65)Pineapple (7,59)Sucrose (table sugar) (7,68)
Popcorn (8,72)Watermelon (4,72)Whole wheat flour bread (9,71)White wheat flour bread (10,70)
MED GL Apple juice (11,40)Bananas (12,52)Buckwheat (16,54)Fettucine (18,40)Navy beans (12,38)Orange juice (12,50)Parboiled rice (17,47)Pearled barley (11,25)Sourdough wheat bread (15,54)
Life cereal (16,66)New potatoes (12,57)Sweet potatoes (17,61)Wild rice (18,57)
Cheerios (15,74)Shredded wheat (15,75)
HI GL Linguine (23,52)Macaroni (23,47)Spaghetti (20,42)
Couscous (23,65)White rice (23,64)
Baked Russet potatoes (26,85)Cornflakes (21,81)
GI: low=1-55 mid=56-69 High=70-100 GL: low=1-10 mid=11-19 High=20 or more

This article originally appeared on on April 23, 2003.

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