Researchers determine the glycemic index of a food by determining how quickly it raises blood sugar compared to white bread or pure glucose. High-GI foods have glycemic index values of 70 and above. Foods with GI values of 56 to 69 are medium-GI foods. Low-GI foods have glycemic index values of 55 or below. Eating low-GI foods helps control blood sugar levels, so a low-glycemic diet is desirable for diabetics and those who need to control the amount of glucose in their bloodstreams. Learning the glycemic index of fruits will help you plan a healthy diet.
Only a few common fruits have high GI values. Watermelon has a GI of 80, while dates have a GI of 103. This means that dates increase blood sugar levels faster than either white bread or pure glucose. If you need to control your blood sugar levels, your doctor may recommend avoiding these fruits or eating them only occasionally. This will help prevent rapid increases in blood sugar, which can cause diabetic complications.
A number of fruits have GI values ranging from 56 to 69. They include sultanas, mango, raisins, figs, papaya, bananas and pineapple. If you have a craving for sweet foods, you can satisfy the craving with a medium-GI fruit instead of a high-GI pastry, cookie, or piece of cake. This helps control blood glucose levels and can also help you lose weight or maintain your weight.
It's easy to include fruit in a low-GI diet because over 15 fruits have low GI values. Strawberries, oranges, kiwifruit, coconut, grapes and pears have GI values ranging from 40 to 47. Apples, dried apricots and peaches canned in their natural juices have GI values ranging from 30 to 34. The fruits with the lowest GI values include cherries, grapefruit, plums, peaches, and prunes. They have GI values ranging from 20 to 29.
Benefits of Low-GI Fruits
Eating low-GI fruits has several benefits. Once you know the glycemic index of fruits, you can easily work them into your meal plan. Because low-GI foods prevent rapid blood sugar spikes, they release glucose steadily.This may decrease the demand for insulin and improve triglyceride levels. Several commercial diet plans, such as the South Beach diet, encourage dieters to consume low-GI foods and avoid or limit high-GI foods.
A GI value can only be assigned to a food that has a reasonable carbohydrate content. Because some fruits do not have high carbohydrate contents, not all fruits have a GI rating. If you have to follow a low-GI diet to control diabetes or another health condition, discuss your diet with a physician or dietitian. Ask which fruits are safe for your diet and which ones you should avoid. This will help you reap the benefits of a low-glycemic diet.
University of Sydney: Home of the Glycemic Index
The GI Diet Guide: High, Medium and Low GI Foods