High Glycemic Food List

Kathryn Vera
Donuts and pastries

According to WebMD, the glycemic index is a tool that identifies the rate at which carbohydrates in particular food are converted into glucose in the bloodstream. The World's Healthiest Foods notes that high glycemic index foods are those with a rating of 70 or more. To prevent blood sugar spikes, high glycemic index foods should only be eaten in moderation.

Fruit

Fortunately for fruit lovers, items in this food group are generally fairly low when it comes to their glycemic index rating. According to Marcia Nelms, Kathryn Sucher, and Sara Long in "Nutrition Therapy and Pathophysiology," (page 701), the following fruits are considered to have a high glycemic index:

  • Watermelon: 72
  • Grapes: 84
  • Raisins: 91
  • Dates: 103
  • Lychee: 79

Vegetables

As with fruit, vegetables are often low in terms of glycemic index. Nelms, Sucher and Long identify the following vegetables as having a high glycemic index rating:

  • Potatoes: 82
  • Sweet potatoes: 70
  • Pumpkins: 75
  • Parsnips: 97
  • Corn: 70
  • Beets: 72

Dairy Products and Dairy Alternatives

The article "International table of glycemic index and glycemic load values: 2002" identifies only one dairy alternative as having a high glycemic index: tofu-based frozen chocolate dessert, with high-fructose corn syrup's index is 115.

Meat and Meat Substitutes

According to the American Diabetes Association, meats do not have a glycemic index, as they do not promote increases in blood sugar levels. Vegetarian meat substitutes - such as beans, lentils, nuts and soy - have a low glycemic index.

Grains

Harvard Health Publications identifies the following glycemic index ratings for each of the foods listed below:

Bread

  • White bagels: 72
  • White baguettes: 95
  • Kaiser roll: 73
  • White/wheat bread: 71
  • Whole wheat bread: 71

Cereal

  • Cocoa Puffs: 77
  • Corn Flakes: 93
  • Instant Cream of Wheat: 74
  • Grape Nuts: 75
  • Instant oatmeal: 83
  • Puffed wheat: 80

Crackers

  • Graham crackers: 74
  • Soda crackers: 74
  • Rice cakes: 82

Other Grains

  • White rice: 89

Sweets

According to "International table of glycemic index and glycemic load values: 2002," sports drinks, donuts, and other baked goods are considered to have a high glycemic index rating.

Baked Goods

  • Cake donuts: 76
  • Waffles (Aunt Jemima brand): 76
  • Scones: 92
  • Vanilla wafers: 77

Candy

  • "Real Fruit" bars: 92
  • Fruit Roll-Ups: 99
  • Jelly beans: 76
  • Life Savers: 70

Beverages

  • Gatorade: 78
  • Sports Plus: 74

Snack Foods

  • Rice cakes: 91
  • Corn chips: 72
  • Pretzels: 82

Making Smart Food Choices

Avoiding foods with a high glycemic index is crucial when it comes to keeping blood sugar levels in check. While managing blood sugar levels is important for all adults, it is especially crucial for those who suffer from diabetes or pre-diabetes.

While high-glycemic index foods can be found in many food groups, they are especially prevalent in grains and sweets. Those who have additional questions when it comes to avoiding foods with a high glycemic index should consider consultation with a Registered Dietitian or with their primary healthcare provider.

High Glycemic Food List