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Glycemic Index


Not all carbohydrates are created equal. Some carbohydrates increase the blood sugar by a lot very quickly. Carbohydrates that are eaten with fiber, protein, or fat cause a slow, steady rise in blood sugar.

Fast Carbs

These types of carbohydrates are usually refined grains or foods/drinks that only contain sugar without any fat or protein.
Sometimes it is good to increase the blood sugar quickly, such as when you have a low blood sugar less than 70 mg/dL. However, most of the time we want to avoid sharp spikes in blood sugar because it makes it hard to control your blood sugar overall.

Slow Carbs

Carbohydrates that are eaten with fiber, protein, or fat help slow digestion, which helps you stay full longer and prevents large spikes or drops in blood sugar. Try to eat carbohydrates with more fiber in them, such as whole fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and beans or lentils.

Tips to slow down your carbohydrates:
• Always combine your carbohydrates with a protein and/or a fat, like meat, cheese, or nuts.
• Choose 100 percent whole grain products over white, or refined, products.
• Eat whole fruits instead of drinking juice.
• Include fiber at each meal by eating vegetables, beans and lentils, and whole grains.
• Avoid instant foods when possible (instant mashed potatoes, pudding, rice, oatmeal, etc).
• Spread carbohydrates out throughout the day and don't "overload" yourself at one time.

Last modified: Sep 28, 2018
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For a one-sheet, printable handout on the glycemic index, click here.