Low glycemic foods require the body to release less insulin, a hormone supplied by the body to process excess sugar in the bloodstream. For this reason, many diabetics eat a diet high in low glycemic index foods to manage glucose levels. Low glycemic foods also digest more slowly which allows the consumer to feel fuller for longer. As a result, low glycemic foods can help with weight loss. Legumes, vegetables and whole grains are examples of low glycemic foods.
The glycemic index, (GI) refers the effect a food has on the body's glucose levels. The scale goes from 1 to 100. Foods with a score of 55 or less are considered low glycemic index foods. Intermediate glycemic index foods range from 56 to 69, and any food with an index of 70 or higher is considered a high glycemic index food.
Grains with a Low GI
Pearly barley has the lowest glycemic index of all grains. Other grains with a low glycemic index are spaghetti, rye bread, vermicelli, macaroni, multi-grain bread, instant rice, wheat pasta, egg fettuccini, brown rice, buckwheat, white long grain rice, wheat tortillas, instant noodles, whole grain pumpernickel bread, heavy mixed grain bread, whole wheat bread, sourdough rye bread, sourdough wheat bread and cracked barley.
Grains with an Intermediate GI
Oat bran, brown rice, muesli, pita bread, gnocchi, wild rice, white rice, barley flakes and whole meal breads all have an intermediate glycemic index.
Grains with a High GI
Grains with a high glycemic index include couscous, basmati rice, instant white rice, short grain white rice, tapioca, white bread and bagels.
You can use gluten-free flours such as garbanzo bean flour and meals made from seeds and nuts such as almond meal, in place of wheat flours to make lower GI baked goods.