The glycemic index (GI) is a way of ranking carbohydrates by the effect they have on the body's blood glucose level. Foods are considered to have a low GI rating if they score 55 or less on the scale and are typically valuable to diabetics and those seeking to lose weight. According to the Glycemic Index Foundation, eating a diet rich in low-glycemic foods helps keep blood glucose and insulin levels healthy, reduces the risk of diabetes and heart disease and can also help people sustain a healthy body weight.
Fruits and Vegetables
Most fruits and non-starchy vegetables have a low GI rating, according to "Fitness Magazine." For instance, a medium-sized apple, banana or orange, 3/4 of a cup of grapes, 1/2 of a medium grapefruit, 4 oz. of mango and a large peach are all considered low-GI fruit servings, while properly portioned vegetable servings include 1 cup of broccoli, a medium raw carrot, 3/4 of a cup of cauliflower, two celery stalks, four leaves of lettuce and 1/2 cup of frozen peas.
Pasta and Grains
According to the Mayo Clinic, grains such as oats, bran and barley are recommended for breakfast in low-GI diets. There are pastas that have a low-GI ranking, but be careful with portions. For instance, a 1 1/2-cup serving of linguine, fettuccine or whole wheat or regular spaghetti is considered acceptable, while 6 1/2 oz. cheese-filled tortellini or ravioli are also thought of as low-GI dishes. The Glycemic Index Foundation recommends choosing cooked white or brown rice in 1 cup servings in place of potatoes.
Acceptable low-GI servings of dairy products include 9 oz. of whole or skim milk, 7 oz. of reduced-fat yogurt with fruit, and 2 oz. of ice cream, according to Harvard Health Publications.
The Mayo Clinic recommends consuming breads made from whole grains, such as stone-ground flour and sourdough, for those following low-GI diets. Limit your consumption to about 2 oz. of corn or wheat tortillas and 1 oz. of bread.