The Glycemic Index is a chart that measures the sugar levels in various foods. Because the body turns carbohydrates into sugar (glucose), different types of carbohydrates turn into sugars differently and those levels effect insulin health as well as how much of the sugar is turned into fat for storage.
The Glycemic Index uses glucose as a reference number, assigning it a value of 100. Foods with lower glycemic responses, those that turn into sugar slower, are assigned a lower number. Conversely, foods that quickly turn into sugar in the body are assigned higher numbers.
The Glycemic Index was first developed at the University of Toronto by Dr. David J. Jenkins in 1980. It has since been the basis for various diet programs that depend on low-carbohydrate intake because carbohydrates, especially the kind found in processed foods, contain a high GI number.
The Glycemic Index is a helpful tool for people with diabetes or people who are overweight. By ingesting foods with a low Glycemic Index, or GI, number, a person can control how much food will turn into fat and therefore lower his or her body weight.
For a complete list of foods and their Glycemic Index, visit the Glycemic Index Website.