Expert Q&A

Glycemic index: How important is it?

How important is the glycemic index to the average person's daily diet?

The glycemic index is a good guide, especially for diabetics, but it should not be the basis for one's overall diet. Yes, it is true that foods with a lower glycemic index won't raise your blood sugar as quickly or as much as those with a high glycemic index. However, there is much more to a healthy diet than this factor alone.

Basing food choices only on the glycemic index is not a good idea. For example, take sugar-free pancake syrup and natural maple syrup: both are pure carbohydrates; both will cause a quick spike in blood sugar; and both should be used in moderation. Yet, natural maple syrup is nutritionally preferable to sugar-free pancake syrup because the maple provides real nutrients.

For further information on using the Glycemic Index in your diet see the following articles from TheDietChannel: The Glycemic Index, The Glycemic Index or GI Diet and The Glycemic Index: How important is it?,  

Erin Dummert RD, CD
Contributing Expert

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