Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load of Common Berries and Other Foods
There are many ways to compare various foods in terms of protein, carbohydrate, fats, fibers, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, etc content.
One of the important ways to compare foods are their Glycemic Index (GI) and Glycemic Load (GL).
Updated: November 22, 2021.
On This Page:
- What is a Glycemic Index?
- What is a Glycemic Load?
- Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load Chart - Food Comparison
- Low Glycemic Index Foods
- Low Glycemic Index/Glycemic Load Fruits
- Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is a Glycemic Index?
Glycemic Index (GI) is a numerical value between 0 and 100 that describes how eating one food will raise blood sugar levels.
For example, a glycemic index for pure glucose is 100.
Foods with GI below 55 are considered to have a low glycemic index, those with GI between 55 and 70 are considered to have medium GI, and those with GI above 70, are considered to have a high and very high glycemic index.
GI levels of food are important for many reasons, however, it doesn't take into account amounts of food, since it is not the same if You have consumed 50g of glucose or 50g of carbohydrates from, for example, blueberries since it is required to eat around 350g of blueberries in order to consume 50g of carbs and they digest slower than the 50g of glucose.
What is a Glycemic Load?
Glycemic Load (GL) rectifies this problem by taking into account portion sizes - to calculate GL (Glycemic Load) divide food's Glycemic Index by 100 and multiply it by the grams of digestible carbohydrates (that means excluding fibers) in a served portion.
Generally, a GL of below 10 is considered low GL, 11 - 19 GL is considered average and GL above 20 is considered high GL.
For example, blueberries contain ~14.5g of total carbohydrates including 2.4g of fibers per 100g of fruits - meaning 12.1g of digestible carbohydrates.
Blueberries have a GI between 40 and 53 (various studies show various results since not all varieties have the same amounts of nutrients and water). The worst-case scenario is to assume a GI of 53. One cup of blueberries on average has 150g (little more than 5 ounces) of blueberries.
So, glycemic load (GL) of this nice portion of blueberries would be:
Glycemic Load = (53 / 100) * (12.1 * 1.5) = 9.6
Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load Chart - Food Comparison
The next table presents basic nutritional data of certain foods, berries included, with their Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load values for various serving portions.
|Food||Glycemic Index||Serving size||Available Carbohydrates||Glycemic Load|
|Apple Juice (no added sugar)||40||0.25l||30g||12|
|Beans, black-eyed, boiled||42||150g||30g||12.6|
|Beans, kidney, soaked, boiled||28||150g||25g||7|
|Cranberries, dried, sweetened||62||40g||31g||19|
|Milk, full fat||27||0.25l||12g||3.2|
|Rice, brown, boiled||55||150g||33g||18.1|
|Rice, white, boiled||65||150g||35g||22.7|
|Yogurt, low fat||15||200g||9g||1.3|
It really must be emphasized that portion control plays a very important role in balanced nutrition.
For example, watermelons have a high GI (72) and if you eat half a kilo (500g) of watermelon (35g of digestible carbs), GL of such meal is around 25 - rather high. But if you eat only 150g of watermelon (a rather small portion), the GL of that snack is around 7.6. And that is a big difference. That is one of the reasons why it is better to eat smaller meals more often.
Low Glycemic Index Foods
Berries generally have a low GI - 40 or less. Since their digestible carbohydrate content (total carbohydrates - fibers = digestible carbohydrate) is rather low, their GL is almost always low, since it depends on the portions, too.
Unfortunately, the GI of many berries is not yet verified and many studies have to be done in order to obtain accurate values.
Even then, values can have a certain offset - this is normal since the values depend on varieties, growing conditions, ripeness of the fruit, etc.
Green and leafy vegetables have GI below 15 and their GL is also very low - that is why fresh salads are so important for balanced nutrition. And when you combine such salads with berries, it is nutrition heaven :)
Low Glycemic Index/Glycemic Load Fruits
Here is a short list of the most popular fruits with their glycemic index and glycemic load.
Although some of them actually don't have a low glycemic index, by using portion control, they can be used as low glycemic load meals and snacks.
Apple Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load
Strictly speaking, apples are not berries, but they are very popular and healthy fruit, often consumed raw and processed.
The glycemic index of apples is 38 - apple has a low glycemic index.
The glycemic load of 120g apple 5.7 - 120g portion apple has a low glycemic load.
Again, there are almost countless varieties of apples, so these values may vary.
Bananas Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load
Bananas are one of the most favorite fruits, but they also contain fast-digesting carbohydrates - for people taking part in some sort of sport or other physical activity, a banana here and there can increase blood sugar levels and provide more energy.
The glycemic index of banana is 55 - banana has low to medium glycemic index.
However, the glycemic load of 150g bananas is 17 - 150g portion of bananas has medium to high glycemic load.
Personally, 150g is a single medium-sized banana and it is so easy to eat a few more.
If You need the energy to fuel your physical activities, bananas are one of the ways to go. However, if You have the need to control your blood sugar levels, avoid bananas.
Blueberries Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load
The glycemic index of blueberries is 53 - blueberries have a low glycemic index.
The glycemic load of 150g blueberries is 9.6 - 150g portion of blueberries has a low glycemic load, although it is very close to the value of 10.
If You are worried about a borderline GL value of 9.6, go for a smaller portion of blueberries, for example, 75g of blueberries, which would have a GL value of only 4.8.
Dried Cranberries Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load
Dried cranberries are a very popular snack.
The glycemic index of dried cranberries is 62 - dried cranberries have moderate to high glycemic index.
The glycemic load of 40g of dried cranberries is 19 - 40g of dried cranberries has medium to high glycemic load.
Grapes Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load
The glycemic index of grapes is 46 - grapes have a low glycemic index.
The glycemic load of 150g of grapes is 10.1 - 150g portion of grapes has low to medium glycemic load.
Personally, a portion of 150g of grapes is a rather small portion - if You have issues with the blood sugar levels, be very careful when eating grapes.
Orange Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load
Oranges are one of the most popular citrus fruits, used fresh, but also processed in jams or as orange juice. Of course, the fresh ones are, IMHO, the best.
The glycemic index of oranges is 42 - oranges have a low glycemic index.
The glycemic load of 150g of oranges is 5.9 - 150g portion of oranges has a low glycemic load.
On the other hand, orange juice has a glycemic index of 55 (low to medium-high), while the glycemic load of 0.25 liters (2.5 dcl) of orange juice is 14.3 (medium).
Again, 2.5 dcl of orange juice is a relatively small portion, but it has a much higher glycemic load than a medium-size fresh orange.
Raspberry Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load
The glycemic index of raspberries is 32 - raspberries have a low glycemic index.
The glycemic load of 150g raspberries is only 2.6 - 150g portion of raspberries has a very low glycemic load.
If You have issues with blood sugar levels, fruits like raspberries can be used as a refreshing snack, but only after consultation with your physician/nutritionist - better safe than sorry!
Strawberry Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load
The glycemic index of strawberries is 40 - strawberries have a low glycemic index.
The glycemic load of 150g of strawberries is 3.6 - 150g portion of strawberries has a very low glycemic load.
Again, strawberries can be a very tasty and refreshing snack, but portion control can be an issue for many of us ...
Watermelon Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load
The glycemic index of watermelons is 72 - watermelons have a medium to high glycemic index.
The glycemic load of 300g of watermelons is 15 - 300g portion of watermelons has a medium glycemic load.
However, a smaller portion of watermelons, for example, 150g of watermelons, has a glycemic load of 7.5 (low glycemic load) and can be rather refreshing.
These examples show how portion control is important in regulating Glycemic Load!
Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Here are some of the most common questions about the glycemic index (GI) and glycemic load (GL).
What are low GI foods?
Low glycemic index (GI) foods feature GI below 55 and include foods that don't raise blood sugar levels quickly.
However, GI values don't include portion size in the equation, which may be very important.
What are high GI foods?
High glycemic index (GI) foods feature GI above 70 and include foods that may raise blood sugar levels quickly.
Again, GI values don't include portion size in the equation, which may be very important.
Are eggs a low GI food? Do eggs raise your blood sugar?
Eggs contain mostly protein and fats, with very small amounts of carbs - on average only 1g of carbs per 100g of eggs.
Hence, eggs have a low glycemic index and glycemic load and they don't raise blood sugar levels.
Is cheese low GI?
With so many different cheese types, it is very difficult to determine the glycemic index and load of cheese.
Cheese mostly contains fats and protein, with smaller amounts of carbs - nutritional profile varies, so do the glycemic index and load.
However, most types of cheeses digest slowly and they don't raise the blood sugar levels by much, as long as they are not mixed with other foods.
Are fish low GI?
Fish practically don't contain carbs (only fats and protein) and thus, the fish don't influence the blood sugar levels.
Is meat low GI?
The meat practically doesn't contain carbs (only fats and protein) and thus, the meat doesn't influence the blood sugar levels.
What are low GI/GL vegetables?
The nutritional profile of vegetables depends on the season, growing conditions, and similar, but generally, green and leafy vegetables contain plenty of fibers and lower amounts of digestible carbohydrates.
Also, such vegetables are relatively difficult to digest.
As such, if You are looking for low GI/GL vegetables, go for green and leafy vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, kale, tomatoes, etc.
Long story short - even if you are on some kind of calorie-restricted diet, be sure to include fresh fruits (portion control!) in your daily nutrition and stay away from sweetened and processed food ...
And if You have any issues with blood sugar levels, consult your doctor first - better safe than sorry!