Glycemic Value of Meals
How to Calculate Glycemic Index of a Meal

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Glycemic Value of Meals

We do not typically eat measured portions of single-carbohydrate foods. Rather, we eat meals containing a combination of foods that contain varying amounts of carbs, plus protein, fat and fiber. So it is often more important to know the glycemic value of a meal, rather than simply the GI of individual foods.

How to Calculate the Glycemic Value of a Meal

1. Add up the total grams of carbohydrates in the meal.

2. Calculate the percentage of the carb-total contributed by each food.

3. Multiply the percentage contributed by each food by the food's GI.


If your meal contains 60g carbohydrate and includes two slices of bread (26 grams of carbs), the bread accounts for 43 percent of the total. Since the GI for bread is about 70, calculate 43 percent of 70 - i.e. about 30.

Repeat this calculation for each source of carbs in your meal, then add the figures. This gives you the glycemic index of the whole meal.

How to Reduce the Glycemic Index Value of a Meal

Because glycemic index only concerns carbs, if the only carbohydrate in a meal has a high GI, then the GI of the whole meal is high. For example, if the only carbohydrate in a meal is bread, the GI of that meal is 70. However, you can reduce the glycemic effect of the meal in several ways, for example:

  • Include a low GI food like beans or berries.
  • Add vinaigrette or any acidic extra, like lemon juice.
  • Add a little olive oil.

Glycemic Value of Meals: Summary

The glycemic effects of high-GI foods can be moderated by eating them together with low glycemic index foods in a balanced meal.

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Insulin Resistance Syndrome provides general information about the glycemic index (GI), glycemic load (GL), low GI diets, GI value for all food groups, health problems of high blood glucose including metabolic disorders such as pre-diabetes, impaired glucose tolerance, insulin resistance, hyperinsulinism as well as type 1 and type 2 diabetes. But no information is intended as a substitute for medical advice. Copyright 2003-2021.