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Glycemic Index vs. Insulin Index

Article author photo Victoria Mazmanyan by Victoria Mazmanyan | Last updated on August 10, 2023
Medically reviewed by Ani Harutyunyan Article author photo Ani Harutyunyan

The glycemic and insulin indices are both values to measure the food's nutrients' effects on the human body. These tools help guide people in choosing the best foods to improve glucose control and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes or its complications (1, 2, 3).

The glycemic index measures blood glucose levels in the first two hours after consumption of the given food, while the insulin index measures blood insulin levels. 

These values are calculated relative to a reference food, usually pure glucose or white bread.

While the glycemic index is more widely used and provides valuable information, it has one shortcoming: the glycemic index only applies to carbohydrate-containing foods. The GI of foods without carbohydrates is considered to be 0. This is where the insulin index comes in.

Unlike the glycemic index, the insulin index helps understand the effects of foods such as meats, dairy products, and low-carb vegetables. For example, beefsteak, containing no carbohydrates, has a GI of 0 but an II of 37 (4).

That being said, the food's insulin and glycemic index values are usually correlated.

Both glycemic and insulin index values fall on a scale of 0 to 100. Pure glucose and white bread have GI and II values of 100. By looking at all available reliable sources, we have created a glycemic index chart of over 350 foods and an insulin index chart containing II values of over 140 foods.

On our page, you can also find more in-depth information about the definition and calculation of the glycemic index.


Article author photo Victoria Mazmanyan
Education: General Medicine at YSMU
Last updated: August 10, 2023
Medically reviewed by Ani Harutyunyan
Data provided by should be considered and used as information only. Please consult your physician before beginning any diet.