The Glycemic Index is a classification of carbohydrate foods according to their effect on blood sugar levels. When choosing carbohydrates, pick ones that are higher in fiber and have a low Glycemic Index (GI).

Low GI foods (such as brown rice, barley, lentils, high-fiber breads, oatmeal and oat bran, sweet potatoes, apples and yogurt) are digested and absorbed slowly, causing a slower, more gradual rise in blood sugar. They take longer to digest and so release energy more slowly, leading to more consistent blood sugar levels. Low GI foods are better carbohydrate choices with diabetes and may also help with weight loss.

High GI foods (such as white bread, white rice, mashed potatoes, cookies, rice cakes, parsnips and watermelon) are more quickly absorbed, causing blood sugar to rise quickly with a potential for an over-release of insulin. It's not necessary to eliminate all higher GI foods, but it's wise to keep portions in check and eat fewer processed carbs.