Glycemic Index

Home > Glycemic Index

Healthy Low GI Rice

Vita Grain has intellectual property to low glycemic index hybrid rice lines, some as low as 48, which is much healthier than widely available rice. A number of these lines have completed rigorous in-vivo testing at Sydney University to verify their glycemic index values.

Diabetes Epidemic

Once considered a disease of the West, type 2 diabetes is now a global health priority. Diabetes is a global killer, rivalling HIV/AIDS, with the disease responsible for 3.8 million deaths globally every year – one every 10 seconds.1

The International Diabetes Foundation has predicted that the number of individuals with diabetes will increase from 240 million in 2007 to 380 million in 2025, with 80% of the disease burden in low- and middle-income countries.2 Currently, China has the largest diabetic population in the world with 90 million diabetics, roughly one in ten adults.3 According to the Harvard School of Public Health, the risks of diseases such as type 2 diabetes and coronary heart disease are strongly related to the glycemic index of the overall diet.4

Glycemic Index

Glycemic Index is a topic of great relevance to the health and nutrition of both developed and developing nations. In the past, nutritionists did not discriminate starch from different food sources. Carbohydrates from barley, wheat and rice were thought of simply as sources of starch of equal nutritional value. In recent years it has been realised that the ease at which the body turns starch into sugar determines how much sugar is digested.

The glycemic index (GI) is a ranking of carbohydrates on a scale from 0 to 100 based on how quickly and how high they boost blood sugar compared to pure glucose.5 Foods with a high GI cause rapid spikes in blood sugar. Foods with a low GI are digested more slowly, causing a lower and gentler change in blood sugar, and have proven benefits for health.

A large number of the popular rice eaten in the world today have very high GI levels. Jasmine rice, for example, has an extremely high GI of 1096, which is much higher than pure glucose with a GI of 100.

White rice, which forms the basis of most Asian diets, has a high glycemic index.7 In a prospective study of middle-aged Chinese women, a high intake of foods with a high glycemic index, especially rice, is associated with a 2-fold increased risk of type 2 diabetes.8 Similar findings have been reported in Japan.9

1 International Diabetes Federation, Diabetes Atlas 3rd edition, 2006
2 International Diabetes Federation, Diabetes Atlas 3rd edition, 2006
3 Wenying Y, Juming L, Jianping W; et al. ‘Prevalance of diabetes among men and women in China.’ The New England Journal of Medicine, 2010, Vol. 362, No. 12, pp.1090-1101
4 Harvard School of Public Health, ‘The nutrition source: What should you eat?’
5 Ludwig DS, ‘Clinical update: the low-glycaemic-index diet.’ Lancet, 2007, Vol.369, pp. 890-892
6 University of Sydney, Glycemic Index Database,
7 Ludwig DS. ‘The glycemic index: physiological mechanisms relating to obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.’ The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), 2002, Vol. 287, No. 18, pp. 2414-2423
8 Villegas R, Liu S, Gao YT; et al. ‘Prospective study of dietary carbohydrates, glycemic index, glycemic load, and incidence of type 2 diabetes mellitus in middle-aged Chinese women.’ Archives of Internal Medicine, 2007, Vol.167, No. 21, pp.2310-2316
9 Murakami K, Sasaki S, Takahashi Y; et al. ‘Dietary glycemic index and load in relation to metabolic risk factors in Japanese female farmers with traditional dietary habits’. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2006, Vol. 83, No. 5, pp.1161-1169.