Glycemic Index of Vegan Foods

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Food NameGlycemic LoadGlycemic Index 
Beans, dry, cooked6.129.0
Beans, dry, cooked, fat not added in cooking6.629.0
White beans, dry, cooked3.013.0
White beans, dry, cooked, fat not added in cooking3.213.0
Black, brown, or Bayo beans, dry, cooked3.920.0
Black, brown, or Bayo beans, dry, cooked, fat not added in cooking4.220.0
Fava beans, cooked  
Fava beans, cooked, fat not added in cooking  
Lima beans, dry, cooked5.931.0
Lima beans, dry, cooked, fat not added in cooking6.431.0
Pink beans, dry, cooked  
Pink beans, dry, cooked, fat not added in cooking  
Pinto, calico, or red Mexican beans, dry, cooked7.439.0
Pinto, calico, or red Mexican beans, dry, cooked, fat not added in cooking8.139.0

Usage Note

  • Glycemic load values in table are calculated per 100g of food.
  • Glycemic indices are color coded: Red for High GI, Green for low GI and Yellow for medium GI foods with gradual gradation between GI values. This means, for example, among the high GI foods, those with lower GI ratings will be less red and more yellow. Similarly with low GI foods. Those with lower GI are coded with greener color.
  • Click on column header to sort foods by name or by Glycemic Index or Glycemic Load.
  • Pie chart shows relative contributions to total calories from carbohydrate, protein and fat (and alcohol, if exists).

Glycemic Index Info from National Institutes of Health

The Glycemic Index (GI) is a measure of the glycemic effect of carbohydrate in a particular food compared to an equivalent amount of carbohydrate in a standard amount of glucose or white bread.
The Glycemic Load (GL) of a serving of a specific food is simply the product of its GI (divided by 100) and the grams of carbohydrate from a single serving of that food. It is important to note that a food with a high GI may not always have a high GL. This can happen if the food has very little carbohydrate (for example, meat) or if the food is consumed in small quantities.

Foods with a high glycemic index release glucose quickly and cause a rapid rise in blood glucose. Foods with a low glycemic index release glucose slowly into the blood.

Glycemic Index Info from Harvard School of Public Health

Carbohydrates and the Glycemic Index

Dividing carbohydrates into simple and complex makes sense on a chemical level. But it doesn't do much to explain what happens to different kinds of carbohydrates inside the body. For example, the starch in white bread and French-fried potatoes clearly qualifies as a complex carbohydrate. Yet the body converts this starch to blood sugar nearly as fast as it processes pure glucose. Fructose (fruit sugar) is a simple carbohydrate, but it has a minimal effect on blood sugar.
A new system, called the glycemic index, aims to classify carbohydrates based on how quickly and how high they boost blood sugar compared to pure glucose. Foods with a high glycemic index, like white bread, cause rapid spikes in blood sugar. Foods with a low glycemic index, like whole oats, are digested more slowly, causing a lower and gentler change in blood sugar. Foods with a score of 70 or higher are defined as having a high glycemic index; those with a score of 55 or below have a low glycemic index.

Carbohydrates and the Glycemic Load

Researchers have developed a way to classify foods that takes into account both the amount of carbohydrate in the food and the impact of that carbohydrate on blood sugar levels. This measure is called the glycemic load. A food's glycemic load is determined by multiplying its glycemic index by the amount of carbohydrate it contains. For good health, choose foods that have a low or medium glycemic load, and limit foods that have a high glycemic load.

Vegan Diet

Vegan diet or veganism is a type of vegetarian diet that excludes meat, eggs, dairy products and all other animal-derived ingredients.
Vegan diet can meet all the recommendations for nutrients. The key is to consume a variety of foods and the right amount of foods to meet your calorie needs. Nutrients that veganists may need to focus on include protein, iron, calcium, zinc, and vitamin B12.

For the convenience of veganists who are interested in glycemic index of foods, DietGrail provides the only online searchable food database that focuses exclusively on the vegan diet. This vegan food database has the most complete listings of glycemic index as well as glycemic load values of vegan foods: over 1,000 glycemic index and glycemic load ratings of most common food items.

Nutrients to focus on for veganists

  • Protein has many important functions in the body and is essential for growth and maintenance. Protein needs can easily be met by eating a variety of plant-based foods. Combining different protein sources in the same meal is not necessary. Sources of protein for vegetarians include beans, nuts, nut butters, peas, and soy products (tofu, tempeh, veggie burgers). Milk products and eggs are also good protein sources for lacto-ovo vegetarians.
  • Iron functions primarily as a carrier of oxygen in the blood. Iron sources for vegetarians include iron-fortified breakfast cereals, spinach, kidney beans, black-eyed peas, lentils, turnip greens, molasses, whole wheat breads, peas, and some dried fruits (dried apricots, prunes, raisins).
  • Calcium is used for building bones and teeth and in maintaining bone strength. Sources of calcium for vegetarians include calcium-fortified soymilk, calcium-fortified breakfast cereals and orange juice, tofu made with calcium sulfate, and some dark-green leafy vegetables (collard greens, turnip greens, bok choy, mustard greens). The amount of calcium that can be absorbed from these foods varies. Consuming enough plant foods to meet calcium needs may be unrealistic for many. Milk products are excellent calcium sources for lacto vegetarians. Calcium supplements are another potential source.
  • Zinc is necessary for many biochemical reactions and also helps the immune system function properly. Sources of zinc for vegetarians include many types of beans (white beans, kidney beans, and chickpeas), zinc-fortified breakfast cereals, wheat germ, and pumpkin seeds. Milk products are a zinc source for lacto vegetarians.
  • Vitamin B12 is found in animal products and some fortified foods. Sources of vitamin B12 for vegetarians include milk products, eggs, and foods that have been fortified with vitamin B12. These include breakfast cereals, soymilk, veggie burgers, and nutritional yeast.