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Glycemic Index Guide


Lower Glycemic Index Food Shopping Guide

(Food shopping guide to use if you choose to try for a lower glycemic index diet to lose weight or correct some health conditions.)

Drinks (8-12 glasses a day)

Drink water, water, and more water. Herbal tea, green tea, diet soda pop, and decaffeinated coffee are also good. Crystal Light mix is OK, but don’t make it your main drink. Cranberry and apple juice are OK in small amounts. A very small amount of grapefruit and orange juice is OK. Skip all sports drinks (Gatorade, Powerade), sugared soda, other sugared drinks, caffeinated coffee, beer, liquor, and wet or sweet wines.

Meats, Proteins and Essential Fats (5-8 servings per day)

Eat all meats, fish, seafood, poultry, fowl, eggs, nuts, seeds, and soybeans. Fish and seafood are the best protein source. All meats are best in unprocessed forms but even processed meats are usually not too bad. So go ahead and have some hot dogs, brats, sausages, and bacon occasionally, but don’t make them your only meats. Watch out for the salt amount in the processed and packaged meats and other protein products. Buy plenty of unsalted or low salt nuts and seeds for protein snacks. Eggs are OK for all people. Vegetarians should eat lots of tofu and other soy meat products, dry beans, and eggs if possible.

Vegetables and Legumes, dry beans (3-6 servings per day)

Eat almost all vegetables, especially green vegetables, in their natural state. All beans, fresh or canned, are okay unless much sugar or sweeteners have been added. They could be fresh or quick frozen with no sugar added. Some canned vegetables are OK with no sugar or sweeteners added. Skip all potatoes and potato products, sweetened vegetables, beets, carrots, and corn.

Fruits (1-4 servings per day)

Eat all berries like blueberries, strawberries, etc., cherries, apples, pears, plums, prunes, peaches, grapefruit, and just a few oranges and grapes. All fruit must be fresh or fresh frozen and unsweetened. All dehydrated fruit is fine. Apple and cranberry juice. Skip bananas, all melons, raisons, dates, apricots, pineapple, all canned fruits, all sweetened fruits.

Grains (1-4 servings per day)

Eat only real whole grain bread with more than 4 grams fiber per slice. Made with fructose sugar is best and with flax added is better yet. Oats are the best grain to eat. Get long cooking (5 min) oatmeal. 100% duram semolina spaghetti and angel hair pasta is OK as long as it is not cooked too long. The only cereals that are OK are long cooking oatmeal, oat bran, and packaged cereal high in protein, very high in fiber (soluble fiber best), and very low in sugar (that excludes most cereals). Include only brown all natural rice. Skip any product made with enriched flour, enriched macaroni, or saying “enriched” on the package. Skip white rice, all corn meal products, all puffed grain products, all crackers, all bakery and donuts.

Dairy (0-3 servings per day)

Eat almost any dairy products except ice cream. Yogurt and cheese are better than milk. Soy milk, although not dairy, is very good for all people. Skip all ice cream and frozen yogurt except ice cream with all natural ingredients and containing high protein (eggs) and usually moderate fat amounts. Sweetened with fructose would be ideal rather than using sucrose sugar. The artificial sweeteners, like corn syrup, are usually the worst.

Sweeteners (as little as possible)

Eat only pure 100% fructose sugar. Some aspartame, saccharin, and sorbitol is OK. Skip or reduce use of corn syrup, dextrose, glucose, maltodextrin, maltose, high fructose corn syrup, honey, maple syrup, molasses, nutrasweet, equal, sweet’n low, sweet thing, sweet one.

Snacks (should fit in an above category)

Eat nuts, seeds, acceptable fruits, cheese, yogurt, pickled herring, hard boiled eggs, sugar-free Jell-O and pudding, pure protein bars, olives, peanut and almond M&M’s. Skip popcorn, pretzels, rice cakes, all other candy and candy bars, all crackers, chips, graham crackers.

Sandwich Fixings (should fit in an above category)

Eat all meats, sliced meats, poultry, fish, hot dogs, brats, sausage, eggs (egg salad), tofu, soy meats, cheese, peanut butter (natural peanut butter best), miracle whip, mayonnaise, fructose sweetened or 100% fruit jams and jellies. Use only really high fiber whole grain breads and buns (made with fructose and flax is best). Skip all breads and buns with “enriched” on the label or ingredients list. Since breads and buns are generally the worst part of the sandwich, try to minimize the bread and heap on the good ingredients to make a super protein sandwich.


Eat garlic, onion, mustard, butter, olive oil, pepper, peppers, cinnamon, potassium salt, vinegar, cream cheese, sour cream, chives, parsley, lettuce, cabbage, and tomatoes. Only a little ketchup, steak sauce (all natural ingredients best), barbecue sauce, and lite salt. Skip regular salt, margarine, gravies, highly sugared sauces.

For items not on the above lists, especially for processed and packaged foods, follow these simple rules.

Check the ingredient list for these on a per serving basis.

1. Look for lower sugar amounts ( <= 1 grams/servings excellent, <= 3 grams/servings very good, <= 5 good, <= 9 fair). Many items contain natural sugar in the food itself. This sugar is generally better for you than added sugars and sweeteners. For example strawberries contain a lot of natural fructose sugar, but they are still low glycemic overall. However strawberries packed with added sugar are not good for you. It is the amount of added sugar that is most critical to keep as close to zero as possible.

2. Look for lower density carbohydrates ( < 8 grams/serving excellent, < 15 good, < 25 fair). Lower density carbohydrate foods usually have a lower glycemic index rating.

3. Look for higher protein amounts ( > 3 grams/serving minimum, > 6 grams better, > 10 grams excellent, or fits the below ratio. Vegetables are low density, but most have a good protein/carbohydrate ratio.)

4. Protein/Carbohydrate ratio ( > 1:2 excellent, > 1:3 very good, > 1:5 good, > 1:7 fair). You generally do not want to eat a lot of foods that contain very little protein compared to the amount of carbohydrates. Foods containing more than 7 times the amount of carbohydrates compared to proteins are usually not recommended. Berries, apples and some other fruits are the only exceptions to this.

5. Look for higher fiber amounts ( 3 or more grams/serving best). Try to stay away from foods that do not contain significant fiber. You will never get your daily fiber needs of 25 grams or more a day if you eat many low fiber foods.

6. Avoid all partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. Often a different brand of the same item is made without hydrogenated oils.

7. Look for lower salt amount ( < 100 grams/serving excellent, < 200 good, < 400 fair) People with high blood pressure should look for the lowest salt possible and never consume more than one high salt item per day.

8. Look for higher potassium amount ( > 200 grams/serving excellent, > 120 good, > 60 fair) People with high blood pressure and athletes should look for the highest amount of potassium possible. Most processed foods contain very little potassium.



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