The insulin index of food signifies how much it increases the concentration of insulin in the blood during the two-hour time after having the food. This index is quite like the glycaemic index (GI) and glycaemic load (GL), but it is based on blood insulin levels and not blood glucose levels. The food insulin index was first coined in 1997 and published by Dr. Susanne Holt et al, at the University Of Sydney.
Blood Glucose Levels

What Is Insulin Index?

The insulin index is a new algorithm for ranking foods based on the insulin response. It is a simple and practical tool used in nutritional epidemiology to assess the impact of diet on insulin haemostasis.

The insulin represents an evaluation of food portions with equal overall caloric value (250 kcal), while GI represents a comparison of portions with equal carbohydrate content (50 g) and GL signifies portions of typical serving size for several foods.

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How Insulin Index Impacts Blood Glucose Levels?

Experts believe that the insulin index can be more valuable than either the glycaemic index or the glycaemic load, as certain foods like proteins and lean meats can spike an insulin response despite being low on carbs while some foods cause an inaccurate insulin response relative to their carbohydrate load.

Also Read: Diabetes Diet: Read To Know The Common FAQ About Food And Nutrition

Scientists state that glucose and insulin scores of most foods are highly linked, however, high-protein foods and bakery products that are loaded with fat and refined carbs, stimulate insulin responses that were unreasonably higher than their glycaemic responses. Further, the insulin index may also be beneficial for dietary management and avoidance of non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus and hyperlipidaemia.

Well, extended high levels of insulin in the blood can be a contributing factor to several diseases. Thus, food’s ability to stimulate insulin production after eating can play a vital role in the prevention and control of metabolic syndromes like insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.

Though studies about the glycaemic index of foods give an overview of how the given food affects the body, it mostly falls short to deliver information about foods with low carb content like lean meats, certain vegetables, or dairy products. Hence, the insulin index can be a more valuable tool while assessing the boy’s response to food.

Also, the dietary insulin index depends not only on carbohydrate content but also on both the quantitative and qualitative nature of the protein, fat, and their interactions.

What Is Considered As Good Insulin Number?

The higher the insulin index of the food, the body secretes more insulin as a response. Thus, foods with lower insulin indices are good and to be taken as part of a wholesome diet, to help lessen the risk of developing metabolic syndrome. For example, the insulin index of pure glucose is 100, while avocados have an insulin index of 6.

The insulin index of a particular food less than 10 is low and more than 20 is considered as high.

Scientists using all reliable and accessible information have compiled a list of insulin indices for more than 100 foods and this provides a better understanding of how insulin index helps to control blood glucose levels.

Also Read: Insulin Resistance: Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis And Prevention

Insulin Index Food List (Approximate Numbers Based on Algorithms):

Cheese 45

Paneer 40

Milk 34

Egg 23

Butter 2

Yogurt 46

Cooking oil 3

Oatmeal 40

Apple 59

Avocado 6

Banana 81

Dates 64

Mango 127

Orange 60


Grape 82

Papaya 129

Peach 39

Pear 45

Raisin 42

Watermelon 84

Meat 19

Broccoli 29

Carrot 42

Potato 11

Pea 37

Spinach N/ A

Sweet potato 96

Walnut 7

Tea N/a

Tuna 22

Bean 34

Lentil 58

Peanut 20

Soy milk 10

Bread 100

Brown rice 62

Rice 79

Foods To Include To Maintain Insulin Level

The American Diabetes Council recommends adding these foods on a regular basis to keep insulin and blood sugar levels low:






Peanut Butter



Yogurt without added sugars


The insulin index offers a valuable overview of how food a person eats affects his or her insulin response. It was believed to make better food choices to regulate blood sugar spikes and optimize diabetes management. But most people found insulin index data quite confusing, and it’s often misinterpreted.