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Glycemic Index of Bell Peppers

by |
author image Linda Tarr Kent
Linda Tarr Kent is a reporter and editor with more than 20 years experience at Gannett Company Inc., The McClatchy Company, Sound Publishing Inc., Mach Publishing, MomFit The Movement and other companies. Her area of expertise is health and fitness. She is a Bosu fitness and stand-up paddle surfing instructor. Kent holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Washington State University.
Glycemic Index of Bell Peppers
Red, green and yellow bell peppers Photo Credit George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Eating foods that are low on the glycemic index can provide several benefits, including helping to manage your weight, increasing your sensitivity to insulin, improving cholesterol levels, reducing risk for heart problems and prolonging physical endurance, according to the University of Sydney. Bell peppers have a low glycemic index as well as a low glycemic load.

Identification

Bell peppers have a glycemic index of 40. Foods with a GI of 55 or less are considered low glycemic index foods, according to the University of Sydney, Australia. If a food has a GI of 56 to 69 it’s a medium-GI food and if it has a value of 70 it is a high-GI food.

Features

The fiber in the bell pepper influences its GI ranking. In essence, the more fiber a food has, the less sugar it can provide because there’s less digestible carbohydrate, according to Harvard Medical School. A bell pepper has 5 grams carbs, with 1 grams coming from fiber and 2 grams from sugars, according to the Centers for Disease Control. A half-cup serving has 20 calories.

Significance

Foods such as bell peppers that are low on the glycemic index lead to a gradual rise in blood sugar rather than a quick spike, according to the University of Michigan. Eating low GI carbs such as bell peppers ensure that glucose slowly trickles into your blood stream and keeps your energy levels balanced, according to the University of Sydney. This helps you maintain a full feeling in between meals.

Considerations

A bell pepper has a glycemic load of 2. This value measures a food’s impact on your blood-sugar and insulin levels. Foods with a glycemic load of 10 or less are considered low, while the load for the medium range is 11 to 19 and the value for the high category is more than 20, according to Harvard Medical School. A bell pepper’s glycemic load is found by multiplying the number of grams of carbs it has by its glycemic index, then dividing by 100.

Expert Insight

While the fiber and sugar content, and thus glycemic index, of red and yellow peppers is the same as that for green, these peppers provide differing amounts of antioxidant vitamins A and C. A green pepper gives you 4 percent of the daily recommended amount of vitamin A and 60 percent of the daily recommended amount of vitamin C, according to the CDC. A red pepper delivers 45 percent of recommended vitamin A and 240 percent of daily recommended vitamin C. A yellow pepper contains 2 percent of recommended vitamin A and 230 percent of daily recommended vitamin C, according to the CDC.

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