The process of pickling cucumbers in a mixture of vinegar, herbs, salt and sugar results in a product commonly called pickles. The dill pickle variety, according to the New York Food Museum, is a favorite among consumers. Not only do dill pickles make a nutritious accompaniment in a sandwich or a salad, they also rank extremely low on the glycemic index scale.
Determination of Glycemic Index
To determine the glycemic index of a food product, human subjects must ingest the product before researchers study its effect on blood-glucose levels. Linus Pauling Institute explains that test volunteers are administered 50g of a test food on any given day, followed by 50g of a control food, which contains an equal amount of carbohydrates as the test food, on a later day. Blood is drawn before consumption, as well as several hours after consumption at regular intervals, to note changes in blood-glucose levels. The results are plotted as a curve and the glycemic index is calculated by dividing the area beneath the curve post-consumption of the test food by the corresponding area of the control food.
The glycemic index is a measure of a food product's ability to elevate blood-glucose levels. Foods with a minimal impact on blood-glucose levels have a glycemic index of 55 or less. Foods with a moderate impact on blood-glucose levels have a glycemic index of between 56 and 69. Food products with a glycemic index above 69 have a significant impact on blood-glucose levels. According to Nancy Klobassa Davidson, R.N., of Mayo Clinic, a healthy blood-glucose level in a fasting state ranges between 70 to 100mg/dL. After meals, a blood-glucose level below 180mg/dL is considered "normal." People diagnosed with diabetes or thyroid disorders should pay particular attention to the glycemic index of food products as they may potentially worsen symptoms.
Jenny Brand-Miller, Ph.D., co-author of "The New Glucose Revolution: Complete Guide to Glycemic Index Value," reports that a dill pickle has a glycemic index of 15. The low glycemic index of dill pickles makes it an ideal food option for those diagnosed with diabetes, hypothyroidism or obesity. Furthermore, the USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory states that a 65g serving of dill pickle contains a miniscule eight calories with almost no fat content. Furthermore, dill pickles provide nutrients such as vitamin A, vitamin K, beta-carotene, calcium and sodium.
Although dill pickles have a low glycemic index, when added to certain meals, such as a sandwich, the glycemic index of the meal may have a significant impact on blood-glucose levels. To keep blood-glucose levels in check, pair dill pickles with other food items that rank equally low on the glycemic index scale, such as leafy vegetables.
- New York Food Museum: What is a Pickle?
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Pickles, Cucumber, Dill or Kosher Dill
- "The New Glucose Revolution: Complete Guide to Glycemic Index Value"; Jenny Brand-Miller, Ph.D., et al.; August 2003
- Linus Pauling Institute: Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load