About the GI Symbol
As the only independent worldwide GI certification program, the GI Symbol is a powerful trust mark developed by the GI Foundation to make healthy choices easy.
What is the GI Symbol?
Before 2001, people would have to rely on unreliable data on the GI values of foods and do their own research to help decide which carbohydrate foods to eat.
The GI Symbol is your guarantee that the GI value has been tested by an accredited laboratory and is accurate. Foods that carry the GI Symbol have been assessed against a range of strict nutrient criteria in line with International Dietary Guidelines making them among the healthiest choices in their category.
Once consumers learn more about low GI and the GI Symbol, over 65% are likely to look out for it when shopping
SOURCE: [Lonergan, 2016]
Why become low GI certified?
Joining the GI Symbol program has many advantages and benefits for brands:
The low GI Symbol evokes trust and ongoing loyalty with consumers
Consumers feel reassured that a product has been accurately tested and meets strict nutritional criteria making your product a healthy choice
Building consumer awareness through ongoing marketing support from the GI Foundation
- Product listing on our featured low GI certified products page
- Products are featured and promoted through our highly engaged and trusted social media channels and Low GI Living newsletter
- Recipes are assessed and endorsed with our official Low GI Recipe Symbol and featured on our recipe page
- GI Symbol products available in Australia, featured in the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet online program
- Opportunity to create tailored marketing programs with our GI Foundation marketing team
Exclusive access to dossiers, latest GI research and scientific reviews to self-substantiate GI general level health claims
- As a licensee you will have access to dossiers to support health benefit claims under Schedule 1.2.7 of the Foods Standards Code (Food Standards Agency Australia and New Zealand)
- It allows brands to make low GI health claims supporting the health benefits of
– Sustained energy
– Satiety / fuller for longer
Low GI information provided to healthcare professionals through the Foundation
- Quotes from key opinion leaders on the benefits of low GI
– Fact sheets directed at healthcare professionals and consumers about the benefits of a low GI lifestyle including diabetes, weight management and pregnancy outcomes
Product development and regulatory assistance:
- Expert assistance with product development and reformulation
- Support with applications to international regulatory authorities in relation low GI health claims
Letter of Certification provided by the Foundation
The GI Symbol provides credible authority and is a simple trust mark that the food is also a healthy choice
GI Symbol FAQs
Here are answers to the questions manufacturers ask us most often about the GI Symbol certification program. Click on any question, to see the answer.
If you have more questions about the certification process or would like to become certified and join the GI Symbol program in order to use the symbol on your products, please contact: email@example.com
How can products join the GI Symbol Program?
Becoming a licensee is open to all companies big and small, worldwide. To have a product certified by the Glycemic Index Foundation and be eligible to carry the low GI Symbol on packaging the products need to be:
- Tested low GI by an independent laboratory such as the University of Sydney testing labs (SUGiRS) based on the international standards for testing.
- Meet strict nutritional criteria for their category and adhere to our testing policy.
Once the product meets the above it can then be submitted to the Foundation (firstname.lastname@example.org) for review along with:
- A completed application form
- The product’s Glycemic Index ISO standard test report
- A nutritional analysis of the product
- The nutritional information panel
- The ingredients list
- Any existing promotional or packaging material.
For more information please visit the Become Low GI Certified page.
Why is the GI Symbol so important?
Whether consumers are looking to improve their general health, have sustained energy or help prevent or manage a specific health condition, a low GI diet can help them do just that.
The Foundation has commissioned extensive scientific reviews to substantiate general level health claims supporting the benefits of GI that meet the requirements set out by FSANZ Standard 1.2.7 – Nutrition, Health and Related Claims.
A general level health claim refers to a nutrient, substance or property of a food and its effect on a health function. It must not refer to a serious disease or biomarker of a serious disease.
Research has proven that a healthy low GI diet helps individuals with specific health conditions. People with diabetes (type 1 and type 2) manage their blood glucose levelsi, blood cholesterol levelsii and reduce insulin resistanceiii – which is important for reducing the risk of long term diabetes related complications. A recent Cochrane review found that low GI diets can help people with diabetes reduce their HbA1c by 0.5%. This will help decrease the risk of common diabetic complications by ~20%.
Following a low GI diet can also assist with weight loss and importantly healthy weight maintenance. In fact, a low GI diet provides health benefits for everybody across all stages of life.
How does the GI Symbol help consumers better than existing package labels?
The eye-catching GI Symbol is a powerful tool for consumers to quickly and reliably make healthy food choices. Foods with the GI Symbol have been laboratory tested and also meet strict nutrient criteria in line with International Dietary Guidelines for kilojoules, saturated fat and salt that make them among the healthiest choices in their category.
- For the educated consumer, Low GI carves out a place in a clutter of messages.
- The Low GI Symbol is now recognised as the most important label on food for people with Type 2 Diabetes
- Nearly 2 in 3 of the general population indicate likely influence on product purchase as a result of endorsement by the Foundation.
- 2 in 3 Australians, and almost 9 in 10 people living with Type 2 diabetes would seek out Low GI on pack
(AIFST Glycemic Index Report 2018)
What types of products can use the GI Symbol? Do some foods qualify more easily than others?
The Glycemic Index (GI) is a relative ranking of carbohydrate in foods according to how they affect blood glucose levels. Food products that contain the minimum amount of carbohydrates and that meet our strict nutrient criteria can be GI tested to be eligible to earn the GI Symbol.
Carbohydrates are one of the most important sources of energy for our bodies and are mainly found in plants (fruits, vegetables, grains & legumes) or in foods made from plant sources.
Carbohydrates take two forms namely starches (such as potatoes, cereals, bread, and pasta) and sugars such as table sugar (sucrose), milk sugar (lactose), and fruit sugar (fructose).
Check out the categories on our GI Symbol Products page.
How is the GI measure and tested in products?
GI values of foods must be measured using valid scientific methods. It cannot be guessed by looking at the composition of the food or the nutrition information panel on food packaging.
Following the international standard method, the GI value of a food is determined by feeding 10 or more healthy people a portion of the food containing 50 grams of digestible (available) carbohydrate and then measuring the effect on their blood glucose levels over the next two hours. For each person, the area under their two-hour blood glucose response (glucose AUC) for this food is then measured. On another occasion, the same 10 people consume an equal-carbohydrate portion of the sugar glucose (the reference food) and their two-hour blood glucose response is also measured. A GI value for the test food is then calculated for each person by dividing their glucose AUC for the test food by their glucose AUC for the reference food. The final GI value for the test food is the average GI value for the 10 people.
Foods with a high GI score contain rapidly digested carbohydrate, which produces a large rapid rise and fall in the level of blood glucose. In contrast, foods with a low GI score contain slowly digested carbohydrate, which produces a gradual, relatively low rise in the level of blood glucose.
For more information on GI testing go to www.glycemicindex.com
What does it cost to use the GI Symbol on product packages?
There is no cost beyond an annual license fee. The license fee to certify your product is calculated on gross sales of your product and capped at a maximum fee making it affordable no matter what size company you are.
To find out the costs associated with the GI Symbol programs contact the Foundation email@example.com
Is the GI Symbol part of a government program?
No. The Glycemic Index Foundation (GIF) is a not-for-profit health promotion charity supported by The University of Sydney and Diabetes NSW & ACT. GIF is committed to providing the community with information and tools to help improve their health through scientifically-backed low GI healthy eating principles.
Products certified with the GI Symbol meet nutrient criteria consistent with International Dietary Guidelines and are aligned with government front of pack labelling programs.
GIF is constantly working with government and regulatory agencies around the world to encourage GI food labelling laws as well as government-led health promotion programs communicating the benefits of low GI foods and diets.
The International Diabetes Federation recommend Low GI foods for achieving optimal glycaemic levels in Type 2 Diabetes (International Diabetes Federation Clinical Guidelines)
How do you help consumers understand what the GI Symbol means?
The GI Foundation carries out ongoing communication activity to familiarise consumers with the benefits of a low GI diet.
Our mission is to help people lead a healthier life through the adoption of evidence-based low GI eating principles for better health. Awareness of GI has grown from 28% when the Symbol was first launched with now over 77% of Australians aware of GI.
“The GI Symbol was identified as one of the most widely recognised food endorsement schemes” (CEO Choice Nick Stace; 2010)
If you have more questions about the GI Symbol Program or the Foundation, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Is the GI Symbol trade mark registered in my territory?
The low GI Symbol trade mark is currently listed in the following territories:
However if your territory is not listed you may still be able to use the trade mark. Please contact us for more information at: email@example.com
Recommended for you
A low GI diet focuses on the quality of carbohydrates you eat. Good carbohydrates (or low GI carbohydrates) are more slowly digested helping keep your blood sugars stable, whereas bad carbohydrates cause your blood glucose levels to peak and crash. Want to know which carbohydrates are best for you? Try our swap it tool!