To investigate the increase of glycemia due to the ingestion of usual food in Mexico, portions with 50 g of carbohydrate form white corn tortilla, yellow corn tortilla, spaghetti, rice, potatoes, beans brown and black, nopal (prickle pear cactus) and peanuts, compared with white bread, were given to 21 healthy and 27 non-insulin-dependent diabetic subjects. Serum glucose and insulin were measured every 30 min for 180 min long. Glycemic index was obtained as: (area under curve of glucose with test food/area under curve of glucose with white bread) X 100. A corrected index was calculated subtracting the area corresponding to initial values. Insulin index was obtained similarly. Each sample was studied 14-18 times. Glycemic and insulin indexes of white and yellow corn tortilla, spaghetti, rice and potatoes were not different from bread (P greater than 0.05). Corrected glycemic indexes of brown beans (54 +/- 15, +/- SE) and black beans (43 +/- 17) were low (p less than 0.05), as well as corrected insulin indexes (69 +/- 11 and 64 +/- 10 respectively, (P less than 0.02). Peanuts had low glycemic (33 +/- 17, P less than 0.01), but normal insulin index. Nopal had very low glycemic and insulin indexes (10 +/- 17 and 10 +/- 16, P less than 0.0001). These data might be useful in prescribing diets for diabetic subjects.