30 Low Glycemic Foods to Keep Your Blood Sugar Levels Down

Eating a diet rich in low glycemic foods is one way to help keep your blood sugar levels where you want them. It’s not the most foolproof method out there, but it does provide some indication as to how your body will react to a certain food, and at a glance you can see which foods are better for you than others in this regard. You’ll want to use your own judgment when choosing low GI foods because as we’ll see there are some that may have a low glycemic rank, but are not the healthiest choice you can make.

30 Low Glycemic Foods- to keep your blood sugar levels down.

For reference, a GI rank of 55 or lower is considered Low.

oats

1. Oats

Oats have long been considered a good food for diabetics as well as those looking to prevent getting diabetes because it helps to keep blood sugar levels stable for several hours. It also provides a good amount of fiber, and is recommended for those trying to manage their cholesterol levels and blood pressure levels as well. This makes it a great overall healthy food that you can enjoy as a way to start your day on the right food and keep your energy up without spiking your blood glucose. Glycemic Index Rank: 51

2. Peas

Peas are a great side dish to just about any meat-based entre, as they don’t add much in the way of calories at just 81 calories in a 100 gram serving. They also have a fair amount of potassium, and are relatively high in fiber as well. You’ll be getting a boost of Vitamin C along with your serving of peas, and they even have a good amount of protein in them. It’s always nice when a low glycemic food helps you in other ways and is considered healthy, since your goal is overall health and wellbeing, as well as keeping your weight at a good number. Glycemic Index Rank: 39

3. Carrots

Carrots have a very low number on the glycemic scale at 19. Considering that 55 or lower means it’s low, that is exceptionally low. We all know that the beta carotene in carrots helps with eyesight, and there’s no doubt that it’s high in Vitamin A. There’s also some fiber in there as well to help with the digestive system. Peas and carrots are a nice combination, and you can freely mix those two together as a delicious side while keeping within your glycemic concerns. Like any food, just because it scores low doesn’t mean you should eat a lot of it in one sitting. Glycemic Index Rank: 19

4. Broccoli

Is there anything broccoli can’t do? It’s a superfood that shows up on plenty of different healthy foods lists, including being an anti-inflammatory food, a good to help you prevent cancer, and plenty more. Here it’s coming in with the very low score of 10 on the GI scale, so the body can handle it very easily without an increase in blood sugar. This is one reason why broccoli makes a great side dish. It provides you with plenty of fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals so you end up getting a nice nutritional spread from just one food. Glycemic Index Rank: 10

5. Cabbage

Cabbage is often used as a dietary food because of its low calorie and fat count, and you can also count it among one of the lowest glycemic foods on the planet. It clocks in at 10, well below the level that qualifies a food as low. Cabbage is also very versatile, finding its way into many main dish recipes, working as a nice side when steamed until soft, and providing texture, flavor, and nutrition to soups. It even provides a dose of Vitamin C so you’re strengthening your immune system at the same time. Glycemic Index Rank: 10

kale

6. Kale

Kale is a legitimate superfood, so you can fully enjoy it without any worries that it will bump your blood glucose levels in the slightest. While there aren’t official counts as to where kale ends up on the Glycemic Index, it is theorized that it is very low, and less than a 5. Kale provides plenty of Vitamin A and Vitamin C, gives you a fiber kick, has almost as much potassium as a banana, gives you iron and is very low in fat and calories. This makes it a great addition to your regular intake of fruits and vegetables. Glycemic Index Rank: Estimated at 2 to 4

7. Tomatoes

Tomatoes get a lot of press for being very healthy and being used as a preventive measure for cancer and heart disease. They’re also a very low GI food which is great because you can use them in any number of ways. Perhaps the best way is to make a sauce out of them because their nutritional factor is compounded when they’re cooked. They can also be eaten raw on a salad, and can even be blended up to make tomato juice. Definitely be sure to eat tomatoes regularly for overall health as well as their low glycemic nature. Glycemic Index Rank: 15

8. Cauliflower

Cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower tend to fare well in regards to their glycemic load. This includes the previously mentioned cabbage and kale. These types of vegetables are often brought up in health news for their anti-cancer and heart disease preventing characteristics. They have a unique blend of phytonutrients that is especially well-received by the body, and it makes a lot of sense to eat them regularly. You could even rotate them out so that you’re eating cruciferous vegetables daily, but not eating the same vegetable every day. Cauliflower is especially great because you can make faux-tatoes with them, as well as use them to make a pizza crust. Glycemic Index Rank: 15

9. Whole Wheat Bread

The reason whole wheat bread gained so much popularity in recent years is because white bread was regarded as being pretty unhealthy. Part of that is the glycemic rank of white bread is 71. When you consider that pure glucose sets the bar at 100 white bread is getting pretty close to being processed the same way. When you look at how wheat bread is ranked at 49 it becomes more apparent that it is processed by the body differently. It also has added nutritional value compared to white bread and is hands down the better choice from a health standpoint. Glycemic Index Rank: 49


Users Comments:

  • Premz

    Thank you. Most grateful. Bye

  • BBG

    Great information! Bery helpful!

  • Elsabé

    What would the GI be of a snack made by blending the following ingredients:
    150g coconut oil
    250g dates
    125ml cocoa
    100g ground almonds
    The “dough” is rolled into little balls and covered with coconut.

  • Bobby

    Brown rice and Sweet potato have glycemic index above 23! I would not add it to this list …

  • Mary

    Just want to say that for me, oats, quinoa or any dairy and many fruits will all cause spikes. Some types of legumes but not all. What I am saying is that diabetes is highly individualistic and there is FAR more to it than just glycemic indices. The ONLY way to know for your own use is to test a measured portion of a food, test your glucose at 1 & 2 hours postprandial (shooting for “normal” numbers of 140 & 120 max at those times) not what the doc says. Repeat. Doctors do have a vested interest in keeping you on that progressive path with this (or any) disease because they are receiving kickbacks for every new Rx they write and it is a regular (albeit conflicting) part of their income stream. I verified this with physician friends after hearing it and they see nothing wrong with that but I disagree. They are also not trained in nutrition (though this is slowly changing) and so are the worst source of nutritional advice. Any dietician that still tells you to follow the ADA guidelines these days should have their license pulled. I took charge and tested every food and adjusted my diet accordingly while eschewing anything processed, eating only whole food the way Mother Nature made it, organic, grass-fed or wild caught and watching portions. I cannot tolerate any type of grains or commonly used grain substitutes (teff, amaranth, quinoa) so I use tree nut flour or coconut flour instead for baking. Testing and changing my food got me off my meds and normalized within 2 weeks after dealing with this for 23 years. I then added a gradually increasing exercise program focusing on low and slow (walking) first then adding in muscle building. Things still are improving as I build much needed muscle but I still get days of frustration, too. Today I ate a peach and it spiked me and sometimes the same “safe” food can spike you which is why you repeat the tests. So, test EVERY food until you find your own Achilles heel(s) and act accordingly. It is the only way for YOU.

    • Joey

      Thank you so much for your very candid advice. It is such a relief to hear from someone who knows and will warn people of the hazards of things such as this article and what it contains. Kudos to you Mary. I will definitely follow your advice. Better than what the doctors tell you.

    • Yus

      Awesome advice mary. Different things work for different people!

    • Amber

      I agree. There are so many “low glycemic ” foods that spike my sugar it’s unbelievable. I have to test everything . I read this went out and got red cabbage and juiced it. I only added a lemon checked sugar 1-2 hours later and my sugar was 139. I woke up next morning did same thing but ate oatmeal and it went to 250. I’m glad you put it out there , very informative.

      • Eddie

        Juicing some vegetables turns them into a high glycemic food. You need the fiber to help balance that sugar in the food. Carrot and apple juice are major examples.

    • Brian

      Mary – thank you for the thoughtful comment – it was Very helpful. I have two questions for you if you would reply…. 1) what symptoms occur when you say you cannot tolerate any type of grains? 2) what are a few of your favorite low GI foods that still provide your body some carbs/sugars for energy?

    • April

      Thanks for the insights Mary. I just realized that testing and measuring your own body’s response to the foods you eat is important to truly understand how your body works. What instruments do you use to measure your glucose?

    • Judy Walker

      Thank you for that info! I had one cup of oats and spiked to 279! I am so lost between the ADA, and other sites, my Dr is not real help! I am trying as you stated, eating then testing… best plan so far. But even beans made a spike! Dang hard to get level!

    • Ann

      I am running into this same thing. I also know about Dr.kickbacks from drug company,s. This is a heck of a thing . GMO foods killing us and big pharma finishing us off, and the Doc makes money off of it.

    • chamu

      Thanks Mary. Your message is an eye opener for many like myself

  • Judie

    ALL grains should be eliminated to keep glucose down. Plus they are bad for you anyway. Read “Grain Brain” if you doubt this.

  • Valerie

    mary, great suggestions. I’m so overwhelmed with my T2D that I cry a lot. Thanks for the suggestion about test 1 & 2 hour intervals. All of these comments from the posters makes a difference

    • bardoug

      Once you know which food spike you, you don’t have to keep testing. It’s an expensive endeavor. Start reading labels. What may spike one person may not spike your blood sugar. I bake a lot with almond flour and coconut flour. The Atkins diet is a good start for lo-carbing. Carbs turn to sugar. Just because a product doesn’t have sugar doesn’t mean it won’t spike your blood sugar. Count your carbs and if you do eat a high carb diet eat some protein with it.

  • Tere

    Thank You very helpful. i am very grateful.

  • Bob Smith

    Who wrote this list?!? Oats, Peas, Carrots, potatoes (sweet or otherwise), whole wheat bread; and ANY fruits are VERY high in carbs. The mushrooms, kale, broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower are the only ones that are truly low carb, and low glycemic index. Heck, why not just buy some splenda and see how that makes your blood sugars spike (hint: it’s choke full of maltodextrin).

    If your trying to lose weight or control your blood glucose levels, you should be eating less than 20 to 50 carbs per day, and NON of the relatively high glycemic carbs listed here.

    BTW, it’s not just the number of carbs you consume, it’s how fast they absorb into your system. So 10 carbs of broccoli is NOT equal to 10 carbs of sugar or starch (i.e.: the more fiber the better).

  • Glen

    I would not say fruits are high in sugar. CARBS do not mean “bad” unless the carb is one that turns into sugar quickly in the body, which fresh fruits do not. Fresh fruits usually have a glycemic index of around 38-45. (Grapes are a little higher) Natural sugars do NOT have the effect that a dried fruit would have, because the sugar is caramelized, the “glucose meter” in your body sees that and tells the pancreas “turn it into fat.” There is a difference between carbs and the glycemic index. ANY vegetable is a carb, and every fruit is a carb, although, say, black beans, which are carbs, have a low glycemic index and are also classified as “incomplete proteins.”
    Carrots are also NOT high glycemic – until they are cooked. Raw carrots’ glycemic index is around 38: cooked, it becomes caramelized and it rises to a glycemic index of 78 or so. Potatoes and whole wheat bread? I’m with you on that. There is a website called Mendosa that measured the glycemic indexes of food. This site dates back in 1997, LONG before any nutritionist in the US was promoting the glycemic index. In fact, the glycemic index of Coca Cola is different in Australia than it is in the US, so one must consider the country it is produced in. The Mendosa site has been cataloging foods for over 25 years. The website also gives the glycemic load of foods – something nearly unmentioned in most supposed “glycemic index” sites and the glycemic load is nearly as important as the glycemic index.

  • Rajesh

    excellent info. grateful

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