List of Low GI Food for People With Diabetes
Nutrition

Low-glycemic foods for diabetes

We have gone through the glycemic index values of hundreds of foods in this blog post, and we prepared a low GI food list for diabetes. It is also a helpful tool for anyone looking to lose weight or have more energy throughout the day. 

What is Glycemic Index?

The glycemic index (GI) is simply a system of eating foods containing carbohydrates. This rating indicates how quickly blood sugar levels will increase when one eats these foods independently. There are two types of GI rating foods, i.e., high GI rated foods and low GI rated foods. Foods with a high GI rating are broken down quickly by your body and rapidly increase blood sugar levels soon after.

Examples of high GI rating foods are:- white bread, potatoes, white rice, etc. Low or medium-GI foods take longer for the body to break down into simple sugars, which results in a gradual rise in blood sugar over time. Examples of low GI rating foods are:- fruits, vegetables, barley, brown rice, etc.

What constitutes a Low Glycemic Index?

The glycemic index is a concept that essentially measures how much effect the food you eat has on your blood glucose levels. The higher the food's glycemic index, the more pronounced its effect on your body. There are many tables available that list types of foods and their GIs. These tables can give one a greater understanding of what options might be feasible to include in a diet. The GI of a food is considered low when it has a value of 55 or under; high when it has a value of 70 or more; and midrange when it has a value of 56 to 69.

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What are the Best Low Glycemic food list for Diabetes?

1. Oats

A GI score of 55 makes rolled porridge oats a low-GI breakfast option. Oats also contain beta-glucan, a type of fibre with several health benefits. Steel-cut and rolled oats have the best health benefits and the lowest GI scores. Instant and quick oats are more processed and have a higher GI score. 

2. Milk

Low-GI dairy products are healthy additions to morning porridge. Skimmed milk has a GI of 37, while full-fat milk has a score of 39. It is a good source of calcium, which supports bone health. Reduced-fat soy milk can have a GI of between 17 and 44, and full-fat soy milk may score 44. 

GI scores will vary among brands. But you can also add it to smoothies that contain low GI fruits, such as apples, bananas, grapes, and mangoes.

3. Chickpeas

Chickpeas provide a good amount of protein and fibre per cup, with 11.8 grams and 10.6 grams, respectively; they also contain calcium, potassium, and vitamin B-9. Chickpeas have a low GI score of 28, making them a low-carbohydrate source. Roasted chickpeas make a delicious and fast snack.

4. Carrots

Carrots have a GI score of 39, making them the perfect alternative to bread when enjoying hummus as a dip. They offer a good source of beta-carotene and potassium without the high-fat content of olive oil or dairy cream. These are good for eye health. 

Carrots are packed with antioxidants, making them essential to achieving body protection from free radicals. 

5. Kidney Beans

The GI score of kidney beans is 24, making them a versatile low-GI food. They are also very high in protein and fibre, with 13.36g and 11g per cup. Kidney beans are also low in fat and high in potassium.

Low Glycemic Index Vegetables for Diabetes

People with diabetes often face challenges searching for low GI vegetables. While most vegetables are ok for consumption, people with high diabetes levels should stick to vegetables with a comparatively lower GI. If you are planning your diabetes-friendly diet, consider adding items from the below-shared low GI food list for diabetes.

List of Low GI Vegetables
Green peas Lettuce
Cucumber Tomatoes
Snow peas Broccoli
Cabbage Eggplant
Cauliflower Mushrooms
Bok Choy Celery
Artichokes Leafy vegetables like spinach and kale
Peppers like jalapenos and bell peppers Zucchini

You can include these low-GI vegetables in your daily diet without any problem. Talk to your doctor or nutritionist for personalized guidance if you want to add more vegetables (outside of the above list) to your diet.

Low Glycemic Fruits List for Diabetes

Now that you’re aware of the vegetables low in GI, let’s take a quick look at other food items having a low glycemic index. The following list of low glycemic index foods for diabetics will help you decide what other food items you can have during diabetes.

List of Low GI Fruits
Apples Plum
Pears Unripe bananas
Strawberries Peaches
Cherries Orange
Grapefruit Cranberries
Blueberries Coconut
Olives Avocado

Besides vegetables and fruits, you can include the following whole or minimally processed grains in your diet because of their low glycemic index.

  • Whole wheat
  • Wheat tortilla
  • Oat bran and rice bran cereals
  • Whole-grain pasta
  • Sourdough bread
  • Whole-grain pumpernickel bread

If you want to add dairy and dairy-substitute items low in GI to your regular diet, you can consider having milk, cheese, plain yogurt, soy milk, cottage cheese, and soy yogurt. Other food items worth your attention are nuts and butter, poultry like chicken, meat like pork, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, extra virgin olive oil, canola oil, eggs, fish, etc.

Low Glycemic Fruits List for Diabetes

Now that you’re aware of the vegetables low in GI, let’s take a quick look at other food items having a low glycemic index. The following list of low glycemic index foods for diabetics will help you decide what other food items you can have during diabetes.

What is the importance of Low GI in Diabetes?

The glycemic index provides a classification of carbohydrate-containing foods based on their tendency to elevate your blood sugar levels. Foods with a higher glycemic index will raise your blood sugar significantly faster than those with a lower value. To manage your blood sugar properly, you can apply the basic principles of healthy eating, portion control, and counting carbohydrates.

What are the Indications of consuming food with different Glycemic Indexes in Diabetes?

Low Glycemic Index foods

  • Low Glycemic Index foods with a low GI have many means in your quest to lose weight and keep you eating satisfyingly between meals.
  •  The insulin hormone regulates how much sugar there is in your blood from one meal to another. 
  • Foods with lower glycemic ratings will help you feel fuller for longer because they will not cause such a sharp spike in blood sugar levels.

High Glycemic Index foods

  • Foods that rank high on the glycemic index are easily digested, and they tend to raise our blood sugar more than items lower on that scale would. 
  • Like carbs with a low glycemic index, foods rich in sugars that rank high on this scale should be avoided by people with diabetes and other medical conditions related to blood glucose levels.
  • But these meals can still be taken into account during periods when we need extra power for some vigorous activity (such as exercising) or after suffering from hypoglycemic attacks (when the body has run out of fuel).

What is Glycemic Load, and what is its importance in Diabetes?

The glycemic index (GI) is just one method of analysing carbs. It has become very popular in the past two decades because it is a quick, easy, and cheap measure to process. However, earlier this year, a team of researchers came up with a new system for examining carbohydrates. The combined measurement known as glycemic load (GL) incorporates both the GI and the number of carbohydrates in each food item. 

A formula calculates a food's glycemic load (GL). 

  • To do so, we need to know the glycemic index and how much carbohydrate is in that food in grams. 
  • The Glycemic index is calculated by multiplying total carbs by the glycemic index, then dividing by 100.

GL = Total no. of Carbohydrates in grams × Glycemic Index (GI) / 100.

Bottomline

Many people with diabetes are interested in lowering their blood sugar after meals. In general, the lower a food's GI, the better it is for you. You can use this low GI food list for diabetes as a guideline to see which foods are best for you. If you are interested in learning more about how the GI of food can help you, feel free to read this blog post.

FAQs

What meats are low GI?

The significance of low GI foods can be great for each meal that a person with diabetes consumes. Meats like beef, pork, lamb, etc are low in glycemic index. Additionally, chicken and the protein obtained from chicken is also a good low GI food. Since chicken has fewer carbs, it won’t affect blood sugar levels directly. 


Is cheese Low GI?

Yes, cheese is also low in glycemic index. This means that upon consumption of cheese, the sugars will be released slowly into the body. In other words, eating cheese will not trigger major spikes in the overall blood glucose levels. However, it is important to be mindful of what you are consuming cheese with. A white bread and cheese combination will raise blood sugars


What can diabetics eat instead of bread?

In today’s times, there are several healthy options that a person with diabetes can choose from. Instead of the traditional white bread made out of processed grains and refined wheat flour, a person can eat multigrain bread, whole wheat bread, etc. If you want to avoid bread altogether, roti or wraps can be other good options. 


What drink lowers blood sugar?

Drinking water regularly can help to reduce blood sugar levels. Since water not only hydrates the body but also helps to flush out the toxins and keeps the kidneys healthy, it is the best drink to consume. It can also help with weight loss. Other low-calorie drinks could be green tea, salted lemonade, etc. 

Is a Low GI Diet Good for Diabetics?

Yes, research shows following a low GI diet can help diabetics manage long-term blood glucose levels, especially in people diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. If you stick to a low GI diet for the long term, you can experience reduced hemoglobin A1C and blood glucose levels. A low GI diet can also help you sustainably maintain a healthy weight. 

Which GI is Good for Diabetics?

A glycemic index of 55 or less is considered good for diabetics. Generally, the lower the GI number, the better it is for people with diabetes. A GI of 56 to 69 can have a medium impact on your blood glucose levels, while a GI of 70 or higher can have a high or negative impact on your blood sugar levels. So always look for food items lower in GI to prevent any unwanted blood sugar spikes.

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