The 12 Best Low Glycemic Index Foods for People With Diabetes

What can I eat? This is one of the most common questions diabetics ask, and for good reason. For most people, diabetes means transforming your diet and taking a much more hands on approach to what ingredients go into each meal.

Most medical professionals recommend low glycemic index foods, or foods that don’t have a negative impact on blood sugar levels. But finding safe foods that are low on the glycemic index isn’t easy.  Luckily, we have you covered. Here’s a guide of the best low glycemic index foods that every diabetic can add to their diet.

The Glycaemic Index and Diabetes

So, what exactly is the glycemic index anyway? A glycemic index diet refers to a diet that is relatively low in carbs. The index (GI) measures the types of carbs in different foods and determines how they will likely affect blood sugar levels. Typically, GI values less than 55 take longer to digest and are safer for people with diabetes. 

12 of the Best Foods to Control Diabetes

Trying to craft the perfect low glycemic diet plan? These staple ingredients are a great place to start.

1. Oats

Oats have a GI of 55. This makes them a good low GI breakfast or snack option. Porridge is a great, healthy breakfast option. Try adding berries on agave for extra flavor. You could even try making your own healthy oat cookies.

2. Milk

Milk usually has a GI of between 37 and 39. Skimmed milk is the healthiest option. And soy milk is even better, with a GI of between 17 and 44. Warm milk can make a soothing afternoon beverage, or, it can be used with oat-based cereals in the morning.

3. Lentils

Lentils have a GI of around 32. Plus, they also provide phosphorus, potassium, and protein. Try throwing them into salads, or enjoying them in a lentil soup.

4. Fish

Fatty fish like salmon, anchovies, and sardines are not only low on the GI scale, they also offer a wide range of other health benefits. DHA and EPA (omega-3 fatty acids) can have positive effects on heart health, which is especially beneficial for those with diabetes. Eating this type of fish regularly can even reduce your risk of heart disease or heart attack.

5. Leafy Greens

Leafy greens like spinach and kale are extremely low in carbs and have little impact on blood sugar. They also provide high levels of vitamin C, which has been shown to reduce inflammation and improve the immune system. Try substituting wheat bread or wraps for large lettuce leaves for a healthier, lower GI sandwich. 

6. Avocados

Avocados are very high in fiber and low in carbs. They are also considered a healthy fat, which means they probably won’t have a significant impact on your blood sugar. Avocados make a delicious snack, or a tasty dip that’s an alternative to sour cream. Studies have shown that avocados can actually prevent diabetes by reducing insulin resistance.

7. Eggs

Eggs have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, decrease inflammation, and improve sensitivity to insulin. Eggs are ideal for breakfast or brunch meals—plus, they can be cooked in a huge variety of ways. 

8. Beans

Beans are a healthy food that won’t impact on your blood sugar levels. They’re incredibly versatile and work well in plenty of dishes like wraps, salads, and more.

9. Greek Yoghurt

Greek yoghurt contains probiotics, which helps to improve blood sugar levels. It’s a great food to add to oat-based muesli in the morning, or to eat with fruits as an afternoon snack. Careful not to get yoghurt full of sugar.

10. Nuts

Nuts are high in fiber and relatively low in carbs. They have been shown to improve blood glucose levels, reduce inflammation and improve the health of the heart. Try adding nuts into your snack routine as an alternative to chips.

11. Strawberries

Strawberries are packed with nutrients and antioxidants. Of the many benefits of strawberries, some include reducing cholesterol, improving blood sugar, and improving insulin sensitivity in adults without diabetes. 

12. Garlic

A single clove of garlic contains huge amounts of manganese, vitamin B6, vitamin C, and fiber. It can even help you regulate cholesterol. Plus, it can add a delicious, flavorful punch to your meals.