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Low Glycemic Index Foods: What To Try and What To Avoid

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  Published on August 12th, 2021
  Reading time: 2 minutes
  Last modified May 12th, 2022
Assortment of low glycemic index foods

Whether you are a diabetic or just someone interested in a healthy metabolism, keeping sugar intake low may be a priority. If that’s the case, you may have heard about the glycemic index. This index is often used as a guide when choosing foods that won’t spike blood sugar levels. Here are some low glycemic index foods, as well as more information on the G.I.

What is the Glycemic Index?

The glycemic index, or G.I., is a guide on how certain foods affect blood sugar levels. Low G.I. foods have a minimal impact on blood glucose levels, whereas high G.I. foods have a substantial impact. [1]

The glycemic index gives foods a score on a scale of 0-100. For example, steak has a glycemic index score of 0. An apple, for example, has a glycemic index of 40. White rice has a G.I. of 73. [1]

What’s the Difference Between Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load?

The glycemic index does have flaws, however. This index does not take into account the portion of food consumed. Glycemic load, on the other hand, does take into account how much of the food you are consuming.

Obviously, four slices of white bread are going to spike your glucose levels higher than one slice. The glycemic load takes this into account.

The glycemic load can be calculated by multiplying a food’s GI score by the number of carbohydrates in a serving and then dividing that number by 100.

For example, kidney beans have a G.I. of 24. A 1/4 cup serving of kidney beans contains 5g of carbohydrates. The glycemic load would be (24 x 5)/100, which equals 1.2.

Low Glycemic Index Foods

The American Diabetes Association recommends people with diabetes follow a diet that consists of low glycemic foods. Whether you are a type 2 diabetic, trying to improve your metabolic health, or simply looking for weight loss, consuming foods low in sugar is definitely a healthy approach. [2]

Here are some common foods that are considered low on the glycemic index. You’ll notice that most of these foods are keto-friendly because they are low in carbohydrates, and thus sugar. Low glycemic diets tend to go hand-in-hand with the ketogenic diet since the goal of both is to reduce sugar intake and thus minimize spikes in blood glucose levels.

Here is a list of some low glycemic index foods:

On the other hand, here are high glycemic index foods you should avoid:

  • Breakfast Cereals
  • White Bread
  • White Rice
  • Pure Glucose
  • White Potatoes
  • Soda
  • Fruit Juice
  • Chips & Rice Crackers

What Are Your Favorite Low Glycemic Index Foods?

Do you stick to a low GI diet? Comment below and share your favorite low-sugar foods!



Atkinson, F. S., Foster-Powell, K., & Brand-Miller, J. C. (2008). International tables of glycemic index and glycemic load values: 2008. Diabetes care, 31(12), 2281–2283. https://doi.org/10.2337/dc08-1239


Eleazu C. O. (2016). The concept of low glycemic index and glycemic load foods as panacea for type 2 diabetes mellitus; prospects, challenges and solutions. African health sciences, 16(2), 468–479. https://doi.org/10.4314/ahs.v16i2.15

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