Low Glycemic Foods List | 130 Foods in PDF

Low Glycemic Foods List

Carbohydrates are an important part of our diets, but not all carb sources are the same.

When you consume foods and beverages containing carbs, the body breaks down these carbs into glucose, a form of sugar, which is then used for energy. 

Glucose that enters the bloodstream from digested food causes a rise in blood glucose levels. Besides sweets, various other foods can also mess with blood sugar levels and have the same impact as high-carb diets.

What do you do to ensure you consume the right amount of sugar? You measure the glycemic index.

What is the Glycemic Index (GI?)

The glycemic index (GI) indicates how much a certain type of food may affect blood sugar levels. The index helps regulate high blood sugar surges and maintain appropriate energy levels throughout the day.

Some individuals with type 2 diabetes, those on low-carb diets, and those attempting to lose weight may find it useful.

Foods with a high glycemic index may cause blood glucose levels to rise more rapidly, leading to an increased demand for insulin from the body to help manage this rise.

A surge in blood glucose also leads to hunger pangs, carb cravings, and lethargy or fatigue. Low glycemic foods can help prevent all these effects.

What are the Low Glycemic Foods and Their Benefits?

Foods are considered to have a ‘low GI’ if their Glycemic Index (GI) value is 55 or less. If the GI is between 55 and 69, it is “moderate,” and Anything higher than 70 is “high.”

Food items such as veggies and fruits do not consistently test at the same GI level, further complicating matters.

Some specific fruits or vegetables may contain more carbohydrates or sugars than others. Other variables, such as the ripening and duration of storage, can also influence the GI outcome.

The benefits of consuming low glycemic foods are:

  • Reduced blood sugar levels
  • Weight loss
  • Weight maintenance
  • Lower risk of heart disease
  • Lower risk of type 2 diabetes

Low Glycemic Food List

Important: The Glycemic Index (GI) measures how quickly a food causes blood glucose levels to rise compared to pure glucose, not white bread or sugar. The glycemic Index value considers the overall nutritional quality of the foods rather than how much food is eaten, how the food is prepared, and the nutritional content of foods. (1)

1. Low-Glycemic Fruit

Contrary to popular opinion, the natural sugar in fruits is sufficient to justify their inclusion in a well-balanced diet.

Furthermore, people who control their blood sugar levels can benefit from fruit.

Some sweet fruits have a low glycemic index, indicating that they could benefit blood sugar management.

Additionally, most fruits are high in fiber and other plant chemicals beneficial to one’s health. If you are looking for low glycemic index fruits, go no further than the ones listed below.

  • Apples
  • Blueberries
  • Cherries
  • Coconut
  • Cranberries
  • Dried apricots
  • Grapefruit
  • Oranges
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Plums
  • Strawberries
  • Under-ripe banana

2. Low-Glycemic Vegetables

Vegetables are an essential component of a nutritious and well-balanced diet.

Furthermore, because of their low carbohydrate, high fiber content, high protein, and mineral content, they are the greatest choice for diabetes control, weight management, and a variety of other health benefits.

Most vegetables have a very low glycemic index, except starchy vegetables, which have high glycemic index scores. The vegetables listed below are safe to include in your low-glycemic food list.

  • Artichokes
  • Beet
  • Bell Peppers
  • Bok Choy
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Collards
  • Crookneck Squash
  • Cucumbers
  • Eggplant
  • Green Beans
  • Green Peas
  • Jalapenos
  • Kale
  • Lettuce
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Serrano
  • Snow Peas
  • Spinach
  • Tomatoes
  • Zucchini

3. Low-Glycemic Grains

Grains are versatile, nutrient-rich, healthy, easily available, and easy to store.

The good news is that many have low glycemic levels, and you can use them to flavor different dishes without worrying about a spike in your blood sugar. Our top picks include the following: grains and cereals.

  • Barley
  • Black rice
  • Buckwheat
  • Bulgur
  • Oats
  • Quinoa
  • Wild rice
  • Rye
  • All-bran and Fiber One cereal
  • Oat bran and rice bran cereals
  • Sourdough bread
  • Wheat tortilla
  • Whole grain pasta
  • Whole-wheat kernels
  • Whole-grain pumpernickel bread

4. Low-Glycemic Dairy Products and Dairy-Substitute Products

Dairy products are great sources of calcium, proteins, and vitamins. However, some dairy products, especially those high in lactose, can affect glucose levels, which is a consideration for individuals with diabetes.

Whole milk contains lactose, which can cause intolerance in some individuals and may lead to digestive issues. The alternatives are plant-based dairy substitutes with low GI.

The following dairy products are safe to add to the low glycemic list.

  • Blue cheese
  • Brie cheese
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Cottage cheese
  • Feta cheese
  • Goat cheese
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Plain yogurt
  • Ricotta cheese
  • Skim, low fat, and whole milk
  • Soymilk
  • Swiss cheese
  • Yogurt

5. Low-Glycemic Legumes

Legumes are great for blocking glucose control; fortunately, many have a low GI. A few examples include:

  • Chickpeas
  • Kidney beans
  • Pinto beans
  • Black beans
  • Navy beans
  • Lima beans
  • Split peas
  • Black-eyed peas
  • Lentils
  • Edamame
  • Roasted soybeans
  • Hummus
  • Bean dip
  • Tofu
  • Soy-based meat substitutes

6. Low-Glycemic Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds are rich in fiber, vitamins, antioxidants, minerals, and other nutrients. Furthermore, they also help regulate and lower blood pressure, while maintaining acceptable sugar levels.

They also have a low glycemic index, but it is advisable to consume them in moderation. The best picks include:

  • Almonds
  • Cashew
  • Hazelnuts
  • Macadamias
  • Peanut butter
  • Peanuts
  • Walnuts
  • Nut butter
  • Chia seeds
  • Flax seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Sunflower seeds

7. Dark Chocolate

8. Low Glycemic Fats and Oils


According to a study, patients with type 2 diabetes who incorporated healthy fats and oils into their diets had much better control of cardiovascular disease risks and improved glycemic control. Low glycemic oils and fats include

  • Olive oil
  • Avocado oil
  • Sesame oil
  • Flaxseed oil
  • Fish oil

9. Low Glycemic Drinks

Adhering to a low glycemic diet includes both foods and drinks. Drinks with low GI include:

  • Plain water
  • Herbal tea
  • Flavored water
  • Low-fat milk
  • Fruit juice in moderation
  • Coffee in moderation

High Glycemic Foods You Should Avoid

You should avoid the following foods if you are on a strict low glycemic diet.

  • White rice
  • Whole wheat bread
  • White bread
  • Cereal bars
  • Breakfast cereals
  • Potatoes
  • Fries
  • Chios
  • Rice crackers
  • Pineapples
  • Watermelon
  • Fruit yogurts
  • Starchy veggies
  • Scones
  • Doughnuts
  • Waffles
  • Licorice
  • Lucozade
  • Jellybeans
  • Oat milk
  • Rice milk
  • Pasta
  • Soft drinks

Final Thoughts

If you have diabetes, foods with a high glycemic index (GI) can make your blood sugar spike and then drop rapidly.

The glycemic index goes from 0 to 100 and measures how quickly your body converts carbohydrates into glucose.

Fortunately, a wide range of foods with a low glycemic index provides all the nutrients needed for good health and diabetes management.

They are also good for weight loss management and minimizing the risks of heart disease.

Printable Low Glycemic Foods List (PDF)

Low-Glycemic FruitApples, Blueberries, Cherries, Coconut, Cranberries, Dried apricots, Grapefruit, Oranges, Peaches, Pears, Plums, Strawberries, Under-ripe banana
Low-Glycemic VegetablesArtichokes, Beet, Bell Peppers, Bok Choy, Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Collards, Crookneck Squash, Cucumbers, Eggplant, Green Beans, Green Peas, Jalapenos, Kale, Lettuce, Mushrooms, Onions, Serrano, Snow Peas, Spinach, Tomatoes, Zucchini
Low-Glycemic GrainsBarley, Black rice, Buckwheat, Bulgur, Oats, Quinoa, Wild rice, Rye, All-bran and Fiber One cereal, Oat bran and rice bran cereals, Sourdough bread, Wheat tortilla, Whole grain pasta, Whole-wheat kernels, Whole-grain pumpernickel bread
Low-Glycemic Dairy Products and Dairy-Substitute ProductsBlue cheese, Brie cheese, Cheddar cheese, Cottage cheese, Feta cheese, Goat cheese, Mozzarella cheese, Plain yogurt, Ricotta cheese, Skim, low fat, and whole milk, Soymilk, Swiss cheese, Yogurt
Low-Glycemic LegumesChickpeas, Kidney beans, Pinto beans, Black beans, Navy beans, Lima beans, Split peas, Black-eyed peas, Lentils, Edamame, Roasted soybeans, Hummus, Bean dip, Tofu, Soy-based meat substitutes
Low-Glycemic Nuts and SeedsAlmonds, Cashew, Hazelnuts, Macadamias, Peanut butter, Peanuts, Walnuts, Nut butter, Chia seeds, Flax seeds, Pumpkin seeds, Sunflower seeds
Dark Chocolate-
Low Glycemic Fats and OilsOlive oil, Avocado oil, Sesame oil, Flaxseed oil, Fish oil
Low Glycemic DrinksPlain water, Herbal tea, Flavored water, Low-fat milk, Fruit juice in moderation, Coffee in moderation
High Glycemic Foods You Should AvoidWhite rice, Whole wheat bread, White bread, Cereal bars, Breakfast cereals, Potatoes, Fries, Chips, Rice crackers, Pineapples, Watermelon, Fruit yogurts, Starchy vegetables, Scones, Doughnuts, Waffles, Licorice, Lucozade, Jellybeans, Oat milk, Rice milk, Pasta, Soft drinks

See Also

Vegetarian Soup Recipes

Low Sodium Fast Foods

Scarsdale Diet Plan

3000 Calorie Meal Plan

800 Calorie Diet Plan

Pegan Diet Food List

Is Grapefruit Keto?

No Sugar Diet Food List

List of Keto Veggies

Low Carb Lunch Ideas

Current Version
February 28, 2022
Written By
Damla Sengul
March 20, 2024
Updated By
Franco Cuevas, MD