List of Low Glycemic Index Foods (Low GI Foods)

Medically Reviewed By: Dt. SEEMA GOEL (Senior Dietitian) October 25, 2023

Last updated on November 1st, 2023

The glycemic index measures the impact of food on your blood glucose. Foods with low glycemic index are considered suitable for you since these foods would not cause much fluctuations in your blood sugar. On the glycemic scale, foods scoring less than 55 are considered to have a low glycemic profile.

What is the Glycemic Index (GI)?

The glycemic index (GI) is a measurement scale that categorises carbohydrate-containing foods. Different foods which contain carbs have varied impacts on blood sugar levels. So, the GI measures how quickly a specific food raises blood sugar compared to pure glucose. The scale has the range of 0-100. The highest value, 100, is the blood sugar impact of 50 g of glucose, and 0 specifies no blood sugar increase. The glycemic index was developed by Canadian medical scholar Dr. David Jenkins. The GI scale divides foods into three categories, which are:

  • Low glycemic foods: Foods having a score under 55
  • Medium GI foods: Foods scoring between 55-70
  • High GI foods: Foods scoring above 70

List of Low Glycemic Index Foods (Low GI Foods) for diabetes

What Are Low Glycemic Foods?

Low glycemic foods fall in the category of scoring less than 55 on the glycemic scale.

It is generally advised in India to consume low glycemic index Indian foods. There are multiple reasons behind this. First, it’s readily available in the market, and also cheap. Moreover, our body is more familiar with their digestion. Also, low-glycemic foods for diabetics are considered the best. This is because they cause a minimum spike in sugar levels. And since diabetics already have an increased blood sugar level, they should eat low glycemic diet foods. On the contrary, high-GI foods should be avoided as they get digested quickly. And cause rapid blood sugar spikes.

Low Glycemic Index Foods for Diabetics

Diabetes is a prominent lifestyle disorder affecting millions worldwide. Diabetes patients have the biggest problem with their sugar levels. They simply cannot process sugar due to their insulin dysfunctionality. This makes it challenging to keep their blood sugar in a safe range. Maintaining good and healthy sugar levels prevents the onset of complications like heart strokes, nerve and organ damage, etc.

There are many studies that suggest the best low-glycemic foods for diabetics as they effectively reduce sugar levels. Moreover, a set of 54 studies done in 2019 revealed low glycemic foods reduced HbA1c and fasting blood glucose. Moreover, They also assist in weight management in diabetics and pre-diabetics.

In a study, over 2 lakh people who took high GI diets had a 33% higher chance of having type 2 diabetes when compared to people who took foods that have low glycemic index. The low glycemic diet foods also lessen pregnancy complications along with helping with gestational diabetes. Moreover, low glycemic carbohydrate foods also curtail the danger of macrosomia by 75%. In macrosomia, there are many short and long-term complications for mother and child.

Low Glycemic Index Food List

Low Glycemic Index Food List of diabetes

When switching to a low glycemic index diet food list here is not much need for calorie tracking. Low glycemic diet foods are recommended as an option for replacing high GI foods. You can include the best low glycemic index foods

Low Glycemic Index Food List
S.No. Food Group Food  Glycemic Index
1 Cereals Barley 28
2 Sunflower seeds 22
3 Peanuts 14
4 Whole wheat 54
5 Daliya 41
6 Pulses Green gram 38
7 Chickpea (Chole) 28
8 Soybean 15
9 Vegetables Ladyfinger 20
10 Cabbage 10
11 Green peas 22
12 Radish 15
13 Broccoli 15
14 Fruits Apricots 34
15 Apple 36
16 Kiwi 39
17 Dairy products Milk 39
18 Curd 28
19 Others Cheese 0 – 10
20 Walnuts 15

High GI (Glycemic Index) Foods to Avoid

High GI (Glycemic Index) Foods to Avoid in diabetes

High glycemic index foods are foods scoring over 70 on the glycemic scale. The more the number, the more adverse its impact on blood sugar. In the low glycemic foods list, there is nothing strictly prohibited, but the main is portion restraint. Above are the foods you can include. Here are some high-GI food items that you should avoid:

High Glycemic Index Foods to Avoid
S.No. Food Group Food  Glycemic Index
1. Cereals White rice 73
2. Puffed rice 82
3. Bread 75
5. Instant oats 83
6. Jowar 77
7. Wheat 74
8. Refined flour (Maida) 71
9. Vegetables White potato 78
10. Pumpkin 75
11. Fruits Grapes 59
12. Watermelon 76
13. Muskmelon 65
14. Others Jaggery 84.4
15. Cornflakes 93
16. Cookies 70 (approx.)

Factors that Affect Glycemic Index of Foods

Factors that Affect Glycemic Index of Foods

There are many factors that influence the GI profile of a food. Some low carb low glycemic foods may impact highly on your blood sugar. And some high GI foods may impact less on blood sugar. It all depends on the factors below:

Type of Sugar

There is a widespread belief that all sugars have high GI. But this is not true , as sugar GI ranges from 23, which is of fructose and goes up to 105, which is of maltose.

Level of Refined Carbs

Refining the carbs removes or greatly reduces the fiber content of food items. Thus increasing the glycemic value. Processes such as rolling, grinding, etc., damage amylose and amylopectin. These molecules removal raises the GI and removes food from the low glycemic food list. So, the higher the level of refinement, the more its GI value.

Structure of Starch

Starch in our foods comprises two components: amylose and amylopectin. Amylose takes time to digest, and amylopectin gets quickly digested. Therefore, if food has more amylose, then it will be in the low glycemic foods category.

Nutritional Composition

The addition of nutrients like healthy fats and lean proteins delays the digestion process. Thus making foods low in glycemic index.

Cooking Process Used

The type of cooking and preparation of food affects the glycemic profile of a food. The longer the cooking process, the faster its sugar gets absorbed. Thus raising the GI.


Unripe fruits contain less sugar and complex carbs thus, are considered low glycemic foods. As the fruit ripens, the sugar level increases, and so does the GI value.


Garnishing with acidic substances like lime juice brings down the GI value of the dish.

Sample Low Glycemic Index Foods Chart

Now we present you a weekly sample of low glycemic index foods chart, which you can follow:

Option 1 Option 2 Option 3 Option 4 Option 5
Early morning drink Herbal tea Tulsi water Meethi dana drink Neem Water Amla Jamun Juice in Water
Breakfast Moong dal idli and peanut chutney Besan chilla Vegetable stuffed Roti Egg sandwich Vegetable Upma
Lunch Cooked Brown Rice +

Vegetable Salad +

Any curry of your


Bajra Roti 2 +

Vegetable Salad

+ Fish/Chicken/

Egg Curry + Any

Vegetable Sabji

Vegetable Rice

Pulao + Sprouts


Multigrain Roti 2 +

Vegetable Sprouts

Salad + Paneer

Sabji or Curry

Jowar Roti 2 +

Vegetable Salad +

Egg Bhurji + Any

Vegetable Sabji of

your choice!

Evening Snack Buttermilk Bowl of mixed fruits Chia seed pudding Roasted chana Dry fruits plus any seasonal fruit
Dinner Bajra roti 2 + Vegetable

Salad + Any

dal and Sabji

of your choice!

Foxtail Millet Pulao

+Vegetable Salad

Mixed Dal Dosa 2

+ 1 Spoon Coconut

Chutney + 1 Katori


Moong daal dosa plus sambhar Grilled / Roasted

Fish or Chicken

100g + Cooked

Vegetable Salad

Low Glycemic Index Grains

Grains play a pivotal role in providing sustenance and flavor to millions of people. Low glycemic grains release glucose into the bloodstream gradually, preventing sudden spikes in blood sugar. Here is a list of some low-glycemic index grains:

  • Barley: Barley is one of the versatile, low-GI grains used in dishes like barley water and barley khichdi. It has a low GI, making it an excellent choice for those seeking to manage blood sugar.
  • Buckwheat (Kuttu):  Buckwheat is another one on the list of low glycemic grains for diabetes. Buckwheat flour is commonly used during fasting and in dishes like kuttu ki roti.
  • Amaranth (Rajgira): Amaranth seeds and flour are gluten-free and low glycemic load grains. They are used in various preparations, including laddoos and porridge.
  • Quinoa: Although not native to India, quinoa (one of the low GI whole grains) is becoming increasingly popular for its nutritional benefits. It has a low GI and can be used in salads, pulao, and other dishes.
  • Ragi (Finger Millet): Ragi is a staple in southern India and also comes under low glycemic whole grains. It is used to prepare dishes like ragi dosa, ragi mudde, and ragi malt.
  • Pearl Millet (Bajra): Pearl millet is another one of the whole grains with a low glycemic index. It is a drought-resistant grain that’s commonly used in the preparation of bhakri, roti, and porridge
  • Whole Oats: While oats are not native to India, they are readily available and come in the list of low glycemic index whole grains. They are used in various breakfast options like oats upma and overnight oats.
  • Brown Rice: Unlike white rice, brown rice has a lower GI due to its intact bran layer. It is an excellent alternative for those looking to control blood sugar levels.
  • Whole Wheat: Whole wheat products like roti and whole wheat bread have a lower GI compared to their refined counterparts.

 Read More: 16 Best Fruits Juice For Diabetes.

Low Glycemic Carbohydrates For Diabetes:

Here’s a list of foods that contain carbohydrates but have a low glycemic index (GI). There are certain low GI carbs that can help provide sustained energy and stabilize blood sugar levels. Here is the low GI carbs list:

  • Lentils: Lentils, such as green, brown, or red varieties, are low GI carbohydrates and are a good source of plant-based protein and fiber.
  • Chickpeas: Chickpeas are another kind of low glycemic index carbs. They are commonly used in dishes like hummus and chana masala and provide both carbohydrates and protein.
  • Beans: Various types of beans, including black beans, kidney beans, and pinto beans, come under low glycemic index carbohydrates. They are versatile and can be used in soups, salads, and stews.
  • Barley: Barley is another one of low glycemic carbs and can be used in soups, stews, and salads. Barley is also rich in fiber and nutrients.
  • Quinoa: Quinoa is another one in the low GI carbohydrates food list. Quinoa is a complete protein and has a low GI. It’s a versatile grain that can be used in various dishes, from salads to grain bowls.
  • Bulgur: Bulgur is a whole wheat grain that’s partially cooked. It has a low GI and is often used in Middle Eastern dishes like tabbouleh.
  • Rolled Oats: Rolled oats are a low GI carb food and a classic choice for a wholesome breakfast. They can be used in oatmeal, overnight oats, and baked goods.
  • Sweet Potatoes: Contrary to popular belief, sweet potatoes are on the low GI carbohydrates list. They have a lower GI compared to regular potatoes and are a nutritious source of carbohydrates, vitamins, and fiber.
  • Whole Wheat Pasta: Whole wheat pasta has a lower GI compared to traditional refined pasta. It provides complex carbohydrates and fiber.
  • Buckwheat: Buckwheat groats or buckwheat flour have a low GI and are used in dishes like kasha and gluten-free pancakes.
  • Non-starchy Vegetables: Low glycemic index carbohydrates foods include vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, and leafy greens.
  • Berries: Berries like strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries are low in sugar and have a relatively low GI compared to other fruits.
  • Nuts and Seeds: While they are not high in carbohydrates, nuts and seeds have a low GI due to their healthy fats and fiber content.
  • Mushrooms: Many types of mushrooms, like shiitake and portobello, have very few carbohydrates and come under non-glycemic carbohydrates as they have negligible glycemic index.

Low Glycemic Diet Foods as Snacks

Some low glycemic foods can also be used as snacks to satisfy your hunger cravings between meals. Here are a few low glycemic Indian foods as snacks:

  1. Plain dry fruits and nuts
  2. Salad
  3. Sprouts
  4. Mixed fruits like berries, apples, sweet lime and more
  5. Hard-boiled egg
  6. Broccoli stir fry
  7. Plain popcorn

Drawbacks of Foods Low in Glycemic Index

Despite low glycemic foods having numerous benefits, there are some drawbacks, too.

  • The glycemic index doesn’t completely provide the nutritional composition of a food item. Foods apart from being on the low glycemic index breakfast foods list can also have other nutrients like proteins, fats, fiber, vitamins, etc.
  • Low glycemic diet foods don’t necessarily mean they are healthy. Some low glycemic foods, like ice cream, have a GI range between 27 to 55. But this isn’t okay for regular consumption.
  • Another shortcoming of the low glycemic food list is that it reflects the GI value of a single food item. When we have lunch or dinner, we eat a combination of many items. Combining high GI foods with low glycemic foods results in less blood sugar spike. An example is mixing vegetable daal with rice. Rice alone has high GI, but when it’s mixed with daal, the overall glycemic response falls.
  • The glycemic index doesn’t take into consideration the carb content of the food. It is the carb and its type which brings the blood spikes. An example is watermelon; it isn’t on the low glycemic foods list. But it only has 8 g of carbs per 100 g. Therefore, it comes in low glycemic load foods lists.

Therefore, relying solely on glycemic index may not always be the best guide for eating healthy

Read More: Is Rice Good For Diabetes?


In conclusion, understanding the Glycemic Index (GI) and incorporating low glycemic foods into your diet can have significant health benefits. Low glycemic index foods for diabetics can greatly help them manage their blood glucose. Best low glycemic foods provide a sustained release of energy, help control hunger, and can contribute to better overall health. Concluding this blog, a balanced diet that incorporates a low glycemic index food list, along with regular exercise and overall healthy lifestyle choices, can contribute to improved well-being and better sugar control. Factors such as cooking methods and food combinations can influence the GI of a meal. Therefore, it’s essential to pay attention to not only individual foods but also how they are prepared and eaten together. While low glycemic Indian foods offer many advantages, it’s essential to acknowledge that they will not suit everyone at the same level. People should consult doctors or dietitians to create a tailored nutrition plan for their bodily requirements.

Read More: Is Butter Milk Good for Diabetes?


Are Low Glycemic Foods Low Sugar?

Yes, low glycemic foods generally contain less amount of sugar. Therefore, they cause less spike in blood sugar. Due to this low glycemic diet foods are recommended for individuals having prediabetes and diabetes. These foods cause less rise in blood sugar and help these patients manage their condition effectively.

Is a Banana Low Glycemic?

Yes, banana comes in the category of low glycemic foods. As per the database of the International Glycemic Index, the ripe banana scores 51. And the slightly less ripe banana scores 42 on the GI scale. However, the glycemic load of bananas is 13, so it doesn’t come in the list of low glycemic load foods.

Are Eggs Low Glycemic?

Eggs’ glycemic score is zero. Therefore, it can be included in the low glycemic foods list. The protein content in eggs is in good amounts, and protein absorption from eggs in our body is highest. However, eggs, being an animal product, are acidic, so they increase inflammation. Therefore, especially for diabetes patients, eggs should be included in a well-planned low glycemic index diet food list plan.

What is the Lowest Glycemic Foods?

Well, finding the lowest glycemic foods will vary as to what extent they can be consumed by you. For example, balsamic vinegar has a glycemic score of 0. But can you consume it regularly and in considerable amounts? The answer is no. Moreover, boiled lamb, mutton, and ham have zero carbs. Therefore, they score zero on the glycemic index scale. But you shouldn’t consume them in considerable amounts and regularly as they are acidic and have excessive fat content. Ideally, low glycemic foods that you choose are non-starchy veggies, mushrooms, soy milk, tofu, peas, citrus fruits, apples, pears, dry fruits, etc.

What Foods Have a Low Glycemic Index?

Low glycemic foods score less than 55 on the glycemic index scale. These foods include:

  • Non-starchy veggies like cauliflower, carrot, broccoli, spinach, and more
  • Lentils
  • Beans
  • Seeds like chia and flax
  • Eggs


Last Updated on by Dr. Damanjit Duggal 


This site provides educational content; however, it is not a substitute for professional medical guidance. Readers should consult their healthcare professional for personalised guidance. We work hard to provide accurate and helpful information. Your well-being is important to us, and we value your feedback. To learn more, visit our editorial policy page for details on our content guidelines and the content creation process.

Leave a Reply

Download Free Diabetes Diet Plan