List of Low Glycemic Index Foods(Low GI Foods)

Last updated on September 19th, 2023

In an era where health-consciousness reigns supreme, analysing the impact of the foods we eat daily on our overall health has never been more crucial. The glycemic index (GI) has emerged as a powerful tool in this quest for nutritional knowledge. In this comprehensive blog, we unveil the “Best Low Glycemic Foods,” a curated selection of foods that rank at the bottom of the glycemic index (GI) scale. These low glycemic Indian foods are the unsung heroes of your balanced nutrition. They offer sustained energy, improved blood sugar control, and a host of other health benefits. So let’s begin and find them out!

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

The table below shows some high low glycemic index foods. Let’s have a look:

Low glycemic foods Medium GI foods High glycemic foods
Rolled or cut oats Brown rice White rice
Non-Starchy veggies Whole grain bread White flour
Barley Honey Potatoes
Lentils Rye bread Sugary products
Peas Sweet corn Cookies and cream biscuits
Fruits like berries, apples, etc. Fruits like pineapple, banana, cherries, etc. Pasta
Chickpeas Cereals Noodles and Momos

Read More: How Intermittent Fasting Helps in 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, then it’s cheap. And also, our body is more familiar with their digestion. Moreover, 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.

Read More: Is Mushroom Good for Diabetes Patients?

Factors that Affect Glycemic Index

Factors Affecting Glycemic Index

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. All depends on the factors below:

Type of Sugar

There is a widespread belief that all sugars have high GI. But this is totally absurd, 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.

 Read More: 16 Best Fruits Juice For Diabetes.

Structure of Starch

Starch in our foods is made of 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.

Read More: Is Ash Gourd Good For Diabetes?

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.

Read More: Is Jamun Good For Diabetes?


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

Decoding Low Glycemic Load Foods

The rise in blood sugar mainly depends upon three factors: the type of carbs in the food, its nutritional composition and the quantity consumed. However, the glycemic index lacks the last factor. The GI is a relative scale and doesn’t take into consideration the amount of food consumed. Therefore, it has been criticised for this flaw. Another scale, Glycemic Load (GL), was created to overcome this fault.

The glycemic load considers all three factors, including the amount of consumption of a food item. So, low glycemic load foods may not necessarily be included in the low glycemic index food list. But they’ll impact less on your sugar levels. The glycemic index scale has three categories, as does the glycemic load.

  • Low glycemic load foods: Value of 10 or lower
  • Medium GL foods: Value between 11–19
  • High GL foods: Value of 20 or more

The glycemic load is an essential factor in low glycemic diet foods. Moreover, the Glycemic Index Foundation, an Australian non-profit organisation that increases awareness of low glycemic foods and diet, says monitoring the glycemic load is important. And recommends keeping the daily glycemic load under 100. So high calorie low glycemic index foods are best to be avoided. The best way to keep the daily GL under 100 is to consume more foods low in glycemic index and moderation.

Read More: Is Coconut Milk Good for Diabetics?

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 carbohydrates foods also curtail the danger of macrosomia by 75%. In macrosomia, there are many short and long-term complications for mother and child.

Read More: Is Apricot Good for Diabetics?

Low Glycemic Index Food List

Low Glycemic Index Food

When switching to a low glycemic index diet food list. There 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 like:

  1. Vegetable Oatmeal
  2. Non-starchy veggies like cauliflower, broccoli, peas, carrots and more
  3. Fruits like berries, citrus fruits, apples, pears, etc.
  4. Legumes like chickpeas, baked beans, butter beans and more
  5. Whole grains like barley, quinoa, bajra, etc.
  6. Dry fruits like walnuts, almonds, cashews, etc.
  7. Lentils like arhar, moong, urad, etc.
  8. Seeds like chia seeds, flax seeds, and more
  9. Sprouts like moong dal sprouts, bean sprouts, etc.
  10. Lean proteins like soy milk, tofu, and more
  11. Herbs and Spices like ginger, garlic, curry leaves, pepper and salt
  12. Fat sources like olive oil and mustard oil
  13. Herbal smoothies include leaves such as spinach, tulsi, paan, bethua, and more.

Read More: Are Peanuts Good for Diabetics?

High GI Foods to Avoid

High GI Foods To Avoid

In the low glycemic foods list, there is nothing strictly prohibited, but the main is portion restraint. Above are the low glycemic foods you can include. Here are some high-GI food items that you should avoid:

  1. Breads of all kinds
  2. Cereals
  3. Starchy veggies like potatoes, sweet potatoes, and more
  4. Dairy products, including milk, curd, paneer, etc.
  5. Animal protein sources like chicken, mutton, beef and more
  6. Fruits like watermelon, mangoes, and more
  7. Bakery products like cakes, pastries, biscuits, and cookies
  8. Rice, including white rice, risotto, etc.
  9. Pasta and Noodles
  10. Corn flakes
  11. Jellies

Read More: Is Fish Good for Diabetes?

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 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

Read More: Is Cauliflower Good for Diabetic Patients?

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 


The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.

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