7 Must-Have Low Glycemic Index Foods For Optimal Diabetes Care



Published on: 02-Apr-2024


10 min read




Lalita Vishwakarma


7 Must-Have Low Glycemic Index Foods For Optimal Diabetes Care

7 Must-Have Low Glycemic Index Foods For Optimal Diabetes Care

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Have you ever wondered why some foods make you feel full for longer while others act like appetisers, leaving you hungry soonThe answer might lie in the Glycemic Index (GI), a formula for measuring how different foods affect blood sugar levels.

Knowing the glycemic index of foods is essential, especially for people with diabetes. GI is the value that helps us understand carbs' impact on our body and blood sugar levels. By monitoring and categorising foods based on their GI, you can make healthy food choices and manage conditions like diabetes 

So, to help you out, we have listed the 7 low-glycemic-index foods you can easily add to your regular diet plan. Furthermore, we have also provided the formula for calculating the GI of foods. Read on to know more! 

Table Of Contents  

  1. What Is The Glycemic Index?    

  1. 7 Best Low Glycemic Foods For Diabetics   

  1. Low Glycemic Diet Plan For Diabetics (Sample)  

  1. Understanding The Glycemic Index Formula   

  1. Factors Affecting Glycemic Index Of Foods  

  1. Dietitian's Recommendation   

  1. The Final Say   

  1. FAQs 

What Is The Glycemic Index?   

The Glycemic Index (GI) is a ranking system that tells us how quickly certain foods can affect our blood sugar levels. It helps us understand the impact of different carbohydrates on our bodies and is a valuable tool for managing blood sugar levels, weight control, and overall health.  

This ranking system categorises the foods as low, medium, or high GI based on their digestion and absorption rates 

  • A low-GI food has a value of 55 or less. 

  • High GI food has a value of 70 or more.  

  • Medium GI food falls between 56 and 69 on the scale. 

A low-GI diet can benefit people with diabetes, as it helps regulate blood sugar levels. Some low-GI foods include apples, barley, carrots, chickpeas, lentils, and soybeansBananas, rice noodles, and sweet corn are medium-GI foods. High-GI foods include white bread, bagels, potatoes, and sugary drinks.  

7 Best Low Glycemic Foods For Diabetics 

Understanding the glycemic index food chart can help us make healthier choices and live a balanced and healthy lifestyle. Here are the 8 must-have foods with low glycemic index: 

1. Apples 

Apples are an incredibly rich source of dietary fibre, making them ideal for maintaining digestive health. They are also one of the most preferred low-glycemic fruits. With just one apple, you can quickly meet your daily fibre requirement. Apples have a delightful sweet and sour taste, and their crunchy texture makes them an enjoyable snack. Their glycemic index is 39, making them the ideal food choice for people with diabetes  

2. Plums 

It can be challenging to find plums in the market as they are prone to bruising. However, you can still benefit from their nutritional value by consuming dried plums but watch the quantity you consume. Plums have a glycemic index (GI) of 40.   

3. Apricots (Dried) 

Apricots are often harvested before fully ripe to prevent spoilage during storage and transportation. They are rich in vitamins A and E and have a slightly higher carb content than other whole fruits. Their glycemic index is 32. 

4. Oranges 

Oranges are a great source of vitamin C and are also rich in fibre. One orange provides 140 grams (about 4.94 oz) of fibre, approximately 10% of your daily fibre requirement. Additionally, consuming oranges can help maintain a healthy digestive system. An orange's glycemic load is only 5, while its glycemic index is 40. 

5. Peaches 

They are a great source of vitamins and minerals, providing 6% of the daily vitamin A requirement and 15% of the daily vitamin C requirement. They also contain vitamins E and K, niacin, folate, iron, choline, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, zinc, and copper. They have a glycemic load (GL) of 5 and a glycemic index of 42. 

6. Grapes 

These are an excellent source of vitamin C and are considered one of the best options to improve mood and brain function. This is due to their high quantity of Vitamin B-6. They have a low glycemic load of 5 and a glycemic index of 53. 

7. Chickpeas  

They have a low glycemic index of 28 and can be substituted for white rice and potatoes. They are also rich in potassium, vitamin B9, and calcium. 

Low Glycemic Diet Plan For Diabetics (Sample) 

You can follow this sample diet plan if you are looking for low-glycemic index foods: 

Day 1 

Breakfast (8:00-8:30 AM) 

Mix veg poha 1 cup + orange juice 1 glass 

Mid-Meal (11:00-11:30 AM) 

Fruit salad - 1 cup 

Lunch (2:00-2:30 PM) 

Chapati (2) + Daal (1 cup) + Spinach Curry (1 cup) + 1/4th Fresh Lime + Carrot Salad 

Evening (4:00-4:30 PM) 

Boiled Black Chana (1/2 cup) with Tomato and Onion 

Dinner (8:00-8:30 PM) 

2 Chapati + Fish Curry (150gm) 

Understanding The Glycemic Index Formula  

The formula for calculating a food's Glycemic Index (GI) is quite simple. The GI is equal to the blood glucose response to food divided by the blood glucose response to pure glucose, multiplied by 100.  

GI   =

Factors Affecting Glycemic Index Of Foods 

Here are the factors that can impact the glycemic index of foods 




Fibre type and content 

Soluble fibre slows down digestion - lowers GI. 

Oats and legumes have lower GI due to soluble fibre. 

Protein and fat 

May slow down digestion - can lower GI, but excess is not recommended. 

Not recommended to add fat for GI control due to health risks. 


Phytates, lectins, and polyphenols slow down digestion - lower GI. 

Vegetables and fruits like legumes, rhubarb, and spinach have lower GI due to anti-nutrients. 


Acidic foods slow down digestion - lower GI. 

Beetroot salad with vinegar dressing has a lower GI than plain beetroot. 


Cooking breaks down starches, making them easier to digest - increasing GI. 

Cooked potatoes have higher GI than raw potatoes. 

Speed of eating 

Eating slower allows for better blood sugar control - and lowers GI. 

Slower eating may lead to lower blood sugar spikes. 

Dietitian's Recommendation  

As a dietitian, I recommend adding low-glycemic foods to your regular diet. You can minimise blood sugar spikes by eating them with protein, healthy fats, and fibre. You can include the foods mentioned in the blog, such as oats, apples, apricots, plums, and more, in your meals. If you have diabetes, then it is essential to limit the consumption of refined products as they have a high glycemic index that can elevate the sugar level. Although the mentioned low glycemic foods are safe to consume, you should consult your doctor before giving them a test if you have any allergies or serious health issues. 

Dt. Akshata Gandevikar  

The Final Say  

The glycemic index (GI) is a valuable formula for understanding how different foods impact blood sugar levels and overall health. By incorporating low-GI foods into daily meals and snacks, individuals can promote stable energy levels, weight management, and better blood sugar control. While GI has limitations, its practical applications and factors like portion control and overall dietary balance can contribute to a healthier lifestyle.     


1. What is the importance of glycemic index?  

The glycemic index helps promote health, lower rising blood sugar, control weight, and manage it smoothly.  

2. What is the categorisation of GI?  

The categorisation of GI is done from low to higher rating foods depending on the body's absorption and digestion and the rise in blood sugar level.  

3. Can we consider all carb-rich foods healthy and have low GI?  

Apart from GL, portion control and nutritional quality should also be considered.  

4. How do you incorporate GI in the diet?  

You can always aim to include foods high in fibre, protein, and healthy fats, as this healthy balance helps to include GI in the diet to maintain healthy blood sugar levels in the body.    

5. What is the glycemic index of banana, wheat, apple and mango? 

  • Glycemic index of banana: 51-56 

  • Glycemic index of wheat: 45 

  • Glycemic index of mango: 51-56 

  • Glycemic index of apple39 

6. What is the ideal range of glycemic index for diabetics? 

The glycemic index for diabetics can range from 0- 60. Foods that fall under this range are considered low to moderate GI foods. 


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