Low Glycemic Diet Benefits, Foods & Sample Plan

Low Glycemic Diet: Foods to Include, Foods to Avoid, Benefits and Plan

To remain fit and eliminate lifestyle diseases, you can adopt a low glycemic diet (low-GI). Today, everyone is aware of the importance of maintaining a healthy body. So, many opt for the different diets that promise weight loss. But, how many of the diets are truly effective for a person suffering from diabetes? People suffering from high blood sugar cannot follow a quick weight loss plan as it affects their body adversely. Therefore, it is important to choose a diet that not only manages the blood sugar levels and helps lose weight at the same weight. The low-GI diet is the ideal option for people who wish to have a healthy weight without affecting the blood sugar levels. Intrigued? Know more about the low glycemic diet (low-GI diet), its benefits, foods you can consume, and the sample food plan.

What Is Low Glycemic Diet?

A healthy diet comprises of carbohydrates. You can find it in several food items like fruits, vegetables, bread, dairy products, and even cereals. The carbohydrates you consume can provide you energy for the normal functioning. Your digestive system breaks down the carbohydrates into simple sugars. When it enters the bloodstream, it increases the sugar levels. Different types of carbohydrates have unique effects of your blood sugar levels. The glycemic index or GI is the measurement that ranks the food items based on their effects on the blood sugar levels. Created by Canadian professor, Dr. David Jenkins in the early 1980s, you have three GI ratings. It is the rate at which your blood sugar levels increase when you consume the food item. So, the GI (Glycemic Index) refers to the digestion, absorption, and metabolism that raises blood glucose and subsequent insulin levels. Based on the levels, it is classified into three types:

  • Low GI: 55 or below
  • Medium: 56 to 69
  • High: 70 and above

For the low glycemic diet, you need to opt for foods with low GI. It is absorbed slowly by your body, which raises the blood sugar levels slowly.

Foods To Include In Low Glycemic Diet

low glycemic diet

GI (Glycemic Index) is allotted to foods that contain carbohydrates. Therefore, the food items with no carbohydrates may not enter the list. So, healthy food options like chicken, beef, herbs or spices do not contain any GI value as it contains no carbs. But, several food items have a low glycemic index, which you can incorporate in your diet. Therefore, you can include the following foods in your routine:

Non-Starchy Vegetables

Vegetables with no starch content have a very low glycemic index. It ranges between values one to seven. So, you can include vegetables in your every meal due to its low GI value. Try to consume the following:

  • Onion
  • Lettuce
  • Broccoli
  • Spinach
  • Leafy Greens
  • Artichokes
  • Green Beans
  • Peppers

Nuts And Seeds

Nuts and seeds have a low GI value (1-17) per each serving. Cashews have the highest score. So, you can opt for other options like:

  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Chia seeds
  • Walnuts
  • Almonds
  • Flaxseeds

Beans And Legumes

Beans as well as legumes have the GI value of 2 to 13 per serving. Among them, soybeans have the lowest value while chickpeas have a high GI value. You can consume small quantities of the beans for easy digestion. Sprouted beans and legumes have high nutritious value.

Dairy Products

You can choose the dairy products with higher fat content as it has a low GI. Most of the dairy products have a low GI score (between 1 -5). So, you can opt for:

  • Unsweetened Yogurt (plain, without any flavor)
  • Raw whole milk
  • Traditional cheese (raw and organic)

100% Whole/Ancient Grains

The GI value of the whole grains may vary depending on the type you choose. But the GI values can range from 10-17. Therefore, you can opt for the following:

  • Whole wheat pasta
  • Steel cut oats
  • Sprouted grain breads
  • Granola
  • Brown rice
  • Muesli

The minimally processed grains can provide you moderate servings of healthy carbohydrates.

Fresh Fruits

Fruits have a low GI value (4-14). So, you can include it in your diet to get the balance. An active person can have at least one to three servings of the following fruits:

  • Citrus fruits
  • Apples
  • Stone fruits
  • Cherries
  • Apples

Never replace fresh fruits with fruit juices as it does not have the same effect on your diet.

Healthy Fats

Pure fats or oils have zero GI as it contains no carbohydrates. So, people following a low glycemic diet can include the following:

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Virgin coconut oil
  • MCT oil


You can add animal protein to your diet as it has zero or low GI. Therefore, try to include the following in your low glycemic diet:

  • Raw dairy products
  • Pasture-raised poultry
  • Grass fed lamb/beef
  • Wild fish
  • Cage-free/free-range eggs

Acidic Foods

If you consume high GI food, then acidic foods can lower the GI value. So, you can add the following to your diet when you consume high GI food items:

  • Lemon juice on vegetables
  • Fermented yogurt with cereals
  • Vinegar-based dressings (for salads)

Foods To Avoid/Reduce While Following Low Glycemic Diet

When you follow the low glycemic diet, you have to restrict the consumption of high GI foods. You have to completely avoid some food item while restrict other. Here are the list of food items to avoid/restrict:

Avoid Consuming Refined Grains

The products made from packaged grain or white wheat flour have high GI value. Therefore, you need to completely avoid the following:

  • Processed breakfast cereals
  • Bread
  • Cookies
  • Cakes

Stop Using Sweetened Beverages

While following a low-GI diet, avoid drinking bottled juices and sweetened soda.

Avoid Sweeteners

Try to cut down the sugar completely from the diet. Therefore, you have to avoid the sweeteners like:

  • Honey
  • Table Sugar
  • Molasses

Stop Using Processed Foods

You have to stop using processed foods in your low GI diet. Therefore, stay away from the following:

  • Fast foods
  • Fried foods
  • Condiments and sugar with lots of sugar
  • Highly processed, packaged goods
  • Salty foods with empty calories

Reduce Intake Of Dried Fruits

You can consume it in small amounts. Therefore, you have to watch your portion size when you eat the following

  • Raisins
  • Dates
  • Dried Cranberry (Craisins)

Limit Intake Of Starchy Root Vegetable

Starchy root vegetables offer several benefits to your health. Therefore, avoiding it completely is not advisable. You can limit the portion of the foods or pair it with low-GI food to get maximum benefits. So, include the following in small portions:

  • Winter squash
  • White potatoes

Avoid Alcohol/Caffeine

You need to stop the use of alcohol or caffeine. It causes adverse effects on the body. So, limit the drinking of coffee or alcohol, which can affect the low Glycemic diet.

Also, avoid too much caffeine or alcohol

Rules Of Eating While Following Low Glycemic Diet

Following a low-GI diet does not mean you have to completely avoid your favorite foods that have a high GI value. So, you need to follow some rule when you adopt the low glycemic diet:

  • Always monitor the portion size of the high GI foods. Try to limit the portion of such foods as it produces more amounts of glucose. Therefore, eat small portions of high GI foods when you adopt the low-GI diet.
  • Try to accompany one serving of high GI foods with two servings of low GI foods. Make sure to have larger quantities of low GI meal to reduce the average glycemic index of your meal. You can opt for proteins, fruits or vegetables as the accompanying food.
  • To get the balance in your body, avoid consuming more than one high GI foods. If you opt for medium GI foods, try to restrict it to two.
  • When you consume high GI foods in your low-GI diet, add some acidic food as it slows the glucose conversion.

Benefits Of Low Glycemic Diet

You may think why you need to switch to the low-GI diet. The answer is the numerous health benefits it offers. The diet developed to handle the sugar levels of diabetic patients, offers other advantages to your body. It helps you feel full for a long time. So, you get satisfaction by following the diet plan. Here are some of the benefits the low glycemic diet offers to you:

Offers Benefits For Your Heart

The low-GI diet focusses to reducing the refined carbohydrate levels you consume. Based on a study conducted by Harvard University, scientists have derived that the high refined carbohydrate consumption reduces the good cholesterol levels in your blood by 10%. Therefore, the low-GI diet can increase the good HDL levels in your blood. When the good HDL cholesterol levels increases, it makes your heart healthy. So, you can ultimately reduce heart problems and improve heart health.

Reduce Risk Of Alzheimer’s Disease

Homocysteine can trigger several problems, including developing Alzheimer’s disease. People who consume foods with high carbs can increase their risk of such diseases. So, you need to replace food items like white flour and white rice with a low-GI diet like whole grains can reduce the homocysteine levels dramatically. You can adopt the low-GI diet to reduce the risk of getting such issues.

Boost Weight Loss

Weight loss is a significant advantage of the low glycemic diet. People who find it difficult to shed the extra pounds can adapt the diet to see visible changes. The low GI foods have high fiber content. So, consuming can make you feel full for a long time. So, you do not have frequent hunger pangs. It helps you avoid the fat calories from your system. Therefore, it promotes weight loss as you prevent unhealthy food cravings.

Younger Looking Skin

Everyone likes to have a young and smooth looking skin to increase their confidence levels. Appearance plays an important part in today’s society. But, wrinkles, sagging of skin, and spots can make you look older. It is due to the loss of collagen as well as the elastin fiber from the skin. It leads to the skin losing the firmness and suppleness. The food high in GI can trigger inflammation that affects the collagen and elastin structure adversely. Therefore, consuming low GI foods can prevent aging. Your skin will look supple and young by just cutting the excess sugar from your diet.

Reduce Your Risk Of Diabetes

People suffering from diabetes are increasing day by day. In the coming years, more number of people can get affected by the disease. According to the WHO (World Health Organization), the number of people suffering from the problem can increase twofold by 2030. The low GI diet can improve blood sugar levels. So it prevents more people from getting the disease. Existing patients can manage blood glucose levels effectively. So, the diet can help maintain stable blood glucose levels.

Boost Your Immune System

The excess consumption of sugary foods, which have high GI can affect your immunity. Your white blood cells have the capability to destroy approximately fourteen germs in an hour. But, exposing the blood to 100 grams of sugar can bring down the number to just 1.4 germs in an hour. Therefore, to have a strong immune system, you need to switch to low GI foods. It keeps your body fit with the proper function of the immune system. You can ward away diseases like colds, flu or fever easily with the strong immune system.

Enhance Your Endurance

People who value their health more tend to keep their body fit. But, many gym-goers believe that they need high sugar levels to energize their bodies. But, it is a misconception as a low-GI diet can serve the purpose. It will help you go through your basic training program with high endurance. You can increase your stamina to maximize performance.

Sample Low GI Meal Plan For A Day

Do you plan to include the low glycemic diet to manage the blood sugar levels and control weight? Then, you need the sample meal plan that you can include easily in your life. Here is the sample of the low GI meal plan that will help you get energy without compromising on taste.

Breakfast To Include In Low Glycemic Diet

You need to have a healthy breakfast as it is the most important meal of the day. You can opt for smoothies that will help you manage sugar levels and provide energy. It will help you keep functioning throughout the day. You can make the smoothie, which is nutritious and healthy.

Banana Yogurt Smoothie

Banana Yogurt Smoothie

Blend together a small banana, low-fat natural yogurt, and skimmed milk in a blender. Add a few drops of vanilla essence to make it tastier. Serve the smoothie in a glass to start your mornings in a pleasant and healthy manner.

Low Glycemic Diet Lunch Sample

Avoid sandwich and soda from your diet. You can opt for some healthy choices that will make your lunch session healthier. So, you can prepare the easy and quick soup and salads that will not affect your busy schedule.

Mixed Vegetable Soup

Mixed Vegetable Soup

You can make mixed vegetable soup, which is a great addition to your low glycemic diet. It is easy to prepare as you just need vegetables, vegetable stock, and mint to prepare it. After boiling everything, you can blend the contents to make a delicious and healthy soup.

Cauliflower And Sweet Potato Soup

Combine cauliflower, sweet potato, milk, and vegetable stock. Boil and blend together the contents to get healthy and creamy soup.

Chicken And Vegetable Salad

Chicken And Vegetable Salad

You can include the healthy chicken and vegetable salad that can provide you with high protein. It will keep you full and provide energy. Add sprouts to the salad to enjoy additional benefits. So, the easy salad can provide the best benefits for your health.

Low Glycemic Diet Sample For Dinner

You need to include healthy protein, starches, and fiber in your last meal. It will help keep your stomach full throughout the night. It is ideal for diabetic patient as it prevents the sugar levels from spiking. You can choose some interesting yet delicious food items in your low glycemic diet. Therefore, you can include flexible options for your dinner:

Baked Salmon Fillets

Baked Salmon Fillets

Oily fish like salmon contain omega-3 fatty acids that will improve your heart. It also aids in neutralizing inflammation triggered due to diabetes. You can consume baked salmon fillets with a steamed vegetable salad or boiled sweet potatoes to make it a wholesome meal.

Tomato Pasta With Tofu

It is a delicious recipe for people suffering from diabetes and weight watchers. It is ideal for including it in your low glycemic diet. Tofu has a high protein that will help reduce weight while enhancing lean muscle mass in your body.


You need to swap the low-GI foods for the high-GI ones for enjoying health benefits. Therefore, when you adopt a low glycemic diet, it reduces the blood sugar levels, as well as helps , shed your excess weight. It can effectively avoid health issues like type 2 diabetes and heart problems. Always consult your dietician before implementing any diet as it can have some drawbacks. At the end of the day, you need to consume a healthy diet to keep you fit and fine.

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