10 Foods That Won’t Make Your Blood Sugar Levels Soar

Diabetes is a disease in which blood sugar levels are not well controlled because the body either doesn’t have enough insulin or isn’t making the most of the insulin it has. This can lead to excess sugar in the blood, which can lead to health problems over time. There are three main types of diabetes: type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes.

Part of diabetes management is keeping your blood sugar levels in the correct range. This means that food choices — especially those high in simple carbohydrates — play an important role, as the types of foods you eat have different effects on blood sugar.

This article discusses the importance of food choices in diabetes management. It also provides a list of 10 foods that don’t raise blood sugar and adds how to incorporate them into your diet.

Importance of diet for diabetes

Most of the food you eat is broken down into sugar (glucose) and released into the bloodstream. When blood sugar rises, the pancreas, an organ responsible for digestion and blood sugar regulation, releases the hormone insulin. Insulin then helps cells absorb sugar for energy or storage.

In diabetes, the body does not produce enough insulin to allow cells to absorb enough sugar from the blood. Or the body may have enough insulin, but the cells are not responding to it. In both cases, this can lead to excess sugar in the blood, which over time can lead to serious health problems such as vision loss, heart and kidney disease.

Reducing sugar and other simple carbohydrates in your diet plays an important role in lowering blood sugar levels, which can slow the progression of the disease and avoid such complications.

Why monitoring blood sugar levels is important

Types of carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are just sugar chains. Anytime you eat foods that contain carbohydrates, your blood sugar will rise. However, not all carbohydrates have the same effect on blood sugar. The two main types of carbohydrates are:

  • Simple Carbohydrates: These carbohydrates are broken down quickly to provide the body with quick energy.
  • Complex carbohydrates: Just like they sound, they are made up of long, complex sugar chains, which make them harder to break down. Because they take longer to break down, they don’t cause a rapid spike in blood sugar.

For people with diabetes, choosing foods that contain complex carbohydrates rather than simple carbohydrates will make it easier to control blood sugar levels.

Glycemic index and glycemic load

When evaluating foods based on how they increase blood sugar, there is a tool called the glycemic index. The glycemic index assigns a value to a food based on how fast and how high it raises blood sugar. Foods with a high glycemic index can rapidly increase blood sugar.

Glycemic load takes into account both the glycemic index and the number of carbohydrates in a serving. While it’s often best to eat low-glycemic foods to control blood sugar, glycemic load may be a better indicator when making food choices. For example, although watermelon is considered a high-glycemic food, it has a low glycemic load.

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carb count

There is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to carb counting. The amount of carbohydrates you should consume each day depends on factors such as your age, weight, and level of physical activity. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people with diabetes should aim to get about half their calories from carbohydrates.

It takes some math and takes into account the average number of calories you consume per day and that there are 4 calories per gram of carbohydrates. For example, if you need about 800 calories of carbohydrates, then your goal is to eat about 200 grams of carbohydrates per day.

One tip to keep in mind is that eating about the same amount of carbohydrates at each meal may help keep blood sugar levels steady throughout the day. A carb counting tool can make this easier.

If I have diabetes, how many carbs should I eat each day?

10 Foods That Won’t Make Your Blood Sugar Levels Soar

When choosing foods while controlling blood sugar levels, it is important to choose foods that do not cause a rapid and significant rise in blood sugar. Look for foods that contain complex or simple carbs, and choose complex carbs when possible.


Here are 10 foods that won’t raise your blood sugar levels, and some ideas for incorporating them into your meals.

What to eat to better regulate blood sugar

dark leafy greens

You may have heard that dark leafy greens are good for you. They are rich in vitamins A, C and K, as well as minerals such as iron and calcium. They are low in carbohydrates and high in fiber, which helps control blood sugar. Try mixing kale into a bean and green salad or soup. Spinach or arugula add a fresh crunch to savory sandwiches (watercress is a great topping for avocado toast).

spices

some spices have Hypoglycemic effect – that is, they help lower blood sugar. Therefore, adding some of these spices to food may help control blood sugar at mealtimes. Some blood sugar-lowering spices include cinnamon, turmeric, and ginger. Try adding cinnamon to oatmeal, top with fruit and nuts, or look for turmeric tea.

non-starchy vegetables

Like dark leafy greens, non-starchy vegetables are high in fiber and low in carbohydrates, which are good for blood sugar. Because they’re starch-free and contain a lot of fiber, they don’t raise blood sugar. Some examples of non-starchy vegetables are onions, mushrooms, zucchini, broccoli, celery, and Brussels sprouts. This is a great combination of sautéed vegetables to mix into pasta: onion, garlic, broccoli, and zucchini.

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low blood sugar fruit

Low-glycemic fruits are sweet enough to not cause a blood sugar spike. Most fruits are naturally low on the glycemic index because they contain fructose and fiber. Apples, pears, oranges, berries and grapefruit are some examples. Try mixing these fruits into oatmeal for a hearty breakfast, or into Greek yogurt for a satisfying snack.

whole grains

Whole grains are foods with a low glycemic index. Unlike refined grains that are processed (like white flour), whole grains are unrefined and therefore contain the germ and bran parts of the grain. These parts provide fiber, which helps slow the release of sugar into the bloodstream.

Some common whole-grain foods are brown rice, quinoa, amaranth, oats, and whole-grain bread. Oats are whole grains that have been shown to improve blood sugar control and insulin sensitivity, which in turn helps keep blood sugar levels low. Overnight oats are a quick and easy breakfast. For anything you want to pair with toast, try using whole wheat bread.

healthy fats

Fats help slow digestion, thereby delaying the absorption of carbohydrates into the bloodstream. Adding healthy fats to your meals can not only help you feel fuller longer, but it can also prevent blood sugar spikes.

Some examples of healthy fats include:

  • olive oil
  • avocado
  • Seeds (Chia, flax, sunflower, pumpkin)

Try olive oil for your own salad dressing, or avocado for bread instead of butter.

protein source

Protein, like fat, helps slow digestion, thereby delaying the absorption of carbohydrates into the bloodstream. And since protein takes longer to break down, it helps keep you fuller longer.

Examples of high-protein foods include:

  • Quinoa
  • beans and rice
  • soy products
  • Egg
  • dairy products

Try a quinoa and bean burger for a protein-packed dinner, or a hard-boiled egg with paprika for a snack.

unsweetened beverages

While it’s becoming increasingly clear that sugar-sweetened beverages are unhealthy, they’re especially unhealthy for people trying to control their blood sugar. Unlike the natural sugars found in fruit, the sugars in sugar-sweetened beverages are refined sugars that cause an immediate spike in blood sugar.

Instead, focus on drinking lots of water. For a fun flavor without added sugar, try adding fruit to water for a naturally sweet and refreshing drink. Unsweetened carbonated water is also a better choice for satisfying cravings for carbonated beverages without excess sugar.

Beans, Peas and Lentils

Beans are rich in nutrients and have a low glycemic index, making them an important supplement to the diet of diabetic patients. Some common legumes are lentils, beans, peas, and chickpeas. Beans are also high in fiber, which helps prevent blood sugar spikes because fiber slows the breakdown of food. Try making hearty lentil soup or chickpea hummus for veggie dip.

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nut

Nuts are high in unsaturated fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated) and are generally considered healthy fats. Research suggests that unsaturated fatty acids may play a role in glycemic control by reducing insulin resistance.

Nuts high in unsaturated fat include walnuts, almonds, pistachios, pecans, and peanuts. Try peanut butter on celery for a fresh and satisfying snack, or add walnuts or pecans to your oatmeal or granola mix.

generalize

The food you eat directly affects blood sugar, which means food choices play an important role in blood sugar regulation. Choose low-glycemic foods, such as whole grains and fiber foods, to help control blood sugar.

VigorTip words

Understanding how food affects blood sugar is an everyday task for people with diabetes. However, it’s worth it. Controlling blood sugar has both short-term and long-term benefits, including a reduced risk of diabetes-related complications.

While the importance of choosing foods that manage blood sugar levels cannot be underestimated, it’s also important to note that finding what works is a personal choice. We share these ideas for foods that won’t raise your blood sugar as a guide and inspiration when choosing everyday foods.

Food can be fun, even considering how it can affect your blood sugar. We hope this article helped you find new ideas that work for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What foods can you eat to instantly lower your blood sugar?

    You may see some sources that claim to instantly lower blood sugar, but there isn’t enough research to support these claims. It’s best to talk with your healthcare provider about reducing high blood sugar levels, which may include taking insulin or other blood sugar-regulating medications.

  • What can I eat when my blood sugar is high?

    When your blood sugar is high, it’s best to avoid foods that increase the problem, such as those with simple carbohydrates or refined sugars. Stick to foods with a low glycemic load, such as non-starchy vegetables, whole grains, and healthier options of fat and protein. Foods that contain fiber can help slow the release of blood sugar, so are helpful when blood sugar is high.

  • Which beverages can regulate blood sugar?

    Fruit- or flavor-infused water or unsweetened carbonated water can keep you hydrated without causing blood sugar problems. Tea is also a zero-sugar beverage that contains antioxidants that have been shown to help regulate blood sugar levels.

  • What are some ways to lower blood sugar?

    In addition to choosing foods that sense blood sugar, exercise is one way to help lower your blood sugar. When you are physically active, your muscles burn sugar (glucose) for energy and use it for muscle building and repair. This helps extract sugar from the blood, lowering blood sugar levels. Resistance training, such as strength training, has been shown to improve blood sugar control.