12 foods that don’t raise blood glucose, or DO THEY?
An article in Medical News Today about foods that do not raise blood glucose caught my attention. It lists the twelve food items that are common, and in my opinion, even “trendy” currently, so I thought it would be interesting to read more and see which of these I consume regularly.
Here is the link to the article: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318625
I asked the Diabetes Educators in our clinic about their thoughts on this topic and they said “Hmmm, this may not be an accurate statement” Stephanie goes on to say:
“At just a quick glance, sour cherries, berries, and whole grains contain some carbohydrates, therefore, have some ability to raise glucose levels. HOWEVER, they are considered low-glycemic foods.”
I went searching the internet for more about each of the foods listed below. I reference below what I discovered about each of these food items.
Avocados – I found that avocados may, in fact, help with weight loss and improve insulin because they are full of fiber which helps you to feel full longer and so helps you to not eat as much. Avocados won’t spike your blood sugar but do contain about 5.9 grams of carbohydrates per one-half of a small avocado.
Avocados are loaded with healthy fats as well which can help raise the HDL “good cholesterol” and lower the LDL “bad cholesterol.”
Fish – Ummm, okay kind of generic, don’t you think? Well, in my search I discovered fish is good for diabetics because it has low carbohydrate content so doesn’t likely spike blood sugar levels. It is also thought to control levels of blood pressure and blood glucose. Also, some studies show that fish can help reduce cardiovascular issues. Salmon appears to be one of the best fish choices because of the high omega-3 “healthy” fats. Other fish recommended are Tilapia, Sardines, Mackerel, Cod, and Tuna.
Garlic – This one seems to be a winner! Everything I found shows garlic has no glycemic index and is quite beneficial for diabetics in that it reduces blood sugar levels and increases insulin levels. So enjoy that garlic in recipes or even raw.
Sour Cherries – I guess not all cherries are the same! Sour cherries have a glycemic index (GI) of 22, whereas, sweet cherries have a higher content of 62. Compared to other fruits though, these are a great choice for diabetics. Just make sure to watch how many you eat at any one time.
Vinegar – I am not sure I would count vinegar as a staple ingredient that I would be consuming much of on a regular daily basis to be considered enough to raise much of anything; whether calories, blood glucose, or anything else. However, what I discovered is that the acetic acid in vinegar slows down the rate of food emptying from your stomach which breaks down carbohydrates and in turn gives the body time to remove glucose from the blood. So, vinegar helps reduce the spike in blood sugars you may have from eating in general.
Vegetables – Again, fairly generic as this includes a wide variety of foods. The vegetable category seems to fall in the same line as vinegar. Eating vegetables along with your meal may help to lower the spike in blood sugar. Leafy green vegetables like broccoli, spinach, and cabbage are good because they are also low in carbohydrates and starch.
Chia Seeds – As in Chia pet seeds? haha, just had to cause that is what I think of every time I hear Chia Seeds. Chia seeds are a good dietary source of fiber; just one ounce of chia seeds provides up to 42% of your daily recommended amount of fiber. They prevent the blood sugar spike like the others mentioned and also provide protein, healthy fats, and micronutrients.
Cacao – Okay, now we are talking! Chocolate just spelled wrong, right? Ha, I looked it up to be sure. Here are the DETS (yep, we look out for you at DETS with all of the DETailS)
The Differences: Cacao v. Cocoa
The short answer is there’s no official standard for what makes “cacao” different from “cocoa” and the names are sometimes used interchangeably. There is only one type of plant, and it can be called by either name, so if you’re shopping for beans or pods it’s the same thing. However, when you get into concoctions like hot cocoa, there are differences. Dark chocolate is the best option for diabetics as unsweetened cacao powder has a low glycemic index (GI), so it doesn’t spike blood sugar. Cacao also contains potassium which has been shown to reduce heart disease and reduce inflammation. So have some dark chocolate and cherries!
Berries – Berries such as raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries are a good choice for diabetics again for their low glycemic index typically under 40. As a diabetic or pre-diabetic, you will want to make sure to use portion control so you don’t spike your levels.
Nuts – In general, nuts are nutrient-rich and full of protein and dietary fiber and are also said to stabilize blood sugar not causing any spikes. Be careful though as you want to avoid nuts coated in salt, chocolate covered, or honey-roasted, as those can cause spikes in your blood glucose.
Whole Grains – Quinoa, brown rice, farro, barley, and oatmeal, all contain more fiber and have a lower glycemic load than white rice and refined grains. The main thing here is to watch portion sizes so you don’t have a spike in blood sugar.
Eggs – A good source of protein, so again will help you feel full longer by slowing the emptying of your stomach which will improve glucose levels.
So in closing, the foods mentioned all have some potential to raise blood glucose when not used in moderation or in correct portions. However, they can also be beneficial in your daily source of nutrients that help you maximize the best food choices for diabetes and pre-diabetes. This article actually took me down a rabbit hole after checking with the dieticians in the clinic and I have more questions than answers so watch for additional articles in the near future on (GI) Glucose Index and (GL) Glycemic Level and understand the differences.
If you are pre-diabetic, or have diabetes set up an appointment with our clinic so we can help you manage all of your health needs as we focus on your wellness, not illness!