50 Foods That Won't Spike Blood Sugar
Blood sugar (or blood glucose) is most dependent on carbohydrate sources. But since carbohydrates embraces a wide variety of foods (whole grains, produce, milk, pastries, etc.), controlling blood sugars may be confusing and complex to manage. And with the effects of high blood sugar being harmful to health, regulating them takes high precedence.
Effects of High Blood Sugar
Though blood sugar spikes are oftentimes inevitable, they should not be a consistent phenomenon. Initial signs of high blood sugar (also known as hyperglycemia) consist of increased thirst and frequent urination. But constant and long-term spikes can create much bigger consequences and include cardiovascular (heart) disease, nerve damage (neuropathy), kidney damage (diabetic nephropathy) or failure, damage to the retina's blood vessels (diabetic retinopathy), poor blood circulation to the feet (potentially leading to infections or amputations), mouth and skin infections and non-healing wounds, along with bone and joint complications. More severe complications require emergency attention and include diabetic ketoacidosis and hyperglycemic hyperosmolar syndrome.
How to Control Blood Sugar Spikes
As mentioned above, constant high blood sugar and spikes can startle and damage the body and its systems. The glycemic index (GI) measures how foods affect blood sugars, based on a one to 100 number scale. Low GI foods have a mild effect on blood sugars while high GI foods have a much greater impact. So to keep blood sugars unshaken, stray away from highly sweetened items and go for non-carbohydrate or lower GI foods.
Meats, fats and oils are essentially absent of carbohydrates. Importantly, be mindful of the preparation method as breaded and battered meats will mostly contain some sort of carbohydrate in the form of flour and breadcrumbs. Additionally, allow a lean protein to be the main star of the dish rather than heavy portions of rice and potatoes. Healthy fats and oils, such as olive oil, actually has shown to improve blood sugar levels as well! For higher fat meats and oils, it still remains critical to monitor their intake, as they will still contribute to total calories.
8. Olive Oil
9. Coconut Oil
Low Glycemic Index Foods
Though considered a carbohydrate source, the following foods have a low GI score (less than 55) and display a minimal to moderate impact on blood sugars.
Grains, Breads, and Cereals
13. Corn Tortillas
14. Wheat Tortillas
15. 100% Whole Grain Bread
Yet still considered a vegetable, starchy vegetables mostly contain a higher carb count compared to non-starchy vegetables. Sticking to serving and portion sizes will keep carbohydrate moderated.
Nutrient-rich and low in calorie, these non-starchy vegetables average a low GI score of 15.
30. Red Bell Peppers
Despite fruits being a pure carbohydrate source, the natural sugars are complimented by fiber and additional nutrients. When choosing fruit, stick with its whole form for a couple of reasons: One, canned fruits (such as peaches) may be soaking in syrups, thus increasing sugar content and the glycemic index score. Two, fruit juices are often loaded with sugars and lack that precious fiber found in the peels and skins of fruit.
Beans and Legumes
Though such products do supply carbohydrate to the body, they are a plant-based protein and healthy fat source as well. Since most nuts and seeds are energy-dense (or heavy in calories for a relativity small volume), stick to recommended servings or portions, generally one-ounce or a small handful.
41. Beans (Black, Kidney, etc.)
44. Hummus (prepared with chickpeas)
Cow's milk and its associated dairy products do contain carbohydrates in the form of lactose, a naturally-occurring sugar. Despite lactose's existence, consuming these calcium-rich products will not spike blood sugars in their minimally processed form. It is, however, important to eliminate dairy products with added sugars such as a sweetened yogurts and ice creams. Choosing skim or part-skim milks and cheese can help reduce fat content, too.
46. Cottage Cheese
47. String Cheese
48. Cheddar Cheese
49. Mozzarella Cheese
50. Low-Fat Yogurt
Find out more information on controlling blood sugar and the glycemic index here.