5 of the lowest-glycemic carbohydrates

This article is my own personal research and should not be taken over advice from a medical professional.


In an effort to keep their blood sugar levels stable and stave off hunger many people (including me) try to avoid carbohydrate-rich foods. This is all well and good but sometimes you just want to eat some starch. These are 5 healthy carbohydrates which won’t spike your blood sugar but will give you long lasting energy.

First, I need to give you a definition of the glycemic index. The glycemic index is a scale (1-100) which shows how long it takes for the foods in a carbohydrate to be absorbed and spike the blood sugar. It does not say how much carbohydrate is in the food and foods which have no carbohydrates such as (meat, eggs and fish) are not classified on the scale.

If a food has a score of 55 or less thenit is considered a low-glycemic carbohydrate.

If a food has a score of between 56 and 69 it is considered a medium-glycemic carbohydrate.

If a food has a score of more 70 or more then it it considered a high-glycemic carbohydrate.

You should avoid high-glycemic carbohydrate and limit your intake of medium-glycemic carbohydrates whilst focusing on low glycemic foods. All of these carbohydrates have a glycemic index of 55 or less.

1. Quinoa (GI – 53)

Quinoa has gained a lot of attention recently. It is a grain which is much healthier than more commonly eaten ones such as rice. It is popular because it has all of the essential amino acids and is fairly low glycemic (it has a glycemic index of 53, compared to short grain white rice’s 72). When cooked most of its weight is water which means that you can eat a lot of it without consuming many calories.

100g of cooked quinoa provides:

Calories – 120

Protein – 4.4g

Carbohydrate – 21.3g

Sugar – 0

Fiber – 2.8g

2. Wheat germ (GI – 15)

This is probably one of the lowest GI carbohydrates that there is however it does contain gluten so isn’t suitable for a gluten-free diet. However, one good thing about it is that it can be used to make bread (regular white bread has a GI of 100).

100g of wheat germ provides:

Calories – 360

Protein – 23.1g

Carbohydrate – 51.8g

Sugar – 0

Fibre – 13.2g

3. Lentils (GI – 21)

Lentils are extremely high in protein and are often used as a vegan protein source, however they are also high in carbohydrate. Lentils are also very high in fibre, manganese and copper as well as other trace minerals and nutrients.

100g of lentils provide:

Calories – 353

Protein – 25.8g

Carbohydrate – 60.1g

Sugar – 2g

Fiber – 30.5g

4. Kidney beans (GI – 29)

Everybody in my family knows how much I love kidney beans. They are in expensive and low calorie compared to many of the other options on the list. They are also very high in fibre and are great at absorbing flavours from other foods.

100g of kidney beans provide:

Calories – 84

Protein – 5.2

Carbohydrate – 16g

Sugar – 1.9g

Fibre – 5.3g

5. Oatbran (GI – 50)

Oat bran is very versatile – it can be used for making porridge, can be used instead of flour in certain recipes and is lower GI than traditional rolled oats (which have a GI of 50). They are also a good source of dietary fibre.

100g of oat bran provides:

Calories – 246

Protein – 17.3g

Carbohydrate – 66.2g

Sugar – 1.5g

Fibre – 15.4g

A recipe where you can use many of these ingredients and other similar ingredients – Quick quinoa, lentil and pea mix (Vegan and gluten-free)


The best sources of low glycemic carbohydrates are vegetables, fruits, legumes, certain nuts and seeds as well as some whole grains, however don’t overdo these as they can cause blood sugar spikes if eaten in large quantities. I recommend making most of your carbohydrates vegetables as these are the most nutrient dense sources and are the lowest glycemic.

Calories, carbohydrate, sugar and fibre information is from nutriton.self.com


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