13 Foods That Won’t Raise Blood Glucose

Apple cider vinegar

The acetic acid in apple cider vinegar reduces certain enzymes in the stomach. One study reported that apple cider vinegar can improve insulin sensitivity after meals.

Try drinking 20 grams of apple cider vinegar in 40 grams of water before you eat to help reduce a spike in blood sugar. Find a great selection of apple cider vinegar here.

Leafy greens like spinach, kale, and chard

Leafy greens are high in fiber and nutrients like magnesium and vitamin A. These nutrients can help to lower blood sugar. Leafy greens to add to your diet include:

  • spinach
  • lettuce
  • collards
  • turnip greens
  • kale
  • Swiss chard

Eating 1.35 servings instead of .2 servings of leafy greens per day is associated with a 14 percent reduction of risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

All leafy greens have a low GI. Spinach even has a GI ranking of less than 1 per 1 cup. Kale has an estimated GI score between 2 and 4.

To add more leafy greens into your diet try this diabetes-friendly smoothie by Tracy Russell of Incredible Smoothies.

Chia seeds

Chia seeds are beneficial and high in fiber and healthy fats, omega-3s, calcium, and antioxidants. Studies have shown that high chia seed diets can help lower LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.

Chia seeds have a GI of 1 and are a great addition to recipes. The gooey texture works great as thickener in this pudding recipe from Little Broken (skip the maple syrup). Nutrition Stripped uses chia seeds and cauliflower to make a low-carb pizza crust.


Cacao are beanlike seeds used to make chocolatey spreads and treats like cocoa butter and chocolate. Before confectioners add sugar, it’s bitter and unsweetened, like dark chocolate.

Cacao seeds are high in antioxidants. They also contain a flavanol called epicatechin, which regulates glucose production by activating key proteins. It can help to stabilize blood sugar, even in those who already have diabetes.

Swap out the milk chocolate for dark chocolate that contains 70 percent or more cacao, and limit intake to one to two squares.

You can also use cacao nibs as toppings for your yogurt, smoothies, or desserts.

Blueberries and blackberries

Blackberries and blueberries won’t raise your blood sugar levels as much as other fruits. These berries are high in fiber and have the highest concentrations of anthocyanins. Anthocyanins inhibit certain digestive enzymes to slow down digestion. They also prevent spikes in blood sugar after eating starch-rich meals.

One study reported adding blueberry bioactive (22.5 grams) to smoothies improved insulin sensitivity in insulin resistance. The glycemic load of blueberries is 5.

Satisfy your sweet tooth with this blueberry peach chia seed parfait.

Almonds and other nuts

Almonds can help regulate and reduce rises in blood sugar after meals and prevent diabetes. One study found people who consumed 2 ounces of almonds per day had lower levels of fasting glucose and insulin. Another study found that almond consumption could increase insulin sensitivity in people with prediabetes.

The GI score for almonds is estimated to be 0. This is because small amounts of carbohydrate found in almonds and other nuts is primarily fiber.

Toast almonds with cumin to create a healthy snack, or try EatingWell’s Chinese chicken noodle salad. For the noodle salad you may want to substitute kelp (seaweed) or shirataki (yam) noodles, which have low to no carbs, for the ramen noodles.

Most nuts all have GI scores between 0 and 20, which is considered low. The nut with a higher GI score is the cashew (22). Opt for nuts like pistachios, walnuts, and macadamias instead of crackers and other snacks the next time you’re hungry.