Low glycemic and low calorie foods

Low glycemic and low calorie foods

Low glycemic and low calorie foods
Low glycemic and low calorie foods

The glycemic index is one of the most important characteristics that determine the benefits or harms of a food. In most cases, high GI is associated with too rapid a rise in blood sugar levels, which can lead to increased hunger and overeating.

Eating foods with a low glycemic index can help you better control hunger - which is the basis of your ability to maintain a normal body weight without dieting. If you want to reduce calories, the list of foods presented in the article will help you.

//  Low GI - What is the benefit?

Low GI - What is the benefit

When it is said that a certain food product has a low glycemic index, it is understood that the carbohydrates contained in this product are absorbed relatively slowly by the body. In particular, low GI foods raise blood glucose levels more slowly.

However, two clarifications need to be made. First, it is about the rate of increase - the total amount of digestible carbohydrates is determined by the glycemic load and, of course, by the portion size. Second, glucose is considered exclusively, not its effect on insulin production.

Some foods (such as meat and dairy products) have a low GI - however, they lead to a noticeable increase in insulin during digestion. The reason is that proteins also affect the production of this hormone, although they do not contain glucose.

Caloric connection

The caloric content is the energy value of the food and the mathematical sum of the content of calories in the proteins, fats and carbohydrates contained in its composition. Keep in mind that the actual amount of energy received by the body will be lower - the calorie content does not take into account the fact that fiber (formally it is a carbohydrate) is not absorbed.

In practice, the caloric content of carbohydrate foods is related to their glycemic load - that is, to the actual amount of carbohydrates in the composition. On the other hand, the presence of fat, although it increases calories, can lower the glycemic index, slowing down the absorption of carbohydrates.

Low calorie foods with low glycemic index

Below is a list of low GI and low calorie foods. Note that the glycemic index is always calculated for a portion containing exactly 50 g of carbohydrates - while the caloric content of a meal is usually indicated for a portion of 100 g.

1. Sweet potato (yams)

Sweet potato (yams)

GI per serving of 50 g - 50-55 units, calorie content per 100 g before cooking - 86 kcal. Sweet potatoes (also called sweet potatoes) are a distant relative of ordinary potatoes and have a higher content of fiber, minerals and antioxidants.

2. Boiled buckwheat porridge

Boiled buckwheat porridge

The glycemic index is about 45 units, the caloric content of boiled buckwheat is 170 kcal. When calculating the calorie content, it is assumed that cooking increases the volume (and therefore the weight) of buckwheat by about 2 times compared to dry cereals. Keep in mind that quinoa has similar numbers.

3. Oatmeal


The glycemic index is about 40 units, the calorie content is about 70 kcal. When calculating the calorie content, it is taken into account that oatmeal during cooking increases its volume by about three times. It is also important to remember that boiling milk increases the insulin index of the porridge.

4. Bulgur


The glycemic index is about 35-40 units, the calorie content is about 120 kcal. When calculating the calorie content, it is taken into account that the bulgur increases the volume by 3 times during cooking. Let us also recall that bulgur is made from wheat and contains gluten in its composition.

5. Citrus fruits

Citrus fruits

The glycemic index is about 40-50 units, the calorie content is 40-50 kcal. Due to their high water and fiber content, oranges, grapefruits, tangerines and other citrus fruits have a moderate effect on the rate of increase in blood glucose.

6. Apples and pears

Apples and pears

The glycemic index is 30-35 units, the caloric content is 50-60 kcal per 100 g. 100 g of fresh apples contain approximately 14 g of carbohydrates, 10 of which are sugar, 2.4 g - fiber. In turn, an average pear (weighing about 180 g) contains 27 g of carbohydrates, of which 6 g are fiber.

7. Nectarines, peaches and apricots

Unlike related nectarines and peaches, apricot has a lower glycemic index - 30 units against 35. The main vitamins in the composition are vitamins A and C - 6% and 11% of the daily value per 100 g of product. The total carbohydrate content is 10 g per 100 g.

8. Beans, peas, soybeans and lentils

Beans, peas, soybeans and lentils

The glycemic index is about 30 units, the calorie content after cooking is about 100-120 kcal. The calculation takes into account that cooking increases the volume of legumes by about 3 times. The low glycemic index is due to the presence of protein and fiber.

9. Tofu


The glycemic index is 15 units, the caloric content is 75 kcal. As a reminder, tofu is a type of cottage cheese made from soy. Due to its denser texture and high protein content, tofu can be used as a meat substitute.

10. Green and leafy plants

Green and leafy plants

The glycemic index is 10-20 units, the calorie content is about 30-50 kcal. All types of lettuce (iceberg, arugula) and green plants (cabbage, rhubarb, zucchini) are extremely low in carbohydrates and calories, serving as a classic example of foods with low GI.

Is low GI important?

Studies show that foods with a high GI make you eat more - suggesting that foods with a low glycemic index are better at forming satiety. However, the role in these processes appears to be in the brain - not in the tissue response to insulin.

There is some evidence that there is no direct link between low glycemic index and weight loss. The first study of 1,209 overweight people found that total protein intake was more important than dietary GI2.

A second study of 163 people with obesity and high blood pressure found a link to total carbohydrate intake - but not to the glycemic index of food. In other words, you can eat completely different foods within the caloric norm.


The low glycemic index of foods is most often explained by the presence of fiber in the composition (as well as a low amount of total carbohydrates). In many cases, such food is also low in calories - it helps maintain a stable weight without dieting.

Scientific sources:

  1. Foods with high glycemic index, hunger and obesity: is there a connection ?,  Source
  2. Is the glycemic index of food possible a predictor of appetite, hunger and satiety ?,  Source
  3. High or low protein and glycemic index diets to maintain weight loss,  source