Your blood sugar levels are directly related to the foods you eat. When you eat foods rich in carbohydrates (including sugar), your blood sugar may rise.
If your blood sugar levels remain consistently high, you may put yourself at risk of health conditions like obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.
One way to select foods that won’t raise your blood sugar levels is by paying attention to their glycemic index, a ranking of foods based on their effects on your blood sugar levels. The higher the glycemic index (GI) ranking of one food, the more it affects your blood sugar levels.
According to WebMD, GI rankings help you get a better idea of how your body will process the sugar in that food, regardless of their calorie and even carbohydrate content.
According to Harvard Health “Foods low on the glycemic index (GI) scale tend to release glucose slowly and steadily. Foods high on the glycemic index release glucose rapidly.”
Foods are classified as:
- Low GI: 55 or less.
- Medium GI: 56 – 59
- High GI: 70 or higher.
Foods with a low GI have little effect on your blood sugar levels because they release the glucose more slowly in your body.
In many cases, even people who are trying to improve their diet often drop their guard with snacks. Luckily, there are plenty of snacks that won’t affect your blood sugar levels to keep you satisfied and focused between meals.
Let’s look at 5 of them.
Nuts and nut butter
True, nuts do contain a few carbs, but their high fiber content helps these carbs get absorbed more slowly in your digestive system. Specifically, cashews have the highest amounts of carbs with 9 g of carbs per ounce.
In fact, a 2011 study from the University of Toronto suggests a daily portion of 2 ounces of nuts helps people with type 2 diabetes control their blood sugar levels and lower their bad cholesterol levels.
To prevent these snacks from raising your blood sugar and increasing your weight – nuts are calorie packed, keep your portions small and go for natural, unsweetened nuts.
Blueberries and blackberries
Unlike other fruits, berries won’t have a large impact on your blood sugar levels. While they do have some sugar content, it’s absorbed more slowly in your body. Berries aren’t just rich in fiber; they are also packed with anthocyanins, a pigment that helps slow digestion by inhibiting the release of certain digestive enzymes.
With a GI of 5, combine them with other low GI foods like unsweetened Greek yogurt, or freeze them for a quick breakfast or snack.
Oats can be a great ally in controlling blood sugar levels, as long as they are consumed properly. They’re rich in fiber, and help protect the heart and circulatory system in patients with diabetes.
Prepare your steel cut oats with low-fat milk or water and add berries or nuts for a filling snack that won’t give you a blood sugar spike. And do avoid instant oatmeal, dried fruit, and cream.
If you’re looking for a savory snack, hummus is the perfect option. With a GI rank of 6, it hardly affects your blood sugar levels.
Hummus is made out chickpeas, olive oil, and tahini – a sesame seed paste, all of which are beneficial for people with diabetes. Specifically, eating more legumes may help control glucose levels in the blood and reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.
With a GI rank of 33, unsweetened, natural Greek yogurt helps maintain adequate blood sugar levels, as well as providing good doses of protein. Also, yogurt with live and active cultures can help maintain your digestive system healthy.
For a healthy snack or breakfast with little impact on your blood sugar levels, avoid yogurt with toppings and flavors, and make sure to check the nutrition facts for any hidden sugars.
As you can see, you don’t have to go without snacks to keep your glucose levels in control. Keep in mind these 5 healthy snacks the next time you’re craving for a bite to eat after lunch.