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Foods likely to keep your A1c and Insulin level low

We all have unique glucose responses to food, so there's no perfect metabolic ingredient list. But these low-glycemic foods are a great place to start.

Related articleHow a CGM can help you find your optimal diet and lower blood sugar

In addition, how we consume a food can impact its metabolic response: For example, if we pair it with fat, protein, or fiber. The order in which we eat things matters, too—having fat or protein before carbs can help blunt a spike. Consuming vinegar or cinnamon before or with a meal can also lower the glucose response.

Many diet approaches can support metabolically healthy eating. We don’t endorse any particular diet because we recognize that each of us reacts differently to food, and that many factors influence what we eat. 

However, we can identify several foods that are unlikely to spike your glucose. Here’s a starter list of things you can try, and if you have a continuous glucose monitor or use other methods to test your blood sugar, see how you respond. Even if you can’t measure your response, this is an excellent list to build your individual diet around. 



  • Artichoke

  • Arugula

  • Asparagus

  • Avocado

  • Bok choy

  • Broccoli

  • Broccolini

  • Brussels sprouts

  • Cabbage

  • Carrots

  • Cauliflower

  • Celery

  • Celery root

  • Chard

  • Collards

  • Cucumber

  • Eggplant

  • Endive

  • Fennel

  • Green beans

  • Hearts of palm

  • Jicama

  • Kale

  • Kohlrabi

  • Leeks

  • Lettuce of all varieties

  • Mushrooms

  • Mustard greens

  • Okra

  • Onion

  • Peppers

  • Pumpkin

  • Radishes

  • Rapini (broccoli raab)

  • Rhubarb

  • Rutabaga

  • Snow peas and snap peas

  • Spinach

  • Sprouts

  • Summer squash

  • Tomatillos

  • Tomato

  • Turnip

  • Turnip greens

  • Zucchini




  • Blackberries

  • Blueberries

  • Raspberries

  • Strawberries

  • Coconut

  • Lemon

  • Lime

  • Orange

  • Kiwi

Related article: Why fructose is bad for metabolic health

 Eggs and Dairy

If you choose to eat dairy, fermented is best; also,

aim for whole-fat and organic. If you use dairy

alternatives, avoid sweetened varieties and oat milk.


  • Eggs (go for organic, cage-free)

  • Kefir

  • Plain unsweetened Greek yogurt

  • Cottage cheese

  • Butter

  • Ghee

  • Sour cream

  • Unsweetened nut, seed, and bean milks (excluding oat or rice milk) 

  • Unsweetened non-dairy yogurt (excluding oat)

Related article: What we know about dairy and blood sugar

Nuts and Seeds

These are a great way to add fat, protein, and micronutrients to any meal or to have as a healthy snack. 

Beans and legumes

Particularly when paired with fat, beans and legumes can be a great source of fiber and protein without a significant spike. That said, some people have a substantial response to beans. Tofu is generally a good choice for not spiking glucose. 

  • Chickpeas

  • Lentils

  • Black beans

  • Kidney beans

  • Soybeans (edamame)

  • Pinto beans

  • Tofu

Meat and Fish

If you eat animal products, look for organic, grass-fed, antibiotic- and hormone-free options, which have higher omega-3s, including (but not limited to): 

  •  Beef

  • Lamb

  • Game meats

For seafood, try wild-caught, small fish, such as:

  • Sardines

  • Anchovies

  • Salmon

Oils, Fats, and Sauces

Avoid refined seed oils, which have damaging linoleic acids. Nut butters and spreads like tahini can be excellent sources of fat and protein to pair with other foods.

  • Tahini

  • Nut butters

  • Aioli

  • Guacamole

  • Pesto

  • Coconut oil

  • Olive oil

  • Avocado oil

  • MCT oil

Flavorings and Treats

  • Extra Dark Chocolate (88% or higher is a good choice)

  • Cocoa powder

Remember, everyone’s ideal metabolic diet is different. There’s no guarantee that any of these items will produce a low glycemic response for you. However, focusing on whole, unprocessed foods and avoiding added sugars are the cornerstones of optimal metabolic health.

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Many berries tend to work well for people, while starchy fruits (such as bananas) and high-sugar fruits like dates may lead to a blood-sugar spike. Citrus is a great flavor addition to any dish. Generally, fruit paired with fat and protein (like nut butters or full-fat unsweetened yogurt) and additional fiber (chia seeds or flaxseeds) can help blunt a spike from fruit. Also, portion size matters—keep them small as you learn how your body reacts.

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