Are legumes low in glycemic index? [Harvard Index & Data]

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Low glycemic meals, as opposed to lighter foods like fruits and vegetables, are often extremely satisfying.

Most legumes are also rich in protein, but meat is a high glycemic meal.

So I wanted to know whether beans are low glycemic.

Generally, beans have a low glycemic index.

Low glycemic foods have a glycemic index of less than 55.

Legumes vary in size, however the majority fall below 55.

Peas, for example, have a glycemic index of 51, whereas chickpeas have a glycemic index of around 35.

Low glycemic index foods have been demonstrated to help reduce the consequences of type 2 diabetes.

As a result, understanding which foods have a low glycemic index may be an important element of building a balanced diet.

Thus, in this section, I’ll explain what beans have a low glycemic index, what grains have the lowest glycemic index, and what some of the healthiest low glycemic meals are.

Which Beans Are Low Glycemic?

Certain beans are higher on the glycemic index than others.

So I decided to compile a list of the beans with the lowest glycemic index.

Only broad beans and fava beans are high in glycemic index.

All other beans, including black beans, kidney beans, and chickpeas, are low glycemic, with a glycemic index of less than 50.

Pinto beans and green peas rank second and third in terms of glycemic index.

The glycemic index of common beans is shown in the table below.

I also included legumes like peanuts.

Type of bean Glycemic index Low, Medium, or High
Chickpeas 30 to 40 Low
Black beans 30 Low
Green peas 51 Low
Lima beans 46 Low
Peanuts 13 Low
Kidney beans 28 Low
Navy beans 40 Low
Great Northern beans 10 Low
Black-eyed peas 40 Low
Pinto beans 55 Low
Soy beans (Soya beans) 16 Low
Cannellini beans 31 Low
Fava beans (broad beans) 80 High
Red beans unknown Low
Mung beans 31 Low
Lentils 20 to 50 Low

As you may know, low medium and high glycemic index foods are classed as:

  • Low: 55 or less
  • Medium: 56–69
  • High: 70+

Except for fava beans, all of them dip below 55, according to the statistics above.

What Beans Have the Lowest Glycemic Index?

Beans are tasty and healthy, and if you want to eat beans with the lowest glycemic index possible, you need be aware of your possibilities.

These are the beans with the lowest glycemic index:

Soy beans (soya beans) have the lowest glycemic index overall.

Other beans with a low glycemic index include great northern beans, black beans, kidney beans, and lentils.

While almost all legumes are low glycemic, there is still a variance depending on the species of bean.

For example, below is a table that demonstrates how the glycemic index of lentils varies depending on the kind of lentil and where it is grown:

Type of lentils Glycemic Index
Lentil soup – canned 44
Lentils (Canada) 29
Lentils (USA) 28
Lentils green/canned in brine 52
Lentils red/split/boiled 22

Which Grain Has the Lowest Glycemic Index?

Rice and oats are popular foods because they keep well, are simple to prepare, taste great, and are packed in nutrients.

Yet, which grain has the lowest glycemic index?

With a glycemic index of roughly 30, barley is the lowest glycemic grain.

The next lowest is maize, however, it is substantially higher and has a glycemic index of roughly 50.

This corresponds to a glycemic index of medium.

This is a table of grains and the most typical ways they are cooked.

I’ve listed them in increasing order from lowest to highest glycemic index.

Type of grain That Is Legumes Bad for Arthritis Glycemic Index
Barley 28 ± 2
Corn tortilla 46 ± 4
Spaghetti, wholemeal 48 ± 5
Spaghetti, white 49 ± 2
Sweet corn 52 ± 5
Specialty grain bread 53 ± 2
Rice noodles 53 ± 7
Oats – porridge 55 ± 2
Udon noodles 55 ± 7
Wheat roti 62 ± 3
Couscous 65 ± 4
Brown rice, boiled 68 ± 4
Unleavened wheat bread 70 ± 5
White rice, boiled 73 ± 4
Whole wheat/wholemeal bread 74 ± 2
White wheat bread 75 ± 2

* Based on Harvard Medical School statistics.

According to the statistics, rice and bread derived from wheat have a substantially higher glycemic index than barley.

Barley is an outlier in that it has the highest glycemic index of any grain.

Nonetheless, maize still has a somewhat high glycemic index.

And it may be classified as medium to low.

Surprisingly, the glycemic index is the same whether you eat white or brown bread.

Many people are confused about whether legumes are a form of grain.

I investigated the scientific categorization and how they differed, and I described my findings in an essay concerning whether legumes constitute grains.

You may find it here [link: are legumes a grain].

What Are the Best Low Glycemic Index Foods?

Meals may be low glycemic, but there are also superfoods, which are so named because they contain more nutrients than normal.

Thus, I was interested about what meals are both low glycemic and are abundant in nutrients.

Here’s what I discovered:

According to the American Diabetes Association, the following are the best low glycemic index foods:

  • Kidney beans
  • Pinto beans
  • Navy beans
  • Black beans
  • Berries
  • Dark green leafy vegetables
  • Citrus fruits
  • Fish high in omega-3
  • Nuts
  • Whole grains
  • Milk and yogurt

Each of these foods is loaded with nutrients.

Fruits and vegetables are also abundant in fiber, which aids digestion.

Nevertheless, juicing fruits and vegetables eliminates a significant amount of fiber.

Moreover, fruit and vegetable liquids only contain around 5% of the fiber found in fresh fruit.

Fruits may also have a high sugar content.

Many individuals are concerned about whether the fruit in sugar is harmful to their health.

I just published an essay on the subject.

Read it here [link: is fruit sugar unhealthy].

Do legumes raise blood sugar?

Most beans are low glycemic, but is there something unique about legumes that causes them to boost blood sugar levels?

According to medical experts, legumes do not increase blood sugar levels.

Legumes have a glycemic index of less than 55.

Fava beans, often known as wide beans, are one of the few regularly eaten beans with a low glycemic index.

Fava beans have a glycemic index of 80, which is considered mild.

Beans are abundant in fiber as well, but there’s a reason why the ancient rhyme beans, beans, the musical fruit, the more you eat, the more you toot goes.

And most individuals who consume more than one cup of beans will feel terrible gas.

During around 24 hours, they may pass a TON of incredibly noisy gas.

Are legumes bad for diabetics?

If you have diabetes, you must keep track of the nutrients you eat in order to keep your blood sugar levels stable.

There are several legumes that are both tasty and filling.

But are they harmful to diabetics?

Except for broad beans, beans are safe for diabetics (fava beans).

Wide beans are regarded as having a medium glycemic index.

All other beans, however, have a low glycemic index and are suitable for diabetics, including black beans, mung beans, soy beans (soya beans), and kidney beans.

It is totally OK to consume wide beans if your glycemic load is calculated using broad beans and it is still low.

Are vegetables low glycemic?

While legumes are often low glycemic, I was intrigued about other veggies.

Vegetables have a variety of glycemic indexes.

The majority are low glycemic, but some are medium to high.

Nonetheless, the great majority of veggies are low in glycemic index. Leafy green veggies are all low in glycemic index.

Starchy foods like potatoes and yams, on the other hand, have a medium to high glycemic index.

Vegetables with a medium glycemic index include beets, carrots, sweet potatoes, and yams.

Dried dates, pineapple, watermelon, and overripe bananas are likewise high in glycemic index.

Here’s a handy list of low-glycemic veggies based on data from a New Hampshire medical institution (source):

Vegetables with a low glycemic index:

  • Asparagus
  • Artichoke
  • Avocado
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Cucumber
  • Eggplant
  • Greens
  • Lettuce
  • Mushrooms
  • Peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Okra
  • Onions
  • Spinach
  • Summer squash
  • Zucchini
  • Turnips

Vegetables with a medium glycemic index:

  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • Sweet potato
  • Yam
  • Corn on the cob

Vegetables with a high glycemic index:

  • Potato – baked, broiled, fried, mashed, french fries
  • Canned or frozen corn
  • Parsnips,
  • Winter squash

There are considerably more low glycemic veggies than medium and high glycemic vegetables, as you can see.

With the exception of carrots, beets, and maize, the majority of vegetables are starchy, such as parsnips, sweet potatoes, potatoes, and winter squash.

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