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October 16, 2023
April 16, 2024
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Broccoli, a versatile and nutrient-packed cruciferous vegetable, has gained recognition for its potential health benefits. One aspect of its nutritional profile that deserves closer attention is its glycemic index (GI). 

Broccoli has a glycemic index of only 15, making it a low-GI food.¹ This is a crucial piece of information for individuals concerned about managing their blood sugar levels, especially those with diabetes. The low GI indicates that broccoli is less likely to cause rapid spikes in blood sugar levels when consumed, making it a favorable choice for diabetics looking to maintain stable glucose levels.¹

In this article, we will delve deeper into the concept of the glycemic index, how it relates to broccoli, and why this matters for individuals seeking to make informed dietary choices to support their overall health and well-being. 

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Glycemic Index Table

The glycemic index is a measure of how quickly a carbohydrate-containing food raises blood sugar levels when compared to pure glucose, which has a GI of 100. Broccoli is a low-GI food, which means it has a relatively mild impact on blood sugar levels.¹

The carbohydrate content in a 100g serving of broccoli is approximately 6 grams.² This is a crucial factor for individuals with diabetes to consider when managing their carbohydrate intake, as it helps them estimate the effect on blood sugar levels.

The glycemic load takes into account both the GI and the carbohydrate content of a serving, providing a more practical measure of a food's impact on blood sugar. To calculate the GL, we use the formula:

   GL = (GI x Carbohydrate content per serving) / 100

   GL = (15 x 6) / 100 = 0.9 (rounded to the nearest tenth)

Therefore, the glycemic load of a 100g serving of broccoli is approximately 0.9.

The glycemic index (GI) measures how quickly carbohydrates from a food source are absorbed into the bloodstream and raise blood sugar levels. Foods with a low GI (such as broccoli) are digested and absorbed more slowly, leading to a gradual increase in blood sugar levels, making them suitable for individuals with diabetes. Cooking methods can affect the GI of broccoli slightly, with shorter cooking times typically resulting in a lower GI due to reduced starch gelatinization.

In summary, a 100g serving of broccoli has a low glycemic index (around 10 to 15), contains approximately 6 grams of carbohydrates, and has a glycemic load of approximately 0.9. These values make broccoli an excellent choice for individuals concerned about managing their blood sugar levels, as it has a minimal impact on glucose levels and provides a range of health benefits.

Glycemic Index

15

Serving Size

100g

Carbohydrate* per Serving (g)

6 g

GL per Serving

0.00

Nutritional Facts

Broccoli is a nutritionally dense vegetable that offers a wide array of health benefits. A 100g serving of raw broccoli provides approximately 2.8 grams of protein, 2.6 grams of dietary fiber, and only 28 calories, making it a low-calorie, high-fiber option.² 

Additionally, it's rich in essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, potassium, and antioxidants like sulforaphane, which have been associated with potential cancer-fighting properties.² Incorporating broccoli into your diet can contribute to overall health and well-being.

The nutritional information below is for 100 g of raw broccoli.²

Calories

28 kcal

Carbs

6.64 g

Protein

2.80 g

Fiber

2.6 g

Cholesterol

0 mg

Vitamins

A (31 µg), B12 (0 µg), B6 (0.18 mg), C (89.2 mg).

Sodium

33 mg

Total Fat

0.37 g

Is Broccoli Good for Weight Loss?

Broccoli is indeed a valuable ally in the journey toward weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight. Its role in weight management is attributed to several factors. Firstly, broccoli is incredibly low in calories, with only around 28 calories per 100g serving.² This makes it an excellent choice for those looking to reduce calorie intake while still enjoying a satisfying and nutritious meal.

Furthermore, broccoli is a rich source of dietary fiber, providing approximately 2.6 grams of fiber per 100g serving.² High-fiber foods like broccoli help increase feelings of fullness and satiety, reducing overall food consumption and promoting weight loss. Additionally, its fiber content aids in digestion and can help prevent overeating by curbing hunger.

Moreover, broccoli is packed with essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, vitamin K, and folate, which support overall health and can contribute to a balanced diet during weight loss efforts.

Incorporating broccoli into your meals can be an effective strategy for weight management due to its low-calorie, high-fiber nature and the added nutritional benefits it offers. 

Is Broccoli Safe for People Living with Diabetes?

Broccoli is generally considered a safe and beneficial addition to the diet of individuals with diabetes. This cruciferous vegetable is low in carbohydrates and has a low glycemic index, which means it has a minimal impact on blood sugar levels. Additionally, broccoli is rich in dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, making it a valuable component of a diabetes-friendly diet.

According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), foods like broccoli that are low in carbohydrates and high in fiber can help stabilize blood sugar levels and improve overall glycemic control for individuals with diabetes.³ The fiber in broccoli slows down the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates, preventing rapid spikes in blood sugar levels after meals. Moreover, the antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds in broccoli may offer additional benefits by reducing the risk of diabetes-related complications.

It's essential for individuals with diabetes to include a variety of nutrient-rich foods like broccoli in their diet, along with monitoring their carbohydrate intake and working with healthcare professionals to create a well-balanced meal plan that meets their specific dietary needs. 

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Allergies

Allergies to broccoli are relatively rare but can occur. Broccoli belongs to the Brassica family, and individuals with sensitivities to other cruciferous vegetables like cabbage or Brussels sprouts may also experience allergic reactions to broccoli. 

Symptoms of a broccoli allergy may include hives, itching, gastrointestinal discomfort, or, in severe cases, anaphylaxis. It's essential to consult with a healthcare professional if you suspect a broccoli allergy and to consider conducting allergy testing for a definitive diagnosis. 

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FAQs

What is Glycemic Index?

The glycemic index (GI) is a measure of how quickly a carbohydrate-containing food raises blood sugar levels compared to a reference food, usually glucose. It ranks foods on a scale from 0 to 100, with higher values indicating a faster rise in blood sugar. The glycemic index (GI) scale is typically categorized as follows: Low GI [55 or less], Medium GI [56-69], High GI [70 or higher]. Foods with a high glycemic index digest rapidly and can cause dramatic fluctuations in blood glucose or glucose spikes.

What is Glycemic Load?

Glycemic load (GL) takes into account both the quality (glycemic index) and quantity (carbohydrate content) of carbohydrates in a specific serving of food. It is a measure of how much a particular food will raise blood sugar levels. GL is calculated by multiplying the glycemic index of a food by its carbohydrate content and dividing it by 100. It provides a more accurate representation of the overall impact of a food on blood sugar compared to the glycemic index alone.

Does Broccoli Spike Insulin?

No, broccoli does not spike insulin levels. In fact, broccoli is a low glycemic index food, meaning it has a minimal impact on blood sugar and insulin levels. Broccoli is also high in fiber and contains compounds that may improve insulin sensitivity, making it a beneficial food for those with diabetes or insulin resistance.

Is Broccoli Low Glycemic?

Yes, broccoli is low glycemic as it has a glycemic index of 15, which means it does not cause a significant increase in blood sugar levels.

Can People Living with Diabetes Eat Broccoli?

Yes, people living with diabetes can eat broccoli as it is a low-carbohydrate vegetable that is rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. It can help regulate blood sugar levels and improve overall health. However, portion control is important as consuming too much can lead to digestive discomfort.

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References

  1. The University of Sydney. (2023, May 1). Glycemic Index – Glycemic Index Research and GI Newshttps://glycemicindex.com/
  2. USDA FoodData Central. (2019, December 16). Food Details - Broccoli, raw. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/747447/nutrients 
  3. American Diabetes Association. (n.d.). Non-starchy vegetableshttps://diabetes.org/food-nutrition/reading-food-labels/non-starchy-vegetables 

About the author

It is a long established fact that a reader will be distracted by the readable content of a page when looking at its layout.

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About the author

Brittany Barry is a national board-certified health coach and NASM-certified personal trainer based in South Carolina.

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Please note: The Signos team is committed to sharing insightful and actionable health articles that are backed by scientific research, supported by expert reviews, and vetted by experienced health editors. The Signos blog is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If you have or suspect you have a medical problem, promptly contact your professional healthcare provider. Read more about our editorial process and content philosophy here.

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