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October 26, 2023
May 20, 2024
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Cabbage, a versatile and nutrient-dense cruciferous vegetable, has garnered attention for its potential health benefits, particularly concerning blood sugar management. Despite being a staple in many diets worldwide, its glycemic index remains relatively low, making it a favorable choice for individuals seeking to control their blood sugar levels. 

Furthermore, cabbage is rich in essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, promoting overall well-being and potentially reducing the risk of chronic diseases.¹ This article will explore the nuances of cabbage's glycemic impact, shedding light on its unique nutritional profile and role in fostering a balanced, diabetes-friendly diet.

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Glycemic Index Table

According to the available data, the glycemic index of cabbage is notably low, typically ranging from 10 to 15.² With a serving size of 100 grams, cabbage contains approximately 5.8 grams of carbohydrates per serving.¹ 

Considering its glycemic load (GL), which measures the actual impact of a specific food on blood sugar, the GL per serving of cabbage can be estimated to be as low as 1, showcasing its minimal effect on blood sugar levels. It's important to note that various factors, including the method of preparation, may influence the glycemic index of a food. Boiling or steaming cabbage might slightly increase its glycemic index compared to consuming it raw.

Understanding the glycemic index is crucial as it reflects how quickly a particular food can raise blood sugar levels. Foods with a low glycemic index are digested and absorbed more slowly, resulting in a more gradual increase in blood sugar levels. This can benefit individuals managing diabetes or seeking to regulate their blood sugar levels.

Glycemic Index

15

Serving Size

100g

Carbohydrate* per Serving (g)

5.8 g

GL per Serving

1.00

Nutritional Facts

Cabbage is a nutrient-dense cruciferous vegetable rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It is notably low in calories, making it a valuable addition to a balanced diet. A 100-gram serving of cabbage provides approximately 25 calories, 2.3 grams of fiber, 36.6 milligrams of vitamin C, and significant amounts of vitamin K, folate, and various essential micronutrients.¹

The nutritional information below is for 100 g of cabbage.¹

Calories

25 kcal

Carbs

5.8 g

Protein

2.42 g

Fiber

2.3 g

Cholesterol

6.64 mg

Vitamins

A (58.67 µg), B12 (0.07 µg), B6 (0.13 mg), C (36.60 mg).

Sodium

187.35 mg

Total Fat

3.37 g

Is Cabbage Good for Weight Loss?

Cabbage can be a valuable asset for weight loss due to its low-calorie content and high fiber density. Incorporating cabbage into meals can promote a feeling of fullness, potentially reducing overall calorie intake. Furthermore, its rich nutritional profile, including significant amounts of vitamins and minerals, ensures that essential nutrients are not compromised during a calorie-restricted diet. The presence of antioxidants in cabbage supports overall health and well-being, contributing to the effectiveness of a holistic weight loss plan.

Is Cabbage Safe for People Living with Diabetes?

Cabbage can be considered a safe and beneficial addition to the diet for individuals with diabetes. With its low glycemic index and minimal impact on blood sugar levels, cabbage can be incorporated into meals without causing significant spikes in glucose. Moreover, its high fiber content aids in promoting satiety and regulating blood sugar levels. Additionally, essential nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin K, and folate in cabbage contribute to overall health and well-being, which is crucial for individuals managing diabetes.

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Allergies

Allergies to cabbage are relatively uncommon, but they can occur, especially in individuals with sensitivities to certain foods or other members of the Brassicaceae family, such as broccoli or cauliflower. Symptoms of a cabbage allergy may include itching, swelling, or hives, and, in severe cases, anaphylaxis, although such extreme reactions are rare. Individuals with known food allergies need to be vigilant and consult with healthcare professionals if they suspect an allergic reaction to cabbage or any related vegetables.

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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 Cabbage Spike Insulin?

Yes, cabbage has been shown to have a positive effect on insulin levels. Cabbage is a low glycemic index food, meaning it does not cause a rapid increase in blood sugar levels. Additionally, cabbage contains compounds that have been shown to improve insulin sensitivity and reduce inflammation, both of which can help regulate blood sugar levels. However, it is important to note that cabbage alone cannot cure or prevent diabetes, and a balanced diet and regular exercise are still necessary for overall health.

Is Cabbage Low Glycemic?

Yes, cabbage is low glycemic as it has a glycemic index of 10.

Can People Living with Diabetes Eat Cabbage?

Yes, people living with diabetes can eat cabbage as it is a low-carbohydrate and low-calorie vegetable that is rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Cabbage can also help regulate blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity. However, it is important to monitor portion sizes and cooking methods to avoid adding excess calories or carbohydrates.

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References

  1. USDA FoodData Central. (2022, October 28). Food Details - Cabbage, green, raw. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/2346407/nutrients
  2. The University of Sydney. (2023, May 1). Glycemic Index – Glycemic Index Research and GI Newshttps://glycemicindex.com/

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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