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September 14, 2023
April 23, 2024
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Mushrooms are technically a fungus, but that has not stopped Americans from consuming this hearty vegetable. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that the average American consumes approximately three pounds of mushrooms a year.¹ There are over 14,000 species of mushrooms, with the most common varieties being white button mushrooms, cremini mushrooms, and oyster mushrooms.

Mushrooms are one of the ideal choices for those looking to stabilize their blood sugar levels because they are low in carbohydrates and sugar and are considered to have anti-diabetic properties.

This article will explore how mushrooms may impact blood sugar levels and the health benefits of including this fungus in your diet. 

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Glycemic Index Table

The glycemic index for mushrooms varies depending on the type of mushroom and whether the mushroom is eaten raw or cooked. Generally, mushrooms have a low glycemic index rating between 10 and 15, which is considered to be in the low glycemic index range.² This rating means that eating mushrooms will not cause rapid spikes in blood sugar levels and is a great option for those looking to maintain stable blood sugar levels. 

The fiber content in mushrooms also slows down the absorption of nutrients, allowing this vegetable to have one of the lowest glycemic index ratings available.

The below glycemic index and glycemic load data is for 100 grams of white button mushrooms:² ³

Glycemic Index

15

Serving Size

100g

Carbohydrate* per Serving (g)

4.08 g

GL per Serving

1.00

Nutritional Facts

Despite the numerous varieties of mushrooms, they have similar nutritional profiles, which are mainly characterized by low-sugar and low-fat content. Mushrooms are also rich in selenium and B vitamins. B vitamins are strongly linked to improved brain function, while selenium is a powerful antioxidant that aids with thyroid functionality.⁴ ⁵

The nutritional information below is for 100 g of raw white button mushrooms.³

Calories

31 kcal

Carbs

4.08 g

Protein

2.89 g

Fiber

1.7 g

Cholesterol

21.18 mg

Vitamins

A (61.93 µg), B12 (0.15 µg), B6 (0.2 mg), C (6.94 mg), D (7.79 IU), Biotin (9.07 µg), Phosphorus (93 mg), Folate (35 µg), Calcium (5 mg), Magnesium (10.2 mg)

Sodium

203.75 mg

Total Fat

0.37 g

Is Mushroom Good for Weight Loss?

Research suggests that a diet including mushrooms can help individuals safely lose weight when combined with exercise and sustainable healthy habits.26 In one study, individuals who substituted 20% of their meat consumption with mushrooms showed improvements in weight loss results.²⁶  

The antioxidants in mushrooms are also thought to increase the defense systems in cells and improve anti-inflammatory actions that protect against obesity-related hypertension.²⁶

If you are looking for ways to incorporate mushrooms into your meals, here are some ideas to try out:

  • Add mushrooms to a homemade pizza or omelet
  • Add mushrooms to a pasta sauce
  • Include mushrooms in a salad
  • Stir fry mushrooms with other vegetables and a lean protein

Is Mushroom Safe for People Living with Diabetes?

Research has shown that mushrooms contain anti-diabetic properties. Consuming a diet rich in vegetables like mushrooms may help protect against gestational diabetics, which impact 14% of pregnancies worldwide.¹³ ¹⁴ ¹⁵ ¹⁶

Mushrooms also contain high levels of vitamin B, which can protect against decreased mental function and dementia in older adults with vitamin B deficiency, as well as those living with diabetes who take metformin to control blood sugar levels.¹⁷ ¹⁸

Alongside B vitamins, mushrooms also contain polysaccharides, which may have anti-diabetic properties. Research in animals with type 2 diabetes showed that polysaccharides may help lower blood sugar levels, improve insulin resistance, and reduce pancreatic tissue damage.¹⁹ ²⁰ ²¹ ²²

One type of polysaccharide, beta-glucan, slows digestion and delays the absorption of sugar, which helps control blood sugar levels and reduce glucose spikes following a meal.²³ ²⁴ ²⁵

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Allergies

Mushroom allergies are an immune system response to the proteins found in mushrooms.¹² Symptoms of a mushroom allergy can include itchiness of the mouth, lips, or throat, swelling, and redness. In severe cases, allergic reactions can cause hives, difficulty breathing, and anaphylaxis. 

Please consult a healthcare professional if you suspect an allergy, sensitivity, or intolerance to mushrooms.

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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 Mushroom Spike Insulin?

Yes, some types of mushrooms have been shown to have insulin-sensitizing properties, which means they can help improve the body's response to insulin and potentially lower blood sugar levels. However, more research is needed to fully understand the effects of mushrooms on insulin and blood sugar regulation. It is important to note that mushrooms should not be used as a substitute for medical treatment for diabetes or other health conditions.

Is Mushroom Low Glycemic?

Yes, mushrooms are low glycemic as they have a low glycemic index (GI) score. The GI score of mushrooms ranges from 0 to 15, which is considered very low. This means that mushrooms do not cause a rapid increase in blood sugar levels.

Can People Living with Diabetes Eat Mushroom?

Yes, people living with diabetes can eat mushrooms as they are low in carbohydrates and calories and have a low glycemic index. However, it is important to monitor portion sizes and cooking methods as some preparations may add extra fats and sugars. Consult with a healthcare professional for personalized dietary recommendations.

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References

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  2. The University of Sydney. (2023, May 1). Glycemic Index – Glycemic Index Research and GI Newshttps://glycemicindex.com/
  3. USDA FoodData Central. (2021, Oct 28). Food Details - Mushroom, white button. Retrieved from https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/1999629/nutrients 
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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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