List of Whole-Grain Foods for a High-Fiber, Low-Glycemic Diet

By Stephanie Crumley Hill

Carbohydrates are an important source of energy in the diet. One way to choose carbohydrates is to look for whole grains that are high in fiber and have a low glycemic index. Whole grains provide more nutrition than refined grains. The Harvard School of Public Health reminds us that fiber can help prevent heart disease, diabetes and constipation. Low glycemic index (GI) foods do not cause a high elevation in blood sugar, which is especially important for people who have diabetes or insulin sensitivity issues. A GI of 40 to 55 is generally considered low.


Choose products made with 100 percent whole wheat. Bread made with 100 percent whole wheat is a good choice because it is both filling and high in fiber. Pumpernickel bread is also a good choice, with a GI of 40. Whole-wheat pasta cooked al dente has a GI of 35, but cooking the pasta until tender raises the GI to 50. Bran cereals are high in fiber and have a low GI unless they have added sugars.


Choose brown and wild rice for higher fiber with a low GI content. White rice is lower in fiber and has a higher GI. As a general guideline, the University of California, San Diego says the more sticky the rice, the higher the GI content.

Other Grains

Oats are high in fiber; choose oats that have been minimally processed, such as steel-cut oats, for a lower GI. Oat bran is also added to breads to increase their fiber content. Choose pearl barley, a whole grain with a GI of 25, over rolled barley. Bulgur is high in fiber and has a low GI.

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