Healthiest Glycemic Index of Cereals

Cereals are an example of foods with a medium glycemic index. However, each of them has different values.

The different combinations of fiber and carbohydrates in cereals affect the assimilation rate of their energy in the body and, therefore, the rate of blood sugar levels.

For example, buckwheat has a higher glycemic index than brown rice but is lower than wheat.

Here is a list of the best-known cereals with a detail of the glycemic index of each one.

// Read more: Insulin Index – What is it, and what is it for?

  1. Barley – 30 units

Barley is a type of barley grain in the form of smooth grains. Since it is high in fiber, it has a shallow glycemic index, especially compared to other crops.

// Read more: Glycemic load – What is it and for?

  1. Bulgur or Burgundy Wheat – 35 units

Bulgur is a food based on wheat cereals; whole grains are pre-steamed, cleaned of bran, and crushed. Depending on the degree of grinding, there is small bulgur, and the large will be its glycemic index value. Small grains are best suited for salads and soups (and have a higher GI), and large grains (low GI) – are for cooking porridge or pilaf.

// Read more: Bulgur: Properties, benefits, and contraindications

  1. Brown rice – 40 units

White and brown rice differ in nutrients and the absence and presence of the husk. This makes brown rice have a glycemic index up to 30 units lower than regular rice.

// Read more: Brown rice vs. white rice – Nutritional differences

  1. Quinoa – 40 units

Quinoa is considered a pseudocereal because it is obtained from the seeds of the plant’s flower. 100 g of dry quinoa cereal contains 102% of the daily norm for manganese, 49% of the model for magnesium, 46% phosphorus, and other minerals. In addition to being a low glycemic index side dish, it is one of the leading plant protein foods.

// Read more: Quinoa – Benefits, uses, properties and nutrients

  1. Spelled – 45 units

The Spelled is the ancestor of modern wheat. It has a highly dense shell, which complicates making flour, which is why this cereal is usually eaten in the form of porridge—spelled has not only a lower glycemic index than wheat but also has a higher content of magnesium zinc, iron, and calcium.

Read: glycemic index of drinks

  1. Oats – 50-60 units

The glycemic index of oats largely depends on the degree of grinding, the cooking time, and whether or not it is bran. Also, oatmeal raw or in water has a much lower glycemic index than oatmeal in milk, not to mention the addition of sugar.

// Read more: Oatmeal for people with diabetes – How much to eat per day?

  1. Buckwheat

Buckwheat is the seed of a flowering plant of Asian origin. Green buckwheat (in fact, unroasted cereal) is characterized by a lower glycemic index, around 50 units. After boiling, common brown buckwheat can reach a GI value of 60 teams.

// Read more: Buckwheat or Buckwheat – What is it? Nutritional properties and benefits

  1. Millet – 70 units

Millet is a herbaceous plant whose seeds are edible grains. Like quinoa and buckwheat, millet is a pseudocereal-type crop that does not contain gluten. However, its soft shell and quick cooking time make it cereal with an average-high glycemic index.

// Read more: Millet has benefits and properties – Does it have gluten?

What about breakfast cereals?

Most brands of breakfast cereals have a glycemic index close to 90 units. If they are also accompanied by milk or other dairy products, their value is likely to be around the maximum – about 100 units.

For this reason, it is said that wholegrain breakfast cereals can be considered healthy. The more classic sugary options are not the best option for breakfast, even less for people with diabetes.

// Read more: Breakfast cereals – Are they healthy?


Bulgur and barley are the cereals with the lowest glycemic index. This is followed by buckwheat, quinoa, and oatmeal. Millet is one of the highest cereals.

The GI of cereals can vary depending on the cooking time and the type. Wholegrain variants that are cooked just right are the ones with the healthiest GI.

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