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Barley and Diabetes - Is It Good For Diabetics

Article author photo Elen Khachatrian by Elen Khachatrian | Last updated on August 07, 2023
Medically reviewed by Ani Harutyunyan Article author photo Ani Harutyunyan


Barley is a whole grain with a mild flavor and a chewy texture, primarily grown in temperate climates. Today we'll talk about how diabetics can use barley in their diet.

Glycemic Index and Type-2 Diabetes

Barley does not cause a blood sugar spike due to its high fiber content, which attracts water in the gut, resulting in the formation of a gel that can slow digestion. The glycemic index of barley is 28; it is considered low GI food. To find glycemic index values of 350+ pages, visit the Glycemic index chart page.

According to one study (1) of over 360,000 people, those who consumed whole grains, such as barley, had a 17% lower risk of death from all causes, including cancer and diabetes, than those who consumed the least whole grains.

Another study (2) shows that people with low fasting glucose were given either oatmeal or barley flakes daily. Fasting blood sugar and insulin levels decreased by 9-13% more for those who ate barley after three months.

Besides, beta-glucan barley consumption decreases blood glucose levels after eating compared to other grains (3). 

In summary, barley combined with a high magnesium content is a highly beneficial food for diabetics and those at high risk of developing diabetes.


Article author photo Elen Khachatrian
Education: Nutrition & Microbiology at YSU
Last updated: August 07, 2023
Medically reviewed by Ani Harutyunyan
Data provided by should be considered and used as information only. Please consult your physician before beginning any diet.