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Here are The Best 12 Low-Sugar Vegetables, Ranked from Lowest to Highest

It’s no secret that we eat a lot of sugar in the U.S. The American Heart Association says the average American consumes more than twice the recommended amount of 6 to 9 teaspoons per day. And all that excess sugar is linked to type 2 diabetes, heart disease and other chronic diseases.

However, not all sugar is created equal. Whole plant foods like fruits and vegetables contain natural sugars and starches, and that’s different from added sugar found in foods like desserts and sugar-sweetened beverages. Veggies offer fiber, which helps lower the impact on blood sugar, and they’re high in beneficial vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. Fiber also supports gut health and makes meals more filling.

Still, even with all their nutrition, some vegetables contain a little more natural sugar than others. If you are one of the 136 million Americans who are living with either type 2 diabetes or prediabetes, keeping your fridge stocked with the lowest-sugar veggies available can be helpful.

Although higher-sugar vegetables still provide plenty of nutrients and can be included in a healthy eating routine, filling your plate with low-sugar vegetables often may help you keep blood sugar levels steady and be filling and satiating. Here are 12 low-sugar vegetables you can stock up on today!

1. Spinach

Natural Sugar: 0.1 gram per 1 cup

Spinach is one of the lowest-sugar vegetables out there: the amount of sugar barely registers on the scale. In addition, spinach is a famously nutritious leafy green because it provides potassium, calcium, vitamin A and C, folate and a long list of other amazing nutrients.

2. Swiss Chard

Natural Sugar: 0.5 gram per 1 cup

Chard is a leafy green that often gets overshadowed by other popular greens, like spinach and kale, but it’s full of nutrition and has a pleasant taste. With just a half-gram of natural sugar per cup, Swiss chard will give you a lot of bang for your buck. It’s packed with vitamins A, C and K, plus several B vitamins. It’s low in sugar and high in nutrition, so make sure to add it to your grocery list this week.

3. Celery

Natural Sugar: 1 gram in 2 stalks of celery

Whether you like it fresh and crunchy with a little peanut butter or diced in a comforting bowl of chicken soup, celery is both inexpensive and full of health benefits. It’s good for hydration since it’s 95% water, and it also provides fiber, potassium and vitamin K. Vitamin K is a nutrient that supports strong bones and aids in blood clotting.

4. Lettuce

Natural Sugar: 1 gram in 2 cups

Sometimes a fresh, crunchy salad can really hit the spot. If you’re trying to keep your blood sugar levels from spiking, a good salad can do the job. Lettuces like romaine also contain lutein, an antioxidant that can reduce inflammation in your body and has been shown to be particularly helpful for eye health.

5. Broccoli

Natural Sugar: 1.5 grams per 1 cup

It might surprise you that crunchy broccoli is about 90% water. It’s also low in sugar and full of nutrition, such as fiber, calcium, magnesium and even a little protein. Broccoli is a health all-star and is thought to reduce your risk for cancer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes with its antioxidant properties.

6. Cauliflower

Natural Sugar: 2 grams per 1 cup

Cauliflower is having its heyday right now. Just one peek online and you’ll find all kinds of uses for cauliflower: a replacement for pizza crust and rice, a thickener for smoothies and more. We say keep eating it, because it’s loaded with all the good stuff. Just 1 cup of cauliflower packs plenty of potassium and vitamin C.

7. Mushrooms

Natural Sugar: 2 grams per 1 cup

If you’re trying to increase your nutrition while also keeping your blood sugar levels nice and stable, mushrooms can help with that job. They’re low in sugar and contain nutrients like potassium, selenium and folate. Mushrooms also have some betaine, an antioxidant that may protect your body against inflammation.

8. Cucumbers

Natural Sugars: 3 grams per cucumber

These crunchy veggies are almost all water, so they’re a great way to hydrate. In addition, they contain essential vitamins and minerals like magnesium, calcium and potassium. If you miss the crunch of snack foods but want to keep your blood sugar stable, keep fresh cucumber slices stocked in your refrigerator.

9. Zucchini

Natural Sugar: 3 grams per small zucchini

Another versatile veggie, zucchini spiralizes nicely and can add some freshness and nutrition as a stand-in for traditional pasta noodles. If your focus is on hydration, zucchini can help in that department, as it is 95% water. In addition, zucchini supplies vitamins and minerals including calcium, magnesium and potassium.

10. Eggplant

Natural Sugar: 3 grams per 1 cup

Eggplant is famous for Eggplant Parmesan, but it has so many other uses. It’s low in sugar, has 2.5 grams of fiber per cup and provides nutrients like potassium, calcium, folate and beta carotene, the latter of which your body converts into vitamin A, an important nutrient that helps support immune system function. This tasty vegetable can be stir-fried, roasted or tossed on the grill.

11. Bell Peppers

Natural Sugar: 3 grams in 1 small red bell pepper

All bell peppers start out green, but some develop beautiful, vibrant colors, like red, yellow, orange and even purple, as they mature. Bell peppers are sweet, but they’re still low in sugar. They’re also about 90% water, so eating them can help you stay hydrated. Bell peppers are packed with vitamins A, C, E and K, not to mention minerals like potassium and magnesium.

12. Green Beans

Natural Sugar: Less than 5 grams per 1 cup

Green beans are a unique vegetable—not only are they low in sugar, but they also provide a good amount of fiber (4 grams) and protein (3 grams) per cup. Other highlights include potassium, vitamin C and folate. Folate is a B vitamin that is thought to help reduce the risk of some cancers and is important for a healthy pregnancy.

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