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Is Cabbage Good For Diabetics? What You NEED to Know!

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Is cabbage healthy for diabetics? Can diabetics eat cabbage? If you have recently been diagnosed as diabetic or have elevated blood sugars (ie – prediabetes), you are more than likely questioning everything you eat, including cabbage.

How to cook cabbage for diabetics? Does cabbage raise your blood sugar? Learn the answers here with the complete guide to cabbage and diabetes, as well as easy, diabetic cabbage recipes.

Shredded cabbage on a wooden cutting board. A knife is sitting on the wooden cutting board.

But First…….

What is Diabetes?

While I can give you intense, scientific definitions, I prefer to follow the KISS principle, ‘keep it simple, silly.’ Basically, diabetes occurs when you do not produce enough insulin OR you are not using insulin as you should. When this happens, too much sugar stays in our blood stream.

3 types of diabetes exist:

  • Type 1 diabetes.
  • Type 2 diabetes.
  • Gestational diabetes.

When Are You Diagnosed as Diabetic? 

According to the American Diabetes Association, diabetes is diagnosed when an A1C level is above 6.5%. Prediabetes is diagnosed when the A1C is between 5.7% and 6.4%. 

What about Prediabetes?

As a dietitian, I am noticing a huge increase of prediabetes (or elevated blood sugar) in my clinic. This is where our blood sugar is elevated, but not elevated ‘enough’ for the classic  diabetes diagnosis.

How Many Individuals Have Diabetes?

According to the Diabetes Research Institute, 37.3 million people (11.3% of the population) have diabetes.

What is the Common Treatment For Diabetes?

As much as I hate to say this, patients are often given a HUGE amount of medicines to help with diabetes. While that is ok for some, it often breaks my heart to see meds handed out with ZERO diet education. As a dietitian and working with 100s of patients, I can honestly tell you a change in diet CAN get you off diabetes medicine and reverse prediabetes.


Can I Reverse Diabetes and Prediabetes?

My professional opinion is that with proper diet (and no, not that moderation diet), activity, and sleep, we can DRASTICALLY reduce our blood sugars out of the diabetes and prediabetes range.


The Diabetes and Prediabetes Diet Guide

While many of us know to cut out the sugar, sweets, sodas, and white carbs (and even some wheat carbs), I focus my diabetes and prediabetes plan on the following:

  • Low glycemic,
  • Low carb, 
  • High fiber, 
  • Lean protein, and
  • High omega-3 rich foods.

While this article focuses on cabbage and diabetes, you can continue to watch my video on the 10 best foods for prediabetes and weight loss. 

But Let’s Get Down to Business.

The O’ So Awesome Cabbage.

Infographic asking the question is cabbage good for diabetes. Shredded cabbage on a wooden cutting board.

What is Cabbage?

Cabbage is a member of the Brassica and the mustard family Brassicaceae.

Many of us often purchase green or red cabbage, but other examples of cabbage include savoy and napa cabbage.

We can purchase cabbage year round in the produce section of our favorite supermarkets. Look for tightly packed cabbage without any yellow or loose leaves. Cabbage loves the cold weather, thus making this vegetable a hit in the winter months.

Nutrition Facts in Cabbage.

Cabbage is an incredibly nutritious vegetable. According to the USDA Food Data Central Search Results, the following are the nutrition facts in 1 cup of raw, shredded cabbage. (Note – for the purpose of this article, I will focus on raw, shredded cabbage)

  • Calories 17.5
  • Protein 0.89g
  • Fat 0.07g
  • Carbohydrates 4.06g
  • Fiber 1.75g
  • Sugar 2.24g

Calories in Cabbage.

Is cabbage low calorie? What are the calories in cabbage? As a baseline, I am using the calories in raw, shredded cabbage. 1 cup of raw, shredded cabbage contains only 17.5 calories making the cabbage a low calorie food.

Protein in Cabbage.

How much protein is in cabbage? Just note, I am looking at the protein in 1 cup of raw, shredded cabbage. 0.89 grams of protein is in 1 cup of raw, shredded cabbage.

Fiber in Cabbage.

What is the fiber in cabbage? Why do we care about fiber? Is fiber important for diabetics? Remember I shared earlier in the article how part of my diabetes and prediabetes plan is to encourage high fiber foods?  Fiber helps to slow down the absorption of blood sugar levels. (This is a GOOD thing!) 

Let’s look at the fiber in our cabbage. 1 cup of raw, shredded cabbage has 1.75 grams of fiber.

Glycemic Index of Cabbage.

Is cabbage low on the glycemic index scale? What is the glycemic index of cabbage? The glycemic index (GI) of cabbage equals 15, which classifies it as a low GI food. 

Why does the glycemic index matter with diabetics? 

The glycemic index measures how quickly a food causes our blood sugar to rise. Foods are ranked on a scale of zero to 100. The higher the glycemic index of food means these foods are quickly digested, absorbed, and causing a fast rise in blood sugar levels. On the other hand, foods low in the glycemic index are absorbed at a lower rate.

The glycemic index (GI) rankings are as follows:

  • Low GI food: Under 50
  • Medium GI food: 56-69
  • High GI food: 70 and higher

Is Cabbage Low Carb?

Is cabbage a low carb vegetable? Is cabbage high in carbs? Good news! Cabbage is a low carb vegetable!

What is the carb count of cabbage? 1 cup of raw, shredded cabbage contains 4.06 grams of carbs. 

What are the Net Carbs in Cabbage?

Net carbs can be a bit of a confusing topic. Don’t let it be! The simple definition of a net carb is the amount of carbs (in a product) that the body converts to sugar. Need more of a simple definition? Net carbs are the carbs that are absorbed in the body. The equation is pretty simple:

Net carbs = Total Carbs – Dietary Fiber.

The net carbs in 1 cup of raw, shredded cabbage is 2.36 grams.

Is Cabbage Keto?

Is cabbage keto friendly? Can you include cabbage in a keto diet? Absolutely! Cabbage is a low carb vegetable, and as long as you keep an eye on your carbs, you can include cabbage in your keto plan. 

Now this is important! Make sure you are preparing diabetic and keto friendly cabbage recipes. One of my favorite recipes is my keto cabbage steaks

Research on Cabbage and Diabetes.

This is so exciting! In addition to the fiber in cabbage slowing down the absorption of blood sugar levels (YAH!) RED cabbage contains anthocyanin. Anthocyanin have been found in studies to help to lower blood sugar levels! 

Does Cabbage Increase Blood Sugar?

Cabbage has little effect on your blood sugar levels. With the combination of being a low carb food AND a low glycemic index food, PLUS red cabbage containing anthocyanins, cabbage will not cause your blood sugar levels to spike. 

Is Cabbage Good for Type 2 Diabetics?

Can diabetics have cabbage? YES! In addition to being a low calorie, low carb vegetable, studies show a positive relationship between the consumption of RED cabbage and blood sugar control. 

Which Cabbage is Good for Diabetes?

All cabbage has little effect on your blood sugar levels. With the combination of being a low carb food AND a low glycemic index food, cabbage will not cause your blood sugar levels to spike. 

The red cabbage is the BEST choice for diabetics since it contains anthocyanins. Studies show anthocyanins have been found to help to lower blood sugar levels! 

How to Cook Cabbage for Diabetics.

You can cook cabbage in a variety of ways, including steaming, boiling, air-frying, stir-frying, sautéing, and roasting. Pay close attention to your favorite cabbage recipes to make sure the ingredient list does not include sugar, agave nectar, and honey since these will increase the carb count in your dish. 

Is Boiled Cabbage Good for Diabetics?

Yes, boiled cabbage is good for diabetics. You will be floored how easy it is to make this diabetic cabbage recipe! 

  • Bring a large pot of water to boil. 
  • Add in shredded cabbage. 
  • Boil for 12-15 minutes. 
  • Drain and season with your favorite NO SUGAR seasoning!

Diabetic Cabbage Recipes.

Diabetics and pre diabetics CAN use low carb and cabbage recipes in your diet, HOWEVER, I do encourage you to use extra virgin olive oil (the BEST oil for diabetics).

Some of my favorite diabetic cabbage recipes include:

Can You Eat Cabbage Raw?

Absolutely! If you are shredding a head of cabbage, be sure to wash and blot dry before adding to your low carb wraps and/or salad recipes. Personally, I love to buy raw, shredded cabbage and use it on my low carb wraps.

Check out my video on my favorite way to have raw cabbage with my fat burning cabbage salad.

Cabbage for Diabetics: Shopping, Preparing, Storage.


When buying cabbage, look for tightly packed heads that are heavy with no yellow or loose leaves. Size does not matter when it comes to picking cabbage. Remember, cabbage is available year round, making this the perfect winter vegetables.


Be sure to rinse cabbage in water and remove the first 2 layers of leaves. I encourage you to cut the cabbage into quarters before shredding.


The biggest perk of cabbage is it has an amazing shelf life. Cabbage will stay fresh for a few weeks if stored in the refrigerator. 

Is Cabbage Healthy for Diabetics? Conclusion.

Is cabbage good for diabetics? Can diabetics eat cabbage? YES! This low calorie, low carb, low glycemic index vegetable is great for diabetics. With promising studies showing the relationship between consumption of red cabbage and improved blood sugar control, add this versatile vegetable into your life. From steamed to roasted, the cabbage will not spike blood sugar levels.

Looking for more?

Check out these fabulous articles on foods and diabetes.

Much love, 

Dietitian Shelly

By on October 15th, 2023

About Shelly Marie Redmond

Shelly Marie Redmond, MS, RD, LDN is an award-winning dietitian, author of the Skinny Louisiana cookbook series, and mom of 2. She spends her days counseling individuals with diabetes, prediabetes, PCOS, and hypo/hyperthyroidism. Her passion is developing recipes low on guilt and high on pleasure while improving the health of her patients.

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