Lifestyle and Wellness for Patients and Families living with Glycogen Storage Diseases

Glycogen Storage Disease Super Foods: Taking Charge of Your Health Through Food

You may have seen the word “superfood” used on social media, on food packages, or in advertisements. It is a marketing term used to promote a food thought to have “extra” health benefits. However, there is no official definition of the word by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA regulates the health claims allowed on food labels to ensure there is scientific research to support the claims.

However, our list of “superstar” foods below are rich in protein, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. They are good for overall health and specially for patients with Glycogen Storage Disease. 


Superstar Non-Starchy Vegetables

Non-starchy vegetables plate

According to the Nutritional Guidelines, non-starchy vegetables should be make up half of your meal.


Dark green leafy vegetables  

Packed with vitamins and minerals such as vitamins A, C, K, and folate; iron; calcium; and potassium, these foods are low in calories and carbohydrates and fit on the non-starchy vegetables section of the GSD Plate. Additionally, try adding dark leafy vegetables like spinach, collards, and kale to salads, soups, and stews.


This nutrient-packed food is important for contributing fat-soluble vitamins and fiber and can help you feel full. Avocados are not only versatile and delicious, they also provide a heart-healthy source of fat to the GSD Plate.


Superstar Protein Foods

Protein foods graphic on plate

According to the Nutritional Guidelines, protein foods should fill up one quarter of your plate. 


Beans, Dried Peas, & Legumes

These foods are plant-based protein superstars because they are packed with fiber, folate, potassium, iron, and zinc. There are different kinds of beans like kidney, pinto, navy, or black beans, and legumes like chickpeas, split peas, and lentils that all offer a host of nutrient-packed benefits.

These plant-based proteins do contain carbohydrates, but ½ cup also provides as much protein as an ounce of meat without the saturated fat. To save time, you can use canned beans. But be sure to drain and rinse them to get rid of as much added salt as possible. Choosing dry beans, peas, and legumes are not only affordable, but you can personalize them with your own flavors.

IMPORTANT: Don’t forget to factor in the carb count when adding beans, dried peas, and legumes to your plate, as they contribute to your carbohydrate intake.

Fish High in Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fats may help reduce the risk of heart disease and inflammation. Fish high in these healthy fats are sometimes referred to as “fatty fish.” Salmon is well known in this group and other fish high in omega-3 are herring, sardines, mackerel, trout, and albacore tuna

Choose fish that is broiled, baked, or grilled to avoid extra carbohydrate and calories that would be in fish that is breaded and fried. Try eating fatty fish at least twice a week to get the nutritional benefits.


An ounce of nuts can go a long way in getting key healthy fats, magnesium, and fiber and can help manage hunger. Some nuts and seeds, such as walnuts and flax seeds, are also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. Try roasting and seasoning your own nuts to cut down on the added sodium of prepared nuts.


Superstar Carbohydrate Foods

Carbohydrate foods on portion plate

Whole Grains

Whole grains are rich in vitamins and minerals like B vitamins, magnesium, iron, and manganese. They are a great source of fiber too. Look for products that have the first ingredient with the word “whole” in it. Some examples of whole grains include whole oats, quinoa, barley, farro, and whole wheat.

Brown Rice

Brown rice contains fiber, which helps with blood sugar control and weight management.

Pasta, Bulgur

Bulgur wheat is a low calorie whole grain that provides various nutrients and is an especially good source of manganese, magnesium, iron, protein, and fiber. Adding it to your diet may help to improve blood sugar control, heart health and digestion.


In Glycogen Storage Disease (GSD), managing carbohydrate intake is crucial due to the impaired ability to break down glycogen. It’s recommended to limit carbohydrate intake to 10-15 grams per meal and 5-10 grams per snack. This restriction helps prevent the accumulation of glycogen in tissues and organs, which can lead to various health complications associated with GSD. By carefully monitoring and restricting carbs, individuals with GSD can better manage their condition and minimize symptoms.


How to Shop for Superstar Foods on a Budget

Eating healthy doesn’t have to be expensive. Shop your local markets for foods and produce that is in season or on sale. Vegetables in other forms (frozen, canned, or dried) are great choices, just be sure to select ones without added sugar or sauces. Rinse canned vegetables to help reduce sodium. Look for frozen or canned fish and lower sodium nuts. Dry beans and legumes and whole grains you cook from scratch are affordable and allow you to personalize with your favorite flavors.


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