Diabetic but a foodie? Your food preferences matter big time while managing diabetes. Choosing healthy ingredients for your diet is key to controlling your blood sugar levels. Do you know which flour is good for diabetics? Did you know that the flour you choose for your meals can make a difference? Yes! If you are a diabetic, opting for the right flour matters. Read more.
How do Flours Affect Diabetics?
Flours are rich in fibre. Adding fibre to your diet is a great way to manage diabetes. Foods that are high in fibre generally have a low glycemic index (GI, a value assigned to a particular food based on how quickly it raises your blood glucose levels after consumption). This is because they do not contain high amounts of digestible carbohydrates and thus take longer for the body to digest. This results in a slower digestion process and a more gradual rise in blood sugar levels.
High-fibre foods also tend to be more filling as fibre absorbs water and increases in volume in the stomach. It thus keeps you full for long periods, avoiding the need for frequent snacking and lowering your calorie intake. Flours are also a good source of proteins.
Proteins do not cause a considerable spike in your blood sugar levels after consumption and therefore flours containing protein are beneficial in diabetics. Flours are also a good source of vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients that can benefit your overall health.
Know the 7 Best Flours for Diabetes
1. Chickpea Flour
Chickpea flour or besan is made by blending dried chickpeas or garbanzo beans. It has a rich nutty flavour that is suitable for both sweet and savoury dishes. Chickpea flour has a high protein content that helps improve insulin sensitivity. This helps your cells utilise insulin better and thus regulates your blood sugar levels.
Chickpea flour is also a rich source of soluble fibre. Soluble fiber is a type of fibre that dissolves in water to form a gel-like substance, slowing down digestion in the process. It thus prevents a spike in your blood sugar levels after consumption.
2. Ragi Flour
Ragi (Eleusine coracana), also known as finger millet, is the most suitable alternative for your normal atta that is rich in carbohydrates. Ragi is high in dietary fibre, which makes it suitable for diabetics.
Foods that are high in fibre keep you full for longer, satiating your hunger pangs and lowering your calorie intake. Fibre also slows down your digestion, leading to a gradual spike in your blood sugar levels.
3. Jackfruit Flour
Using jackfruit flour is a good way to control your blood sugar levels. Made out of green unripe jackfruits, this flour has no sweet taste or strong aroma of the fruit. It helps you to stay healthy and energetic the whole day.
It is low in calories and high in fibre. Regular consumption of jackfruit flour helps reduce your HbA1c (glycated haemoglobin) levels. It is a form of haemoglobin that is chemically linked to blood sugar.
4. Multigrain Flour
Multigrain flour or atta is made using a combination of grains such as wheat, ragi, oats, chana dal, maize, and soya bean. For diabetics, multigrain atta proves to be a great replacement for all-purpose flour (maida).
The high fibre content in it promotes digestion and also helps lower your blood sugar levels by slowing down the release of glucose into the bloodstream. It is also low in carbohydrates, making it apt for diabetics.
5. Oats Flour
Oats flour can be made by simply blending rolled oats in a blender. Oats are a great source of vitamins, minerals, fibre, and antioxidants and one of the healthiest grains that you can include in your diet.
Oats contain a large amount of beta-glucan, which is a type of soluble fibre. It helps improve insulin sensitivity and thereby reduces your blood glucose levels. Oats flour is also beneficial in lowering your cholesterol levels and in promoting weight loss.
6. Nut Flour
Nut flour is essentially nuts that are ground up. Nut flour, therefore, retains the nutritional value of the nuts. It can be prepared with any nut of your choice such as cashews, almonds or hazelnuts. Nut flour is a rich source of fibre, proteins, and healthy fats.
Regular use of nut flour lowers the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and lowers blood sugar levels in diabetics. It is a perfect alternative to your regular all-purpose flour and is the right choice for diabetics.
Millets are a group of small seed grains that resemble pearls. The different types of millets include finger millet (ragi), foxtail millet (kakum/kangni), pearl millet (bajra), sorghum millet (jowar), etc. These millets are ground to produce a fine flour.
Millets are loaded with fibre, vitamins, and minerals. They are a good source of complex carbohydrates that are digested slowly and thus help in controlling your blood sugar levels. Millets also have a low glycemic index, making them apt for use in diabetics.
Here’s a comparison of glycemic index of different flours
50 to 60
29 to 45
Flours That Diabetics Should Avoid
With diabetes, you can avoid flours that are high in carbohydrates, and low in fibre and healthy fats. This includes flours such as all-purpose flour, white rice flour, and cornflour. These flours can increase your blood sugar levels
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- Flours are rich in fibre. Adding fibre to your diet is a great way to manage diabetes. Foods that are high in fibre generally have a low glycemic index (GI, a value assigned to a particular food based on how quickly it raises your blood glucose levels after consumption).
- High-fibre foods also tend to be more filling as fibre absorbs water and increases in volume in the stomach. It thus keeps you full for long periods, avoiding the need for frequent snacking and lowering your calorie intake.
- High-protein flours are beneficial in diabetics because proteins do not cause a considerable spike in your blood sugar levels after consumption.
- The best flours for diabetes include chickpea flour, jackfruit flour, ragi flour, multigrain flour, oats flour, nut flour, and millet flour. These flours are low in carbohydrates and high in fibre. Regular consumption of these flours helps in controlling your blood sugar levels.
- With diabetes, you can avoid flours that are high in carbohydrates, and low in fibre and healthy fats. This includes flours such as all-purpose flour, white rice flour, and cornflour.
- Use the Phable Care App to consult India’s leading diabetologists, order medicines, book lab tests, integrate blood sugar monitoring and other devices to get real-time remote care from the comfort of your home. Also, check out our Diabetes Management Program which provides 360º care. Let’s treat diabetes together.
Whole wheat flour is a good option for diabetics as it is a rich source of dietary fibre that helps in controlling your blood sugar levels. It also has a low glycemic index, which makes it apt for use in diabetics.
Yes! You can consume flour if you have diabetes. However, make sure that you choose flours that are low in carbohydrates, and high in fibre and protein, such as oats, chickpea, ragi, nut flour, and multigrain flour. Avoid flours such as all-purpose flour, white rice flour, and corn flour. These are high in carbohydrates and low in fibre and healthy fats. Thus, they can lead to a sudden rise in your blood sugar levels.
Diabetes can avoid the use of cornflour as it is high in carbohydrates and has a high glycemic index. Diabetics should choose flours that are low in carbohydrates, and high in fibre such as oats, chickpea, and ragi flour.
Bajra (pearl millet) flour is an excellent choice for diabetics as it has a low glycemic index and therefore does not cause a significant rise in your blood sugar levels after consumption. It is also rich in dietary fibre, which is beneficial in controlling your blood sugar levels.
Jowar (sorghum) flour is one of the healthiest options for diabetics. Jowar has a low glycemic index and is rich in fibre. It can be used to make rotis, cheelas, and dosas.
Soy is rich in isoflavones (plant-derived compounds) that have anti-diabetic properties. It helps in improving insulin sensitivity, making your cells use up more glucose and reducing blood glucose levels. These compounds also keep you energised throughout the day and enhance your mood. Thus, soy flour is a good choice for diabetics.