Chana, also known as Bengal Gram or Chickpea, is a go-to source of protein for vegetarians and vegans. It is a staple food in Indian households. The high fiber, protein, vitamin and mineral content of chana has many health benefits.
Some of the benefits include weight management and better digestion. But is chana also suitable for someone with diabetes?
Yes, chana is a great breakfast or snack option for people with diabetes. Plus, your blood sugar will stay consistent throughout the day by adding controlled servings of chana to a balanced diet.
Types of Chana
Chana is a legume and is related to beans and peas. They are available in different colors, such as black, brown, green and red. However, the most recognized chana color is beige.
They have a nutty taste and a buttery texture. Today, chana is widespread in all parts of the world, especially in Turkey, North Africa, Spain and India.
There are three types of chana; desi or kala (black) chana, kabuli or safed (white) chana and chana dal. All of them are entirely different from each other in shape, color and taste. You can prepare endless dishes from these three varieties of chana.
Desi chana is known as kala chana (black chickpea), bengal gram or chola boot. He is smaller, darker and has a rougher coat. The green chana you see in the market is desi chana but before its drying process. Desi chana is more preferred because of its taste and smell.
Sprouted kala chana is a nutritious addition to a diabetic meal plan. In addition, sprouting decreases starch content by 10% and increases fiber content.
These are the two reasons why sprouted chana is good for diabetes. You get 15-20g of protein, 45-60g of carbs, and 12-13g of dietary fiber from 100 grams of desi chana.
Kabuli chana, also known as safed chana, is relatively rounder and bigger than the desi type. Their coat is smooth with a lighter color, usually creamy white. This chana absorbs water efficiently and is easy to cook after soaking.
Kabuli Chana has a lower level of fiber than desi. As a result, they are also slightly higher in calories. It comprises 22% protein, 14% fat and 64% carbohydrates.
Chana dal is also known as split yellow gram or split desi chickpea. First, it goes through a process of removing the seed coat. After that, it is split in two.
About 80% of desi chana in India is shelled and split to make chana dal. Most people grind chana dal into gram flour or besan as a diabetes-friendly alternative to regular flour or maida.
Chana dal may look like Arhar dal but contains more vitamin B1, fiber and folate.
Is Chana good for diabetes?
Certain foods can help control your blood sugar, one of them being chana. Here’s why chana is good for diabetes:
Rich in protein
Chana is one of the best sources of vegetable protein for vegetarians and vegans. Moreover, protein is essential for your body, especially for diabetic patients.
A half-cup serving of chana contains 6 grams of protein. A 1 cup (164 g) serving provides 14.5 grams of protein, equivalent to the protein content of lentils and black beans.
Studies show that when diabetic patients eat vegetables rich in protein and fiber before carbohydrates, their blood sugar levels after meals are better controlled. And to research the results indicate that the bioavailability of chana protein in the human body is higher than that of other legumes.
To research suggests that replacing red meat with protein-rich legumes like chickpeas benefits gut health and reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. It also leads to a modest improvement in fasting blood sugar and fasting insulin.
Low glycemic index
Chana is a well-known food with a low glycemic index. As a result, it makes it suitable for diabetes. Chana, including canned ones, has a glycemic index value between 28 and 40.
Eating foods with a low glycemic index prevents large fluctuations in your blood sugar. The low glycemic index carbohydrates in chana ensure a smoother and slower rise in blood sugar after a meal.
Studies also argue that low-GI diets improve glycemic control. It also reduces body weight. Additionally, it is especially beneficial for overweight or obese people with prediabetes or diabetes.
Rich in fiber
Chana is a dietary fiber powerhouse. For people with diabetes looking to lose weight, fiber keeps you full longer and prevents overeating.
The body cannot absorb and break down fiber as quickly as other carbohydrates. Thus, fiber does not raise blood sugar levels as quickly. It helps keep blood sugar within your target range.
Note from The Fitness Freak
Chana is an excellent source of nutrition for diabetic patients as they are rich in fiber and protein. This legume also has a low glycemic index, making it an ideal snack choice for people with diabetes. Additionally, soaked, sprouted, or roasted chana may help reduce calorie intake in obese or overweight people with diabetes.
How to eat Chana for diabetes?
The best part of chana is that you can prepare it in different ways. So you don’t have to eat the same dish every time.
- A healthier option is the kala chana cat. You can chop onion, cucumber, tomatoes and green chillies and mix them with a cup of boiled black chana.
- Boiled and sprouted chana is best for breakfast. A healthy mix of boiled chana and other fresh vegetables will help keep your blood sugar levels balanced throughout the day.
- Hummus is a tasty and nutrient-dense dip or spread made from cooked and mashed chickpeas. A survey to study shows that people who ate chickpeas and hummus had higher nutrient and fiber intakes than non-eaters. Can add a line on adding roasted kala chana as a convenient on-the-go snack.
Another to study says postprandial glycemic responses were four times lower than white bread after consuming hummus. All of these findings indicate that traditional hummus can be part of a balanced diabetic diet.
Manage diabetes like a pro
When you have diabetes, you need to be careful about what you eat and how it will affect your blood sugar.
The HealthifyPRO Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) System offers glucose readings around the clock. Unlike a single reading test, a CGM provides real-time alerts if your glucose levels are trending up or down.
The ongoing feedback about your diet from a CGM can help you make more informed and healthier food choices.
At HealthifyMe, certified trainers offer one-on-one consultations to help you manage your diet and exercise for diabetes control.
Chana is a nutritious source of plant protein and fiber. It is a healthy low glycemic index food to always have on hand.
People with diabetes should have a well-balanced meal plan consisting of protein and fiber. They work together to keep your blood sugar under control. Chana also ensures lower postprandial blood sugar levels.
If you are trying to lose weight to improve insulin resistance, kala chana is a good option. Feel free to enjoy boiled, roasted or sprouted chana up to 2 small bowls a day! However, as with most things, moderation is key. Too much chana can lead to problems, such as stomach discomfort.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. Is white chana good for diabetes?
A. White chana is a nutritious legume suitable for a diabetic diet chart. Being low in the glycemic index, white chana would not cause harmful blood sugar spikes. Apart from protein, white chana is also a good source of dietary fiber. Therefore, people with diabetes, pre-diabetics, people trying to lose weight and everyone can consume chana blanc and benefit from it.
Q. Can a diabetic eat roasted chana?
A. Roasted chana is a healthy snack. Its high fiber and protein content takes longer to digest. As a result, you feel full for long periods of time and avoid thoughtless snacking. It also keeps the blood sugar level at a stable level. Therefore, roasted chana is an ideal snack for diabetics. However, do not add artificial flavors, high calorie seasonings or excess salt when roasting chana.
Q. Does chana reduce sugar?
A. Chana has a low glycemic index. Therefore, it is ideal for regulating blood sugar after meals. Plus, its high fiber and protein content helps prevent blood sugar spikes. As a result, this makes chana an excellent choice for people with diabetes looking to manage their condition.
Q. Is boiled kala chana good for diabetics?
A. Yes, boiled kala chana is good for diabetes. A serving of black or kala chana provides nearly 13 grams of dietary fiber. A high fiber intake contributes to better blood sugar management.
Q. Does Channa raise blood sugar?
A. Chana has a low glycemic index and is high in fiber and protein. Therefore, it does not raise blood sugar levels. However, the benefits will only be present if you eat chana correctly and in the right amounts. Eating chana with a high carbohydrate diet will not benefit your blood sugar management.
Q. What are the disadvantages of chana?
A. Eating chana in the recommended amounts will not cause any side effects. However, excessive consumption can increase allergic reactions, gas, bloating and discomfort. Like most legumes, soak and cook chana to avoid toxicity.
Sources of support
1. Imai S, Fukui M, Kajiyama S. Effect of vegetable before carbohydrate consumption on glucose excursions in patients with type 2 diabetes. J Clin Biochem Nutr. 2014;54(1):7-11. doi:10.3164/jcbn.13-67
2. Technological, processing and nutritional aspects of chickpea (Cicer arietinum). 2021
3. Viguiliouk E, Stewart SE, Jayalath VH, et al. Effect of replacing animal protein with plant protein on glycemic control in diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Nutrients. 2015;7(12):9804-9824. Published December 1, 2015. doi:10.3390/nu7125509
4. Mohammad Ishraq Zafar, Kerry E Mills, Juan Zheng, Anita Regmi, Sheng Qing Hu, Luoning Gou, Lu-Lu Chen, Low-glycemic diets as an intervention for diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis, The American Journal of Clinical Nutritionvolume 110, issue 4, October 2019, pages 891–902.
5. O’Neil CE, Nicklas TA, Fulgoni III VL (2014) Chickpeas and hummus are associated with better nutrient intake, diet quality and levels of some cardiovascular risk factors: a national survey on health and nutrition 2003-2010. J Nutr Food Sci 4:254.
6. Wallace TC, Murray R, Zelman KM. The nutritional value and health benefits of chickpeas and hummus. Nutrients. 2016;8(12):766. Published November 29, 2016. doi:10.3390/nu8120766