Diabetes is a lifestyle-related medical condition. However, it can be controlled with dietary interventions. Your body gets glucose from what you eat, which means the foods you eat have a direct impact on your blood sugar levels.
Research shows that diet is a slower but effective process for controlling diabetes. Indeed, dietary measures typically include controlling the consumption of foods that cause blood sugar spikes, such as sugary drinks and processed foods.
Idlis are a healthy and wholesome option for breakfast. They are oil-free, easy to digest, provide energy and are easy to digest. However, people are confused about the calories and health attributes of this dish, raising questions about whether it is an ideal addition to a diabetic diet.
Scroll down to find out!
Idli – The nutritional overview
Idli is one of the lightest and healthiest dishes, usually made with rice and urad dal along with black lentils in some batter variations. Although low in calories, studies show that eating idli for breakfast keeps you full for a long time.
It is also rich in protein, carbohydrates, fiber and iron. It is also excellent for digestion due to the fermentation process, where it quickly breaks down vitamins and minerals.
here is a research-based nutritional overview of an Idli (made from millet).
- Calories: 58 calories
- Carbohydrates: 52mg
- Dietary fiber: 12g
- Protein: 1.6g
- Sodium: 75mg
- Potassium: 41mg
- Total fat: 0.4 g
Idli glycemic index
Food provides the body with energy by entering the bloodstream in the form of glucose. This means that different foods raise blood sugar levels at different rates.
The glycemic index ranks these foods based on how quickly they raise guar levels. The higher the GI value, the faster the blood sugar will rise.
Skipping breakfast is associated with poor glycemic control in people with diabetes. Your breakfast is essential to your well-being in terms of macronutrients.
Studies revealed that the glycemic index of idli is 60-70, which is relatively high for diabetic patients.
Experts recommend consuming foods with a GI score below 55 for a healthy and sustainable lifestyle. However, one can substitute idli rice with rava and oats as more nutritious options for daily intake.
Idli for Diabetes – The Connection
According to research, Type 2 diabetes is an important non-communicable disease whose prevalence is increasing worldwide. Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body does not produce enough insulin or cannot use the insulin it produces.
Type 2 diabetes is the leading cause of premature death. In addition, poorly managed, it can lead to several health problems. These include heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, blindness, nerve damage, leg and foot amputations, and death.
Type 2 diabetes or adult-onset diabetes is the most common type of diabetes. It usually starts when a person is in their 50s, but diabetes is not inevitable.
Minor changes in your lifestyle can significantly reduce your chances of contracting this disease. Therefore, to prevent this condition, it is worth working on the modifiable factors that influence its development – lifestyle and eating habits. With proper testing, treatment and lifestyle changes, healthy eating as a strategy, and the promotion of walking, exercise, and other physical activities, diabetes can be managed.
Idli made from rice tends to raise blood sugar levels. White rice is one of the carbohydrate-rich foods that can cause obesity and raise your sugar level.
HealthifyMe experts suggest consuming foods that are high in fiber and low in fat, such as idli made from wheat, rawa, ragi, or oats.
Eating idli with a mix of dals and vegetable sambar makes it a healthier option. It can control blood sugar levels due to the protein content, slowing the rise in blood sugar levels.
What does the research say?
The slow protein digestion mechanism can keep you full longer while slowly releasing glucose into the bloodstream. Therefore, pairing high GI foods with foods high in fiber and protein lowers and balances the GI to a healthy level.
Research also shows that idli is rich in iron, which promotes blood oxygenation. Moreover, it has no cholesterol. As a result, it effectively reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases and strokes. On the other hand, idli (made from red rice or oats) is not fattening (because it is steamed) and is an excellent choice for weight loss.
Research says that obesity is the main causative factor of diabetes mellitus. Idli has no fats or cholesterol. However, this does not mean that they should be consumed in large quantities. Idli is prepared by steaming instead of using oil, which prevents bad cholesterol from forming in your body and abnormal sugar spikes.
Moreover, the most auspicious time to eat idli for excellent benefits is during breakfast. Nevertheless, consuming one or two idlis with vegetables for dinner can stop hunger pangs.
The research found that people who make healthier breakfast choices like oats and protein are more likely to control their blood sugar and weight.
The HealthifyPro CGM (Continuous Glucose Monitor) is a wearable device that helps you effortlessly calculate your body’s real-time glucose levels.
Powered by AI and coach interventions, this innovative technology allows you to better understand your body. It can tell you how each food combination affects your blood sugar.
Healthy ways to consume idli for diabetes
- You can eat rava idli instead of idli rice to control your sugar level.
- Eating small portions of idlis can help a person with diabetes maintain weight and blood sugar levels.
- Eat idlis with sambar or protein-rich chutney. Mix idli batter with healthy vegetables like carrots or beans to add fiber and vitamins to your diet.
- Opt for masala idli, made with onions and spices, for extra nutrients and flavor.
Idlis are a healthy breakfast option as they are low in calories. It is suitable for people with diabetes. It can be part of weight loss plans. However, excess calories and carbohydrates should be avoided. Therefore, always eat a homemade idlis or two with a bowl of sambhar, chutney, and curd to get the right combination of carbs, protein, fat, and fiber on your plate.
White rice contains high starch carbohydrates and can cause sudden spikes in the postprandial state. Instead of a traditional rice recipe, you can use alternatives to prepare them.
Oats are considered one of the superfoods for diabetes. It is high in fiber, which plays an important role in managing blood sugar fluctuations. You can pair them with simple chutneys or add chopped vegetables to the batter for a nutritious breakfast.
Moong Dal Idli
This versatile dal can add nutritional value to your regular idli breakfast, making it more delicious and diabetic-friendly. In addition, it has a low glycemic index of 38. In addition, it has an excellent protein and fiber content, essential for ideal blood sugar levels.
Research shows that ragi contains fiber, calcium, protein and vitamin D, as well as various antioxidants and minerals. Therefore, it is an excellent choice for diabetes management.
Palak – Moong Idli
Palak moong idli is known for its high protein content. As a result, it can slow down digestion and reduce the rise in blood sugar levels. Moreover, the spinach (palak) contained in the paste also has low GI value and vitamin C, which can control diabetes.
Benefits of Idli for Diabetic Patients
- low calorie – Idli is steamed; therefore, the dish is low in calories, as it is not fried in oil or does not contain oil in its preparation.
- Good for digestion – Studies show that fermentation makes idlis easily digestible. It is easy to break down and process nutrients naturally. It speeds up digestion. The lactic acid in these fermented foods can alter the pH level to promote better health and long life.
- High in fiber – The high fiber content of idlis will keep you full longer and prevent overeating or bad eating habits. It also facilitates smooth digestion, promoting weight loss in people with diabetes.
- Rich in iron – Idli is rich in iron thanks to the addition of lentils which can meet your daily nutritional requirements of 8 milligrams for men and 18 milligrams for women.
- Controls carbohydrates – Experts suggest that eating steamed idli with juice from citrus fruits like oranges can burn fat and prevent the buildup of carbohydrates in the body, thus effectively preventing blood sugar spikes.
Potential Side Effects of Excessive Idli Consumption
- Idli is one of the fermented foods which is generally healthy. However, overconsumption can cause acidity in some people, causing heartburn, burping, bloating, and cramping.
- Excessive consumption of the fermented dish is an unhealthy diet option for people with diabetes. Additionally, it can raise blood sugar levels, especially if prepared with white rice batter due to its high GI.
- Adding rava can lead to allergic reactions such as stomach cramps, vomiting and nausea. Additionally, Rava is high in gluten, which is harmful for gluten-sensitive people.
Diabetes is a lifelong condition. But the Indian palate likes certain carbs. Therefore, eating idli made from wheat, rava, ragi or oats instead of rice is a healthier option. Moreover, it can keep the blood sugar level at an even level.
Making nutritious food choices and an active lifestyle are key to maintaining healthy blood sugar levels. It ensures general well-being while reducing the risk of diabetes-related complications.
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