which flour is best for diabetes
Nutrition

Best Flours for Diabetes

What do tasty treats like biscuits, muffins, cookies, and bread have in common? They are high in carbohydrates and have the tendency to increase your blood sugar. These tasty treats are made with refined or wheat flour. However, these flours are high on the glycemic index (GI), leading to a spike in blood sugar levels. Which flour is good for diabetes? Amaranth, atta and ragi are good flours to use in case you are a diabetic. Atta from these flours have low in carbohydrate content, A diabetes people can consume this flour to maintain normal blood sugar levels. This article will cover various low-glycemic flours like almond flour, ragi atta, amaranth atta, barley or jau ka atta, chane ka atta, and oat flour, their benefits, and dishes that can be prepared from them. Recipes can be modified by substituting high carbohydrate flours with low carbohydrate flours, thus making a diabetes-friendly dish.

How do Flours Affect Diabetics?

Flours are primarily rich in fiber and help people manage their diabetes. Fiber-rich food has a low GI, and doesn’t contain high levels of digestible carbohydrates. It makes the body take longer hours to digest the food. As a result of this slow digestion process, there are a gradual rise in your blood sugar (glucose) levels. Since flours are high in fiber, they are more filling and prevent frequent snacking urges. It works exceptionally well in lowering your daily calorie intake.

If you have low GI flour, it will never cause blood sugar (glucose) spikes because they are rich in protein. Besides protein, flours are also rich in minerals, vitamins, and other essential nutrients beneficial to your body.

Here are the Best Flours for Diabetics:

1. Almond Flour

Almond flour, derived from finely ground almonds, has a low glycemic index (less than 1). It is low in carbohydrates and high in protein and fiber. It also provides fats that are good for your heart. Flavor-wise, it is nutty and mild, making it a great alternative to regular flour when making cookies, breads, and biscuits. However, you should remember that being gluten-free, it imparts a denser texture to foods. Gluten is a protein that helps baked goods rise and imparts elasticity to dough. One cup of almond flour can replace one cup of regular flour.

2. Ragi Atta

Ragi, or finger millet flour, is gluten-free. It is a rich source of calcium and vitamin D, which helps bones get strong. Ragi flour is also high in fiber, which keeps you full for a longer period, thus, helping you lose weight and control your blood sugar. It also helps reduce inflammation that is sometimes seen in diabetes. Ragi can be substituted for regular flour to make bread, cookies, malpua, roti, and dosa.

3. Amaranth Atta

Amaranth atta, a non-gluten atta, is rich in fiber. In total, 100 grams of amaranth flour provides 2 grams of fiber. This helps one feel full for a longer duration. Fiber also helps in the control of blood sugar. Amaranth decreases the hunger-stimulating hormone, ghrelin, which helps one lose weight by reducing the intake of food. Though amaranth has a high glycemic index (approximately 107), when combined with low GI food like wheat flour, it can reduce the GI of amaranth flour to 25. Thus, due to its nutritional benefits, it is great for individuals with diabetes. Amaranth can be included in a diet by making cookies or rotis along with a mix of wheat flour.

4. Barley or Jau Ka Atta

Barley or jau ka atta is made from dried and ground barley. It increases gut hormones, boosting one’s metabolism, which helps one lose weight. It also reduces inflammation which mostly accompanies diabetes. Barley is also rich in fiber, which helps in control of blood sugar. Barley flour contains 61% of the recommended daily value of magnesium, which helps in the control of sugar and regulation of insulin in the body. This also helps with diabetes. With a GI of 53–66, it falls in the low to mid range. Barley flour can be used to make bread, pancakes, muffins, and rolls. By substituting half of the flour recipe with barley flour, there will be an increase in moisture in the baked items.

5. Chane Ka Atta

Chickpea flour, also known as besan, gram, or garbanzo bean flour, is made from Bengal gram. It is gluten-free and rich in plant-based fiber. This soluble plant fiber reduces cholesterol and slows down the absorption of blood sugar, leading to a good blood sugar control. It has a GI of 44, making it a low-range food. Chane ka atta can be used for breads, pizzas, and even desserts when mixed with chocolate. They can also be used for making fruity breads like banana bread or pumpkin bread. One-fourth of normal flour can be substituted with chickpea flour due to its strong taste.

6. Oat Flour

Oat flour can be made by blending oats in a food processor or mixer. With a GI of 44, oat flour is in the low range. It is gluten-free and high in fiber. Oat flour also contains a specific fiber called beta glucan which helps decrease blood sugar. It has a nutty flavor and softens and provides a unique texture to baked goods. Oat flour can be used for making breads, cookies, waffles, and pancakes. For best results, one cup of regular flour can be substituted with 1 1/3 cups of oat flour.

7. Jackfruit Flour

Replacing your regular wheat flour with Jackfruit flour can help you stay fairly healthy and boost your energy levels for most parts of the day. Made using unripe green jackfruits, this is the best atta for diabetics you can include in your diet. The best part about this flour is it doesn’t contain a sweet taste generally associated with fruit and is free from any strong aroma.

This flour is low in calories and high in fiber. If you include this flour in your regular diet, it can help you reduce your HbA1C levels. For the uninitiated, HbA1C or glycated hemoglobin is a form of hemoglobin chemically linked to your blood sugar (glucose).    

8. Nut Flower

In simple terms, nut flour is nothing but nuts grounded up. It is why nut flour retains its full nutritional value. It even has a lower GI compared to the glycemic index of rice flour and most other commonly used flour. You can prepare this flour using any nut of your choice. Hazelnuts, cashews, almonds, and pistachio are some nuts you can finely grind to prepare healthy flour.

Regular use of 100% pure nut flour can help reduce your Type 2 diabetes symptoms and lower your blood sugar levels. You can consider nut flour as the perfect alternative to all-purpose flour.   

9. Buckwheat Flour

Buckwheat is considered the healthiest, most versatile, and nuttiest whole grain. Due to its nutritional profile, it is primarily used in baking gluten-free products. It can also be used to make pancakes, unleavened bread, noodles, roti, or any other item of your choice. In terms of appearance, it looks like free-flowing grey-to-white powder with black speckles.

Buckwheat flour has a lower GI than oat flour glycemic index, so you can consider picking buckwheat flour over oats flour. Since this flour is gluten-free, it adds a distinct texture to your food items. If you are baking cakes or cookies, buckwheat flour can add moisture to these items.   

10. Soy Flour

Obtained by grinding pure roasted soybeans, soy flour is considered a healthy flour option for people with diabetes. If you like baking healthy items, adding soy flour can significantly boost the item’s nutritional profile, particularly the protein content. It also improves the texture through lipid oxidation.

Soy flour is rich in isoflavones which help lower cholesterol and blood glucose levels. It even improves your body’s blood sugar tolerance by improving insulin sensitivity. It is a less common option than almond flour, but it has a very low GI and contains numerous essential nutrients. The difference in the glycemic index of almond flour and soy flour is meager, so you can consider having any one of these flours.

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Glycemic Index of the Flours

The best flour for diabetics is the one with a low GI. To help you pick the right flour for your diabetes-friendly diet, we have shared below the glycemic index of all the flours considered healthy for diabetics.

Glycemic Index (GI) of Flours
Flour Name GI Value GI Range
Almond Flour < 1 Low GI (1 to 55)
Ragi Flour 59 Medium GI (56 to 69)
Amarnath Flour 25 (when mixed with wheat flour) Low GI (1 to 55)
Barley Flour 28 Low GI (1 to 55)
Chickpeas Flour 44 Low GI (1 to 55)
Oats Flour 44 Low GI (1 to 55)
Jackfruit Flour 50 to 60 Low to medium
Nut Flour < 1 Low GI (1 to 55)
Buckwheat Flour 35 Low GI (1 to 55)
Soy Flour 5 Low GI (1 to 55)

Now that you’re aware of the glycemic index of flours considered healthy for diabetes, you can include them in your diet without worry.

Flours to Avoid if You Have Diabetes

People with diabetes should avoid flours low in fiber, high in carbohydrates, and low in healthy fats. Some examples of unhealthy flour for diabetics include white rice flour, cornflour, all-purpose flour, cake flour, and pastry flour. 

Healthy Substitutes

Which flour is good for diabetes? In answer to that question, other than substituting low-GI flours, certain substitutions can also be made as follows.

  • Sourdough is healthy because the yeast produces gut bacteria that responds well to a rise in blood sugar.
  • When baking, use the sourdough method to help lower the GI of certain flours. This has proven to reduce GI by 20 points. It also helps keep your blood sugar under control when consuming food items containing this flour.
  • Instead of a bun, a lettuce leaf or grilled eggplant can be used to reduce carbohydrates.

Bottomline

For those with diabetes, there are many low-GI flours that can be substituted with regular flour to provide wholesome, nutritional, yet tasty dishes. So, which flour is good for diabetes? Look for flours that are low in carbohydrates, high in fiber, heart-healthy fats, and protein. The list above presents a few examples of flours that can be substituted in your favorite recipes. The following flours that should be avoided or used infrequently are corn flour, all-purpose flour, pastry flour, rice flour, and cake flour. If you wish to bring your blood sugar under control, flours that are low in carbohydrates and have a low GI are best for you. The best way to identify how each flour affects your blood sugar is to check it more frequently. Checking your blood sugar before starting a new flour in your diet is vital. After introducing a new flour into your diet, it is imperative that you check your blood sugar every two hours after consuming the food item to check whether your blood sugar is in the desirable range. Do consult your doctor before substituting any of the flours mentioned above.

FAQs

Is wheat flour good for diabetes?

Whole grain wheat flour is considered good for a person with diabetes as it has a glycemic index of 54. The overall glycemic load is also low – 11.5. Since whole-grain wheat is a good source of magnesium that helps in the secretion of insulin, it is the best flour for diabetes among many others.

Which are the Low gi flour for people with diabetes

Some of the most beneficial options for flours with a low glycemic index that can be useful for people with diabetes would be – almond flour, chickpea flour, oats flour, coconut flour, etc. These can be used along with whole-grain wheat flour in different recipes like – chilla, cakes, mug cakes, Rotis, etc.

How to make diabetic atta at home?

To make the best flour for diabetes – 1 kg at home, you can combine the following – bajra atta (400g), ragi atta (150g), rajgira atta (100g), jau atta (100g), chana atta (100g), and soya bean atta (150g). Mix these well and store in an airtight container.

Which Flour is Good for Diabetes?

Buckwheat flour, amaranth flour, and ragi flour are considered the best flour for diabetes. These are low in carbohydrates and effective at maintaining healthy blood sugar levels. If you want healthier flour options for diabetics, consider getting almond flour, oats flour, soy flour, barley flour, and chickpeas flour. You can easily use more than one of these flours to maintain variety in your diabetes-friendly diet.  

Is Oat Flour Good for Diabetics?

Yes, oat flour is good for diabetics. This flour is rich in protein, fiber, and contains beta glucan. For the uninitiated beta glucan is a special fiber known to decrease blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. Replacing wheat flour with oats flour can help diabetes patients control their cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

Which is the Healthiest Flour for Weight Loss?

Almond flour is the healthiest flour for weight loss. Unlike most other flours, almond flour is rich in protein, low in carbohydrates, and contains plenty of essential nutrients like iron, calcium, magnesium, vitamin E, healthy fats, and more. Since this flour is gluten-free, it can be consumed by diabetes patients who mostly rely on gluten-free food.

Is Sourdough Good for Diabetics?

Yes, sourdough is good for diabetics. It is generally a part of most balanced diets followed by people around the globe. Sourdough can help people manage their blood sugar levels and provide numerous other health benefits. Sourdough contains a decent amount of potassium, phosphorus, manganese, iron, niacin, vitamin E, folate, riboflavin, and other nutrients essential for maintaining a healthy body and health.  

Does Almond Flour Spike Blood Sugar?

No, almond flour doesn’t spike blood sugar. It contains low GI and fewer carbohydrates and sugars. It has a low GI of less than or equal to 1, so it won’t spike your blood sugar (glucose) levels. If you have diabetes, replacing your regular wheat flour with almond flour can help improve your blood sugar levels.  

Is Almond Flour Good for Diabetics?

Yes, almond flour is good for diabetics. This low-GI food boasts a rich nutritional profile, so you can easily add it to your daily diabetes-friendly diet. Making it a part of your daily diet will help you reduce bad cholesterol levels and improve your insulin resistance. Almond flour is rich in manganese, healthy fat, copper, protein, phosphorus, magnesium, dietary fiber, Vitamin E, etc., so your body gets the required nutrients to perform in a healthy manner.

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