Nutrition

Best Flour for People With Diabetes

Reviewed by

Shifa Fathima

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 individuals with diabetes? Which flour can be consumed without causing a spike in your blood sugar? 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.

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.

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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.

Healthy Substitutes

Which flour is good for individuals with 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 individuals with 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.

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