Is Sabudana Good for Diabetes?
Sabudana or sago are pearl extracts from the tapioca plant. It is native to Asia, South America, and Africa. It is consumed all over India as a fasting food due to its high-calorie content. Individuals with diabetes have high blood sugar levels and need food rich in fibre and good carbohydrates that help reduce blood sugar levels. Individuals with diabetes can consume Sabudana as it is an essential source of carbohydrates and helps in the digestive process.
Sabudana is made of starch obtained from the tapioca plant. This starch is processed and made into small spheres to be ready for consumption. The Nutritional profile of 100 grams of Sabudana is as below
Things to Keep in Mind Before Consuming Sabudana
- All foods have a glycemic index, or the amount of sugar or carbohydrates in the food that determines the impact on blood sugar level after consumption. It should generally be less than 55 to count as a low sugar forming food. The glycemic index of Sabudana falls in the medium Glycemic Index category of 55-69, with a value of 67.
- Carbohydrates in sabudana get converted into glucose and sucrose, which spike blood sugar levels. When eaten in moderation, insulin and other substances in the body help regulate blood sugar level spikes. Individuals with insulin deficiency must consult a physician or dietician before consuming sabudana.
- Fibre helps to regulate the function of the intestines in digestion and excretion of waste products from the body.
- Sabudana is also a good source of calcium that helps form bone tissue.
- A bowl of sabudana contains 358 kcal, making it an instant source of energy during bodily stresses and fasting periods.
Advantages of Sabudana for Diabetes
- Cardiovascular health: Sabudana contains potassium, which is essential in regulating blood pressure. Relatively low sodium content in sabudana makes it good heart function.
- Intestinal health: Fibre and some forms of carbohydrates, along with water, help maintain a balance between the number of nutrients absorbed and retained by the intestines and the waste products thrown out of the body. It is also a gluten-free food, which is essential for individuals with gluten intolerance. Thus, sabudana helps prevent constipation and maintains good nutrition in individuals with celiac disease (gluten intolerance).
- Osteoporosis: Calcium forms the crux of our bones. It helps in new bone formation. Elderly individuals with diabetes may have weak bones due to age-related osteoporosis. Sabudana consumption in moderation may help build strong bones and prevent osteoporotic fractures.
- Source of energy: Due to its high carbohydrate content, sabudana is a high-calorie food. On consumption, carbohydrates are converted to form energy-providing calories. Individuals with diabetes may benefit from sabudana before a workout or walking session.
- Weight loss: Fats are present in negligible quantities in sabudana and therefore are suitable for individuals who are overweight or obese and struggle to reduce weight. Diabetes may cause weight gain, and sabudana may help control weight. It provides an excellent satiety value and makes you feel full for a longer time.
Ways to Consume Sabudana
Sabudana is a versatile food. It has been used to add nutrition to food products like dough and sauces. It can be used to make sweet and savoury dishes like
- Sabudana Khichdi
- Sabudana Bhel
- Sabudana Papad
- Sabudana Vada
- Sabudana Kheer
- Sabudana Thalipeeth
Sabudana khichadi is good for diabetes.
Desserts made with sabudana may not be recommended for diabetes due to the high amount of sugar used for preparation. Also, fried sabudana should be consumed in moderation as it increases unsaturated fats in the blood. Fortified sabudana helps in improving insulin sensitivity. Sabudana must be soaked overnight, and should ideally be eaten with vegetables to enhance its nutritional value.
When to Consume Sabudana?
Being a high-calorie food, sabudana should be eaten in breakfast or lunch for it to be digested during daily activities. The energy produced after eating should be used up. It should not be consumed at dinner. It is usually eaten during fasting periods but can also be consumed before a workout session.
Risks of Overconsumption
Sabudana may cause adverse effects like indigestion and hyperglycemia when consumed in unmoderated quantities. Individuals who are pregnant, breastfeeding, and have uncontrolled diabetes and thyroid disorders must consult a doctor before consuming sabudana.
Other Health Benefits of Sabudana
Sabudana can be used to gain weight in lean individuals due to the presence of essential fats. Antioxidants present in sabudana help reduce the impact of free radicals in the body, thus improving immunity against several diseases.
Sabudana may not be a superfood for diabetes but certainly provides fairly good nutrition and is an excellent source of instant energy. Individuals with diabetes must consult their diabetologist or dietician before consumption.