Expert-reviewed by Ashwini S.Kanade, Registered Dietician and Certified Diabetes Educator with 17 years of experience.
Fact-checked by Aditya Nar, B.Pharm, MSc. Public Health and Health Economics.
In diabetes, you indeed are what you eat. This is all the more critical when it comes to choosing to right kind of atta (or flour).
As with everything else they eat, diabetics must choose a flour that can be digested slowly, is high in fibre, low in carbs and calories to maintain blood sugar levels. Considering all this topped with the wide variety of “diabetes-friendly” attas (flours) available in the market today – one might think it is easier never to eat anything made with flour again!
But wait, help is at hand! Because today, we have the full scoop for you on which varieties and types of flours are best suited for people with diabetes.
The perfect recipe for diabetes-friendly flour
According to Dr. Jyoti Sawant, Dietitian at Delhi-based Obino, “The best flour for people with diabetes would be to eat standalone or a good mix of multigrain flour. Mix whole grains, such as finger millets (ragi or nachni), millets (bajra), barley (jau), soya beans, sorghum (jowar), amaranth grains (ramdana/rajgira), and chickpea flour (Bengal gram or kabuli chana) and your perfect diabetes-friendly flour is ready. All of these ingredients have a rich nutritional profile and are high in dietary fibre with complex carbohydrate content.Making multigrain flour an excellent choice for controlling blood sugar spikes and managing weight.”
How to make diabetes-friendly flour at home
Indian bread, chapati, phulka or roti is a dish which is made in almost in every household and in every part of India. To make it healthier, many purchase store-bought multigrain flour. But you can also prepare the multigrain flour at home because it is fresh and nothing can beat the nutritional quality of what’s homemade! You might even notice a difference in taste and texture of the rotis/chapatis/phulkas made from homemade, fresh flour.
According to Dr. Sawant, here’s how to prepare homemade multigrain flour, which is entirely adulteration-free and is wholesome in taste and health.
- Roast all the grains separately (except whole wheat).
- Allow it to cool and mix all the roasted ingredients with the whole wheat.
- Then grind it to a fine smooth powder. You can also take it to a Grain Mill or chakki to get them ground.
- Allow the fresh flour to cool down completely.
- Sieve it to do away with any big lumps and to get the smooth, fine powder.
- Discard the coarse retained mixture.
- Store it in an airtight container in a cool, dark place.
Your yummy and super nutritious multigrain flour is ready to make soft chapatis and phulkas.
Secret ingredients to supercharge your atta or flour
Want to make your diabetes-friendly atta even healthier? Dr. Sawant recommends adding any or a combination of these ingredients to that extra level of wholesomeness to your diabetes flour:
Also known as the mother of all grains, quinoa is a powerhouse of protein and is low in glycemic index meaning it won’t cause a spike in blood sugar levels. It has a complete package of amino acids, making it particularly beneficial for people with diabetes.
Crushed chia seeds or sabza:
Chia seeds or sabza are rich in fibres, healthy omega-3s and are also calcium and antioxidants. But its most significant advantage lies in its fibre content. Chia seeds seem to slow glucose passage into the blood, thus filling you up faster and reducing your appetite.
Crushed flaxseeds or alsi:
Flaxseeds are an excellent supplement that supports the body’s vital systems. Its most prominent benefit for diabetics lies in the presence of mucilage or gum which is a gluey, gel-forming fibre found in flaxseeds. Mucilage helps in slowing down digestion and allows the glucose from the food to be digested and released into the blood more slowly.
Scientific importance of this diabetes-friendly flour
This mixture is rich in energy value, dietary fibre, protein, minerals and vitamins. The most significant benefit of this diabetes flour recipe is the presence of good fibre content. Fibre helps in releasing glucose slowly into the body giving it sufficient time to metabolise it. This prevents a spike in postprandial sugar levels and ensures good control if accompanied by balanced diet and lifestyle.
Here’s what makes each of these ingredients a superb choice for diabetics:
Millet or Bajra flour for diabetics:
Millets or bajra are receiving increasing spotlight in managing and controlling diabetes and rightly so! With such good properties of dietary fibre, it indeed is one of the most beneficial flour varieties for diabetics.  Especially, the cereal crop ragi variety that is grown in abundance in India and Africa.
Barley or Jau flour for diabetics:
Barley kernels or jau have shows to increase gut hormones which stabilise metabolism and appetite and reduce chronic low-grade inflammation in a study conducted by Lund University, Sweden. In fact, the study suggests that eating barley over a period can also keep lifestyle conditions such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes at bay. 
Soya bean flour for diabetics:
Researchers have identified the molecular pathway in soya bean flour, which allows foods rich in soy bioactive compounds called isoflavones to decrease the risk of diabetes and heart disease. Not only this, according to the study by Massachusetts Amherst, consuming soy foods has been shown to lower cholesterol, decrease blood glucose levels and improve glucose tolerance in people with diabetes. 
Ragi or Nachni flour for diabetics:
Known for exerting an anti-diabetic effect along with a significant decrease in total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol, and triglyceride levels , this ancient crop ragi or nachni is known for its gluten-free and lower free radical damage properties. It is also the fifth-most important cereal crop grown in the world.
Amarnath or ramdana/rajgira grains for diabetics:
The anti-diabetic and antioxidative effect of amaranth grain is known to mankind since times immemorial. It is packed with high amounts of protein, minerals, vitamin B, lipids and is highly digestible. In fact, it can be used as a functional food to prevent and reduce the occurrences of chronic diseases such as diabetes. 
Chickpea or Kabuli Chana flour for diabetics:
Bengal gram or chickpea flour is a soluble fibre, which not only lowers blood cholesterol levels but also aids in the slow absorption of sugar into the bloodstream. It has a form of complex carbohydrate, which allows the body to slowly digest and use energy over a period in a much more beneficial way when compared to consuming refined carbohydrates. In fact, it has a lower glycemic load, which is also known to reverse diabetes naturally. 
Best readymade multigrain attas:
Dr. Swant recommends three multigrain brands that you can get online or in any supermarket.
- Jiwa’s Diabetic Care Atta.
- Patanjali Navratna Atta.
- Aashirvaad Atta with Multigrain.
While readymade diabetes-friendly flours cost a little more than the regular flours, it is worth it. Anything with quality nutrition comes at an extra cost. But if you are reluctant to spend that extra buck, try our homemade multigrain atta recipe for a more affordable option.
Please note: We do not recommend any brand of flour.
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