Idli and Dosa for Diabetes – Is it Good or Bad?

If diabetes is a battleground, high blood sugar levels are your enemies. As a witty player, you need to keep a strict check on your enemies to win the game.

A good way to do so is to be aware of all the relevant things one needs to know as a diabetic. Knowing the glycemic index of foods that are commonly consumed can be helpful.

How good is idli and dosa for diabetes, based on the glycemic index? Keep reading to know the detailed and accurate facts.

Diabetes has now become a common disease among people. This can be affected by people irrespective of ages, gender, nationality, caste, and religion.

Even though glucose is the source of energy in humans which is absorbed from the food and converted to insulin, this process doesn’t take place always smoothly.

Glucose remaining in the blood for a long time causes health issues. As there is no permanent cure for diabetes the only way is to put the control of the disease and this is possible mainly by following a healthy diet with glucose level maintained at normal levels.

Some of the values calculated with the help of mathematical calculations determine the harmful amount of carbohydrates present in the food, these scores are utilized to prepare a proper diet for diabetes patients.

What is the Glycemic index?

Glycemic values indicate the increase in the blood glucose levels that is caused by the consumption of carbohydrate-rich food and this index has the values between 0 to 100.

The food which has the GI below 55 is considered as the low-GI food, range between 55 to 70 are the foods with medium GI and the higher values other than this are those with the high glycemic index.

These values for each food item are calculated after careful observations and studies carried out by feeding that food item to a group of people with the help of certain formulas.

Final GI is the average of values obtained from the people and the food with high glycemic values causes a rapid rise in the blood glucose level which is harmful to the body.

To be on the safer side is always good, right? Therefore, always include food items with a low glycemic index in your diet to get away from the threat of uncertain blood sugar spikes.

If the patients are continuing their diet with high carbohydrate content, it will lead them to severe other conditions related to the heart or other vital organs.

There are numerous advantages of using foods with a low GI, one among them is the effect it shows in the controlling body weight.

Veggie causing Diabetes

Obesity is also caused due to unhealthy eating habits which lead to medical conditions like diabetes and increase the risk of heart disease.

Foods that measure less glycemic values help in controlling the cholesterol levels as well as improving the body’s sensitivity to insulin.

Food cravings are reduced with the low GI which gives the feeling of fullness for longer which gives enough time for the glucose release in the body.

It is always healthy to have a protein-rich diet and to use more low GI food components in your daily meals.

GI scores of idli and dosa

GI scores of idli and dosa

Idli and dosa are an integral part of South Indian breakfast, but the thing we should bother about is the GI range of these dishes.

Studies reveal that the glycemic for idli is 80 and dosa is 77, both food items have a high GI which implies that it increases the blood sugar levels.

4 Best Diets

Healthy foods have the GI scores below 55 and foods with more than this value should be consumed at a reduced rate.

A larger amount of carbohydrate intake through the food does nothing good for the body, diabetes also becomes uncontrollable with this food habit.

But as this is the part of traditional food people refuse to change their diet, this causes a rise in diabetes patients.

The rapid increase in cholesterol levels also affects the functioning of the heart and other organs, so it is required to switch on to a proper diet to avoid more complications.

A healthy diet is the one that is rich with proteins rather than a higher quantity of carbohydrates. Including proteins to your diet offers an opportunity to keep your blood glucose levels to normal.

If you are in love with having dosa and idli for your breakfast, then some changes in the preparation of dish or the curry can balance the diet.

Including more protein contents in the dish helps in the release of glucose effectively as the time is taken for the protein digestion is comparatively high.

Some of the low GI ingredients can be added replacing the usual elements that have high carbohydrate content to keep your diet balanced and healthy.

The best way can be to replace rice and refined flour with healthier ones like jowar, bajra, and ragi flour. This might be tough for idli lovers but understand that you are doing it for the sake of your health.

Is idli good for diabetes?

Is idli good for diabetes

The rate of diabetes patients is increasing rapidly and mostly it affects people due to the unhealthy lifestyle and food habits.

People with diabetes have only the choice to reduce the blood sugar level otherwise it will lead to many other health complications.

Idli is the main part of South Indian breakfast which makes the mouth watery along with the chutney.

But idlis cannot be taken as an ideal food supporting the health due to the high score of glycemic index, it raises the sugar levels in the blood rapidly.

Even though there is a threat of getting diabetes some people cannot stop eating this dish, for them, there are some suggestions not to get sick due to the consumption of carbohydrates.

Consuming idlis along with protein-rich sambar is advised by the experts as the protein takes larger time for digestion which gives sufficient time for the release of glucose.

Another suggestion is to replace the ordinary raw rice used for the preparation with some other variants of rice that has less GI.

The recipes for idlis adding cereals like oats, vegetables, and including dals prepared with the leafy green vegetables instead of the coconut chutney are suitable for the diabetes patient.

Is dosa good for diabetes?

Dosa is another famous South Indian breakfast that has gained wide popularity all over India, and even in the hotels, it has secured a prominent position in the menu.

But the carbohydrate richness of the dish calculated based on the GI score implies that having dosa without any control is an alert to health.

It doesn’t mean that people should not eat dosas for their breakfast but to follow some of the health tips to avoid rising up of your blood sugar levels.

Diabetes patients may think that they can’t have dosa with the increased GI score and the health experts tell that they can eat this dish by limiting the count of dosas in taken.

Another brilliant idea supporting your love for dosa is to make some changes in the recipe. These changes can be made by adding certain elements that can lower the blood glucose level in the body.

For the preparation of plain dosas mostly the ingredients used are the raw rice and the urad dal, for other variations in dosas which are widely seen are masala dosa, paneer dosa, and several others.

Dosa is consumed mainly along with the sambar and chutney, coconut is used for chutney preparation which also not suitable for diabetic patients.

For the chutney, some other ingredients can be tried to reduce the usage of coconut and alternate ingredients can be tried for dosa preparation also to balance the diet suiting a patient with diabetes.

Some of the interesting variations in the dosas nowadays are made with the lentils like green gram, black gram with fenugreek seeds and ragi wheat dosa which is the best part of a diet that suits the health of a diabetic patient.

Diabetes-friendly foods with a low GI score

There are food items that a diabetes patient can rely on to replace their current diet with high carbohydrate to a protein-rich diet for staying healthy.

Some of the mentioned below are with the low GI score that doesn’t cause a sudden rise in the blood sugar levels in people,

Leafy green vegetables

Leafy green vegetables

This food item can be highly dependent on the extremely nutritious property and the low-calorie effect in humans. They don’t raise the blood sugar levels all of a sudden and have the most beneficial vitamins.

Antioxidants present in the leafy green vegetables support the person with good effects to eyes by protecting from macular degeneration and cataracts.



It is a common spice used in the food items, but most of them add this to the food to make the dish delicious without knowing its benefits.

Studies on this spice have found that the cinnamon can lower the blood sugar levels in the body as well as it can improve the insulin sensitivity.

It should be consumed at the prescribed amount as the large usage can cause some other effects to health when used at a controlled amount it helps in the control of diabetes in people.

Fatty fish

Fatty fish

Considered one of the healthiest foods which are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids and are closely related to the health of the heart.

These essential fatty acids are required regularly for people suffering from diabetics as they have a high chance of heart diseases. The inflammations are reduced, cells lining the blood vessels are protected and improving the artery functioning.

Fatty fishes are also a rich source of proteins that keep you away from the food cravings and increases the rate of body metabolism.



Eggs keep you full for a long time. Regular consumption helps reduce several risks related to the heart according to the studies.

It is always a part of a perfect protein diet and has a good source of antioxidants that protects eye health.

Other than regulating the blood sugar levels, it improves insulin sensitivity, reduces the inflammations, and promotes good cholesterol (HDL) levels along with the lowering of bad cholesterol (LDL) levels.



All types of nuts available are rich in fiber which offers regulation of the blood sugar levels. Hence, controlling diabetes.

The GI of the nut’s ranges between 0 to 22 and the cashews are having the maximum value which lies in the range of food items with low glycemic values.

These delicious nuts have the health benefits of reduced inflammation, improving insulin sensitivity, and avoid some of the other health risks.

Chia seeds

Chia seeds

This is considered the perfect food for the people suffering from diabetes since they are having high fiber content and a reduced amount of digestible carbs.

Consumption of chia seeds helps you to lower the blood sugar levels and to maintain a healthy weight as the fiber content helps in controlling the food cravings.

Apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar

It is a product with much of the health benefits with fewer carbs as the sugar in the apple is fermented into acetic acid during the manufacturing process.

The main aim of including this in our diet is to lower the blood sugar levels and also to boost insulin sensitivity.

Many studies conducted have shown that this has the best effects on controlling the diabetes level in patients. The process of emptying the stomach is also slowed down.

Concluding words

People having diabetes are on the rise and it is now affecting them at a young age due to the changing food habits.

But some of the traditional dishes also have to be controlled as some of them give a large number of carbohydrates which results in the increase of blood glucose levels in the body.

A protein-rich nutritious diet is always good for a healthy body, it doesn’t mean that you have to completely avoid your favorite dishes but consumption must be in a controlled manner.

Main dishes South Indians prefer for their breakfast are idli and dosa, which has the high power of rising the blood sugar levels as it has a high GI.

Consuming it with sambar makes the situation lighter as the protein richness in sambar gives them time to release glucose, coconut chutney is not suitable.

The recipe can be reinvented with the usage of some of the ingredients that have low carbohydrate content is also an alternative used.

Some changes in your diet will help you to control diabetes without completely sacrificing your favorite food items.


Dr Sharon Baisil MD


4 thoughts on “Idli and Dosa for Diabetes – Is it Good or Bad?”

  1. Is consuming raw coconut water beneficial. So also raw urd dal powder? Apple cider?


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