Millets for Diabetes – Calories & 5 Health Benefits

Diabetes is a prevailing condition of the metabolism that affects many in today’s day and age. Adults, aged, and even children are diagnosed with diabetes. This is a common condition but can lead to many health and bodily discomforts.

Thus, it is essential to keep diabetes under control. The major way to manage your diabetic health is to control your food habits and switch to better and healthier choices.

This may or may not be a very simple task. But we are here to help you out. Today, we will talk about millets for diabetes.

Many of you might be curious about …

  • Are millets good for diabetes?
  • What are its calories?
  • What are the nutritional elements found in millets?
  • What are the benefits of eating millets?
  • Are there any side effects?

Well, today, we will answer these recurrent questions. Along with us, you can easily plan out a diabetes-specific diet and meal plan to help you control your health.

So let us start with the most basic answers first.

What are Millets?

What are Millets

Millet is one of the common cereal grains that are derived from the grass family of Poaceae. This is a small and round grain that is being increasingly used in all parts of the world.

India is a major producer of millets. It has nutrients similar to that of Sorghum. Because of their great nutritional values, millets are often used as cereal grain alternatives to the rather common rice and wheat.

It is higher in proteins and lowers overall calories, making it perfect for anyone looking for a healthy food item to add to their grocery list. Moreover, millets are very easy to use in the kitchen, and their versatility allows them to be included in many recipes.

They are better and also nutritionally superior to some of the everyday grains that we use. Millets fall under the category of whole grains and are thus appreciated much.

There are a lot of varieties of millets available. They can be used as healthier substitutes for other high-calorie and high-carb grains. Some of the common ones include – foxtail millets, finger millets (ragi), pearl millets, proso millets, etc.

Millets are also gluten-free, unlike wheat. This makes it better and safe for people who have celiac disease or gluten allergies.

Fiber is also a major nutritional content in millet grains. This is an important dietary element needed by all body and health types.

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Millets are often used as a fasting food item. It is safe and also provides energy during the fasting periods. It is used to make crispy millet dosa, snacks, etc.

Millets are also used in bakeries to make unleavened cookies, break, and cakes. They account for a healthier version than the regular refined flour baked goods.

Let us have a look if this healthy grain is healthy for all. Can diabetics eat Millets? Let us find out.

Are Millets Good for Diabetes?

Are Millets Good for Diabetes

Millets are very good for people who are diagnosed with diabetes. Millets are one of those food items that are recommended in a diabetic diet.

Many common dietary grains are to be replaced with millets if you are a diabetic individual. It is better than rice and wheat variants.

Millets, as we already discussed, are whole grains. This means that millets comprise its outer layer of nutrition and fiber. The bran and germ covering of millets, when retained, help to preserve the richness of its food.

In rice and wheat, the process of refining the grain strips them of its helpful nutrients. They are left with more carbohydrates and sugars.

The fewer number of carbohydrates in millets helps to make it a better choice for diabetic patients. It avoids any excess accumulation of carbs in the body.

Millet is high in fiber, lower in carbs, and also has a low Glycemic Index. This helps to keep the body’s blood sugar levels steady. We will discuss the Glycemic Index of millet in detail in the further sections.

The fiber in the body is crucial in higher amounts by diabetic patients, especially. Fiber assists in the regulation of metabolism. The pace of digesting and absorbing sugars in the body is slowed down due to dietary fiber, preventing sudden spikes in the body’s blood sugar levels.

In addition to this, millets are also low in cholesterol. Therefore, they do not affect or influence the heart conditions of a diabetic patient. It is better to prevent any severe symptoms or cardiovascular risks.

There is much other goodness in millets that can be advantageous to all and diabetics as well. We will have an in-depth look at then further in this article.

What is the Glycemic Index of Millets?

What is the Glycemic Index of Millets

The glycemic values are assigned to all food to determine the effect of that particular food on the body. It considers the number of carbohydrates found in the food and how it will influence one’s blood sugar levels.

The Glycemic Index ranges are measured on a scale of 0 to 100. The foods are then categorized into three groups as per their result. The three categories are as follows:

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Sl. No. Glycemic Index categoriesGlycemic Index ranges
1.Low Glycemic Index (safe for diabetics) 0 to 55
2.Medium Glycemic Index (safe if taken in controlled quantities)55  to 69
3.High Glycemic Index (unsafe for diabetics)From 70 and above

As per the given table, we can find out the safety of millets on the body. The Glycemic Index of millets is low.

The Glycemic Index of Cooked Millets is around 54. This falls in between the 0 to 55 range. Thus, it is under a safe and low Glycemic Index category. Cooking millets reduces the GI of this grain.

Raw millets have a Glycemic Index varying from medium to high Glycemic Index. Cooking reduces some carbs and thus makes them safe for diabetic consumption.

The Glycemic Index of millets is lesser than rice and wheat. Hence, it can be used to replace rice and wheat in a diabetic diet plan.

Now we are certain that millets are low in Glycemic Index. But what about its calories? Let us have a look at the number of calories found in millets.

How many Calories are there in one cup of Millets?

How many Calories are there in one cup of Millets

Millets are rich in starch, but it is comparatively healthier starch than the ones found in rice. Thus, the calories derived from carbs in millets are healthy too.

One cup of millets is around 175 grams, which has approximately 207 calories. This is a good amount to attain your daily calorie requirements.

This is, thus, a healthy amount to include in a day’s diabetic meal plan.

Besides these calories, millets also add various healthy and useful nutrients to the body. It supplies the body with many important and necessary vitamins and minerals.

Let us now move on to know the nutritional profile and values of this healthy cereal grain.

What is the Nutritional Composition of Millets?

This grain is among the wonder foods that one can include in one’s diet. It is very nutritious and supplies the body with several important macro and micronutrients.

We already discussed that this is a cereal rich in protein and fiber. Let us now have a deeper and detailed look at the nutritional profile of the millet grains.

The following table records the types of nutrients and their quantities available in 100 grams of raw millets.

Sl. No. Nutrients available in 100 grams of raw milletsAmount available
1.Calories378
2.Proteins11.02 g
3.Fats

–          Saturated fats

4 g

–          1 g

4.Carbohydrates

–          Dietary fiber

–          Sugars

73 g

–          9 g

–          0 g

5.Water8.67 g
6.Magnesium114 mg
7.Copper0.75 mg
8.Phosphorus285 mg
9.Iron3.01 mg
10.Manganese1.632 mg
11.Zinc1.68 mg
12.Potassium195 mg
13.Selenium2.7 mg
14.Calcium8 mg
15.Sodium5 mg
16.Vitamin B10.421 µg
17.Folate85 µg
18.Vitamin B20.29 µg
19.Vitamin B60.384 µg
20.Vitamin B34.72 µg
21.Vitamin B50.848 µg
22.Vitamin K0.9 µg
23.Vitamin E0.05  µg
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These various nutrients enrich the body in several ways. We will now move forward to know what the benefits of these nutrients are on our bodies.

What are the Health Benefits of Millets?

Listed below are the some of the many health benefits of millets:

  1. Millet is a good grain to promote weight loss. It is low in calories and also contians healthy carbs that do not lead to weight gain.
  1. Millets have a lot of antioxidants. They are known to keep the body healthy and protected from internal diseases and chronic bodily ailments.
  1. The type of fiber found in millet help in keeping the cholesterol levels low and under control. Thus it also prevents cardiovascular risks.
  1. It is free of gluten and thus safe for many health and body types.
  1. It is safe for diabetics, heart patients, obese individuals, and health-conscious people.

Are there any side effects of excess consumption of Millets?

  • Millets have some anti-nutrient elements that block some nutrients such as calcium, potassium, iron, zinc, etc. Thus, it is to be had in controlled amounts.

Soaking millets in water overnight and draining it before use can reduce this anti-nutrient quality in millets.

  • It can affect people with prevailing thyroid conditions. Thyroid patients must avoid it.

References

  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30969135/
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27729921/
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33380705/
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25075608/
  5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32235676/
  6. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31353706/
  7. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28167953/
  8. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31060302/
  9. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31148399/
  10. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32327778/
Dr Sharon Baisil MD

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