What is the Sugar Content in Wheat? Is it Safe for Diabetes?

Wheat is among the most basic and commonest grains that are a staple in most diets. But when it comes to diabetes, is this a safe choice to go for wheat? As diabetics, one has to be extra attentive about what to eat and how much.

Today we are here to answer some of your very common questions you must be facing. What is the sugar content in wheat? Is it safe for diabetics? And many such related answers.

What is the Sugar Content in Wheat?

What is the Sugar Content in Wheat

Wheat is a food grain that is said to be a rich source of obtaining carbohydrates. All in all, one cup of this grain has around 86.36 grams of carbs. The amount of direct sugars in 100 grams of wheat is calculated to be around – 0.41grams.

Whole wheat is among the commonly used cereals. Wheat is a primary ingredient in almost all baked goods. One thing to keep in mind is that wheat has a lot of varieties and each variety or manufactured and refined version will have different effects on its composition.

However, the maximum amount of carbohydrates is not from direct sugars. Direct sugars are considered more harmful for people who are diagnosed with diabetes.

Wheat has other forms of carbohydrates that are – starch (complex carbohydrate) and fibers. The presence of dietary fiber in wheat makes it a good component for all kinds of diets, especially diabetic diets.

Veggie causing Diabetes

Wheat is also high in many other necessary nutritional materials such as proteins, minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, etc. These components are crucial to pair with carbohydrates to have a good supply of nutrients to the body. Therefore, wheat is considered a healthy food grain.

Let us discuss some other crucial aspects of wheat and find out more about its effects on the health of a diabetic individual.

Is wheat Safe for Diabetics?

Is wheat Safe for Diabetics

Eating whole grains is the best way to keep sugar levels in check. Whole wheat is a great cereal to incorporate in your diabetic diet. It is not only safe but also has numerous benefits to the overall body.

You should be sure to include better and whole grain varieties of cereals instead of refined and over-manufactured versions of the same. The excess processing and refining strip it of its good nutrients.

For instance, Whole wheat grains when refined to make white flour are stripped down of its fibers, minerals, etc. The refined varieties of flour mostly retain lots of carbohydrates.

This can be a bad choice for those who are looking for options that reduce and assist in the management of their blood sugar levels.

Wheat is considered as a healthy choice for diabetics. It keeps the sugar levels in the body stable. They are even lower in the Glycemic Index as compared to other flour varieties.

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Most often, wheat flour is mixed with refined flours to make it commercially appealing. But this can be harmful to diabetic patients. It can cause sugar levels to spike up.

The higher carbohydrate can result in increased blood sugar levels, which lead to other complications. The other benefits of the whole wheat grains are also affected.

The fibers, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants are degraded in quality due to the mix, and this can have toxic results on one’s pancreatic system.

Therefore, while buying flour or grains, make sure to opt for genuine whole-grain varieties. 100% ground wheat is the way to go for.

Including bread, pasta, chapattis, etc. made out of whole wheat helps to keep the overall carb-content of your meal low. It is recommended by health experts to switch to whole grains to satisfy your flour requirement.

It is even helpful to depend on wheat more than rice. When choosing your wheat, make sure you have all the necessary pointers in mind. Let us get to some more reasons why wheat is good for diabetics.

Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load of Wheat

The measure of a food’s glycemic index is considered to be an indication of if the food is safe for diabetic consumption or not. The various foods are ranked on a scale of 1 to 100 depending on the number of carbohydrates that they contain.

If the food’s Glycemic Index is found to fall under 55, the food is said to have a low Glycemic Index. Such items are healthy and safe to be consumed by diabetics.

If the range of the Glycemic Index lies from 56 to 69, it means that the particular food is in the middle range. It will have moderate effects on one’s diabetic sugar levels. They must be taken in controlled amounts to ensure a safe sugar range in the body.

If a food’s Glycemic Index is 70 or crosses 70, it is said to be harmful to be included in a diabetes-centered diet. They can have harmful effects and cause extreme spikes in blood glucose.

Similarly, foods are also measured and categorized as safe or unsafe by their Glycemic Load. A measure of 0 to 10 is considered safe and recommendable to diabetics.

11 to 19 marked GL foods can be slightly effective for diabetics. Foods with a GL of or over 20 are harmful and should be avoided.

Let us see what the GI and GL values of wheat are:

Sl. No.Wheat VarietyGlycemic IndexGlycemic Load
1.Whole wheat with kernel306
2.Whole wheat flour5411.5
3.Refined white flour7110

Thus, from the above table and values, we can derive that the whole wheat varieties are a lot healthier than refined wheat ones. The presence of the outer bran layer and the germs on the kernel help in reducing the overall carbohydrate-content.

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Stripping off the bran covering reveals the starchy part of the grain. Thus, the Glycemic values of refined flours are higher than whole-grain varieties.

Therefore, the next time you are choosing your grains, it is better to opt for safer wholegrain versions.

What are the nutrients found in wheat?

What are the nutrients found in wheat

Until now, we discussed the amounts of sugar and carbohydrates found in wheat. These contents are safe and beneficial for diabetics. Wheat also has certain other nutrients that can be helpful to the body in many ways. Let us have a look at the nutritional contents of wheat.

Here are the major nutrient facts found in 100grams of wheat:

Sl. No. Nutrients foundValue
1.Energy327 kcal
2.Carbohydrates

–         Dietary fiber

–         Sugars

71.18 g

– 12.2 g

– 0.41 g

3.Protein12.61 g
4.Fats1.54 g
5.Water13.1 g
6.Vitamins:

–         Thiamine

–         Riboflavin

–         Niacin

–         Vitamin B6

–         Folate

–         Vitamin K

–         Vitamin E

 

–         0.383 mg

–         0.115 mg

–         5.464 mg

–         0.3mg

–         38 g

–         1.9 g

–         1.01 mg

7.Minerals:

–         Calcium

–         Iron

–         Potassium

–         Magnesium

–         Manganese

–         Sodium

–         Zinc

–         Phosphorus

 

–         29mg

–         3.19 mg

–         363 mg

–         126 mg

–         3.985 mg

–         2 mg

–         2.65 mg

–         288 mg

7 Benefits of Taking Wheat in Diabetes

7 Benefits of Taking Wheat in Diabetes

Apart from just keeping the blood sugar levels low, and providing a sufficient amount of energy at the same time, wheat also has many other benefits on one’s health.

Here are some of the numerous advantages of including wheat in your everyday diet:

1. Starting with the most important one for diabetics. Whole wheat has several properties that can be very nutritious and enriching for a diabetic patient.

The daily consumption of whole wheat grains, chapattis, bread, etc. over refined wheat, can prove helpful in controlling and reducing the further development or severity of diabetes. Including whole wheat and replacing rice can be one of the major ways to cut down on direct carbohydrates.

A diet with whole wheat made bread can be lower in total carbs and gives you the chance to incorporate other healthy items without risking the total calories.

2. Daily inclusion of whole wheat varieties in meals can overtime boost the gut and metabolism functioning. Metabolism has one of the most important roles to play when it comes to overall body functioning.

Regular intake of whole wheat can be beneficial for the body as it improves the metabolism and also promotes better digestion. This makes the individual less vulnerable to diseases that are caused due to improper digestion.

3. Wheat is also an agent that promotes weight management. Whole wheat has fewer carbohydrates and also includes better nutrients than refined white flours. Whole wheat in the diet can maintain the number of calories and carbs one eats.

This assists in controlling weight gain and prevents the chances of obesity. Weight management is crucial in keeping away numerous diseases and negative health conditions.

4. The presence of fiber in whole wheat is higher than in other refined and polished flour varieties. Fiber is an essential nutrient, which keeps the digestive tract clean and functional.

Fiber is especially needed for diabetic patients. It is good for controlling the sugar levels in the body. Fiber controls the pace of digestion and therefore, prevents any sudden rises in the body’s glucose.

5. Wheat also has the qualities to improve insulin sensitivity in the body. Insulin is an efficient hormone than carries out metabolism and plays an important role in the digestion and release of sugars in the body.

6. The proper functioning of insulin in the body helps in the management of diabetes. The outer bran layer in whole wheat contributes to the higher amount of fiber found in it.

7. The many antioxidants found in whole wheat helps in the prevention of inflammation in the body. The overtime accumulation of many free-radicals in the body can lead to chronic diseases caused by inflammation.

Wheat is a great component that provides the body with various nutrients like – thiamine, Folate, riboflavin, etc. which help to keep inflammation away.

8. Wheat also has many effective measures on the body otherwise. It helps to keep the body away from – breast cancer, menopausal issues, heart attacks, early manifestations of asthma, gallstones, etc.

What are some downsides of Wheat?

1. Wheat can cause allergies in many. The presence of gluten can be risky for those with celiac diseases. Unmonitored intake of wheat can cause side-effects such as – irritation, intestinal issues, rashes, hives, etc.

2. The presence of oxalates in the body is good for the immune. But excess oxalate can also be disadvantageous. Too much can lead to kidney stone issues, gout, etc. 

7 healthy flour alternatives that are safe in Diabetes

Apart from whole wheat flours, there are some other varieties as well that are recommended for diabetics. They include:

  1. Buckwheat flour
  2. Rye flour
  3. Almond flour
  4. Walnut flour
  5. Spelt flour
  6. Semolina
  7. Chickpea flour

References

  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28155258/
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30428550/
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29562676/
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24158434/
  5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30666980/
  6. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28489059/
  7. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26941586/
  8. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26177485/
  9. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31581733/
  10. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12409286/
  11. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324416#whole-grains

 

Dr Sharon Baisil MD
100 Best Foods for Diabetes

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