10 Best Flours for Diabetes: How to Make Diabetic Atta at Home?

Reviewed By Dietitian Dt. SEEMA GOEL (Senior Dietitian, 25 Years of Experience) January 4, 2024

When it comes to managing diabetes, every food choice matters, and flour is no exception. Contrary to the common belief, bread or flour itself is not bad for diabetics. However, the type of flour you choose can significantly impact your blood sugar levels. The good news is that bread can still be part of a healthy diabetes eating plan and the key lies in selecting the right type of flour. Whole grain flour happens to be the best flour for diabetics. Unlike refined flours, whole grain flour retains the bran and germ of the grain, providing essential nutrients and being a great option for diabetic atta. Let’s take an in depth look at the relationship between different flours and diabetes, so you can make an informed decision for a healthier lifestyle.

10 Best Flours for Diabetics

Here Are the Best Flours for Diabetics, diabetic atta

1. Almond Flour:

One of the best atta for diabetics is almond flour. Derived from ground almonds, almond flour is a versatile ingredient that can seamlessly replace wheat flour in various recipes. Here’s why almond flour stands out as one of the best options for diabetics:

  • Low Glycemic Index Flour: Almond atta has a low glycemic index of 1, making it a favourable choice for those managing diabetes.
  • Prebiotic Dietary Fibre: This fibre is broken down by bacteria in the small intestine, promoting a healthier and more efficient digestive system.
  • Nutrient-Rich Profile: Packed with essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamin E, manganese, magnesium, copper, phosphorus, calcium, and iron, almond flour contributes to overall well-being. These antioxidants also play a role in reducing the risk of serious health conditions such as diabetes, stroke, and heart disease.

Portion Size: While almond flour has about 50% more calories than wheat flour in the same volume, moderation is key. Keeping servings to a quarter cup or less ensures you enjoy the benefits without consuming excessive calories.

Creative Uses in Recipes

You can use almond flour in various recipes such as:

  • Pancakes: Replace wheat flour with almond flour for a diabetes-friendly pancake alternative.
  • Banana Bread: Bake a diabetes-friendly banana bread using almond flour.
  • Cookies: Enhance the nutritional value of cookies by adding almond flour to the mix.

2. Ragi Atta (Finger Millet):

One striking feature of ragi is its high calcium and potassium content, surpassing not only other millet varieties but also many common grains and cereals. This nutrient profile positions ragi as a potential combatant against calcium deficiency and related conditions such as osteoporosis, a condition characterised by weakened bones. There’s emerging evidence suggesting that ragi might contain prebiotics, fostering a healthier gut environment. 

  • The GI of ragi flour is 100. This might make one wonder does ragi increase blood sugar or that ragi is not good for diabetes or how is ragi good for sugar patients? But ragi and diabetes have a very complex relationship.  
  • Ragi flour has the highest amount of calcium (344 mg%) and potassium (408 mg%) among cereals and millets.
  • The fat content of Ragi flour millet is low, measuring at 1.3%.
  • Ragi in diabetes is a good option because of the unsaturated fats present in it.

3. Amaranth Atta:

Amaranth flour is made from the tiny blonde seeds of the amaranth plant. It has a unique and impressive nutritional profile. Despite its high glycemic index, hovering around 107, its impact on blood sugar can be reduced when cleverly combined with low glycemic index foods such as wheat flour. This strategic pairing brings down the overall glycemic index of amaranth flour to a more favourable 25, making it a suitable choice for those managing diabetes.

With approximately 14 to 16% protein content, it stands out as a protein-packed option, particularly rich in the essential amino acid lysine. Furthermore, a cooked cup of amaranth contains about 8 grams of fibre, contributing to a healthy and balanced diet. It is also gluten-free, making it an inclusive option for people with gluten sensitivities.

Another remarkable aspect of amaranth flour is its calcium content, surpassing that of milk. This is particularly valuable for diabetics, as maintaining bone health is important in the management of the condition. 

4. Barley or Jau Ka Atta:

Packed with dietary fibre (6.7 grams/100gms), including an important soluble fibre beta-glucan, it helps in easing the process within your digestive tract. It binds with sugar, slowing its absorption and subsequently reducing the spikes in blood sugar. This characteristic and the low glycemic index (GI) of 30 makes barley flour an excellent choice for diabetics or those aiming to maintain stable insulin levels.

5. Jowar or Sorghum:

Jowar flour, made from sorghum, is a good choice for people dealing with diabetes. Jowar flour gi index is low ranging from 49.85 to 52.56 and this flour doesn’t spike blood sugar levels quickly. Besides its glycemic advantages, Jowar flour is packed with beneficial nutrients like fibre(9.7 g/100g) and protein (10.4 g/100g). These elements not only support satiety but also contribute to better blood sugar management for people with diabetes.

Another plus point of jowar for diabetes is that Jowar flour is versatile and can be used in various recipes, from flatbreads like rotis to dosas and baked goods. This versatility allows people with diabetes to enjoy a diverse and tasty range of foods without worrying too much about their blood sugar levels.

Read More: How to Stop Sugar Craving Naturally?

6. Besan or Chane Ka Atta:

Besan has a high content of resistant starch, a carbohydrate that undergoes slow digestion, leading to a gradual and controlled increase in blood glucose levels. Along with this, the GI of besan is 10, contributing to its diabetes-friendly reputation. 

A practical way to integrate the goodness of besan for diabetes into your diet is by using it as a substitute for regular flour in various recipes. The versatility is what makes besan good for diabetes and also allows it to complement a wide range of vegetables and curries creating a delicious and diabetes-friendly dish.

7. Oat Flour:

Oat flour is rich in both fibre and protein. This helps in slowing down the digestion process, preventing rapid spikes in blood sugar levels, helping people feel fuller for longer periods, which can contribute to better blood sugar management. Its high content of beta-glucan contributes to improved insulin sensitivity and reduced post-meal spikes in glucose. Oat flour is a low GI atta of glycemic index of 25, indicating a slower and more gradual increase in blood glucose. This makes oat flour an excellent choice for individuals with diabetes looking to maintain stable blood sugar levels throughout the day. Consider experimenting with oat flour in your recipes to discover a tasteful and health-conscious approach to diabetes management.

8. Buckwheat flour:

This gluten-free flour is a good source of protein, which helps control blood sugar and insulin levels. Magnesium, abundantly present in buckwheat flour, enhances insulin utilisation, thereby mitigating the risk of type 2 diabetes. Impressively, with a low glycemic index of 40, buckwheat flour solidifies its status as a wise choice for those mindful of their insulin levels.

9. Soy Flour:

Soybean stands out as an excellent source of dietary fibre which aids in maintaining steady blood sugar levels. 100 grams of Soy flour contains 54 grams of protein and 18 g of dietary fibre. Protein is essential for muscle health and contributes to a sustained release of energy, crucial for individuals managing diabetes. The Omega-3 Fatty Acids, iron, and low soy flour glycemic index of 25 are crucial for people with diabetes to support overall cardiovascular well-being.

10. Chana Flour:

Chana flour, derived from chickpeas, possesses a low glycemic index (GI), making it a favourable choice for individuals managing diabetes. Chickpeas themselves have a GI of 6, indicating that they cause a slower and steadier rise in blood sugar levels. Just like chana flour, chana dal is also a rich source of plant-based protein, fibre, and several essential nutrients. It contains vitamins such as B-complex vitamins, minerals like iron, zinc, and magnesium, as well as antioxidants. As mentioned earlier, chickpeas have a low glycemic index. This means that even chana dal is good for diabetes because of its gradual impact on blood sugar levels.

Read More: What are the Glycemic Index and ways to calculate the Gi Value of Food Items?

Glycemic Index of FloursGlycemic Index of Flours, glycemic index of wheat flour

Flour Type Glycemic Index
Almond Flour Low (GI: 1)
Ragi Atta Moderate (GI: 100)
Amaranth Atta Low (GI: 25)
Barley or Jau Ka Atta Low (GI: 30)
Jowar or Sorghum Moderate (GI: 49.85 – 52.56)
Besan Low (GI: 10)
Oat Flour Low (GI: 25)
Buckwheat Flour Moderate (GI: 40)
Soy Flour Low (GI: 25)

Read More: Are Sugar-Free Biscuits Safe for Diabetics?

Nutritional Content of Flours

Note: Nutrient values are per 100 grams of the respective flour

Flour Calories Protein Carbs Fibre Sodium Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorous Potassium
Almond Flour 180 7g 5g 3g 0mg 76mg 1.1mg 76mg 137mg 76mg
Ragi Atta 334 7.3g 72.9g 11.0g 17mg 344mg 3.9mg 0.0mg 298mg 408mg
Amaranth Atta 110 4g 20g 3g 6mg 40mg 2.16mg.      
Barley Flour 352 12g 73.5g 17.3g 2mg 33mg 3.6mg 79mg 264mg 280mg
Jowar Flour 339 11.3g 72.4g 6.3g 2mg 25mg 3.9mg 287mg 311mg 287mg
Besan 387 22.9g 53.0g 10.8g 64mg 41mg 5.8mg 0.0mg 152mg 455mg
Oat Flour 389 kCal 13.2g 66.3g 5.5g 2mg 54mg 4.7mg 110mg 148mg 404mg
Buckwheat Flour 335 13.3g 70.6g 10.0g 1mg 18mg 2.2mg 231mg 347mg 460mg

Flours to Avoid if You Have Diabetes

Flours to Avoid if You Have Diabetes, diabetic atta

1. Refined Flour (Maida):

Refined flour, commonly known as maida, is widely used in various culinary applications. However, having maida for diabetes is not a very wise choice. Maida is primarily composed of starch (73.9%) and lacks significant amounts of vitamins, minerals, and fibre. This high-starch content contributes to a high gi of maida (around 70), making it unsuitable for those with diabetes and obesity. Overconsumption of maida has also been linked to constipation.

2. Corn Flour or Maize Flour

Often used as a thickening agent, corn flour is essentially pure starch. During its production, other nutrients are stripped away, leaving behind a substance with little nutritional value. While it adds bulk to soups, curries, and various dishes, excessive consumption of corn flour for diabetes is not advisable for individuals with obesity and diabetes. Due to its high starch content and lack of fibre, it can lead to unfavourable spikes in blood sugar levels.

  • Corn flour glycemic index is 70. This means it can cause a rapid increase in blood sugar levels when consumed.
  • The glycemic load of corn flour is 53.8, categorising it as a high GL food.
  • In a 100-gram serving, it provides 361 calories, 6.9 grams of proteins, 76.8 grams of carbohydrates, and 3.9 grams of fats.

3. Arrowroot Flour:

Derived from a tropical herb, arrowroot flour is rich in starch (83%) but lacks significant amounts of protein, vitamins, minerals, and fibre. Despite its popularity for its ability to produce fine-quality starch without affecting taste, it’s not recommended for individuals dealing with obesity and diabetes. The high starch content, coupled with a high glycemic index and absence of fibre, makes it less suitable for those with specific dietary concerns.

4. Sago:

Sago, with its starch content of 87.1%, minimal protein and fat, and no fibre, is another flour to be cautious about. While easily digestible and calorie-dense, it possesses a high glycemic index. As a result, it’s not recommended for people managing obesity and diabetes, as it can lead to rapid spikes in blood sugar levels.

Read More: Top 6 Dry Fruits For Diabetics.

How to Make Diabetic Atta at Home?

Staple Indian food items like roti, chapati, paranthas, and pooris rely on wheat flour as their core ingredient. For those having diabetes, it’s crucial to adopt a flour alternative that aligns with their dietary needs. To create a diabetic-friendly atta at home combining whole grains and legumes with a lower glycemic index, ensuring a healthier option without compromising on taste.

Ingredient Quantity
Pearl Millet Flour (Bajra Atta) 400g
Finger Millet Flour (Ragi Atta) 100g
Amaranth Flour (Rajgira Atta) 150g
Barley Flour (Jau Atta) 150g
Chickpea Flour (Chana Atta) 100g
Soya Bean Atta 100g

Instructions for Making the Best Multigrain Atta for Diabetes Management:

  • Combine the specified quantities of bajra flour, barley flour, soy flour, ragi flour, rajgira flour, and chickpea flour.
  • Thoroughly mix the ingredients until you achieve a homogeneous flour blend.
  • Store the multigrain atta in an airtight container for future use.

This carefully crafted multigrain atta provides a nutritious alternative for diabetes patients, offering a diverse range of flavours and health benefits. Incorporate these homemade atta options into your daily meals for delicious and diabetes-friendly food.

People who are managing diabetes should opt for flours that are high in fibre, low in carbohydrates, and contain healthy fats. Exploring alternative flours such as almond flour, ragi, amaranth flour can offer more balanced nutritional profiles without compromising on taste. Making informed choices about flour can contribute to better blood sugar management and overall well-being for those with diabetes.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Which flour is good for diabetics?

Whole grain flours like almond flour, coconut flour, or soy flour can be good options. These flours have a lower impact on blood sugar compared to refined flours.

Which flour is best for diabetics?

The best flours for diabetics are those with a low glycemic index (GI) and high fibre content. Almond flour, coconut flour, and flaxseed flour are examples of flours that fit these criteria.

What is the glycemic index of wheat flour and the glycemic index of wheat roti?

The glycemic index of wheat flour is relatively high, around 85. Wheat roti, however, may have a lower glycemic index compared to refined wheat products, but it can still impact blood sugar levels. It’s advisable to consume whole wheat roti in moderation.

Is jowar good for diabetes?

Yes, jowar (sorghum) is a good choice for individuals with diabetes. It has a lower glycemic index compared to some other grains and is rich in fibre, which helps in regulating blood sugar levels.

What is the GI index of chapati?

The glycemic index of chapati can vary based on factors like flour type and preparation. On average, it falls in the medium glycemic index range, around 52-62. Whole wheat chapati tends to have a lower impact on blood sugar compared to chapatis made with refined flour.

Is corn flour good for diabetics?

Corn flour has a high glycemic index and may not be the best choice for individuals with diabetes. It can lead to a rapid increase in blood sugar levels. Choosing alternative flours like almond or coconut flour may be more suitable.

Is semolina good for diabetics?

Semolina has a higher glycemic index, and its consumption may lead to a quicker spike in blood sugar levels. Diabetics might consider alternatives like almond or flaxseed flour for a lower impact on blood sugar.

Is besan good for diabetes?

Besan (gram flour) has a lower glycemic index compared to some other flours, making it a better choice for individuals with diabetes. However, portion control is still important to manage blood sugar levels.

What is the GI of wheat flour?

The glycemic index of wheat flour is relatively high, around 85. Choosing whole wheat flour over refined options may offer a slightly lower glycemic impact.

What is bajra flour glycemic index?

Bajra (pearl millet) flour generally has a lower glycemic index compared to wheat flour. It is a good option for individuals with diabetes as it tends to have a slower impact on blood sugar levels.

Is multigrain atta good for diabetics?

Multigrain atta can be a good choice for diabetics as it combines different grains, providing a mix of nutrients and potentially lowering the overall glycemic index. 

What is the glycemic load of wheat flour?

The glycemic load of wheat flour can vary, but it is generally high. The impact on blood sugar depends on the quantity consumed. Choosing whole wheat flour and consuming it in moderation can help manage glycemic load.


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