Is Besan Good for Diabetes? Glycemic index of Besan roti

Reviewed By Dietitian Dt. SEEMA GOEL (Senior Dietitian, 25 Years of Experience) February 20, 2024

Besan, or gram flour, has weaved its essence into the fabric of traditional recipes and cultural practices of India. Derived from chickpeas, this versatile ingredient, also known as “Chana ka atta” in India, not only adds a distinctive flavour and texture to dishes but also holds a significant place in the beauty routines of many Indians. Its origin can be traced back to ancient times, making it an integral part of the subcontinent’s gastronomic heritage. From preparing sweets like besan ladoos during festivals to using it in ceremonial offerings, its presence signifies auspiciousness and tradition. Considering how deeply weaved besan is in the fabric of India, it is important to understand the impact it has on the blood sugar level.

Fortunately, besan is good for diabetes because of its low glycemic index, low calories and slow-digesting-resistant starches that keep you satiated for a longer time, consequently reducing your food intake. Let’s take a closer look at all these factors to understand how is besan good for diabetes.

Glycemic Index of Besan

The Glycemic Index (GI) is a measure that indicates how quickly a carbohydrate-containing food raises blood glucose levels. It is a scale from 0 to 100, with higher values representing a faster and greater increase in blood sugar. Foods with a low GI are digested and absorbed more slowly, leading to a gradual rise in blood sugar levels.

Besan, or chickpea flour, has a low Glycemic Index. The specific values can vary slightly depending on the source, but generally, besan has a GI of around 6, and besan flour has a GI of 10. Foods made with besan, such as certain snacks or dishes, typically fall in the range of 28-30 on the GI scale. These values indicate that besan-based foods have a moderate to low impact on blood sugar levels. Consuming foods with a low GI can help maintain more stable blood glucose levels, as they are absorbed more slowly, preventing rapid spikes and crashes. This is particularly important for people with diabetes, as it assists in managing their condition and promoting overall health.

Nutrition Facts

According to USDA, besan has around 387 calories per 100 grams and provides a balanced mix of macronutrients and micronutrients essential for a healthy diet.

Nutrient Amount (per 100g) Daily Value (%DV)
Total Fat 7g 10%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 64mg 2%
Potassium 846mg 24%
Total Carbohydrate 58g 19%
Protein 22g 44%

The Percent Daily Values are calculated on a 2,000-calorie diet. Actual daily values may vary depending on your individual calorie requirements.

Read More: 7 Day Indian Diet Plan for Diabetic Patients

Benefits of Besan Flour for Diabetes

Benefits of Besan Flour for Diabetes

The benefits of besan flour for diabetes can be attributed to various factors:

1. Low Glycemic Index (GI):

Besan has a low glycemic index, causing a gradual increase in blood sugar levels. This property is crucial for individuals with diabetes as it helps in managing their blood glucose effectively.

2. Slow-Digesting Resistant Starches:

Besan contains resistant starches that are digested slowly. This characteristic not only provides a sustained release of energy but also contributes to a feeling of fullness, reducing overall food intake. This is particularly beneficial for those with diabetes who need to be mindful of their carbohydrate consumption.

3. Rich in fibre:

Besan is a good source of dietary fibre, which plays a vital role in regulating blood sugar levels. The soluble fibre in besan slows down the absorption of glucose, stabilising blood sugar and improving insulin sensitivity. Additionally, the fibre content supports digestion and helps prevent constipation.

4. Protein Content:

Besan is a plant-based protein source, and studies suggest that a diet rich in protein can aid in better glycemic control. A report by NCBI states that a protein intake of 20-30% of total daily energy intake may improve insulin sensitivity and promote satiety, reducing the risk of sudden spikes in blood sugar levels.

5. Mineral Content:

Besan contains essential minerals like iron and zinc, providing additional nutritional benefits. These minerals play a role in overall health and can be particularly important for individuals with diabetes.

6. Potential Cardiovascular Benefits:

Besan may help reduce the risk of heart disease, a common concern for individuals with diabetes. Soluble dietary fibre, found in besan, has been associated with lower cholesterol levels, contributing to cardiovascular health.

7. Weight Management:

The high protein content in besan can contribute to a feeling of fullness, potentially aiding in weight loss. Maintaining a healthy weight is crucial for individuals with diabetes, as it can help manage or prevent symptoms.

Read More: Top 6 Dry Fruits For Diabetics.

Consideration of Carbohydrate Content in Besan

While besan offers several benefits for people with diabetes, including its low glycemic index, slow-digesting resistant starches, and rich fibre and protein content, it is important to be mindful of its carbohydrate content.

Besan, like any other flour, contains carbohydrates, and excessive consumption can impact blood sugar levels. Therefore, individuals with diabetes should be mindful of their overall carbohydrate intake, considering not only besan but also other sources of carbohydrates in their diet.

Controlling portion sizes helps regulate the intake of carbohydrates, preventing sudden spikes in blood sugar levels. Opting for smaller portions while still enjoying the nutritional benefits of besan is a wise strategy.

The way besan is incorporated into meals matters. For example, besan chila (flatbread) may have a lower glycemic index than besan ladoo due to other ingredients and the cooking method. Choosing preparations that align with dietary goals can make a significant difference.

Read More: Are Peas Good for Diabetes?

Diabetes-friendly Besan Dishes:

Diabetes-friendly Besan Dishes:

Besan can be seamlessly integrated into your daily menu. Here are five easy and healthy ideas to add besan to your diabetes diet.

1. Besan Cheelas for Breakfast:

Start your day with a nutritious and tasty besan chilla for diabetes management. Whether enjoyed plain with chutney or filled with a low-cal stuffing of paneer, veggies, and spices, these cheelas are a wholesome breakfast option. 

2. Besan Kadhi for Lunch:

For a satisfying lunch, consider preparing besan kadhi. Avoid deep-fried elements like pakoras, bhajiyas, or koftas to keep it diabetes-friendly. Add veggies like bhindi (okra) or methi (fenugreek leaves) for a delicious twist. 

3. Homemade Dhoklas as a Snack:

Satisfy your snack cravings with homemade dhoklas. Since dhokla is steamed and made with besan instead of refined flour, it’s a diabetic-friendly option. Be mindful of oil and fruit salt usage while preparing. 

4. Substitute Besan for Wheat Flour:

Besan can be a great substitute for refined and wheat flour in various recipes. Try incorporating it into your regular rotis and parathas, or experiment with besan roti. 

5. Create Other Healthy Dishes with Besan:

From besan ki sabzi to the traditional Maharashtrian Zunka Bhakri, there are numerous options. The Zunka Bhakri is quick to make, using everyday ingredients for a delightful and diabetes-friendly meal.

Read More: Indian Diet for Diabetes Reversal.


Besan, or chickpea flour, brings a wealth of nutrients to the table, including high protein content, fibre, and essential vitamins. Its low glycemic index makes it an excellent choice for managing blood sugar levels. While besan offers numerous health benefits, moderation is key. Integrating besan into a balanced diet is about making mindful choices and understanding portion control. By doing so, you can enjoy the nutritional advantages of besan without compromising your overall dietary goals.

Pairing besan with a variety of nutrient-dense foods and adopting a holistic approach to your diet can contribute to overall well-being. Remember, the key to a successful diabetes-friendly diet lies not only in the individual components but your entire food intake.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Can diabetics eat besan roti?

Yes, diabetics can enjoy besan roti as part of a balanced diet. Its lower glycemic index may cause a slower rise in blood sugar levels. Still, it’s crucial to monitor carbohydrate intake and consult with a healthcare provider before making dietary changes.

Is besan chilla good for diabetes?

Yes, besan chilla is a healthy option for those with diabetes. It can replace higher-carb foods and aid in managing blood sugar levels. Pay attention to portion sizes, avoid excessive oil, and monitor blood sugar levels, especially if the chilla is cooked in oil.

Does besan raise blood sugar?

The impact of besan on blood sugar varies based on preparation and pairings. High-fat or sugar-laden besan dishes may have a higher glycemic index, causing a quicker rise in blood sugar. However, dishes with whole chickpeas, rich in fibre and protein, may have a lower glycemic index, leading to a gradual effect.

Is besan good for type 2 diabetes?

Yes, besan is a suitable option for type 2 diabetes due to its low glycemic index (GI). Foods with a low GI, like besan, are absorbed more slowly, helping regulate blood sugar levels. However, factors like preparation method and pairings can influence the GI, so be mindful of overall dietary choices.

Is besan pakora good for diabetes?

Diabetics can enjoy besan pakora with caution. Pay attention to portion size, choose recipes with less oil, and consider pairing pakoras with vegetables or protein sources to balance the meal.

Last Updated on by Dr. Damanjit Duggal 


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