Is Idli Good For Weight Loss? What Does The Expert Say?

Idli, the humble steamed rice cake from South India, is often hailed as a healthy breakfast option. But did you know this unassuming dish could also be your secret weapon in the battle against your extra kilos? Yes, you read that right! The combination of idli sambar is good for weight loss.

But that’s not all! In this blog, we’ll dive deep into the world of idli and uncover the secrets that make it a weight loss champion. From its nutritional value to delicious weight loss idli recipes. We’ll equip you with all the knowledge you need to make idli your new best friend on your fitness journey.

Read More: Best Indian Diet Plan Chart for Weight Loss

Nutritional Value of Idli

Idli is a healthy food, especially in India, and it is now popular worldwide. The fermented rice cake is prepared rice. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, it has the following nutrients per piece, averaging 38 grams.

Nutrients per 38 grams Amount
Calories 48.6 kcal
Water 25.5 g
Carbs 9.5 g
Fiber 2.2 g
Protein 2.4 g
Fat 0.1 g
Iron 0.3 g
Magnesium 9.5 g
Phosphorous 25.5 g
Potassium 88.5 g
Sodium 95.8 g
Zinc 0.3 mg
Selenium 1.3 µg
Folate 14.8 µg
Beta Carotene 1.14 µg
Vitamin K 1.18 µg

Is Idli Good for Weight Loss?

Yes, definitely, idli is good for weight loss. Firstly, idli has low calories, which helps you maintain a calorie deficit. Secondly, it has nutrients like protein and fiber along with essential micronutrients like phosphorous, potassium, zinc, beta-carotene, vitamins, etc. Thus helping the body complete its nutritional needs.

Moreover, if you want to lower idli’s glycemic impact and calories, you can mix with or completely replace rice with dals like moong dal, chana dal (besan), oats, ragi, etc. A study published in the Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry revealed making idlis with above-suggested lentils and grains lowers the calories and glycemic impact in comparison to traditional idlis.

Increase the fiber content when consuming idli, like adding extra veggies in sambar or using vegetable-stuffed idlis. Increasing fiber content will keep you full for longer, delaying your cravings and keeping a check on calories.  This is a healthier way of making idli helps in weight loss.

Read More: Is Diabetes An Unexplained Reason For Weight Loss?

Idli Weight Loss Benefits

Idli Weight Loss Benefits

Idli and weight loss have a positive relationship. Eating idli in weight loss in measured amounts and as part of the weight loss plan can make it a big ally in your weight loss journey. Here are some detailed idli benefits for weight loss:

Low in Calories

As per the U.S.D.A., a single idli made from rice and lentil batter weighing around 38 grams contains only about 48 calories. This makes idlis an excellent choice for those trying to create a calorie deficit, which is essential for weight loss.

High in Fiber

Idlis are a good source of dietary fiber, thanks to the fermentation process and the presence of lentils. A single idli can provide more than 2 grams of fiber. This promotes feelings of fullness and aids in digestion.


Lentils in idli batter provide a good amount of plant-based protein. This lean protein is crucial for maintaining muscle mass during weight loss. Protein also helps increase satiety, making it easier to stick to a calorie-controlled diet.

Low in Fat

Traditional idlis are steamed and contain negligible amounts of fat, making them a healthier alternative to fried or oil-rich foods that can contribute to weight gain.

Fermentation Increases Nutrients

The fermentation of idli batter improves the bioavailability of nutrients and aids in digestion. According to a study published by the NIH(National Institute of Health), fermentation increased vitamin content in the batter.

Moreover, fermentation is good for digestion. It enhances efficient nutrient absorption and elimination of toxins, which can contribute to weight loss.


Idlis are steamed, which means they contain a good amount of water. Maintaining adequate hydration levels is essential for weight loss. Also, as it aids in digestion, metabolism, and curbing unnecessary cravings.

By incorporating idlis into a balanced diet and complementing them with a regular workout schedule. However, remember eating idli for weight loss demands strict portion control to maintain the calorie deficit.

Read More: Lose Your Weight to Reverse Diabetes

Other Benefits of Idli


Idli is good for weight loss also because it can be universally adopted by the majority, including those who are seeking gluten-free foods. Also, it is suited to those who are lactose intolerant.


If you are diabetic, idli presents you with an additional advantage. Idlis have a low glycemic index. Low GI means they don’t inflict sudden spikes in the blood sugar. This makes them a suitable option for those with diabetes or insulin resistance, which are often linked to weight gain.

Good for Cardiovascular Health

Idli is a fermented dish with iron traces, which prevents oxygen from binding. It has no saturated fat that is a cause for disturbing your heart health. Therefore, it’s for your heart.


Idli in weight loss can be paired with various low-calorie chutneys and sambar. Thus, adding variety to your weight loss diet prevents boredom or cravings for unhealthy options.

Improves Gut Health

Consuming Idli for breakfast and dinner for weight loss is smooth for your gut. Idli is a fermented dish with natural probiotic properties that regulate your gut movement and health. According to reports published by the PubMed Central website, fermented foods like idli are good for your stomach and are easily digested.

Weight Loss Idli Recipes

Here are some healthy and delicious weight loss idli recipes you can try:

1. Ragi Idli

  • Replace half of the rice batter with ragi (finger millet) flour.
  • Ragi is high in fiber, protein, and minerals, making it more filling.
  • Top with a low-calorie chutney like coriander-mint or tomato chutney.

2. Oats Idli

  • Substitute a portion of the rice batter with rolled oats
  • Oats have a good presence of soluble fiber and keep you feeling satiated for longer.
  • Serve with a light vegetable sambar or rasam.

3. Vegetable Stuffed Idli

  • Make a batter with a mix of rice, lentils, and grated vegetables like carrots, spinach, or bottle gourd.
  • The added veggies increase the fiber and nutrient content.
  • Serve with a spicy peanut chutney or coconut chutney.

4. Multigrain Idli

  • Use a combination of millets like foxtail millet, barnyard millet, and sorghum, along with rice and lentils.
  • Millets are rich in protein, fiber, and antioxidants.
  • Top with a tangy tamarind chutney or a refreshing coconut-coriander chutney.

5. Protein-Packed Idli

  • Add a scoop of whey protein or plant-based protein powder to the idli batter.
  • The extra protein will help keep you fuller for longer and support muscle maintenance.
  • Serve with a low-fat yogurt-based raita or a lentil-based curry.

6. Quinoa Idli

  • Substitute a portion of the rice batter with cooked quinoa.
  • Quinoa is a grain that has a good protein presence and provides a good dose of fiber.
  • Pair with a flavorful tomato-onion chutney or a spicy peanut chutney.

Read More: 7 Best Foods That Burn Fat & Help You Lose Weight

Tips When Having Idli Diet for Weight Loss

  • You can replace the rice portion in the idli batter with multiple grains and lentils like whole moong, besan, ragi, oats, bajra, etc. This enhances the fiber content of idlis and adds an array of nutrients.
  • Including extra veggies when consuming regular idli for weight loss. The veggies will enhance the fiber content in the idlis, making you less hungry for extended hours.
  • Pair idli with low-calorie chutneys like peanut and coconut chutneys.


In the quest for a slimmer, healthier you, idli emerges as an unexpected ally. This humble South Indian delicacy packs a powerful lot of nutrients that complement your weight loss journey. From its low-calorie count and high fiber content to its protein-rich nature and fermented goodness, idli ticks all the boxes for a weight-loss-friendly food.

By incorporating idli into your diet, do workouts, and implement quantity control. Following this, you can satisfy your cravings while steadily progressing towards your fitness goals. So, embrace the idli revolution and embark on a delicious path to a fitter, happier you.

Read More: Best Indian Diet Plan Chart for Weight Loss

FAQ’s (Frequently Asked Questions)


How many idli should I eat for breakfast for weight loss?

Generally, you can have up to 2 idlis in your breakfast. Idli breakfast for weight loss is a healthy option as it has low calories and good nutrient presence. On average, 2 idlis will weigh less than 80 grams and have less than 100 calories. Pair this with a katori of sambar or chutney to complete your meal.

Is idli is a junk food?

No, idli is not junk food; rather, it’s a healthy recipe that can be consumed even when undergoing weight loss. Idli contains fiber, protein, and vitamins like B and K and other micronutrients.

Is idli heavy to digest?

No idli is made from fermented rice and dal batter. Fermentation makes the recipe light and easily digestible. Idli is even good for your gut health since it has natural probiotic properties.

Is idli a fat food?

No, idli is not a fat food. According to the U.S.D.A., a single piece of idi contains only around 0.1 grams of fat, which is very low.

Last Updated on by Dr. Damanjit Duggal 


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