Is Wheat Roti (Chapati) Good for Diabetes?

Reviewed By Dietitian Dt. SEEMA GOEL (Senior Dietitian) December 21, 2023

Last updated on February 2nd, 2024

Wheat, a staple in Indian cuisine, holds a significant place in our daily meals. From rotis to chapatis, wheat-based dishes are an integral part of our culinary culture. However, as diabetes continues to be a prevalent health concern in India, exploring the answer to the question “Is wheat good for a diabetic patient?” becomes crucial, especially if you take a look at these alarming health statistics. According to a 2021 study covered by The Hindu, there were 101 million people in India with diabetes and 136 million with pre-diabetes. Wheat has been a dietary mainstay in India for centuries, offering a versatile foundation for traditional dishes. Rotis, chapatis, naans, and various other wheat-based breads are consumed across the country, forming an essential component of our everyday meals. The affordability and accessibility of wheat make it a staple for a large portion of the population. So, does wheat cause diabetes? Let’s take a look at the facts.

Whole Wheat vs. Refined Wheat

One key factor in the wheat and diabetes connection is the choice between whole wheat and refined wheat. Whole wheat contains the bran, germ, and endosperm, providing essential nutrients, fibre, and a slower release of glucose into the bloodstream. This makes whole wheat flour the best chapati flour for diabetics. On the other hand, refined wheat undergoes processing that removes the bran and germ, leaving only the starchy endosperm. This process results in a product with a higher glycemic index, potentially contributing to blood sugar spikes.
Read More: Is Jamun Good For Diabetes?

Nutritional Profile of Whole Wheat

Nutritional Value of whole Wheat According to the United States Department of Agriculture website, this is the nutrient breakdown of 100 grams of wheat:
Nutritional Value of Whole Wheat
Nutrient (in 100 grams of Wheat) Amount
Protein 9.6 grams
Dietary Fibre 3.1 grams
Carbohydrates 74.5 grams
Calcium 33 milligrams
Magnesium 117 milligrams
Phosphorus 323 milligrams
Potassium 394 milligrams
Folate 28 ug
Niacin 5.35 milligrams
Thiamin 0.29 milligrams
Read More: Is Fish Good for Diabetes?

Glycemic Index of Wheat Roti 

The Glycemic Index is a numerical scale that ranks carbohydrates based on their impact on blood sugar levels. Foods with a high GI are rapidly digested and cause a quick spike in blood glucose, while those with a low GI are digested more slowly, leading to a more gradual rise in blood sugar. The glycemic index of chapati will give us some answers to why can we eat wheat in diabetes? Wheat, in the form of chapati or roti, has a moderate glycemic index. According to the Times of India Health, the glycemic index of wheat roti is 62. This places it in the intermediate range on the scale. The moderate GI of wheat roti suggests that wheat is less likely to cause rapid spikes in blood sugar compared to high-GI foods.

Glycemic Load Of Wheat Roti

Glycemic load of wheat roti: While the glycemic index provides valuable information, considering the glycemic load (GL) adds another layer of insight. The glycemic load accounts for both the quantity and quality of carbohydrates in a given serving. The glycemic load of wheat roti is 26.8. This combination of low GI and GL of wheat makes wheat chapati good for diabetes. However,

Does Wheat Increase Blood Sugar?

Now it’s time to answer the question, Is wheat roti good for diabetes patients? Yes, whole wheat roti is good for diabetes. Whole wheat and diabetes have a positive relationship. Wheat roti has a good nutrient profile containing fiber and complex carbs. Plus, wheat for sugar patients has a moderate glycemic index. This means eating in measured amounts wouldn’t spike your blood sugar. Moreover, there are studies like the one done by the National Institute of Health, which shows wheat helps control blood sugar and HbA1c. Reports by the Phablecare website say wheat also helps with managing diabetes-related comorbidities like cholesterol and heart ailments. The fiber content in wheat lessens the chance of blood sugar spikes, which is ideal for diabetics. However, for diabetes patients, it’s important to track the calories they intake. Therefore, we recommend you consume wheat roti as part of the diabetes diet plan that you follow. This will allow you to stay within the calorie limit and avoid overeating.

Impact of ghee on the Glycemic index of chapatis

After answering, is wheat good for diabetes? Let’s know the impact of ghee on wheat roti. As Indians, the ritual of drizzling a spoonful of golden ghee over warm chapatis is deeply ingrained in our culinary practices. However, if you’re living with diabetes, you might have hesitated to indulge in this flavorful addition, fearing its perceived high-fat content. The good news is recent insights from nutritionists challenge this apprehension and suggest that ghee can be a valuable ally in your diabetes management journey. Contrary to the belief that ghee is a hindrance to weight loss, emerging research indicates quite the opposite, and the benefits extend beyond weight management. Ghee, when paired with chapatis, can play a strategic role in regulating blood sugar levels. Recent studies featured in Economics Times Health indicate that ghee has the remarkable ability to lower the gi of wheat roti. This means that the addition of ghee could result in a slower release of glucose into the bloodstream, potentially aiding in better blood sugar control—a significant advantage for individuals managing diabetes. But that’s not all. Beyond its impact on blood sugar and weight, ghee offers a fuller feeling, promoting satiety and potentially reducing overall calorie intake. This satiating effect can be particularly beneficial for those watching their weight or managing conditions like diabetes. So, if you’ve been holding back that dollop of ghee over your chapati, it might be time to reconsider.
Read More: Are Peas Good for Diabetes?

Benefits of Eating Chapati for Diabetes Patients

Chapati, made from whole wheat flour, has several benefits for diabetes patients. Some of them are:

Moderate Glycemic Index (GI)

Chapati, made from whole wheat flour, has a lower glycemic index compared to refined grains. Moderate wheat roti GI index means it doesn’t instigate a rapid blood sugar spike after consumption.

Complex Carbohydrates

Whole wheat in chapati contains complex carbs that take longer to break down into glucose. This gradual release helps in maintaining more stable blood sugar levels over time. Thus avoiding sudden peaks and crashes.

Fiber Content

Chapati is a good source of dietary fiber. Dietary fiber is beneficial for diabetes management as it slows down the absorption of sugar. It also improves insulin sensitivity. It also contributes to a feeling of fullness, helping with weight management.

Nutrient Profile

Whole wheat flour used in chapati contains essential nutrients, including B vitamins such as B1, B2, B3, and B6. These are important for energy metabolism. It also provides minerals like magnesium and iron, contributing to overall health.

Weight Management

Including chapati as part of a balanced diet can assist in weight management. Maintaining an appropriate body weight is very crucial for diabetics. Appropriate weight positively impacts insulin sensitivity and overall glucose control.

Digestive Health

The fiber in chapati supports digestive health by preventing constipation. A healthy digestive and gut health can contribute to better nutrient absorption.

Heart Health

Whole wheat contains compounds that may be beneficial for heart health. As diabetics have an increased risk of cardiovascular issues, choosing heart-healthy foods is essential.

How many chapatis can a diabetic eat?

A diabetic patient can eat up to 2 to 3 chapatis in a meal like lunch or dinner. However, remember to add decent fiber sources in order to lower the overall glycemic impact of wheat chapatis. Using the plate method when consuming chapatis is beneficial for diabetic patients. Divide your plate into 4 parts which give 2 parts of fiber foods, one part to carbs(2-3 chapatis) and the last part to proteins.

Risk of Overconsumption of Chapati

Chapati can be a healthy dietary choice, but overconsumption may pose certain risks:

Caloric Intake

Eating excessive amounts of wheat roti without measuring caloric intake can lead to weight gain. The glycemic index of chapati is moderate, and its glycemic load is high. Therefore, you should only consume wheat in measured and prescribed amounts.

Blood Sugar Levels

Although whole wheat has a lower glycemic index compared to refined grains, consuming large quantities can still impact blood sugar levels. Diabetics should be wary of their portion sizes to avoid spikes in blood glucose.

Digestive Issues

Some diabetics may feel or experience digestive discomfort. These may be such as bloating or gas from overconsumption of wheat. This could be due to gluten sensitivity or other digestive conditions.

Nutrient Imbalance

Relying heavily on wheat roti for the majority of your meals may lead to a nutrient imbalance. It’s important to have a diverse diet that includes a variety of grains, fruits, vegetables, proteins, and fats to ensure you get a broad spectrum of essential nutrients.


Wheat contains substances known as antinutrients, such as phytic acid. This acid can interfere with and disturb the absorption capacity of minerals like iron, zinc, and calcium. These compounds are usually present in small amounts and may have some health benefits. Excessive consumption could potentially affect nutrient absorption.

Gluten Sensitivity

Diabetics may have gluten sensitivity or celiac disease. In such individuals, it can lead to adverse reactions due to the gluten present in wheat. Overconsumption in such cases can exacerbate symptoms and negatively impact health.

Risk of Allergies

Although rare, some individuals may be allergic to components in wheat, leading to allergic reactions. Overconsumption increases exposure to potential allergens. To mitigate these risks, it’s essential to maintain a balanced and varied diet, incorporating a mix of grains, vegetables, fruits, proteins, and healthy fats. Portion control is crucial, and individuals with specific health conditions or dietary concerns should seek advice from healthcare professionals or registered dietitians for personalized guidance.

Recipes and Ways to Consume Chapati for Diabetes

Ways to Consume Chapati for diabetes , is wheat good for diabetes,  which atta is best for diabetes Managing diabetes doesn’t mean compromising on taste or variety in your meals. In fact, incorporating the versatile and wholesome chapati into your diet can open up a world of delicious possibilities other than the regular wheat chapatis.
Recipe Ingredients Method Benefits for Diabetes
Ragi and Chickpea Flour Infused Chapati 1 cup whole wheat flour, 1/2 cup ragi flour, 1/4 cup chickpea flour, Water (as needed), Pinch of salt
  1. Mix the flour in a bowl.
  2. Gradually add water and knead into a dough.
  3. Roll small portions into chapatis.
  4. Cook on a hot griddle until golden brown.
The combination of ragi and chickpea flour adds fibre, helping to keep postprandial blood glucose levels lower.
Wheat and Barley Flour Blend 1 cup whole wheat flour, 1/2 cup barley flour, Water (as needed), Pinch of salt
  1. Combine flours in a bowl.
  2. Add water and knead into a soft dough.
  3. Roll into chapatis.
  4. Cook until both sides are done.
Barley improves metabolism and acts as an anti-inflammatory agent, making this chapati an excellent choice for diabetes.
Amaranth and Wheat Flour Fusion 1 cup whole wheat flour, 1/2 cup amaranth flour, Water (as needed), Pinch of salt
  1. Mix the flour in a bowl.
  2. Gradually add water and knead into a dough.
  3. Roll into chapatis.
  4. Cook until golden brown on both sides.
Amaranth has anti-diabetic properties, enhancing the nutritional content of the chapati with increased protein, vitamins, and minerals.
  1. Watch the quantity of chapati per day to control blood glucose levels.
  2. Combine chapati with vegetables and protein-rich sources for balanced nutrition.
  3. Include wheat chapati in breakfast or lunch for optimal digestion.
  4. Eating 2-3 whole wheat chapatis daily without oil helps limit the carbohydrate content.
  5. Consult with a healthcare professional or a nutritionist for personalised portion recommendations based on individual factors.
Read More: Normal Blood Sugar Level for Adults Age-wise.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

Why is atta good for diabetes but not maida?

Whole wheat atta contains the entire grain, offering fibre that slows down the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates. On the contrary, maida (refined flour) lacks fibre, causing a faster spike in blood sugar levels. Choosing atta over maida supports better blood sugar control and overall health for individuals with diabetes.

What is the best atta for diabetics?

The best atta for diabetics is whole wheat atta, as it retains the bran and germ, providing essential nutrients and dietary fibre. Incorporating diverse flours like ragi, chickpea, or barley can also enhance the nutritional profile.

Can a person with diabetes eat rice roti?

Rice roti, made from brown rice or a mix of rice flour with other whole grains, can be a suitable choice for individuals with diabetes. The key is to prioritise whole grains and monitor portion sizes to maintain blood sugar control.

Can I eat paratha if I have diabetes?

Paratha, especially when made with whole wheat flour and filled with nutritious ingredients, can be included in a diabetes-friendly diet. However, portion control and mindful choices of fillings are essential to manage blood sugar levels effectively. Try to use a small amount of desi ghee instead of refined oil while making parathas.

Does wheat roti increase blood sugar?

Whole wheat roti generally have a lower glycemic index compared to refined flour, leading to a slower and steadier increase in blood sugar levels.

Is chapati good for weight loss?

Chapatis made with whole wheat flour are rich in fibre, protein, and complex carbohydrates. The combination of these nutrients can help with weight loss

How many chapatis can a diabetic eat?

A diabetes patient should limit themselves to 2 chapatis in a meal. Moreover, don’t forget to add fiber and protein sources in that meal to lower the glycemic impact.

Last Updated on by Dr. Damanjit Duggal 


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