Can Diabetics Eat Lentils? – Lentils are a kind of legume widely used in different parts of the world. They are low in fat, rich in protein, and a huge source of fiber, which can short down the risk of heart disease. According to MayoClinic, lentils are also the rich source of iron, potassium, folate, and phosphorous. They make a convenient, affordable, and healthy alternative to chicken, fish and other animal protein sources.
Lentils are also enriched with phytochemicals, which are also a kind of legume like other pulses, so they can help control the risk of cancer. But it is also found to help control diabetes as it is low on Glycemic index.
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Lentils are very rich in protein. According to the Standard Reference reports by the US Department of Agriculture National Nutrient Database, 1 cup of cooked lentils has up to 17g of protein. Well, lentils are not the complete protein as they don’t have all the nine vital amino acids. They still lack the amino acids like cysteine and methionine. Sprouted lentils have propr amount of all the nine amino acids. You can get all the amino acids that are vital by pairing cooked ones with a grain like rice.
A diabetic needs 15g of carbohydrate every day. In many meal plans for diabetics, up to three services of carbohydrate is required for each meal. A 1-cup cooked lentils serving add up to 39.9gm of carbohydrates to your diet. But 15.6g comes from fiber. So, diabetics can reduce half of the fiber off the carbohydrate value if a food has up to 5g of carbohydrate. It results in up to 32.1g of carbohydrates, which is around 2 servings of carbohydrate.
Effect on Blood Sugar and Cholesterol
According to a study published in 2008 in ARYA Atherosclerosis, people have reduced their increasing cholesterol and blood sugar levels by replacing 30g of bread and 20g of cheese every day with 6gm canola oil and 50gm of lentils in their diet. It means foods with low Glycemic Index can help control diabetes and cholesterol levels if they are used as an alternative to high-GI foods, such as refined carbs like bread.
What is Lentils Glycemic Index?
The Glycemic Index is a measurement unit to determine how much food rich in carbohydrate increase your blood sugar level after eating them. Food which is low on GI, including the ones with 55 or less GI, doesn’t raise blood sugar levels. According to the preparation method and type, lentils have low GI value from 18 to 52. When red boiled lentils have lower GI, higher GI is found in canned green lentils.
How to add Lentils to Your Daily Diet?
Lentils are one of the legumes which are easy to dry and prepare as they don’t need to be soaked. All you need to rinse them in water and cook them for up to 25 minutes. Keep 1-part lentils with 2.5 parts water ratio. They can be added to salads, soups, or chili or you can also serve it over rice as a curry or use them as an alternative to meat in sauces.
Hence lentils are good to include in your diabetic diet, but you should ask the serving amount and do consult your doctor first.