Wheat and diabetes

Most common advice to diabetic patients is to eat roti or chapathi or any wheat products. It is assumed that this will help in the reduction of sugars. Sadly i have hardly seen much help in the matter. Many switch from rice to wheat products and assume they have done the right choice.

Nobody ever think about the servings and end up eating the same amount of servings/number of chapathis Eg.5- 8 Nos. What is very important in diabetes is the kind of carbohydrate eaten or the kind of sugar. Hence eating many chapathis do not reduce in fact can increase sugar levels.

Doctors too ask patients to switch to chapathi. But especially for south indian, rice is the main cereal other than ragi,jowar etc.

Yes rice can be safely eaten so also wheat ie by eating the same servings Eg 3 katoris of rice or 3 chapathis or 1 katori rice plus 2 chapathis in a normal diet. In a low calorie, reducing diet only 2 servings of any cereal is allowed.

One serving of rice is 25 grams of raw, uncooked rice and that of wheat is 25 grams of whole wheat flour from which a single chapathi will be obtained.

Any cereal locally eaten should be eaten in the quantities obtained above.

What so far I have explained from a technical point of view. If I see from a practical point of view, Chapathi can help in portion control. Nobody weighs the quantity of rice( I strongly advise you should atleast know the quantity) but the number of chapathis can be counted to eat the right amount of carbohydrates in each meal.

So do not blindly eat chapathis for sugar control, check how many are you eating.

About Sanjana Shenoy

A dietitian from Mangalore, India. A post graduate diploma holder in “Dietetics” and a university topper from Welcomgroup School of Hotel Administration from the prestigious Manipal University. At present working as a Dietitian for the Manipal Group of Hospitals namely KMC hospital Mangalore, India. Consultant for corporates like Infosys and others, conducting talks and presentations for various associations and local television shows.

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26 Responses to Wheat and diabetes

  1. Ashwin December 20, 2008 at 9:06 am #

    It also depends on age ..correct..? and there are many donts rather than Do’s in Diabetic Diary ..:)

    My father is Diabetic for past 20 years…. he is 60 odd now.. He takes only 2 chappathis and a Dal.. for dinner

    Is parathas, Phulka better than Chappathis,He likes Naan (but its plain maida..so no Use..)

  2. Sanjana - Dietitian December 20, 2008 at 10:35 am #

    Yes definitely Phulkas are much better. He will need to stay away from maida..

  3. divya April 8, 2009 at 4:42 pm #

    i m divya aged about 24 years, and gained lot of weight since 2 months ,
    i m 74kgs and i seriously want to loose weight . please help me in this matter as wat food i can eat , any diets, yoga, which ll help me faster, please let me know i m worried

  4. Sanjana - Dietitian April 11, 2009 at 10:09 am #

    Can you tell me your height too..?

  5. swapana October 27, 2009 at 4:06 pm #

    eating pulaka(Chapati without oil) is good for decreasing weigh instead of rice in afternoon

  6. rekha January 8, 2010 at 12:23 am #

    hi sanjana,
    this is rekha, i am 26 and a south indian we are more used to rice dishes,recently i am diagnosed with polycystic ovary, so i am controlling to stop eating sweets,rice and junk,instead i am having chapathi ,fruits and yogurt,i am planning for kids,so doctors advised me to loose weight,which will benefit my health,i am not diabetic but they told me to control insulin levels as for pcos people its high,can u suggest me the best diet to loose weight with pcos please,,
    thanks rekha.

  7. shobha sharma February 18, 2010 at 10:51 am #

    Dear Sanjana, I am 60 yrs,I take one chappati
    half katori of rice , dal and veg. I want to know if rice is more digestable or chappati. As since 15 days I have started half chappati and increased quantity of rice. We r less eater. Regards, Shobha sharma

  8. Gayatri Pakki March 9, 2010 at 8:48 pm #

    I have Diabetics- My sugar level after fasting is always above 150 what are the foods i should eat . Please suggest and what timings. I am taking Metformin 500mg twice daily. Eating chapatis without oil three times.what other foods can i eat.

  9. Gayatri March 9, 2010 at 8:53 pm #

    Can you suggest the right amount of foods I should have and how many servings and how to reduce the sugar level.

  10. Sanjana - Dietitian March 14, 2010 at 9:39 pm #

    You can consult me online once my online consulting starts….

  11. hien Tran June 4, 2010 at 2:58 am #

    my name Hien Tran. I am 46 year old. I get diabetic 12 year and would like to ask
    can i eating wheat and whose grain rice ?
    and why i get loose weigh a lot ?
    from 140pl and now down to 115pl
    i want to gain weigh little bit
    Do you have any way to help me to gain weigh ?
    Thank and appreciate for help
    Hien Tran

  12. sumit September 9, 2011 at 8:12 am #

    hey doctor, my urine is attracted with ants from many last days nd i also drink water after every 30 minutes about 2 glasses ,nd also often go for a urine many times a day. nd i have 97 kg weight nd 5feet 9inches height. i luv to take liquid instead of taking chapati’s.and eat more rice den chapati’s.my age is around 21.5 years

  13. Sanjana - Dietitian September 25, 2011 at 10:47 pm #

    Hi Sumit,
    You need to get your blood sugars checked immediately and you show symptoms of diabetes such frequent thirst, frequent urination etc. Start treatment immediately.

  14. TZ September 28, 2011 at 2:28 pm #

    My husband is newly diagnosed diabeties pre lunch-140 and post luch-268..he was a epeleptic patient 7yrs ago still on encorate 2 times a day and epsolin 1 in the morning and 2 in the night. Dr has given metaforim 500 1in the morning pls help..


  15. Nithya October 5, 2011 at 8:47 am #

    Dear Sanjana,

    I am now 12 weeks pregnant (Second pregnancy). During last pregnancy I was diagnosed with GDM around the same no of weeks and i started taking insulins around 13-14 weeks (Started with 4 units initially and went on upto 76 units upto delivery with constant check-ups). After delivery my sugar levels were normal.

    This time also I am diagnosed with diabetes and have started with insulin for thepast 1 week. This time my diabetician has started at a higher dose (22 units split as 4 before breakfast, 10 before lunch and 8 before dinner.) My diet mostly contains foods like ragi/wheat dosa/ oats/ broken wheat (Bansi Rava) upma/ cucumber salads/ chappathis.

    For lunch I take 2 rotis with some dal or vegetables (mostly lunch ordered from hotel as I work in Dubai and don’t take lunch to office). For the past 2 days I have been testing my sugar levels at office and both the days after taking 2 chapathis and dal my readings are around 180 for 1 hr after meal and around 170 for 2 hrs after meal (even after taking 10 units of insulin before lunch- Before lunch sugar level have been between 75-90 both the days). My only doubt is that since I order from outside I guess the rotis are made of maida. Could this be the reason for increase in sugar level after lunch?

    Please advise me a better diet plan (Iam a vegetarian) for the rest of my pregnancy.

    Many thanks in advance.

  16. Sonia October 5, 2011 at 9:16 pm #


    I was reading this link a few days back. Thought I’d share.


    you may want to make rotis of 100% whole wheat. Where are you situated ? I could help with some better info based on that.

    Try eating the rotis and then take a 20 min walk. Else you may need to make rotis with 100% whole wheat.

  17. Nithya October 6, 2011 at 9:36 am #

    Dear Sanjana,

    Thanks for the link. That gave a lot of motivation. I am already trying to get good recipes of food that could keep my sugar levels at control. :)

    I stay in Dubai. My workplace is about 1hr drive from home. And I leave from home at 6.30 in the morning and reach back at around 7.30 in the evening.

    Since my company has a big warehouse for our stocks, I usually go for a walk around the warehouse for about 15-20 mins everyday after finishing my lunch. Started this just recently. Hope this will help a bit.

    Now, I have planned to bring wheat chappathis from home and then check my levels. Keeping my fingers crossed that things would improve. Please suggest from your side as well about a better diet plan for me.


  18. Sonia October 6, 2011 at 9:02 pm #

    Hi Nithya. It was me (a reader) Sonia who responded although I would wait for a response from the actual ‘ Sanjana’ :) Sorry. Just wanted to pitch in with what another lady had to share. you should get 100% whole what somewhere (in an organic store) or something like that. The flour will be coarse. Not fine at all. Rotis will be a little firm and will not puff up as much as the Indian flour. There are many things you can do whole grain idlis (as Sanjana suggested in one of her articles). Brown rice dosa, Quinoa-Oats dosa. Let me know if you need me to share the links.

  19. Sam October 10, 2011 at 2:24 pm #

    Hi am 22, male and my height is 5 ft 9 in and i weigh 64 kg. I don’t eat dinner so what can be my diet plan. I love wheat rotis with one jam and natural cream from Cow’s whole milk. how many can i eat a day to maintain my weight.

  20. Satish March 1, 2012 at 3:59 pm #

    Hi Sanjana,

    My dad is close to 80 years and weighs around 78 Kgs. He had couple of operations [laminactomy (twice), Total knee replacement] and also has vericose veins problem with swellings in his left lower limb. In connection to all these problems he takes medicines on regular basis. He is independant in all his activities and active in daily routines. He has been tested for sugar six months before. In the report it has been found that he has sugar level a slight and on higher side. In this condition taking ‘Jower’ or ‘ROTI’ (Jolada Rotti – in Kannada language) is it good or not good?

    Thanks with regards,

    Satish from ACTREC

  21. Sanjana - Dietitian March 3, 2012 at 10:38 pm #

    Hi Satish,

    Jolada rotti is not the culprit. Pancreatic insufficiency occurs around this age. That can be the reason for high bloods sugars. If you need any further help, plz email me at sanjana@nutrihealth.in

  22. umair May 1, 2012 at 5:46 pm #

    hy. its me umair from uk
    i had blood checks it was 7.9 level iam 35 what can eat can eat roti or chapati what kind of food can i take please let me know. iam going to gym nad joggin aswell please i have 70 kg please advise me thanks umair

  23. vijay November 22, 2012 at 3:35 pm #

    who ever diabetis , take daily 3 chapatis and walk regularly either one hour or 45 minutes. Take green tea daily two times and fishes curry also once a week. Dont meat too much, take chicken curry approximately 2 times per month, take apples weekly 4 nos and take milk one glass 1/4 ltf.

  24. Dan December 3, 2012 at 1:04 pm #

    You who have diabetes. wheat may be the problem. and if you want to lose weight dont eat wheat or gluten. Read the book. Lose the Wheat Lose the Weight. by William Davis. MD. on weight lose and diabetes. it will help alot.

  25. farooq April 29, 2015 at 10:38 pm #

    i am diabetic patient,my age is 56 years.can i use mango,banana fruit and you advised the green tea twice in a day but it is not clear that green tea with sugar or without sugar.

  26. Bhavya May 12, 2015 at 2:29 pm #

    Hi sanjana,

    I want to know the diet which i doing was correct, currently i am intaking only broken wheat which was cooked with out oil instead of rice three times a day, I have thyroid, my current weight is 90.5 kg and height is 5 ft 5 inches. and i am using Diet pills too(Pure Cambogia ultra) two times a day half n hour before a meal . and i used take two tiems a coffee with two table spoon of sugar, i wont do execrise but i used to do other chore work in house

    I hope above information is sufficent to provide a diet plan.

    Thanks in advance

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