With a diagnosis of diabetes, you watch what you eat. But that doesn’t mean you have to fear your baked goods. There are several flours to choose from, but if you have diabetes, which ones are considered the best to use for baking?
I will discuss the best flour for people with diabetes to use when baking, review the glycemic index (GI) of each type, and explain why this is important. .
The best flour for diabetics to bake with are:
- Almond Flour
- Soy Flour
- Barley Flour
- Buckwheat Flour
- Chickpea Flour
- Oat Flour
- Multigrain Flour
Now that you know the best flours for diabetics to bake with, I will go over the 7 listed and describe them in more detail.
The best types of flour for diabetics to bake with:
There are several options for flour alternatives that not only have a low glycemic index value, but are also nutrient dense and offer a variety of health benefits.
The American Diabetes Association considers a food to have a low glycemic index value if it falls within the range of 1 to 55. By swapping out regular flour with one of the flour alternatives below, people with diabetes can make and eat foods like cookies and bread with less risk of experiencing a spike in blood sugar levels.
Glycemic index: less than 1
Almond flour, made from finely ground almonds, is one of the most popular gluten-free alternatives to regular flour in diabetic recipes. For a good reason too!,oo It’s low in carbs and high in protein, fiber, and heart-healthy fats. In addition, it has a very low glycemic index, so it has little effect on blood sugar.
Almond flour has a mild, nutty flavor and is versatile in its uses. It can be used in many recipes, sweet or savory, including cookies, bread, and pizza crust. It can generally substitute 1 cup of almond flour for 1 cup of regular flour.
Glycemic index: 5
Soy flour is another great alternative to regular flour which also has a very low glycemic index. Soy flour is naturally gluten-free, high in protein, and rich in isoflavones which help to lower cholesterol and blood glucose levels. It even helps improve insulin sensitivity. If you are looking for a simple way to boost the nutritional density of your baking recipes, soy flour may be a perfect choice.
Soy flour is made by grinding pure roasted soybeans and has a faintly sweet flavor profile. It also improves the texture of your baked goods through liquid oxidation and works well in recipes that require yeast to rise, such as breads and muffins. For yeast-rising recipes, use two tablespoons of soy flour per one cup of regular flour.
Glycemic index: 28
Barley flour is a nutrient-dense regular flour alternative that also has powerful hunger-controlling effects. It increases hormones in the gut helping to boost metabolism, which assists in weight loss. It also reduces inflammation that commonly accompanies diabetes. Also, barley flour is rich in fiber and contains approximately 61% of the recommended daily value of magnesium, both of which help to control sugar and insulin regulation in the body.
Barley flour is made from dried and ground barley and has a sweet and nutty flavor. Try substituting ½ cup of barley flour for every cup of regular flour in rye bread, biscuits, pancakes, cookies, muffins, and breads.
Glycemic index: 35
Considered one of the healthiest and most versatile whole grains, buckwheat flour is a wonderfully nutritionally rich flour alternative. Buckwheat flour is rich in protein, fiber, and b-complex vitamins. The fiber content helps improve digestion and manage weight. Also, as a whole grain and complex carbohydrate, it has positive effects on insulin and blood glucose levels making it a safe and healthy flour choice for diabetics.
Buckwheat flour has an earthy, nutty taste that can be a little bitter. The flavor may be stronger than what some prefer, but it can easily be tamed by mixing it with other flours. It is primarily used in gluten-free pancakes, unleavened bread, and noodle recipes. You can generally swap 25% of one cup of wheat flour with buckwheat flour.
Glycemic index: 44
Due to their mild flavor, chickpeas make for a unique, legume flour option. Chickpea flour is richer in protein than other flour varieties. One cup boasts 20 grams of protein, compared to the 13 grams of protein regular flour contains. Due to its high protein content, chickpea flour has the potential for preventing insulin resistance. It also has about 25% fewer calories than regular flour, which assists in weight management.
Chickpea flour is made from dried garbanzo beans that are ground into a fine powder. It has a rich and nutty flavor and a naturally dense texture. It makes for a great vegan, gluten-free substitute in sweet and savory recipes like fritters, flatbreads, and cookies. You’ll generally substitute about half the amount of regular flour with chickpea flour.
Glycemic index: 44
Oat flour is another gluten-free whole grain option that is popular for its flexibility and nutritional profile. Like most other flours, it is a good source of protein and fiber, specifically beta-glucan. Beta-glucan is a specific type of fiber that has been shown to help balance blood sugar levels and decrease hyperglycemia in individuals with diabetes.
Oat flour is made simply from ground oats. You can easily make oat flour at home by putting oats in a blender or food processor and grinding them on high power until they reach a flour consistency. Oat flour has a mild, nutty flavor and a chewy texture that is often favored in baked goods recipes, like cookies and dessert bars. Generally, you will need about 1 ⅓ cups of oat flour for each cup of regular flour.
Glycemic index: 25 to 45
Multigrain flour, also called atta, is made using a combination of grains such as wheat, amaranth, oats, millet, maize, and/or soybeans. Multigrain flour is rich in fiber, complex carbohydrates, and antioxidants. Its high fiber content promotes digestion and slows the release of glucose into the bloodstream. Also, multigrain flour is lower in carbohydrates, making it a healthy substitute for regular flour for diabetics.
Since multigrain flour contains several different types of flour, its flavor is typically earthy and slightly sweet. In general, multigrain flour will not work as a direct substitute due to the properties of the grains in the flour blend. The ideal substitution ratio is ¼ cup of multigrain flour to each cup of regular flour.
Glycemic Index of Different Types of Flours
|Flour Name||GI Value||GI Range|
|Almond Flour||<1||Low GI (1 to 55)|
|Amaranth Flour||107 (alone) 25 (mixed with other flours)||High GI (alone) Low GI (mixed)|
|Barley Flour||28||Low GI (1 to 55)|
|Buckwheat Flour||35||Low GI (1 to 55)|
|Chickpea Flour||44||Low GI (1 to 55)|
|Coconut Flour||45||Low GI (1 to 55)|
|Oat Flour||44||Low GI (1 to 55)|
|Millet Flour||53||Low GI (1 to 55)|
|Jackfruit Flour||50 to 60||Low to Medium GI|
|Soy Flour||5||Low GI (1 to 55)|
For reference, white flour has a GI of 85, which is considered high.
Why is glycemic index important?
Glycemic index (GI) is a useful tool many people with diabetes use as a guide when selecting foods and/or meal planning. GI classifies carbohydrate-rich foods according to their potential to raise blood sugar levels. Foods with higher glycemic index values tend to raise blood sugar levels higher and at a faster rate compared to foods that have a lower value.
In regards to baking with flour, high-fiber flours are a safer choice for people with diabetes. Other types, like white flour or cake flour, tend to have a high glycemic index and could potentially cause unwanted spikes in blood glucose levels. using these types of flour for baking.
In general, flour is not bad for diabetes, in fact most flours contain nutrients that are especially beneficial for diabetics. For example, whole wheat flour can help to manage blood sugar levels due to its high fiber content.
Is There Flour Diabetics Should Avoid?
Foods that are high in fiber generally have a lower glycemic index (GI), which is a value assigned to a particular food based on how quickly it raises blood glucose levels after consumption.
High fiber flours contain digestible carbohydrates which slow down the digestive process and create a more gradual rise in blood sugar levels. Fibrous foods also tend to be more filling, keeping you fuller for longer and lowering calorie intake.
Flours are also a good source of protein, a macronutrient that does not cause a considerable spike in blood sugar levels after consumption. Lastly, flours are rich in vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients that are beneficial for overall health.
Flours to use less often
Although there are many flour options to choose from, it is recommended to limit the use of certain types of flour, especially varieties that are higher in carbs and lower in fiber, protein, and healthy fats. Here are some flour varieties that may cause sudden spikes and crashes in blood sugar levels if used too often:
- all-purpose flour
- corn flour
- white rice flour
- pastry flour
- cake flour
Food plays an integral role in regulating blood sugar levels, especially for those with diabetes. Being a carbohydrate-rich food, flour can significantly impact blood glucose levels. However, choosing fiber-rich and nutritionally dense whole-grain, nut, and even legume flour alternatives assures a gentler effect on blood glucose levels and insulin responses. This allows diabetics not only to enjoy baking their cake but safely eat it too.
Thanks for stopping by my Dealing With Diabetes blog! My name is LeeAnna.