Nutrition > Health Benefits of South Indian Food for Diabetics
20th Apr 2022

Health Benefits of South Indian Food for Diabetics

The white round idlis, steaming hot masala dosas, the sour veggie-filled sambar, and the creamy white coconut chutney already make you salivate, don’t they? South Indian food is a mix of flavors ranging from spicy to sour to sweet. South Indian food comprises healthy elements in their dishes like rice, potatoes, a whole lot of veggies, coconut, and Arhar (Toor) dal which are rich in proteins, fibers, and antioxidants that ensure smooth digestion. As marvelous and tasty South Indian cuisine is, the question is – is it healthy for diabetics? Let us end your dilemma and answer that for you. 

Is Rava Idli Good For Diabetics? 


Rava, also known as “suji”, is one of the most common components of South Indian cuisine. Rava idli consists of semolina or sooji which is rich in iron and other essential minerals like b-complex, phosphorus, zinc, and magnesium. It is rich in fibre and low in glycemic index (glycemic index indicates the increase in blood glucose levels caused by the consumption of carbohydrate-rich food), which patients with diabetes should include in their diet because it enables slow release of sugar in the bloodstream and prevents abnormal blood sugar spikes. Idlis also prevents bad cholesterol in your body and a breakfast of idli in the morning induces energy and keeps you enthusiastic all day.  

Can Diabetics Eat Coconut Chutney? 


Coconut is a plant food rich in nutrients. When thinking of a healthy diet, the milk, oil, and cream of coconut, all are beneficial. In fact, coconut oil, which is solid at room temperature, is excellent for cooking. However, sweetened coconut products, such as the flakes used in baking are not recommended for people with diabetes.  

Coconut has the essence of saturated fats such as lauric acid that can induce bad cholesterol linking to heart problems but it is also rich in dietary fibers, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that must be regulated in the diet plan of a diabetic patient to improve the action of insulin secretion. Coconuts also contain the following nutrients that can have many benefits for the body- 

  • Vitamin C 
  • Thiamin (vitamin B1) 
  • Folate 
  • Potassium 
  • Manganese 
  • Copper 
  • Selenium 
  • Iron 
  • Phosphorus 
  • Potassium 

Consuming coconut chutney moderately is of no harm but the diet chart of a diabetes patient should be regularly examined. 

Nutritional Value Of Idli Sambar


If you’re wondering, is idli good for diet? Indeed it is, Idli has numerous health benefits such as being easily digestible and having no cholesterol, despite this, patients with diabetes should consume idli in moderation. Weight loss is one of the benefits of eating idli. 

Calories in Idli Sambar:  

Serving size – 1 cup sambar with 3 idli calories (369g)  

Amount per serving   
Calories  304 
Calories from Fat  18 
Total Fat  2g 
Saturated Fat 0.3g 
Trans Fat  0g 
Polyunsaturated Fat  0.9g 
Monounsaturated Fat  0.5g 
Cholesterol 0mg 
Sodium  427mg 
Potassium  651mg 
Total Carbohydrates  61g 
Dietary fiber  8.9g 
Sugars  9.4g 
Proteins  12g 
Vitamin A  23% 
Vitamin C  58% 
Calcium  6.4% 
Iron  27% 

 Is Idli Good For Weight Loss?  

Idli keeps you satiated for longer and prevents you from eating more because Idli is rich in fiber and proteins. Moreover, fiber helps promote good digestion, which is a key to losing weight. As idli is steamed and not fried, the caloric intake is relatively lower than oily snacks. Its fermentation property helps you digest food easily. Replacing rice from the idli recipe with other protein-rich whole grains and flours can be the best alternative to reduce weight and enhance fiber content in your body. According to health experts, if steamed idli is accompanied by citrus juice like orange or grapes, it burns fats and also prevents carbs in idli from depositing in the body. Idli has the least side effects on the human body.  

How many calories are in one idli? 

Serving: 1 idli 

Calories from fat  4 
Calories  58 
Total fat  0.4g 
Saturated fat 0.1g 
Trans fat 0g 
Monounsaturated fat 0.1g 
Polyunsaturated fat 0.2g 
Cholesterol 0mg 
Sodium  75mg 
potassium 41mg 
Dietary fibers  0.5g 
Proteins  1.6g 
sugar 0.1g 
Total carbohydrates 12g 

 Idli Benefits For Diabetics: 

  1. Idli is beneficial for health – As it is rich in fibers and proteins, idli is beneficial for our body.  
  2. Low in calories – steamed idli is low in calories because it is not fried in oil, there is no oil content in idli, thus intake of calories is low.  
  3. Digests easily – the fermentation properties of idli make it easily digestive which further helps in the breakdown of minerals and vitamins in the body. The lactic acid present in the fermented foods alters the pH levels in the intestines, which are related to better health and long life. 
  4. Rich in fiber – the abundant content of fiber in idli helps in smooth digestion and promotes weight loss.  
  5. Iron-rich recipe – idli is rich in iron. Consuming idli daily can help fulfill the daily iron requirement of 8 milligrams for men and 18 milligrams for women. 
  6. Idlis can be prepared easily and the batter can be stored for a longer period. 

 Disadvantages Of Eating Suji As A Diabetic: 

  • Suji in your diet during the morning in the form of upma may increase your blood sugar levels.  
  • Adverse effects of suji are few but if taken in high proportion by a diabetic patient can result in causing wheat allergy because suji is made by grinding durum wheat. 
  • It may damage your small intestines and lead to malabsorption of nutrients and malnutrition. 
  • It has a rich carbohydrate content which can be harmful to the body if consumed in excess.  
  • Poor attention, hyperactivity, or depression can be seen as some of the side effects of having suji. 
  • Semolina is high in gluten — a protein that can be harmful to people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity 
  • Suji can cause allergic reactions Which may include syndromes like hives, runny nose, sneezing, stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.  
  • Side effects from eating semolina include abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, or constipation, as well as joint pain and headaches. 

Can Diabetics Eat South Indian Dosas?  


Dosa, another prominent dish of South Indian cuisine is mostly loved by people irrespective of their native belonging. Dosa is prepared with raw rice and urad dal increasing its richness in carbohydrates. If you’re dealing with diabetes, it doesn’t mean you can’t have crispy hot dosas in the breakfast but you have to limit your intake to avoid raising blood sugar levels. Substituting your dosa ingredients with lentils like green gram, black gram, and ragi wheat is a healthy choice and is suitable for diabetic patients.  

The Glycemic Index (GI) Of Dosa  

Key for Glycemic Index Reading: 

Range of GI Category  
1-55 Low GI  
56-69 High GI  
70-100 Medium GI  

 Glycemic Index of Different Kinds of Dosas: 

Name of the dosa item Quantity administered  Glycemic index (GI) Category  
Onion roast  136 37 Low  
Ragi dosa  136 59 Medium  
Green gram dosa  177 63 Medium  
Rava dosa  135 68 Medium  
Appam  114 73 High  

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is idli good for diabetes patients?  

Yes, idli is good for diabetics patients as it is rich in fiber and low in the glycemic index enabling the slow release of sugar in the bloodline.  

Is idli good for weight loss?  

Idli is a low-calorie recipe and is a complete pack of protein making it a good option for weight loss.

Is Rava idli good for diabetics?  

Rava, also known as suji, is rich in fiber and the presence of carbohydrates in idli keeps you energetic and prevents bad cholesterol, thus making it suitable for diabetic patients.   

Is idli good for diabetes?   

Because of the combination of rice and dal, idli is a good quality protein but the only disadvantage is idli is made of rice and parboiled white rice has high a glycemic index that may lead to a quick increase in blood sugar levels.