Is arrowroot low glycemic and good for diabetes?

Last Updated on February 8, 2024 by Dr Sharon Baisil MD

The answer will surprise you- Arrowroot is having a high glycemic index that ranges from 65-85, and is not good for diabetes!

Let’s discuss why the glycemic index of Arrowroot is high and what are the other low glycemic flours you can safely use with diabetes.

What is the Glycemic Index in food? How is it measured?

Glycemic index or GI is a value given to all kinds of food items that determine the food’s carbohydrate content. A numerical value is appointed to all kinds of food, ranging from 0 – 100.

The number of carbohydrates, if high, can result in an unusual and harmful rise in blood sugar levels. Lower carbohydrate-containing foods have a low GI and are relatively safe to consume even on a diabetic diet routine.

Veggie causing Diabetes

The GI value represents how the food with influence the body after around 2 hours of consuming it.

Besides carbohydrate-content, the GI also depends on the proteins, fats, fibers, etc. found in the food, and other factors such as processing, cooking, ripeness, rawness, etc.

GI is divided into three primary classifications, including low, intermediate, and high GI rankings for various food products.

Food varieties that range from 0 – 55 are under a low GI category. These foods are generally safe to be consumed by people with diabetes and do not increase blood sugar levels beyond limits that can prove risky.


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Coming to intermediate levels of GI foods, the food items that have a GI ranging from 56 to 69 are considered to fall under a middle-range GI.

This means that diabetics in a controlled amount can eat such food items without too much concern or harm to the blood sugar levels. But, definitely have a check on its effects.

If the GI of food items value over 70, then it is an indication that these foods have a high capacity to rise in blood sugar levels. Such foods must be mostly avoided as they can be bad for your diabetic system.

Apart from the GI given to all food items, it is best to check its effects and keep a measure, as the metabolism differences in people also lead to different results and can determine how your body will react.

What is Arrowroot?

What is Arrowroot

Arrowroot is a starchy tuber, similar to the potato, yam, taro, cassava, etc. The starch of the tuber is extracted and processed into flour and other products.

Arrowroot is a native tuber cultivated mainly in Indonesia. It is a rhizome plant and has high starch content.

The starchy root of the tuber is separated, washed, and employed in the factories for pulping. The scales of the Arrowroot are removed to prevent any restrictions in taste.

The roots are beaten into a pulp form, which then turns into a milky solution of starch. This milky liquid is then filtered and drained to obtain just the starch and dried under the sun or in drying houses.

Once dried, it forms into a white and powdery substance, which is the arrowroot starch. This starch is used to make arrowroot flour. It is very light to touch and pure white.

Arrowroot is often mixed and blended with other starches such as potato starch. Its uses are plenty in making baked goods. It is a great gluten-free product that can be used as an alternative over other products.

Arrowroot is high in proteins and carbohydrates. It is very easy to digest and, thus, served in children’s food and to older adults because of its soothing effects on the stomach.

Arrowroot starch and flour are greatly used in bakeries for making the sweet items. It works as a great thickening agent for foods like soups, pies, gravies, sauces, etc.

Arrowroot does have its fair share of good nutrients and disadvantageous effects. Let us look into the diabetic allowances or restrictions for Arrowroot.

What is the Glycemic Index of Arrowroot?

What is the Glycemic Index of Arrowroot

GI is an important thing to take into consideration before administering various items in your diet. When it comes to something as essential as flour, one must be careful to choose safe varieties to suit their diabetic health.

When it comes to Arrowroot, it is a high carbohydrate-containing product and rich in starch (83%). Foods rich in carbohydrates are generally the ones to avoid for diabetic patients.

Due to the high starch content of Arrowroot, it has a higher glycemic index as well. It is recommended not to be used too much for consumption by diabetics, pre-diabetics, and those suffering from obesity.

Glycemic Index of Arrowroot Cookies

Food NameGlycemic IndexServe (g)Carb per Serve (g)Glycemic Load
Milk Arrowroot™ cookies69251812
Arrowroot cookies (McCormicks’s, Interbare Foods, Toronto, Canada)63252013
Arrowroot plus cookies (McCormicks’s, Canada)62251811

The GI of Arrowroot varies with the form of it. There are various saying, but generally, the GI of pure arrowroot tuber is 85, which is very high. The flour form of Arrowroot is still a lot of pure starch and, therefore, high in GI.

Due to its high carbs and starch, it is an excellent source of energy. But the high GI can be harmful as well.                           

Is Arrowroot good for diabetes?

Is Arrowroot good for diabetes

As we already know by now that Arrowroot has a high GI value. The high carb content, and the refining and processing in the manufacturing procedure, make arrowroot flour an over high glycemic food.

Being on the higher side of the GI, the arrowroot flour, upon consumption, can cause a rise in blood sugar levels very rapidly.

This can result in episodic hyperglycemic bursts, where the sugar level can reach harmfully high limits. These situations must be avoided to maintain good health and to avoid any risks.

It also increases the risks of Hyperinsulinemia, that is, a higher than normal level of insulin in the blood. The regulation of the blood sugar by insulin from the pancreases can be gravely affected due to this condition.

It can also cause obesity, as the amounts of carbs are high, which can lead to weight gain. Maintaining weight and blood sugar levels is the major way of keeping your diabetes in control. Arrowroot consumption can be harmful to such conditions.

So, it is not a very good option to include in your diabetic diet schedule. On top of that, Arrowroot is mixed with potato starch and other contents that are high in carbohydrates. This can prove to be even more harmful.

If you are on a celiac diet trying to avoid carbohydrates in your foods, it is best not to use Arrowroot, as it is a rich source of starch. Watching your weight and dieting needs special measures, and this is one such element to keep in mind.

As a bakery ingredient, arrowroot flour is often mixed with sugars, flavors, and other high carb stuff, which can lead to higher levels of blood sugar and be risky for those who have diabetes, or trying to watch their weight ad health.

Once in a while, having a treat containing Arrowroot is not all that bad, but be sure not to harm your immune system.

Check how your body reacts to Arrowroot by measuring your blood sugar levels after 2 hours of eating something containing arrowroot flour or starch.

It is recommended to avoid regular use of this tuber’s flour that is high in starch and carbs. Occasionally, using this in baked goods or as a thickening agent is not problematic.

Other flour varieties are relatively healthy and have low GI. There are a few varieties like – flaxseed flour, almond flour, or walnut flour, which have a glycemic index of 0, and are suitable alternatives to higher GI flours for people with diabetes.

What are some benefits of Arrowroot for our bodies?

Arrowroot might not be the best-suited option for those with diabetics, or those trying to watch their weight and diet, but it does have a lot of benefits for those who do include this in their diet.

Arrowroot’s qualities are good enough, even for babies, and that is why arrowroot starch is also used as an ingredient to prepare baby food.

It has the following benefits:

–         The high carbohydrate derived from the starch is a good source for the body to get energy.

–         It has a being easily-digestible quality.

–         The Arrowroot is a good source of hydration. The consumption of Arrowroot helps treat diarrhea. It helps in the firming of stools and provides hydration, curing the body’s loss of liquid. The presence of higher starch assists the firming of stools.

–         The resistant starch found in Arrowroot is often useful for the immune system. It is also a good source of prebiotics that are kinds of fiber that are essential for the gut’s natural bacteria. The gut bacteria play a crucial role in the absorption of nutrients and thus fueling the immune system. In turn, the immune system handles the diseases and other risks in the body.

–         Arrowroot is naturally free from gluten. Wheat flour and other flour varieties may have varying amounts of gluten that is a lot of times, harmful for certain people. Arrowroot flour can be included in your gluten-free diet, especially by ones who suffer celiac disease.

–         The absence of gluten helps make bakery products healthier and adds to their overall flavor, texture, crispiness, and crusts.

–         Arrowroot also has antioxidants that help in neutralizing the effect of free radicals found in the body.

–         Arrowroot is rich in many B-complex vitamins that have an overall healthy development in many parts of the body, such as skin, hair, vision, nails, nervous system, digestion, metabolism, cardiovascular system, etc.

–         There are the right amount of minerals like copper, iron, manganese, potassium, zinc, phosphorus, magnesium, etc. found in the arrowroot tubers. These assist in maintaining healthy blood cells, proper blood circulation, right fluid balance in the body, supports collagen formation in the connective tissues, etc.

–         The form of the starch found in the arrowroot tuber is an ideal kind for the body to keep its pH level in check. Our body has an optimal pH range, and it is essential to keep that range under control. It is usually inclined to the alkaline side. Acidic pH can prove to be very harmful to the overall functioning of the body. The starch available in Arrowroot is excellent for keeping this pH level in balance and maintaining the ideal range of it.

The best way to unveil these goodness’s of Arrowroot, it is generally advisable to opt for pure arrowroot flour which is available without any adulteration of other tuber flours.


The arrowroot starch and carbohydrate content result in an overall high GI for this tuber and its flour. Consumption of this flour must be done in limited amounts and extra care for diabetics, to maintain a stable level of blood sugar. Arrowroot can have the potential for bodily benefits if used in the right manner.



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