Is Upma Good for Diabetics? Nutrition and Daily Limits

Last Updated on January 31, 2021 by Dr Sharon Baisil MD

Changing into healthy habits is one of the primary ways to keep your diabetic health safe and under control. Diabetes is a chronic condition of the metabolism that can hamper the other overall functions in the body.

Choosing foods to fit your blood sugar requirements can often be a herculean task. But we help you to choose the best for your health.

Today we will tell you about one very common food item and its effects on your blood sugars. We are talking about the popular Indian snack – Upma.

You might be curious about …

Veggie causing Diabetes
  • Is Upma good for diabetics?
  • What is its nutritional goodness?
  • What are the daily limits of Upma?
  • What are the benefits of it on our health?

And many more.

So today, we will clear these questions to you. Without much ado, let us get to it.

What is Upma?

What is Upma

Well, this is a basic question that needs to be cleared as a base. If you are an Indian, you are surely familiar with this healthy breakfast and meal option.

Upma is an Indian preparation of food using semolina or sooji. Upma is known by other names such as – Uppittu, Uppumavu, etc. It is originally from the southern part of the Indian subcontinent and is a popular dish worldwide.


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The making of the Upma is simple, and the finished meal is nutritious, tasty, and healthy for all. It is said to be an admirable source of numerous nutrients.

Upma for breakfast can be a good start for any day. Apart from providing energy, it also has vegetables that provide the body with endless vitamins and minerals.

The methods and ingredients used in making Upma are simple. Moving on, we will tell you a good and easy recipe to make diabetic-safe Upma by yourself.

But before we delve into the recipe specifications, let us find out the answers to some more questions that may arise in the minds of individuals with diabetes.

Is Upma good for Diabetics?

Is Upma good for Diabetics


Upma is considered to be a healthy and advantageous food item for all. When it comes to a diabetic diet, the Upma is not a viable, healthy option, and it comes with some conditions.

Upma is generally made from semolina. This common food item – sooji, is deemed to be only moderately safe for diabetic conditions. That denotes that the regulated and properly moderated consumption of it will be good for the health.

Sooji is recommended to diabetics only in few quantities as it may be high in carbs. These carbs can harm the body if taken in excess quantities.

Upma made from sooji is also very similar to the body as sooji itself. Thus the restrictions must have to be kept in mind.

The addition of vegetables in the preparation of Upma makes it fiber, vitamin, and mineral-rich food. These qualities combined can lead to a diabetic-safe option.

Fiber is a necessary component in a diabetic meal, but upma has nearly no fiber. The added vegetables are what make Upma slightly healthy for diabetic patients.

A regulated and limited amount of Upma can keep the body healthy and blood sugar levels out of danger. Moreover, other nutrients found in this dish can benefit the many effects seen in the body with the onset of diabetes.

There are other alternatives to making Upma as well. They include better and safer ingredients to make it more suitable for a diabetes diet. One such alternative is the very famous – oats Upma, which we will talk about later.

Until then, let us know more about this dish.

What is the Glycemic Index of Upma?

What is the Glycemic Index of Upma

Measuring the Glycemic Index of foods is often a great way to mark foods as safe and unsafe for your health conditions.

The Glycemic Index in all foods is measured on a scale of 1 to 100. It is determined by the number of carbs in that food and the effects on blood glucose levels.

The below table shows the three Glycemic Index classifications based on their ranges.

Sl. No. Glycemic Index categoriesGlycemic Index ranges
1.Low Glycemic Index (safe for diabetics) 0 to 55
2.Medium Glycemic Index (safe if taken in controlled quantities)55  to 69
3.High Glycemic Index (unsafe for diabetics)From 70 and above

The Glycemic Index of semolina has been observed to be 66. This means that it falls in a moderate GI range.

The Glycemic Index of Upma is said to be around 68. This is on the y higher side of the Glycemic Index category.

From these readings, we can conclude that sooji Upma needs to be taken in safe and moderate amounts. This assures a benefit on the health without harming it or hampering the blood sugar levels.

But what is a moderate amount of Upma for diabetics? Are you curious about how to decide your Upma portions? Well, we will tell you what your safe limits should be.

What are the daily limits of eating Upma for diabetics?

Well, as we discussed, sooji is an item to be had in limits. In the same way, Upma, made out of sooji, also has to be included in meals in regulated quantities only.

Over-doing can lead to severe blood sugar levels and other complications. Therefore, you need to follow some tips to guide you better. We have some tips for you:

  • Stick to a maximum 1/2 cup quantity of sooji only. It is safe and also satisfying as a meal amount. It is best to have less than a cup for making Upma. Half a cup of sooji is a safe amount that you can use.
  • To make your meal healthier, make sure to add fiber and mineral-rich vegetables in the Upma. This helps in balancing the nutrients and also nullifies the carbohydrate effect of the Upma. You can add – tomatoes, capsicum, carrots, beans, greens, etc., and refrain from adding carb-rich or starchy veggies.
  • Avoid cooking in too much oil, and if possible, switch to diabetic-safe oils. Also, alter the amounts of salt and other spices added to the dish. Avoid adding sugar to this recipe.
  • You can switch to oats Upma instead of sooji. This is a healthier substitute that can be easily included by diabetes patients. Oats are also a recommended meal choice for proper blood sugar management because of their fiber-rich nutrient profile and proven health benefits.
  • Other than that, you can also go for quinoa and vegetable upma.

Alongside all this, do keep an eye on the effect of eating Upma on your blood sugar levels. In case of any significant discomforts or raises in the body and blood sugar levels, take cautious steps accordingly.

Nutritional Information of Upma

What are the nutritional elements found in Upma? Well, we will tell you about the help of the following table:

Sl. No. Nutrients available in one regular serving of upma Amount available
2.Proteins4 g
3.Fats5.8 g
4.Carbohydrates30.7 g
5.Fiber0.3 g
6.Cholesterol0 mg
7.Calcium14.5 mg
8.Iron0.7 mg
9.Magnesium20 mg
10.Phosphorus44.2 mg
11.Sodium8.2 mg
12.Potassium61 mg
13.Zinc0.5 mg
14.Vitamin A49.9 mg
15.Vitamin B10.1 mg
16.Vitamin B30.6 mg
17.Folic acid (vitamin B9)27.4 mcg
18.Vitamin C2..9 mg

Therefore, as you can see, there are several vitamins and minerals available in Upma. But at the same time, it is high in carbohydrates.

Thus, it might not be the healthiest choice for someone suffering from diabetes.

5 Health Benefits of eating Upma

Let us have a look at what the benefits of Upma are. Despite not being an extremely excellent option, the Upma still can provide the body with some goodness. Let us see some of those:

  1. It is an instant source of energy. Upma is said to be a good breakfast choice because it can supply the body with the energy needed in the morning. It is filled with carbs that can keep the body running.
  1. It is low in cholesterol. Hence, the effects on the heart and blood pressure are not too much.
  1. It is high in iron, which keeps the blood healthy and functional. It is beneficial for women.
  1. The potassium in sooji is good for the efficient functioning of the kidneys.
  1. Magnesium, zinc, and other minerals obtained from Upma can help with bone and overall health.

Oats Upma Recipe for Diabetes

Here is a safe and diabetic-friendly upma recipe for you.


  • Oats (2 cups)
  • Oil (3 tbsps.)
  • Turmeric powder (1 tsp.)
  • Mustard seeds (1 tsp.)
  • Urad dal (1 tsp.)
  • Curry leaves (5-6)
  • Green chili (2)
  • Chopped carrot (1/4 cup)
  • Chopped onion (1/2 cup)
  • Peas (1/4 cup)
  • Salt
  • Coriander leaves


  1. In a pan, heat the mentioned amount of oil and add in the oats. Stir and fry for 3 to 4 minutes. Keep aside.
  1. Add oil and mustard seeds. Then add the dal and curry leaves. Eventually, add in the chilies and onions, and fry.
  1. Add in the carrots and peas and cook until they soften.
  1. Pour the oats and add the spices. Mix well and add one and ½ cup water. Cook continuously on low flame for 5 minutes and stir.
  1. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve.



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