South Indian Diet for Diabetes based on Glycemic Index

Last Updated on May 4, 2023 by Dr Sharon Baisil MD

Diabetes statistics are witnessing a rigorous rise in South Indian states. In such a scenario, a South Indian diet for diabetes based on the glycemic index will be of great help to the people.

Those who are already-fit can keep diabetes away forever and those who have already developed the disease can keep it under good control following the diet chart containing low GI foods.

Diabetes is a common illness throughout the world. But a recent publication from the times of India magazine states that Cities of south India, particularly Chennai, has seen the rise of diabetic patients in recent times.

A report says that one in four people living in the city is affected by diabetes. It is worse than imagined in the slums.

Veggie causing Diabetes

According to experts, the main reason for the occurrence of this disease is the inactive lifestyle and poor eating habits. Urban people are hit the most due to lack of physical work when compared to the people living in rural areas.

When you have diabetes, your body will have great trouble in converting the nutrients you consume into energy. The glucose from the food you consume is the chief source of energy. For an unaffected person, insulin is present in the right amount, which will make, the job of converting glucose easily to energy.

But for a person with diabetes, the pancreas doesn’t produce the required amount of insulin. So, the cells will not be provided with energy while the glucose levels build up in your blood.

To maintain the levels of glucose in the blood, doctors often advise going with food that contains a low Glycemic Index (GI). It is nothing but a measure of how the food containing carbohydrates affects the blood glucose level.


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When you are a diabetic patient, you need to be aware of the Glycemic index of all food particles. Food with more Glycemic Index will have the risk of increasing the blood sugar level while less GI food will lower and balance the glucose level in your blood.

With the right consumption pattern, you can succeed in balancing the blood glucose level.

Below mentioned are some of the south Indian diets that will help you in lowering your blood glucose thereby limiting your diabetes level.

1. Brown Rice

Brown Rice-South Indian Diet for Diabetes based on Glycemic Index

Brown rice, when compared to white rice, have the same measures of calories and carbs. Brown rice is an entire grain. It has a high content of magnesium and selenium. Essential vitamins like vitamin B6 are also present. High fibre content is another added advantage.

The ample amount of fibers in brown rice serves great benefits to diabetics. They prevent obesity, suppress extra cravings, and most importantly deter elevation in blood glucose levels after eating meals.

White rice, in contrast to brown rice, has the grain and germ expelled, and in this manner has different wholesome substances. Brown rice is entire rice from which just the husk alone is not present.

To make the white rice, the following layers that are present below the husk, are peeled off leaving, for the most part, just the plain rice.

A few nutrients and valuable energy sources cannot retain during this cleaning process. Among these, the oil in rice is also present. It is present alongside the outer layer with little quantities of unsaturated fats and some parts of magnesium.

When cooked, the Brown colored rice will, in general, be chewy; cooked white rice is gentler, and favored especially by kids.

Also, brown rice has comparatively low levels of the Glycemic Index ranging up to 55 with more fiber and nutrients.

2. Pongal


Pongal also is known as Huggi, is another vital ingredient that has a low Glycemic Index. It is a popular dish in the southern parts of India. It consists of rice, milk, some lentils, and sugar.

There different types of Pongal available. Chakkarai Pongal is the sweet version of Pongal and, Venn Pongal which, is a regular breakfast in all south Indian households that needs butter, rice, and lentils to prepare.

It is also made spicy with pepper which boosts your immunity along with other essential spices. The dal used to make the recipe is high in fiber and will keep you full for a long time.

People will diabetes will feel hungry often as the glucose in the blood is passed out. So, consuming such healthy and full breakfast will help them be content for a little longer than usual. The Glycemic index of Pongal is somewhere around 55, which is lower than many normal breakfasts.

3. Rotis


Roti or chapati is an ideal food in all Indian households. It consists of wheat flour which makes it very healthy to consume.

There are many varieties of chapatis being made all over India and each one differs in taste and nutrients. The one that is prevalent in south India is mostly of wheat and considered a stable food source.

The grains used in making these chapatis are great for your health and renders many health benefits. It is a chief source of fiber, carbohydrates, and proteins which, gives you energy and enhances your blood circulation.

It also keeps full for a long duration of time. Also, Rotis has a very low Glycemic Index that helps in regulating the diabetes level.

4. Pesarattu Dosa

Pesarattu Dosa

Another chief breakfast that is present in the houses of Tamilnadu and other south Indian states is the Dosa. There are a lot of varieties of dosas available.

The most common is the white batter dosa and the Pesarattu dosa. While the white dosa, made using the rice and dal batter, the Pesarattu dosa consists of the green gram along with other spices as the chief ingredient. It is a rich source of fiber and essential nutrients.

Another main advantage is that the rich content of Pesarattu dosa will keep your energy-packed and you won’t feel hunger for a long time. The Pesarattu dosa is so easy to make and also a wholesome breakfast to start your day. This type of food has a very low Glycemic Index that is nearly 20 to 30.

5. Bitter Gourd Curry

Bitter Gourd Curry

Bitter melon is another popular vegetable that is native to India and South Asia. In many Indian homes, you can witness the presence of this vegetable.

It is made in the form of curry or deep sautéed gravy to have it with the stable rice. It is a major of antioxidants, carbohydrates, and essential fatty acids that are good for your health.

The bitter melon is the mandatory veggie for any individual who is presently experiencing diabetes or the individuals who are in the avoidance of diabetes from occurring. Bitter gourd is one of the best blood purifiers for its blood-rejuvenating properties.

Bitter gourd is not only viable for restoring diabetes as well as can fix many blood – related ailments, for example, a tingling sensation caused by various allergies. Bitter gourd can bring down diabetes levels in your body.

It is easily possible for bitter gourd because it contains a substance called Charantin. Charantin is a substance well-known to diminish blood glucose levels and has been demonstrated logically, as well. It is the reason bitter gourd is generally excellent for individuals who are experiencing diabetes.

Bitter gourd affects glucose digestion everywhere throughout the body, dislikes some other diabetes prescriptions that are just successful in one organ or tissue. Bitter gourd can be taken as unpleasant juice each morning and on a vacant stomach with no side effects.

6. Millets


Millets are native to India, Indonesia, and Asia. They are a major source of fiber and other best nutrients.

They contain a good amount of Starch which will help you with the better digestion process. The presence of magnesium in the millets is another great advantage. This magnesium will regulate the carbohydrates that will, in turn, manage the insulin’s action.

Consumption of the millets along your regular diet has a high chance of preventing the occurrence of diabetes in the future. The presence of calcium will also see to the preventive mechanism of diabetes.

Ragi, kambu, varagu, and saamai can be boiled and made as little balls and taken every morning to reduce the level of insulin in your blood. Horsegram and solam can be boiled and made as sundal for having it as an evening snack. These contain little levels of Glycemic Index compared to other snacks served in the Indian households.

7. Legumes


High-fiber nourishments, including beans, can decrease the effect of high-Glycemic Index nourishments on glucose levels. It is well established that fiber hinders the stomach related problems, which assists keep with blooding sugar levels stable for more.

Eating beans will give individuals consistent flexibility of glucose rather than the abrupt surge of the levels related to basic carbohydrates. Fibre offers extra advantages for heart wellbeing. The dietary fiber maintains the blood cholesterol levels and brings down the danger of coronary illness, stroke, and corpulence, which are on the whole possible difficulties of diabetes.

Beans are a storehouse of natural protein. Protein is a basic requirement for body tissue development and growth.

The body can separate protein into glucose to use for vitality. In any case, this brings longer than separating carbohydrates, hindering the stomach related problems.

Protein nourishments can assist individuals with feeling fuller for more, diminishing the danger of consuming more and gaining weight. Also, the addition of various beans to your regular diet will help you reverse your diabetes levels in the long run.

A Healthy South Indian Diabetic Diet Chart Based on the Glycemic Index

When suffering from diabetes, one needs to eat every 4 hours to keep up the stability of blood sugar levels. A healthy diet should contain foods rich in fibers, the right amount of fruits and vegetables, protein-rich meals, and other diabetes-friendly eatables.

To come up with an accurate diet chart for you, book an appointment with a good dietician and plan out a detailed meal guide with permissible calories, timings to eat, and precautions to take.

Every person will have different meal plans based on how much calories he/she can tolerate, what the conditions of blood glucose are, and whether the body is highly or fairly sensitive to carbohydrates or not.

“One size fits many” formula doesn’t work in this case. However, here is what a healthy South Indian diabetes diet chart looks like. We want to put to your notice that this is just a sample.

For breakfast-

  • a cup of sambhar
  • tea or coffee (if possible, drink green tea or lemon tea or guava leaf tea)
  • half cup of coriander chutney or onion chutney ( but not coconut chutney)
  • two small dosas made with whole-grain wheat
  • 2 small servings of papayas (eat half fruit at once)

For snacks between breakfast and lunch-

  • A cup of milk
  • One medium-sized orange

For lunch-

  • Half cup moong dal
  • One cup broccoli
  • One cup of yogurt
  • Half cup of rassam
  • Half cup of brown rice

For snacks between lunch and dinner-

  • Two teaspoons of peanut butter on one wholewheat roti
  • Half cup of berries

For dinner-

  • A three-fourth cup of vegetable pilau
  • A cup of poriyal with the minimum quantity of oil
  • 1-2 chapatis made with wholewheat
  • Half cup masoor dal

For snacks before bed-

  • Half cup yogurt with no added sugars (plain Greek yogurt)
  • An apple or some nuts

A healthy and balanced diet chart will definitely help you to beat diabetes in the long run.

Final Thoughts

The above given detailed description provides more insight into the data of the South Indian diet based on the Glycemic Index. Don’t fear the rising statistics of diabetes in South India and other regions.

With the right information, you can overcome every and any disease. And we are here to provide you with the most authentic information regarding diabetes management.

A powerful blend of willingness and correct knowledge of facts is all you need. Stay safe till we meet again!

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