Couscous is a popular North African delicacy made from either durum wheat or semolina flour. It is most often eaten for dinner and sometimes even added to salads.
When eaten for dinner, it is teemed along with a vegetable and bean stew and chicken. While adding it to salads, beans, vegetables, and cheese are used as accompaniments.
Although originated in North Africa, couscous is quite popular with people across the job. So much so that you will find packets of couscous on aisles across every grocery store.
Couscous comes majorly in two varieties based on the threshing process- refined wheat couscous and whole wheat couscous. Read further to find out whether or not couscous is a valuable inclusion in your diabetes diet, and if yes, then which one.
Is Couscous Good for Diabetics?
If you ask for my opinion on the matter, I would say it is better to avoid couscous on its own. Couscous contains a low amount of natural sugar, but it has a high carbohydrate content.
Carbohydrates are not beneficial for people having diabetes, because ultimately the carbs break down into sugar, and this added sugar can lead to a spike in blood sugar level.
Of the two varieties of couscous, people with diabetes should opt for whole-wheat couscous. The doctor or nutritionist advised diabetes patients to include whole grains in their diets.
Whole grains contain a large amount of dietary fiber than refined grains.
Also, the glycemic index of whole grains is low and will not contribute to a spike in blood sugar level.
People with diabetes should always have couscous with a protein-rich food item or with non-starchy vegetables. That way, they can balance out their meal with all the essential nutrients.
3 Benefits of Couscous
Couscous is not a pro diabetes food on its own. Even then, a person with diabetes can eat couscous, combining it with other food items. The couscous benefits for diabetes are still a handful.
- Whole-wheat couscous– A diabetes person should always prefer whole-wheat couscous over the regular, refined couscous because whole-wheat couscous contains a lot of dietary fiber.
Dietary fiber helps in controlling blood sugar levels. Eating food items with fibers does not spike blood sugar.
2. Maintain heart health– People with diabetes are prone to heart and cardiovascular diseases. Couscous contains a nutrient known as selenium.
Selenium reduces inflammation and bad cholesterol in the body, thereby reducing the risk of various heart and cardiovascular diseases.
3.Weight control- Since whole-wheat couscous is a rich source of dietary fibers, it keeps you from getting hungry frequently. Simply put, this means a less chance of over-eating and piling on those extra calories.
For a diabetes patient, whole-wheat couscous is an excellent addition to their diet that can aid in combatting weight issues.
Some FAQs About Couscous and Diabetes
Some of the frequently asked questions about couscous and diabetes-
Does couscous spike blood sugar?
Yes. Regular couscous does spike blood sugar. Couscous contains proteins and nutrients like selenium, but it also contains carbohydrates.
Carbohydrates break down into sugar and are the primary cause of this blood sugar spike.
While including couscous in a diabetes diet, it is advisable to add whole-wheat couscous rather than the regular, refined couscous. The former contains more dietary fibers and does not cause spikes in blood sugar levels.
Is couscous a high glycemic index?
The glycemic index of couscous is 60, which falls into the category of medium glycemic foods. Although, when you compare whole-wheat couscous with other whole grains, the glycemic index of couscous is high.
Is couscous healthier than rice?
Selecting a healthier option between the two, let us compare couscous with brown rice for that instance.
A single cup of couscous contains about 176 calories, and brown rice contains about 216 calories. Also, couscous has 2 grams of fiber and 6 grams of protein, while brown rice contains 3.5 grams fiber and 5 grams of protein.
The bone of contention lies in the nutrient content of the two. Although couscous is an excellent source of selenium, it does lacks other necessary nutrients.
On the other hand, Brown rice is a good source of selenium, along with manganese, magnesium, niacin, phosphorus, and copper.
Is couscous better than rice for diabetics?
Brown rice is better than couscous for someone having diabetes because it not only does not cause a spike in blood sugar but also provides a variety of nutrients to the body.
Is pearl couscous good for diabetics?
Yes. Pearl couscous contains a low amount of sugar and is also fat-free. The glycemic index of pearl couscous is low.
Foods with a low glycemic index are usually preferable for people with Type 2 diabetes because they help in reducing bad cholesterol and protect from the risk of cardiovascular diseases. They also do not increase blood sugar levels.
Can you eat couscous with gestational diabetes?
Yes. Women with gestational diabetes can opt for either whole-wheat couscous or pearl couscous. Both of them being a healthier alternative to regular, refined couscous.
Couscous may not be a food item a diabetes patient can readily include in their diet plan without having repercussions. But, they can opt for whole-wheat couscous or pearl couscous when they feel like eating couscous.
Whole-wheat couscous and pearl couscous have a lower glycemic index than refined couscous and also contain more dietary fibers that are essential in reducing cholesterol and keeping blood sugar levels stable.
Selenium, present in couscous, plays a crucial role in reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases by controlling bad cholesterol and inflammation. Dietary fibers present in couscous also help in weight control.
A person having diabetes can balance out carbohydrates in couscous by eating it along with proteins like chicken or fish and also non-starchy vegetables.
Couscous contains gluten and is not suitable for people advised to avoid gluten in their meals.