Carbohydrates in lentils – do they help manage blood sugar?

carbohydrates in lentils

You may or may not be aware that lentils can be considered a nutritional powerhouse. Maybe you are wondering if lentils for blood sugar management could be beneficial. Or maybe you are curious if carbohydrates in lentils will only raise your blood sugar levels?

If you want to know more about lentils and how they can help with managing your blood sugar levels, then keep reading!

What are lentils?

Lentils are a type of plant that is a legume. There are four different types of lentils including brown, red/yellow, green, and specialty lentils. The most common lentil is the brown lentil which is commonly found in soups or stews.

Lentils can be considered the cousins to beans and peas – also members of the legume family. 

The importance of a healthy diet for blood sugar control

Ultimately there is not just one food that will solely help you to achieve optimal blood glucose levels. A well-rounded healthy diet combined with adequate exercise will help you manage blood sugar levels, control your prediabetes, diabetes, or reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.

A well-balanced diet is crucial for blood glucose control – especially because the actual goal is likely to reduce complications from elevated blood glucose levels! In order to prevent spikes in your blood sugar levels, a good balance between lean protein and fiber is important.

Carbohydrate content of lentils

According to the USDA, a cup of cooked lentils contains 40 grams of carbohydrates. In that same cup of lentils, there is a whopping 16 grams of fiber! This is more than half the recommended fiber intake for adult women.

Fiber is important because it can help people feel full and satisfied. Fiber slows the digestion of food moving through the gut which causes that feeling of fullness. When you feel more full, you are less likely to overeat.

Most importantly, for blood sugar control fiber is beneficial because it helps prevent spikes in blood sugar levels. Since fiber helps to slow the absorption of sugar from the gut into the bloodstream, it helps to keep sugar levels from spiking.

Fiber of course has additional benefits including improved gut health and improved heart health. Soluble fiber can help to improve cholesterol levels – that one cup of lentils contains an impressive 8 grams of soluble fiber!

What is a serving of carbohydrates

One serving of carbohydrates is 15 grams. Therefore, in one cup of lentils where there is 40 grams, that is a little less than 3 servings of carbohydrates. 

Plant protein of lentils

Lentils also pack in a nice amount of protein. In one cup of cooked lentils, there are nearly 18 grams of protein! Incorporating plant protein is a great option for overall health because it eliminates any saturated fats that may be found in animal sources.

Again, incorporating adequate protein into your diet for blood sugar control is so beneficial because it helps promote keep you feeling full, strong, and keeping blood sugar stable.

Portion sizes of lentils

We have spoken about the carbohydrate content in one cup of lentils, but is that the portion you should be focusing on?

Working with your own dietitian, you can devise a plan for how many servings of carbohydrates is appropriate for you. Typically it is recommended to consume a consistent amount of carbohydrates through the day in order to avoid spikes or lows in your sugar levels.

Lentils for controlling blood sugar

Due to the fiber content and source of protein as previously discussed, lentils are a great choice when it comes to consuming foods to aid in blood sugar control.

When it comes to blood sugar control, people often think they need to avoid all carbohydrates. But this simply is not the case. Instead, we need to focus on consuming more healthy fiber rich carbs and less simple sugars like candies, sweets, or other refined and processed carbohydrates.

Lentil recap…

In conclusion, carbohydrates are an important part of everyone’s healthy diet. Carbohydates like lentils or other high fiber choices can and should continue to be an integral part of anyone’s diet to help manage blood sugar.

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