Diabetes is a severe health issue that has become increasingly prevalent across the globe. This long-term disorder is due to insufficient, lack of or resistance to the hormone insulin, resulting in elevated blood sugar levels.
Affecting millions of individuals, diabetes can result in various medical complications such as heart disease, renal failure and blindness.
As per experts, dietary control is of utmost importance to counteract the effects of this condition. Including curd or yoghurt/dahi in one’s diet can help to reduce the risk of diabetes-related health issues and manage blood sugar levels.
Curd production involves adding bacteria to milk, fermenting the milk’s lactose, and forming lactic acid.
This process gives curd its sour flavour and increases its nutritional benefits. It is rich in protein, calcium, and probiotics, which can help promote good health.
Curd for Diabetes – A Nutritional Overview
Curd, also known as yoghurt, is a beneficial source of nutrition for people with diabetes.
It provides an abundance of protein, calcium, and probiotics that can help improve gut health. Plus, since it is low in carbohydrates, it can aid in regulating blood sugar levels. Furthermore, curd contains Vitamin D, B-12, and Phosphorus.
Some research also suggests that consuming curd may reduce the likelihood of acquiring type 2 diabetes. Yet, it is essential to remember that not all types of curd are equal, and some may contain added sugars, so reading the nutrition label carefully is necessary before buying. Moreover, experts believe it is best to consume homemade curd to reap maximum benefits.
Curd and Diabetes – Understanding the Relationship
Blood Sugar Control
Consuming curd can cause a significant reduction in haemoglobin A1c, a measure of long-term blood sugar control, in people with type 2 diabetes.
Clinical Nutrition Research suggests that yoghurt enriched with flaxseed significantly reduced haemoglobin A1c after a randomised, controlled trial among 57 patients having Type 2 Diabetes.
Consumption of sufficient amounts of live microorganisms, known as probiotics, can provide health benefits, such as improved insulin sensitivity and reduced inflammation.
As a result, they are widely considered to be beneficial in the management of diabetes. Although the exact way curd may reduce inflammation has yet to be fully understood, research suggests that the probiotics present in curd could be involved.
Research suggests that probiotics help modulate the immune system by impacting the production of cytokines. Cytokines are molecules that play an essential role in the body’s immunity.
Some cytokines promote inflammation, while some are anti-inflammatory. Probiotics also help reduce the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines and increase the production of anti-inflammatory cytokines, potentially leading to a decrease in inflammation.
According to research, probiotics may improve gut health by increasing the number of beneficial bacteria and decreasing the number of harmful bacteria in the gut.
It helps restore the gut microbiome’s balance, which is necessary for maintaining a healthy immune system. An imbalance of the microbiome can lead to chronic inflammation, but probiotics can help to prevent this by restoring balance and improving overall health.
It is worth noting that the influence of curd on inflammation is quite intricate. Depending on the study’s design, the population studied, and other elements, the outcomes of different studies may vary.
Therefore, further research is required to gain a better understanding of the influence of curd on inflammation and to be able to make specific advice for those with diabetes.
Rich Source of Protein
Curd is a rich source of protein, vital for maintaining muscle mass and strength. People with diabetes are at an increased risk of muscle wasting. Therefore, consuming a diet rich in protein can help reduce this risk.
Rich in Calcium
Curd is a rich calcium source, essential for maintaining healthy bones. People with diabetes are at an increased risk of osteoporosis, and consuming a calcium-rich diet can help reduce this risk.
Benefits and Side Effects of Curd
- Consuming curd can improve blood sugar control in people with diabetes, as the probiotics present in curd may help increase insulin sensitivity and reduce inflammation.
- Curd is an excellent source of calcium, which is necessary for healthy bones. In addition, those with diabetes are at an increased risk of osteoporosis, so consuming a calcium-rich diet can help reduce this risk.
- Due to its low-fat and low-calorie content, curd may help improve cholesterol levels.
- Probiotics in curd help support digestion by increasing beneficial bacteria in the gut and may assist in boosting the immune system.
- People who are lactose intolerant may experience bloating, gas, or diarrhoea when consuming curd due to its lactose content.
- Milk or milk products, including curd, may cause an allergic reaction in some people, manifesting as hives, itching, and difficulty breathing.
- Taking antibiotics while consuming curd or other probiotic-rich foods may reduce the effectiveness of the antibiotics.
- Store-bought curd is also typically high in sodium, which can be a problem for people with high blood pressure or other conditions that require a low-sodium diet.
Diabetes Friendly Ways to Consume Curd
One can include curd in a healthy diet in moderate amounts. However, people with diabetes should select plain, unsweetened curd instead of sweetened, fruit-flavoured or low-fat curd, as they can be high in sugar and calories. Reading the label for added sugar or high sodium content is also essential.
A study reported that consuming low-fat milk (skimmed milk) resulted in a lower glycemic response than consuming high-carbohydrate foods such as white bread. Thus, the study suggests low-fat dairy products such as curd may have a lower glycemic index than high-carbohydrate foods.
There are many ways to include curd in a diabetic’s diet.
- Raita: Raita is a classic Indian dish with curd, vegetables, and spices. One can make it with cucumber, carrot, onion, or any other vegetable.
- Curd Rice: This simple dish is an excellent choice for lunch or dinner, combining cooked rice, curd, and spices. It’s sure to be a hit with everyone.
- Curd-based dips and spreads: Curd is an excellent base for dips and spreads such as tzatziki and raita. These can be used as a dip for vegetables or even as a spread on sandwiches and wraps.
- Dahi Chaat: A popular Indian street food, dahi chaat is an excellent way to incorporate curd into a diabetic’s diet. Simply mix curd, chopped vegetables, and a dash of chaat masala for a tasty and nutritious snack.
- Dahi-Vada: A classic North Indian dish, dahi-vada is made with lentil dumplings in curd and is served with various chutneys and spices. It’s a tasty and satisfying once a month treat!
The HealthifyMe Note
Including curd in a balanced diet can offer health benefits; however, it is essential to be aware of potential side effects. For example, people with dairy allergies or intolerances should avoid curd. Additionally, those who purchase curd should check the nutrition label for further information.
Consuming curd may benefit blood sugar control and overall health in people with diabetes. It is due to curd being a low-calorie, low-fat food high in protein, calcium, and probiotics.
Furthermore, it may help to improve insulin sensitivity and reduce inflammation, which is an integral part of managing diabetes. The HealthifyMe team can help determine your nutritional needs if you are uncertain.
Keep in mind that curd should not replace other diabetes management strategies, such as regular exercise and medication, but it can be a healthy addition to your diet.
However, additional research is required to understand the impact of curd on diabetes fully. So consulting with a healthcare professional before making any significant dietary changes is recommended, particularly if you have a medical condition.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. Does curd increase blood sugar?
A: Curd is generally low in carbohydrates and unlikely to cause a significant spike in blood sugar levels. However, some packaged forms may contain added sugars, so it is important to check labels. Additionally, be mindful of portion size, as consuming too much curd can increase calorie intake, resulting in weight gain and other health issues.
Q. Which type of curd is good for diabetes?
A: Experts recommend that people with diabetes consume plain, unsweetened yoghurt as part of their diet. This curd is low in carbohydrates and free of added sugars, which can raise blood sugar levels. When buying plain, unsweetened yoghurt, read the nutrition label carefully to ensure it does not contain added sugars or artificial sweeteners and has no added thickeners or stabilisers. Whole milk yoghurt without thickeners or stabilisers is a better choice. Homemade curd is an excellent option for those who want to make yoghurt.
Q. Does plain curd have sugar?
A: Plain curd, is created by fermenting milk with bacteria. This fermentation process changes the lactose in the milk, a natural sugar, into lactic acid, providing the yoghurt with its tangy flavour. Although plain curd contains some natural sugar in the form of lactose, the amount can vary depending on the milk used and the fermentation process.
Q. Is curd good for cholesterol or diabetes?
A: Consuming curd may have a beneficial effect on blood sugar control in people with diabetes. In addition, curd is a low-fat and low-calorie food. It may help improve cholesterol levels. However, it should be part of a healthy diet. Please do not treat it as a replacement for other diabetes management strategies.
Q. Can I eat curd daily?
A: One can consume curd daily as part of a healthy diet. It is a good source of protein, calcium, and probiotics. In addition, consuming it may have a beneficial effect on blood sugar control in people with diabetes. However, it is essential to check the label and choose a plain, unsweetened curd product with no added sugar.
Q. Who should not have curd?
A: Curd is safe for most people, including people with diabetes. However, some people may be allergic or intolerant to dairy products. In this case, they should avoid curd. In addition, people who are lactose intolerant may have difficulty digesting curd and may experience bloating, gas, or diarrhoea.
The Research Sources
1. Jordi Salas-Salvadó, Marta Guasch-Ferré, Andrés Díaz-López, Nancy Babio, Yogurt and Diabetes: Overview of Recent Observational Studies, The Journal of Nutrition, Volume 147, Issue 7, July 2017, Pages 1452S–1461S, https://doi.org/10.3945/jn.117.248229
2. Chen M, Sun Q, Giovannucci E, Mozaffarian D, Manson JE, Willett WC, Hu FB. Dairy consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes: 3 cohorts of US adults and an updated meta-analysis. BMC Med. 2014 Nov 25;12:215. Doi: 10.1186/s12916-014-0215-1. PMID: 25420418; PMCID: PMC4243376.
3. Ratajczak AE, Zawada A, Rychter AM, Dobrowolska A, Krela-Kaźmierczak I. Milk and Dairy Products: Good or Bad for Human Bone? Practical Dietary Recommendations for the Prevention and Management of Osteoporosis. Nutrients. 2021 Apr 17;13(4):1329. doi: 10.3390/nu13041329. PMID: 33920532; PMCID: PMC8072827.
4. Hasaniani N, Rahimlou M, Ramezani Ahmadi A, Mehdizadeh Khalifani A, Alizadeh M. The Effect of Flaxseed Enriched Yogurt on the Glycemic Status and Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: Randomised, Open-labeled, Controlled Study. Clin Nutr Res. 2019 Oct 2;8(4):284-295. doi: 10.7762/cnr.2019.8.4.284. PMID: 31720254; PMCID: PMC6826058.
5. Kwok KO, Fries LR, Silva-Zolezzi I, Thakkar SK, Iroz A, Blanchard C. Effects of Probiotic Intervention on Markers of Inflammation and Health Outcomes in Women of Reproductive Age and Their Children. Front Nutr. 2022 Jun 6;9:889040. doi: 10.3389/fnut.2022.889040. PMID: 35734372; PMCID: PMC9207510.
6. Hemarajata P, Versalovic J. Effects of probiotics on gut microbiota: mechanisms of intestinal immunomodulation and neuromodulation. Therap Adv Gastroenterol. 2013 Jan;6(1):39-51. doi: 10.1177/1756283X12459294. PMID: 23320049; PMCID: PMC3539293.
7. Li J, Janle E, Campbell WW. Postprandial Glycemic and Insulinemic Responses to Common Breakfast Beverages Consumed with a Standard Meal in Adults Who Are Overweight and Obese. Nutrients. 2017 Jan 4;9(1):32. doi: 10.3390/nu9010032. PMID: 28054966; PMCID: PMC5295076.