Can diabetics eat cauliflower? Is cauliflower good for diabetics? If you have recently been diagnosed as diabetic or have elevated blood sugars (ie – prediabetes), you are more than likely questioning everything you eat, including cauliflower.
Is cauliflower good for lowering A1C? Does cauliflower raise your blood sugar? Learn the answers here with the complete guide to cauliflower and diabetes, as well as easy cauliflower recipes for diabetes.
What is Diabetes?
While I can give you intense, scientific definitions, I prefer to follow the KISS principle, ‘keep it simple, silly.’ Basically, diabetes occurs when you do not produce enough insulin OR you are not using insulin as you should. When this happens, too much sugar stays in our blood stream.
3 types of diabetes exist:
- Type 1 diabetes.
- Type 2 diabetes.
- Gestational diabetes.
When Are You Diagnosed as Diabetic?
According to the American Diabetes Association, diabetes is diagnosed when an A1C level is above 6.5%. Prediabetes is diagnosed when the A1C is between 5.7% and 6.4%.
What about Prediabetes?
As a dietitian, I am noticing a huge increase of prediabetes (or elevated blood sugar) in my clinic. This is where our blood sugar is elevated, but not elevated ‘enough’ for the classic diabetes diagnosis.
How Many Individuals Have Diabetes?
According to the Diabetes Research Institute, 37.3 million people (11.3% of the population) have diabetes.
What is the Common Treatment For Diabetes?
As much as I hate to say this, patients are often given a HUGE amount of medicines to help with diabetes. While that is ok for some, it often breaks my heart to see meds handed out with ZERO diet education. As a dietitian and working with 100s of patients, I can honestly tell you a change in diet CAN get you off diabetes medicine and reverse prediabetes.
Can I Reverse Diabetes and Prediabetes?
My professional opinion is that with proper diet (and no, not that moderation diet), activity, and sleep, we can DRASTICALLY reduce our blood sugars out of the diabetes and prediabetes range.
LET’S GET STARTED!
The Diabetes and Prediabetes Diet Guide
While many of us know to cut out the sugar, sweets, sodas, and white carbs (and even some wheat carbs), I focus my diabetes and prediabetes plan on the following:
- Low glycemic,
- Low carb,
- High fiber,
- Lean protein, and
- High omega-3 rich foods.
While this article focuses on cauliflower and diabetes, you can continue to watch my video on the 10 best foods for prediabetes and weight loss.
But Let’s Get Down to Business.
Cauliflower and Diabetes.
What is Cauliflower?
Cauliflower is a member of the Brassica oleracea family. While we often buy the entire ‘head’ of the cauliflower in our local supermarket produce section, only the ‘white’ flesh is cooked and eaten. (I guess you can try the leaves, I will pass!)
Often we purchase the ‘white’ cauliflower, but do know other colors of cauliflower exist including purple and yellow.
And yes, while I love to purchase cauliflower in the produce section of the supermarket, you can find cauliflower in the frozen foods aisle of your local supermarket.
Nutrition Facts in Cauliflower.
Cauliflower is an incredibly nutritious vegetable. According to the USDA Food Data Central Search Results, the following is the nutrition facts in 1 cup of chopped cauliflower. (Note – for the entire article, nutrition facts are based on 1 cup of chopped cauliflower)
- Calories 26.8
- Protein 2.05g
- Fat 0.3g
- Carbohydrates 5.32g
- Fiber 2.14 g
- Sugar 2.04g
Calories in Cauliflower.
Is cauliflower low calorie? What are the calories in cauliflower? 1 cup of chopped cauliflower contains only 26.8 calories making the cauliflower a low calorie food.
Protein in Cauliflower.
How much protein is in cauliflower? Just note, I am looking at the protein in 1 cup of chopped cauliflower. 2.05 grams of protein is in 1 cup of raw cauliflower.
Fiber in Cauliflower.
What is the fiber in cauliflower? Why do we care about fiber? Is fiber important for diabetics? Remember I shared earlier in the article how part of my diabetes and prediabetes plan is to encourage high fiber foods? Fiber helps to slow down the absorption of blood sugar levels. (This is a GOOD thing!)
Let’s look at the fiber in our cauliflower. 1 cup of chopped cauliflower has 2.14 grams of fiber.
Glycemic Index of Cauliflower.
Is cauliflower low on the glycemic index scale? What is the glycemic index of cauliflower? The glycemic index (GI) of cauliflower equals 10, which classifies it as a low GI food.
Why does the glycemic index matter with diabetics?
The glycemic index measures how quickly a food causes our blood sugar to rise. Foods are ranked on a scale of zero to 100. The higher the glycemic index of food means these foods are quickly digested, absorbed, and causing a fast rise in blood sugar levels. On the other hand, foods low in the glycemic index are absorbed at a lower rate.
The glycemic index (GI) rankings are as follows:
- Low GI food: Under 50
- Medium GI food: 56-69
- High GI food: 70 and higher
Carbs in Cauliflower?
Is cauliflower a low carb vegetable? Is cauliflower high in carbs? I have great news! Cauliflower is a low carb vegetable!
So what is the carb count of cauliflower? Friendly reminder, I am focusing on 1 cup of raw cauliflower. Our 1 cup of raw, chopped cauliflower contains 5.32 grams of carbs.
What are the Net Carbs in Cauliflower?
Net carbs can be a bit of a confusing topic. Don’t let it be! The simple definition of a net carb is the amount of carbs (in a product) that the body converts to sugar. Need more of a simple definition? Net carbs are the carbs that are absorbed in the body. The equation is pretty simple:
Net carbs = Total Carbs – Dietary Fiber.
The net carbs in 1 cup of raw, chopped cauliflower is 3.18 grams.
Is Cauliflower Keto?
Is cauliflower keto friendly? Can you include cauliflower in a keto diet? Absolutely! Cauliflower is a low carb vegetable, is insanely popular in keto recipes (hello cauliflower pizza crust!), and as long as you keep an eye on your carbs, you can include cauliflower in your keto plan.
Now this is important! Super super important! Don’t get carried away with overly cheesy, greasy cauliflower recipes. Instead, make sure you are preparing diabetic cauliflower recipes. One of my favorite diabetic cauliflower recipes is my Instant Pot Shrimp and Cauliflower Grits! (PS – If you watch the video you get to hear my Cajun accent!)
Does Cauliflower Increase Blood Sugar?
Fabulous news! You can load up on cauliflower if you are diabetic! Cauliflower has little effect on your blood sugar levels. With the combination of being a low carb food AND a very low glycemic index food, cauliflower will not cause your blood sugar levels to spike.
Is Cauliflower Good for Type 2 Diabetics?
Can diabetics have cauliflower? Good news! YES YOU CAN! Cauliflower is a low calorie, low carb, low glycemic index vegetable and will not affect your blood sugar levels. Bring this fabulous vegetable into your life!
Is Cauliflower Good for Lowering A1C?
Is Riced Cauliflower Good For Diabetics?
Absolutely!!! Riced cauliflower is quite easy to make! Simply place clean cauliflower in a food processor and process down to a riced product. And yes, you can bypass these steps by purchasing riced cauliflower in the produce and in the freezer section. But buyer beware – make sure to view the ingredients on the label and make sure the only ingredient is cauliflower!
How to Cook Cauliflower for Diabetics?
You can cook cauliflower in a variety of ways, including steaming, boiling, air-frying, stir-frying, sautéing, and roasting. Pay close attention to your favorite cauliflower recipes to make sure the ingredient list does not include sugar, agave nectar, and honey since these will increase the carb count in your dish.
Diabetic Cauliflower Recipes.
Diabetics and prediabetics CAN use low carb and cauliflower recipes in your diet, HOWEVER, I do encourage you to use extra virgin olive oil.
Some of my favorite diabetic cauliflower recipes include:
Cauliflower and Diabetes: Shopping, Preparing, Storage.
Cauliflower is available in the produce section of our local supermarkets. When purchasing, look for compact, tightly closed heads and leaves that are green in color. Stay away from crumbly florets.
If you can’t find a good head of cauliflower in the produce section, be sure to check out the freezer aisles of the supermarket.
Remove the leaves from your cauliflower and rinse cauliflower in water. I encourage you to ‘break’ the cauliflower into small pieces while rinsing under water.
Dry washed cauliflower with a paper towel and store in a ziplock bag in the fridge. Cauliflower will last in the fridge for 5-7 days. It is not recommended to store cauliflower on the counter.
Is Cauliflower Healthy for Diabetics? Conclusion.
Is cauliflower good for diabetics? Can diabetics eat cauliflower? YES! This low calorie, low carb, low glycemic index vegetable is great for diabetics. Cauliflower is the darling rice replacer in the keto world, so be sure to add this versatile vegetable into your life. From steamed to roasted to riced, cauliflower will not spike blood sugar levels.
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