Is eggplant good for diabetes? Does eggplant increase blood sugar levels? 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 eggplant.
Is eggplant low carb? Is eggplant keto? How to cook eggplant for diabetes? Learn the answers here with the complete guide to eggplant and diabetes, as well as easy, diabetic eggplant recipes.
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.
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 eggplant 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.
The Excellent Eggplant.
What is Eggplant?
Eggplant, or aubergine, is a member of the nightshade family. While we recognize eggplant as a purple, large, oblong vegetable, other varieties of eggplant do exist including green, white or speckled.
While eggplant may be in your local supermarket year round, the best time to buy eggplant is May-August.
Nutrition Facts in Eggplant.
Eggplant is an incredibly nutritious vegetable. According to the USDA Food Data Central Search Results, the following are the nutrition facts in 1 cup of raw, cubed eggplant.
- Calories 20.5
- Protein 0.8g
- Fat 0.15g
- Carbohydrates 4.82g
- Fiber 2.46g
- Sugar 2.9g
Calories in Eggplant.
Is eggplant low calorie? What are the calories in eggplant? As a baseline, I am using the calories in raw eggplant. 1 cup of raw, cubed eggplant contains only 20.5 calories making the eggplant a low calorie food.
Protein in Eggplant.
How much protein is in eggplant? As a baseline, we are going to look at the protein in 1 cup of raw, cubed eggplant. 1 cup of raw, cubed eggplant contains 0.8 grams of protein.
Fiber in Eggplant.
What is the fiber in eggplant? 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 raw eggplant. 1 cup of eggplant has 2.46 grams of fiber.
Glycemic Index of Eggplant.
Is eggplant low on the glycemic index scale? What is the glycemic index of eggplant? The glycemic index (GI) of eggplant equals 15, which classifies it as a low GI food. Yes, eggplant is a low glycemic index 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
Is Eggplant Low Carb?
Is eggplant a low carb vegetable? Is eggplant high in carbs? Good news! Eggplant is a low carb vegetable!
What is the carb count of eggplant? 1 cup of raw, cubed eggplant contains 4.8 grams of carbs.
What are the Net Carbs in Eggplant?
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, cubed eggplant is 2.36 grams.
Is Eggplant Keto?
Is eggplant keto friendly? Can you include eggplant in a keto diet? Absolutely! Eggplant is a low carb vegetable, and as long as you keep an eye on your carbs, you can include eggplant in your keto plan.
This is important! Make sure you are preparing diabetic and keto friendly eggplant recipes. This means if you are frying eggplant, make sure you are using an almond or coconut flour coating in place of regular flour.
Research on Eggplant and Diabetes.
I am so excited about this! In addition to the fiber in eggplant slowing down the absorption of blood sugar levels (YAH!), eggplants contain a polyphenol that can influence carbohydrate metabolism. Say what?????
A recent study found the polyphenols, like those in eggplant, can help to lower blood sugar levels. In other words, this ‘influence’ can help to reduce blood sugar levels!!
Does Eggplant Increase Blood Sugar?
Eggplant has little effect on your blood sugar levels. With the combination of being a low carb food AND a low glycemic index food, PLUS being a polyphenol rich vegetable, eggplant will not cause your blood sugar levels to spike.
Is Eggplant Good for Type 2 Diabetics?
Can diabetics have eggplant? YES! In addition to being a low calorie, low carb, polyphenol rich vegetable, studies show a positive relationship between the consumption of eggplant and blood sugar control.
Is Fried Eggplant Good for Diabetics?
Can you have fried eggplant if you are diabetic? Yes! But with a few little modifications!
The carbs in fried eggplant come from the flour or batter used in the recipe. Simply exchange out your high carb flour for a low carb flour substitute such as almond flour, coconut flour, or crushed pork rinds.
To keep heart-healthy, do not fry eggplant on the stove, instead cook in the air fryer! Personally, this is my favorite way to have this diabetic eggplant recipe.
- Slice eggplant thin.
- Dip in egg wash.
- Dredge in almond flour (or low carb flour mixture).
- Cook at 360 degrees for 15-17 minutes.
How to Cook Eggplant for Diabetics.
You can cook eggplant in a variety of ways, including air-frying, stir-frying, sautéing, roasting, and braising. Pay close attention to your favorite eggplant 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.
Keto Eggplant Recipes.
Diabetics and prediabetics CAN use low carb and keto eggplant recipes in their diet, HOWEVER, I encourage you to use extra virgin olive oil (the BEST oil for diabetics) and don’t drown this amazing vegetable in cheese!
Eggplant for Diabetics: Shopping, Preparing, Storage.
Look for a smaller eggplant. Why? Smaller eggplants tend to be less bitter than larger eggplants then make sure to select an eggplant that is firm with no brown spots.
If preparing fresh eggplant, be sure to wash first. Using a vegetable peeler, peel the purple skin off the eggplant and prepare according to your recipe.
If purchasing eggplant, store wrapped loosely in plastic in the fridge. Use eggplant within 5 days of purchasing.
Eggplant Good for Diabetics? Conclusion.
Is eggplant safe for diabetics? YES! This low calorie, low carb, low glycemic index, polyphenol rich vegetable is great for diabetics. With promising studies showing the relationship between consumption of eggplant and improved blood sugar control, add these versatile vegetables into your life. From the dinner table to throwing in the air fryer, eggplant will not spike your insulin levels.
Looking for More Foods to Eat for Diabetes and Prediabetes?
Want more info on the best foods for diabetes? Check out some of my articles: