Sagodana and Diabetes

What is Sagodana? Sagodana is also known as Sabudana or Tapioca pearls, it is starch which is extracted from the roots of the tapioca plant. Sabudana is native to countries like Asia, South America, and Africa. This is because tapioca roots can grow easily in these regions. It is produced by first extracting the starch from the tapioca plant, it is then shaped into small pearl-like spheres; hence the name Tapioca pearls. As it is something we consume, the natural question is what does it taste like? Is it sweet, salty, bitter, sour? Sagodana has a neutral flavor, so people may use it to add texture to breads or cakes, or can be added to drinks, soups, and sauces as a thickener. As an ingredient, it can be roasted, boiled, or fermented.

Now that we know what it is and how it tastes, let us know how it works. The body breaks down most carbs from food into sugar, or glucose, and insulin helps the cells in our  body absorb this sugar. If someone has diabetes, their body doesn’t produce enough insulin or respond to insulin properly. In which case, eating high carb foods can cause an accumulation of glucose in the bloodstream. Even though Sagodana is a good carbohydrate, someone with diabetes needs to understand how much of it they can consume. While a person who is not diabetic might eat it without thinking of the outcome it has on our blood glucose levels, someone with diabetes has to be a bit more cautious when eating it. As a high carbohydrate food, sabudana can pose a risk if you have diabetes. The starch rapidly converts to sugar, thus triggering a blood sugar spike. A rapid spike in blood glucose levels does not mean that it is absolutely off limits.

Although some people with diabetes might stick with a low carb diet, they can also enjoy Sabu dana from time to time. The key is moderation. Eating Sabu dana on a daily basis can lead to frequent high blood sugar levels. When eaten in moderation, it only causes a moderate increase in blood sugar levels. As mentioned earlier, the key is moderation. Hence, we need to eat Sabu dana along with fiber-rich and low-calorie vegetables, this will increase the overall fiber intake for that meal and keeps the blood sugar stable, as fiber slows the absorption of glucose, it prevents frequent blood sugar fluctuations.

Sabudana also has other benefits apart from the above mentioned advantages. Sabudana is one option if you’re looking for a gluten-free food. If you have a gluten intolerance or Celiac disease, gluten can cause constipation, diarrhea, bloating, and fatigue. Sabudana is also useful when you need a quick energy boost. Some people living with diabetes experience frequent tiredness, fatigue, or constipation. Sabudana might relieve some of these issues.

Sabudana, as mentioned earlier is not something à diabetic patient can consume on a daily basis. It can potentially be dangerous for a diabetic. How can it be dangerous? Let us find out. Sabudana has a high Glycemi Index (GI). The glycemic index ranks the carbohydrates in foods based on how slow or how fast they raise blood sugar levels. The scale ranges from 0 to 100, with foods higher on the scale increasing blood sugar at a faster rate.The glycemic index breaks foods into categories based on the grams of carbs:

  • Low: 55 or less
  • Medium: 56 to 69
  • High: 70 or more

Sabudana has a glycemic index of 67. Although it doesn’t have a high ranking, it isn’t exactly low, either. So it can have a moderate impact on blood sugar if you consume too much. If you do want to indulge in sabudana every once in a while,it is highly recommended that you first consult your nutritionist or dietitian and get the levels of glycated haemoglobin or HbA1c levels checked. On the basis of these levels, you can advise on the amount of sabudana that you can include in your diet.

Now that we know what Sagodana is, it’s GI etc, let us know what it contains. Sabudana is pure starch, so it contains more carbohydrates than any other nutrient. It’s also a source of:

  • protein
  • fiber
  • calcium
  • iron
  • magnesium

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1 cup of tapioca pearl contains:

  • Calories: 544
  • Protein: 0.29 grams (g)
  • Fat: 0.03 g
  • Carbohydrates: 135 g
  • Fiber: 1.37 g
  • Calcium: 30.4 mg
  • Iron: 2.4 mg
  • Magnesium: 1.52 mg
  • Potassium: 16.7 mg

As per the USDA, 100g of dry tapioca contains the following values

  • Energy: 358 Kcal
  • Carbohydrates : 88.7 g
  • Water : 11 g
  • Fat : 0.02 g
  • Protiens : 0.19 g 
  • Iron : 1.58 g
  • Calcium : 20 g
  •  Potassium : 11 g
  • Phosphorus : 7 g
  • Sodium : 1 g

Sabudana is a healthy carbohydrate that’s gluten-friendly and provides a much needed energy boost. But if you’re living with diabetes, too much of it can be harmful to your health. So while sabudana is okay to eat if you have diabetes, moderation is key. Make sure you pair it with fiber-rich vegetables to avoid blood sugar spikes. Stay safe and keep spreading awareness everyone!

Get an answer to all the questions about diabetes in my online course. I will be back again with a new and interesting topic for everyone to discuss. Thank you.

Let me introduce you to the Art of Living with diabetes,a unique training program for every diabetic citizen. Visit to know details

Published by Dr.Pratim Sengupta

Dr. Pratim Sengupta thinks of himself as conscious, living, soulful being with an inner urge to break the inertia of life. He feels that life is nothing but a material expression of the Supreme Almighty Consciousness. His conscious existence empowered him to see, to hear, to talk, to interact, to feel, to dream, to ask questions, and to seek solutions to every problem. In the flow of life, as he grew up, he understood that knowledge of life is the only way to understand the scientific basis of conscious existence. Hence Dr. Sengupta felt the urge to study the science of life – i.e. Medicine. After he completed his higher secondary education from the Ramakrishna Mission Vidyamandira in Belurmath, he joined the MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery) course at RG Kar Medical College, Kolkata. The professional packaging of knowledge in terms of a time-bound, goal-oriented syllabus frustrated him a bit, but nevertheless ignited the urge within him to study further. He thus went on to his post-graduation (MD) in Medicine from IPGMER and SSKM Hospital, Kolkata. During his MD training, he got a glimpse of the vastness of knowledge, and the quest to learn precisely the facts of life narrowed down his area of interest to the functioning of the kidneys and the specialisation of Nephrology – a discipline that is complex, yet relatively new and still evolving in terms of complete understanding of renal physiology and pathology. So, Dr. Sengupta decided to study and train for the DM (Doctorate of Medicine) degree in Nephrology. Right from the start of his career, Dr. Sengupta was passionate about Research. During the MD programme he worked on Cirrhotic Cardiomyopathy, Autonomic Neuropathy of Lupus, and Insulin resistance in Diabetics. All these research studies were published in national journals. During his postdoctoral study in Nephrology, he worked on Hemodialysis efficiency, and suggested an angular placement of the Dialyser in order to increase efficiency. This innovative concept was accepted for presentation at the World Congress of Nephrology, Milan, in 2009, and also published in Hemodialysis International. Dr. Sengupta also worked on Plasmapheresis – a blood filtering technique by which toxic and pathogenic immunoglobulins can be removed from the body. He studied the role of Prethymectomy Plasmapheresis in Myasthenia Gravis patients, and his findings were published in the journal Interactive Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery. The patient-empowered nutritional model for nutritional care of kidney patients is another interesting and innovative area in which Dr. Sengupta has worked for quite a long time. Dr.Pratim Sengupta won the Bharat Jyoti award for his excellency in the field of medicine. He is also the president of our non-governmental organization, The Kidney Care Society. His tireless contribution to provide quality living for his patients is worth mentioning. He introduced Mukti, blending ancient Indian yoga with modern medicine for well being of every patient. He has also introduced an unique online course "Art of Living with diabetes" which is a complete solution to diabetes management. He has authored many books, blogs, for the patients. Searching and researching for solutions to problems in the field of Nephrology remains the passion and dream of Dr. Pratim Sengupta, and he intends to persist on this journey as long as he is conscious. Meanwhile, even as he pursues his dreams, Dr. Sengupta diligently puts into practice all he has learned about Nephrology over the years, at the Belle Vue Clinic in Kolkata and ILS hospital,Dumdum where he is available for his patient

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