Is Buttermilk Good for Diabetes
Diabetes, General

Is Buttermilk Good for Diabetes?

Buttermilk, while literally suggests a combination of butter and milk, is ideally a derivative of the process of churning butter. Traditional buttermilk, which is consumed in India, is nothing but leftover liquid after churning the cream from whole milk. It is essentially a traditional drink consumed majorly in warm climates and is consumed almost regularly in many parts of the world including Middle East, India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Afghanistan, among other nations.

Buttermilk is a common drink offered in almost all parts of India. Known by various names, Northern India consumes buttermilk as Mattha, Chaach or Chaas while Southern India consumes it as Neer More. Eastern India recognizes buttermilk as Ghol, while in western India it is more commonly referred to as Chaas.
Buttermilk, though a mere leftover liquid, is fully loaded with a number of benefits. Some of the benefits include

  • Effective protection against dehydration
  • Encourages digestion
  • Helpful in treating stomach ailments
  • Useful source of calcium without fat
  • Provides a cooling effect to the digestive tract

As far as the nutritional facts of the liquid goes, a cup or 237 ml of buttermilk contains about 99 calories and merely 2.2 grams of fat. The drink is fully loaded with calcium, potassium, traces of phosphorous, and various vitamins. It can be consumed as it is in the liquid form both before and after meals. Buttermilk also finds significance relevance in becoming an integral part of a number of recipes.

Is Buttermilk Good for Diabetes?

Buttermilk is indeed a healthy drink for everyone, including the diabetic patients. Patients suffering from gestational diabetes are usually advised to avoid consuming food with higher glycemic index. Buttermilk perfectly fits the bill by having a lower glycemic index. Apart from that, it is a rich source of calcium too. However, experts advise consuming only up to 150 ml of buttermilk at any given time. Larger consumptions are usually not advised as diabetes also leads to an allergic reaction to the higher amount of milk and milk products in some cases. Diabetic patients are advised to consume small portions of food at a time. Buttermilk can be consumed in between and just after meals. It is a good mid meal snack for diabetic patients.

How Much Sugar is there in Buttermilk?

Most often, diabetic patients are worried about what to have and what they should avoid. They thus need to strategically assess the sugar content and calorie content of each particular food. Even while consuming fruits, they need to analyze whether the sugar content in the fruit would keep their sugar levels within controllable boundaries. Thus, while consuming natural liquids such as buttermilk, it is quite obvious to have questions such as what exactly is the sugar content of a cup of buttermilk.

A cup of buttermilk is surely healthy. Even for a patient with gestational diabetes. A cup of buttermilk is estimated to have approximately 12 grams of sugar. The best part is that all of this sugar is naturally occurring sugar. Such as lactose which is not as harmful as added sugars. That is the reason why diabetic patients can have buttermilk, but obviously in limited quantities to control their sugar consumption. Along with natural sugars, buttermilk also contains a good amount of protein, calcium, and other important vitamins and minerals.

Benefits of Buttermilk for Diabetes

This cost effective yet nutritious magic liquid, known as Buttermilk, Chaas, Mattha, or so many different names at different corners of India. It can do wonders if consumed regularly. As already mentioned in the introductory section, there are innumerable benefits of this magic liquid. Some of the important benefits of consuming buttermilk especially for patients suffering from gestational diabetes include

  • Ready Source of Natural Sugars: Diabetic patients need to maintain the sugar levels in their body. They need to consume sugars at regular intervals to fuel their bodies. What would be better than consuming natural sugars? Buttermilk is a natural source of natural sugars without increasing the fat intake of the body.
  • Ready Source of Essential Nutrients: Along with natural sugars, buttermilk also supplies essential nutrients to diabetic patients such as calcium, potassium, and vitamin A.
  • Provides Essential Nutritional Values: A cup of buttermilk provides healthy nutrition for diabetic patients. some examples of the nutritional values supplied by buttermilk include:
    • High Amount of Calcium: A cup of buttermilk is estimated to provide almost 28 percent of the calcium required by a human body to maintain healthy bones and teeth.
    • Good Quantity of Zinc: A cup of buttermilk is estimated to supply almost nine and thirteen percent of the zinc required by an adult male and female respectively. Zinc is required to help the body in healing, clotting the blood, and protecting the cells from damage.
  • Doesn’t Add Bad Fats and Weight: Unlike added sugars, buttermilk contains limited amount of natural sugars which does not add on to unhealthy weight gain for the diabetic patients. Buttermilk also contains minimal fats, thus, protecting the diabetic patients from risk of heart ailments. It is also helpful in controlling cholesterol levels in diabetic patients which reduces the risk of heart attacks and heart blockages.
  • Contains Probiotics: Probiotics are known to provide the essential good bacteria for maintaining a healthy gut. Buttermilk is full of probiotic value, thus helping the diabetic patients with a healthy gut and digestive system.

Anything Equivalent to Buttermilk for Diabetes

Buttermilk is itself a healthy substitute for diabetic patients trying to avoid milk. They need not plan to substitute buttermilk since given its nutritional qualities; it is absolutely healthy and can be consumed on a regular basis, though in limited quantities.

Medically Reviewed By
Dr. Kaushal M. Bhavsar (MBBS, MD)Assistant Professor in Pulmonary Medicine, GMERS Medical College, Ahmedabad