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A nice, delicious bowl of chili on a cool day warms the soul. Making it yourself and letting it simmer all day, makes a home smell wonderful. I can almost smell it now. There are so many varieties and recipes out there to choose from, it is hard to imagine that you would not be able to find one you enjoy. Chili has been referred to as the ultimate comfort food by many and has also caused a few bathroom arguments, I am sure. So can diabetics eat chili?

With all this being said, the real debate here today is whether as a diabetic, you can enjoy a nice warm bowl of the ultimate comfort food. How does chili affect you as a diabetic, and your blood sugar levels? Is it going to send them through the roof, or is it going to be, okay? Let us stir the pot.

How Does Chili Affect Diabetics?

how does chilli affect diabetics

The first thing we need to look at is the effect that chili may or may not have on one’s blood sugar levels. All chili has some form of chili pepper in the recipe. Partly due to the vast quantity of chilies that exist. They range from a simple jalapeño to the ever-so-popular chipotle. This is also due to the fact that they are used in things commonly used in chili like; cayenne pepper, chili powder, or even the actual chilies themselves. However, how does all that spicy affect your blood sugar levels as a diabetic?

Chili peppers are low in cholesterol, low in saturated fats, low in sodium and sugar. They contain zero trans fats which is good for everyone. Throughout time people have used chilies for several things from food to medicine. To help you better understand chilies check out this Infographic. It gives you all the information about chilies and how good they are.

The active ingredient that is found in all chili peppers is called capsaicin which is a naturally occurring chemical in the peppers that gives it that bite. There was a study that was done in2006, that revealed the subjects who had consumed a diet that was rich in meals containing cayenne powder had lower blood glucose levels. Researchers have concluded, that eating meals that were made with cayenne powder regularly, may improve the sensitivity of tissues to insulin. This means that less insulin would be required to effectively get the glucose from the blood and distribute it through the tissues in the body. Does this mean that chili could lower blood sugar?

Can Eating Chili Actually Lower Blood Sugar?

Now here is the issue with trying to provide a legitimate answer to this question. Although there is a lot of studies on the effects of spicy foods on glucose levels, and insulin production, there is not a lot of support financially for these studies. What I mean by that is this – the studies are based around natural medicine ideas rather than “big pharma” cures and preventive measures.

However, do not ignore the studies that are being done, just remember that they are limited on how far they can go. Does the spicy food actually reduce blood sugar levels as well benefit diabetics though? Though there are several studies to understand if spicy food can actually benefit diabetics or those with gestational issues, how much could you actually eat before your tongue burns out of your mouth?

If you go with extra lean ground beef when making your favorite batch of chili, and go light on the salt, chili will benefit you in many ways.

What Is The Glycemic Load Of Chili?

The Glycemic load of chili is hard to define. Partly due to the multiple varieties of chili that are out there. With that being said, one ingredient that you must make sure you include in your chili recipe is beans. The reason for this is the American Diabetes Association classifies beans as a diabetes superfood. A 1/3 cup of red beans added to your chili is going to provide you with 73 calories, 5g of protein, 13g of carbs, and 5g of fiber.

Even though it is hard to define the glycemic load of chili, the more beans and vegetables you add into your pot, the more beneficial it will be for you. Naturally, you want to be careful when adding all your spices, you do not want to overload on salt. Chili is a combination of different foods, that blend for a delicious dance party within your body.

Sure, you can check each food individually, and try to figure it out on your own, but who really wants to try and do that? Nowadays, most recipes you find will provide you with the nutritional information for that specific recipe. You can use this information to help you keep an eye on your carb load and calorie intake. With that being said, chili peppers land at 45 on the GI which is considered low on the scale.

Final Thoughts About Diabetics and Chili

The benefits of eating chili are part of a large debate that has many varying opinions. Does that mean that as a diabetic you should not include chili as part of your diet? Absolutely not – there is not enough actual evidence out there that justifies the argument either way. There benefits to eating chilies, as well as many of the ingredients that people use in the multitude of the different recipes that are out there.

One thing that is certain though, is that as a diabetic you certainly can enjoy a soul-hugging bowl of chili. Of course, you want to moderate your consumption of chili so you can monitor the effects it may or may not have on your glucose levels. Grab that stock-pot, clear the counter, grab the veggies and whip up a big ole batch of chili and enjoy!



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