Can You Eat Bulgur Wheat With Diabetes?

Bulgur, also called bulgar or bulghur, is a grain product made from crushed wheat kernels. It provides iron, zinc and niacin, and you can eat it as a side dish, in salads and as a hot breakfast cereal. If you have diabetes, you might hesitate to eat bulgur because it is a high-carbohydrate food, but the American Diabetes Association lists bulgur as a healthy grain option for individuals with diabetes.

Eat bulgur in moderation and with other healthy foods. (Image: -lvinst-/iStock/Getty Images)

Carbohydrate Content of Bulgur

A cup of cooked bulgur contains 34 grams of total carbohydrates. When you eat foods with carbohydrates, your body breaks down the carbohydrates and releases them into your bloodstream as blood sugar, or blood glucose. If you have diabetes, your body is unable to properly regulate your blood sugar levels, and consuming too many carbohydrates at once can cause unhealthy increases in blood sugar. For most people with diabetes, each meal should contain 45 to 60 grams of carbohydrates. You could hit this goal with a lunch consisting of tabbouleh, with bulgur, parsley, cucumber, tomatoes, garlic and olive oil, and a piece of fruit on the side.

Low-Sodium Preparation Methods

Diabetics are at a higher risk for heart disease. A high-sodium diet can lead to high blood pressure, which further increases your risk. Bulgur is naturally low-sodium, with only 9 grams of sodium per cup of cooked bulgur. Prevent your bulgur dish from becoming higher in sodium by cooking it in water and refraining from adding salt during cooking or at the table. Instead, season it with low-sodium options, such as herbs, yogurt and lemon juice.

Focus on Fiber

A cup of cooked bulgur provides 8.2 grams of dietary fiber, making it a good option for individuals with diabetes. A high-fiber diet can reduce your risk for heart disease, which is important because diabetes increases your risk. Healthy adults should consume at least 14 grams of fiber for each 1,000 calories in the diet, but the average American consumes less than half of that amount, according to the USDA. Serve your bulgur with vegetables, or mix it with beans to increase the fiber content.

Whole Grains and Weight Control

If you have type-2 diabetes and are overweight, losing weight can help lower your blood sugar levels. Consuming whole grains instead of refined grains can help you manage your weight and blood sugar, according to the publication "Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010." For side dishes, choose whole grains, such as bulgur, instead of refined grains, such as white rice or pasta. Each cup of cooked bulgur contains 151 calories, so monitor your portion sizes to avoid consuming more calories than you intend.

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