Is Tapioca Good for Diabetes? (10 Things to Know about Tapioca)

Throughout the world, tapioca fuels more than a million lives with nutrition. However, is tapioca good for diabetes? Let’s examine tapioca and its nutritional facts in detail. 

Tapioca is made from the cassava root. It is an edible tube that Brazilians and Americans use as food. Tapioca is available in flakes, meals, flour, and pearls. It is delicious and easy to cook. But, its popularity is due to its gluten-free nature. 

Generally, you can find it in grocery stores or supermarkets. Nevertheless, it is not considered suitable for all, despite having some great health benefits.

Is tapioca good for diabetes?

In this article, I will briefly discuss tapioca and its effects on diabetes?

What is Tapioca?

Probably, you are familiar with pearl-like tapioca grains. It makes yummy tapioca pudding and bubble tea with a unique texture and flavor. But it is not only pearls. Then what exactly is this?

Interestingly, the tapioca pearls neither grow on trees as fruits do nor in gardens as vegetables. Rather, it is a starch extracted from the root of the cassava plant. The plant is native to the north and central-west regions of Brazil. But you will found it throughout entire South America.

Later, the Portuguese introduced tapioca to most of the western hemisphere, Africa, and Asia.

Although tapioca is pure carb food, it also contains water, with traces of sodium and protein. However, as a pure carbohydrate, it is not suitable for hypertension or diabetes patients.

So if you are still concerned about is tapioca flour healthy, this is the perfect resource for you.

Is Tapioca Good for Diabetes?

Predominantly, 50% of American adults are diabetic or pre-diabetic. And tapioca for diabetic patients is not a great option. Despite this, tapioca is widely used in American food.

Indeed, tapioca has a high glycemic index and a lot of calories. Therefore, it can cause a spike in blood insulin levels. Consequently, diabetic patients will face certain health complications if consumed unabashedly.

However, you can take tapioca with a low-carb or low-calorie diet since it helps maintain weight and boosts immunity. Therefore, it can be beneficial for diabetic patients.

In case you do decide to indulge in tapioca now and then. You should first consult your nutritionist or dietitian. And get your HbA1c or hemoglobin level checked.

These levels will help you determine the amount of tapioca that you can eat.

Tapioca Glycemic Index

Certainly, tapioca starch, flour, flakes, or pearls have high glycemic indexes.

A glycemic index allows you to calculate how much blood sugar a carbohydrate can raise.

The index is one of several tools that guide the choices of foods. Such as calorie and carbohydrate counting.

Indeed, foods high in glycemic index can spark up insulin levels in the body. Hence, a diabetic or someone with heart disease may face serious health issues. It would help if you, therefore, consumed it in moderation and only on the advice of your dietitian.

Does Cassava Work as a Diet Alternative for Diabetes?

The cassava plant is widely planted in tropical and subtropical regions of the world: including Asia, Africa, and America.

Patients with diabetes can consider cassava a healthy diet option for its low glycemic index.

Aside from being low in calories and carbohydrates, it also contains hydrogen cyanide. As cyanide causes diabetes so it can worsen the diabetes symptoms with health complications.

You have to cook cassava to remove hydrogen cyanide properly.

Is cassava good for diabetes?
Image by falco from Pixabay

When processed properly, cassava can be considered a healthier alternative to white potatoes if the toxic compounds are removed.

What is Tapioca Good For?

Tapioca is a gluten-free grain. It is entirely made up of carbohydrates and has a high glycemic index. Thus, people who are gluten intolerant can use it.

Additionally, it contains small amounts of sodium and protein. Also, it makes digestion easier and improves energy.

Benefits of tapioca

In addition to being a good source of iron, it is also high in calcium and other nutrients.

Nutritional Value of Tapioca

Despite its high-fat content, tapioca is packed with calories, calcium, and other minerals. However, it also lacks some nutrients. Here is the nutritional value of tapioca.

NutrientsAmount
Calories544
Total Fat0 g
Sodium 1.5 mg
Total Carbohydrate 135 g
Dietary Fiber 1.4 g
Sugar 5.1 g
Calcium 30.40 mg
Iron 2.40 mg
Protein 0.3 g
Potassium 17 mg

Health Benefits of Tapioca

Tapioca is a carbohydrate food that has plenty of advantages over other carbohydrates. Moreover, it is widely available and relatively inexpensive.

These are some of the health benefits of tapioca:

Source of Iron

Fortified iron is found primarily in tapioca. Certainly, iron is essential for raising the level of hemoglobin in the body.

Additionally, it improves blood health and regulates blood circulation. Consequently, it prevents anemia from developing in the body.

Although tapioca is a good source of iron, this iron is, however, absorbed more readily by the body when combined with vitamin C.

Therefore, an anemic individual should consume tapioca regularly. The iron content also enhances the tapioca benefits for skin.

Reduces the Risk of Heart Disease

The iron and calcium found in tapioca contribute to normal blood circulation. Also, it doesn’t contain any saturated fat. Having less saturated fat lowers the risk of developing heart disease.

Furthermore, low sodium and trans fat are other health-promoting factors for the heart.

People with heart disease are advised to consume tapioca as part of their diet.

Benefits of tapioca includes heart health
Image by silviarita from Pixabay

May Improve Digestion

People with celiac disease can consume tapioca starch. In fact, it is an ideal alternative for gluten-sensitive stomachs due to its high nutritional value and zero gluten.

Furthermore, it is easy to digest as well. Therefore, it can be beneficial for constipated stomachs as well as gastritis

Dietary fiber and copper make this non-cereal diet healthy for the stomach.

Also, it is safe for people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome and other stomach issues.


Woman feeling healthy and pleased after eating tapioca.
Women feeling healthy and pleased after eating tapioca.

Healthy Weight Gain

A tapioca diet can improve weight gain healthily. Indeed, carbohydrates and calories aid in muscle growth. A vegetarian can also enjoy it as a good source of protein.

Furthermore, it also contains a large number of amino acids. The summary is that eating a cup of tapioca pudding increases your weight without increasing your cholesterol or fat levels.

Is tapioca good for weight loss? Yes, it is.

Tapioca helps in the weight gain and bodybuilding.

Bone Development and Protection

Aside from improving muscle strength, tapioca is also helpful for bone health. Tapioca is indeed rich in calcium and vitamin K.

These elements contribute to mineral deposition in the bone. Thus, it protects the bones from osteoporosis and strengthens them.

Further, tapioca contains iron that is also involved in bone health. Also, iron helps circulate oxygen throughout the body.

With this simple food, you can make your limbs and joints stay strong, flexible, and supple.

Mental Health

Besides being beneficial for bones, vitamin K supports mental health as well. Taking vitamin K can stimulate neuronal activity, which in turn can reduce Alzheimer’s risk.

Alzheimer’s occurs as a result of decreasing neural activity in the brain as one gets older. However, vitamin K protects brain tissue from free radicals. In contrast, allowing neural pathways to function.

Further, iron regulates blood flow to the brain. Resulting in a higher level of neuronal activity. It also prevents blood shortage in the brain.

Energy Booster

The tapioca diet is an effective energy booster. Therefore, it is recommended to consume during fasting because it is rich in carbohydrates, calcium, and iron.

Thus, it provides the consumers with instant energy. That’s why it’s a great bodybuilding supplement.

Health During Pregnancy

A pregnant woman can benefit from tapioca as part of her diet because it is a vitamin and iron-rich food. So expectant women and fetuses can receive healthful content.

Moreover, folic acid and vitamin D helps in the development and growth of the fetus.

Additionally, tapioca is also useful for preventing congenital disabilities.

Benefits of tapioca for pregnant woman

Instant Treatment for Fatigue

Tapioca contains a significant amount of iron. Therefore, it influences hemoglobin levels. Hence, your energy level rises, and you feel energized.

Whenever there is a feeling of fatigue, you should try some tapioca pudding. This is an energetic track!


Young man feels energetic after eating tapioca

Do Tapioca Help Kidney Patients?

Kidney patients need to limit protein and carbohydrates. In light of this, dietitians recommend tapioca as a nutritious kidney-friendly food since it is low in protein and calories and contains good fats.

Further, it is gluten-free and provides the body with a healthy dose of nutrients. For instance: calcium, manganese, folate, dietary fiber, vitamin K, amino acids, and iron.

Even so, tapioca is advantageous for kidney patients. However, it would help if you ate it in moderation along with other carbohydrates.

Additionally, you must consult your nutritionist before including tapioca in your diet.

Side Effects of Tapioca

However, tapioca offers many health benefits. It can also cause mild complications. And can interfere with your normal health condition. 

Here are some side effects of too much or improper tapioca consumption:

  • It can be poisonous (if not cooked properly)
  • It can spike insulin levels
  • It causes dieters to gain weight
  • Allergies can occur (rarely in people with latex allergies)
  • Nutrient deficiencies may result from this

Although, tapioca does not affect the body too negatively. However, since it contains high levels of carbohydrates thus, it can be harmful to diabetes. Besides, some patients often ask ‘does tapioca cause constipation. Yes, it can if consumed in bulk.

Recommended Intake

Tapioca, undoubtedly, contains fewer calories and proteins than other carbohydrate foods. However, consuming too much of this food can have damaging effects on your health.

It also comes with 2.4 mg of iron, 30.40 mg of calcium, and 1.52g of sodium per cup. It is definitely the right amount of nutrients for a man. Therefore, 1 to 2 cups of tapioca diet is sufficient for one day.

Carbohydrate food good for diabetic patient.
Photo by Edgar Castrejon on Unsplash

What is Tapioca used for?

Tapioca has been used historically for pudding, boba, bubble tea, desserts, and candies. Both tapioca pudding and boba tea are made with tapioca pearls.

Tapioca starch thickens soups, gravies, and sauces. Compared to other artificial thickeners and flour, it is better and more economical.

Moreover, it works well as both a stabilizer and a binding agent. Thus, it is used widely in nuggets, ground meat, burger patties to ensure a great texture. 

Many baking products use this ingredient since it traps moisture in a gel. Which prevents the pastries and other bakery items from becoming soggy during storage. 

Since it helps lighten the texture and maintain moisture in the absence of gluten. That’s why tapioca is a prominent component in gluten-free products.

Yummy Tapioca Pudding Recipe:

This food item is light and easy to make. Here is the simplest yet tastiest tapioca pudding recipe.

Ingredients

  • 2- cups of milk
  • 1-egg
  • 3 – tbsp of instant tapioca
  • ⅓ – cup of white or brown sugar
  • 1 – teaspoon vanilla extract

Method

  • In a medium saucepan, mix together the milk and the egg.
  • Put sugar and tapioca in a bowl and stir for 5 minutes.
  • Stirring constantly.Bring mixture to a full boil (without letting it burn) over medium heat.
  • Remove the pan from the heat.
  • Pour in the vanilla extract.
  • Cool for 15-20 minutes with a piece of plastic wrap immediately on the surface of the pudding.
  • It’s all done! It’s now ready to serve hot or cold.


Recipe of tapioca pudding
Photo by Na Urchin from Pexels

Bottom Line

Tapioca is undoubtedly a healthy food. The body can receive healthy nutrients from it. Unfortunately, this is insufficient to fulfill the bodies’ daily nutritional needs.

Because of its high carbohydrate content, it is hazardous for people with diabetes. Thus, diabetic patients should consume it only on a dietitian’s prescription.

FAQ

Does tapioca raise blood sugar?

The fact is that tapioca isn’t bad when consumed in moderation. It can, however, spike blood insulin levels since it is pure carbohydrates. Hence, it should be taken as part of a balanced diet in moderation. However, it is better than sweet and white potatoes for diabetic patients.

What is the glycemic index of tapioca?

The glycemic index of tapioca flour is lower than that of white and sweet potatoes. Both of which are considered to be worse for diabetes. Its glycemic index value falls in the middle range. Even though it has an intermediate GI, you should consume it in moderation.

Is cassava good for diabetes 2?

Cassava’s glycemic index is relatively high. Indeed, carbohydrates, fats, and calories are abundant in this food. Therefore, it is not considered good for either type 1 or type 2 diabetes patients.

Moreover, it has a high conversion rate to glucose. As a result, it can spike insulin levels in the blood. Thus, cassava is considered bad for people with diabetes and hypertension.

Is sago good for diabetes?

The consumption of sago has been shown to reduce blood insulin resistance. Additionally, it is a good source of dietary fiber. Thus, it reduces hunger pangs and cravings. As a result, the insulin level will be decreased by lowering daily calorie intake. Consequently, it is good for diabetes, but not if consumed excessively.

Is tapioca good for toddlers?

This starch-rich food has the right amount of carbohydrates. To provide your baby with the energy, they need every day. The tapioca root, which is rich in carbs, helps babies in healthy weight gain. While also being nutritious.

Is tapioca good for diabetes?

Since tapioca is pure carbohydrates thus, it should not be considered good for diabetes or pre-diabetic patients. It can, however, be moderately consumed on your doctor’s prescription.

Tags:

Aneeza Pervez

My name is Aneeza Pervez. I am a medical content writer. I enjoy travelling, writing, reading, composing, and singing. As a health advocate, I educate people about how to be healthy through my content. Health is wealth, so do your best to keep it!

Wholesomealive.com -a blog about Healthy Living
Logo