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Is Eggplant Good for Diabetes? Benefits, Nutrition and Calories
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Is Eggplant Good for Diabetes? Benefits, Nutrition and Calories

HR_author_photo_Edibel
Written by Edibel Quintero, RD | Medically reviewed by Medically reviewed by Rosmy Barrios, MD check
Published on 2022 September 20
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5 min

Eggplant is a hearty seeded fruit that many enjoy in dishes such as eggplant parmesan, ratatouille, and more. However, many with diabetes wonder if eggplant is good for their blood sugars. So let’s talk about it!

is eggplant good for diabetes
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Whether you toss it into your favorite pasta dish, mix it into a stew or soup, and more, eggplant is a fruit rich in nutrition – yes, a fruit! However, for individuals with diabetes, other considerations play a role in their decision to eat eggplant.

From benefits, nutrition, calories, and more – let’s talk about if eggplant is good for diabetes and how to safely and healthily incorporate it into your diet with diabetes. 

Is Eggplant Good for Diabetes?

Eggplant is good for diabetes because it is a fruit rich in fiber that helps reduce sugar absorption and has a low glycemic index. Therefore, eating eggplant does not quickly spike your blood sugars.

Is Eggplant Good for Type 2 Diabetes?

For individuals with type 2 diabetes, in which their bodies do not produce enough insulin or their bodies do not use insulin well, eggplant is a good food choice because it is high in fiber.

The Mayo Clinic recommends that individuals with type 2 diabetes consume a healthy diet rich in high-fiber fruits and vegetables, such as eggplant, to help reduce blood sugar levels.

Additionally, when you eat, mechanisms in your body increase insulin secretion to take the sugar you ate into the cells to be used for work. In diabetes, there is often insulin resistance.

However, while fiber can help lower blood sugar, it can also support insulin sensitivity. 

5 Benefits of Eggplant for Diabetes

Let’s talk more in-depth about the benefits of eggplant for the diabetes diet and the body’s carbohydrate metabolism. Read on!

#1 Rich in anthocyanins

Have you ever wondered what gives eggplant its distinctive and beautiful purple color? Compounds called anthocyanins are responsible for the red, black, and purple colors in some fruits and vegetables.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, anthocyanin compounds have many benefits for human health, including the following: 

  • Reduces inflammation
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Decreases the risk of heart disease, including high blood pressure
  • And much more!

Additionally, anthocyanins have antioxidant properties, meaning they help fight the body’s free radicals that are naturally produced by processes such as energy metabolism.

The antioxidant properties promote reduced inflammation and oxidative stress, both of which play a significant role in diabetes. 

#2 High in fiber

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Data Central database, eggplant contains about 3g of fiber per 100g serving. 

For reference, 100g of eggplant is approximately 1¼ cups of eggplant cut into cubes.

Fiber is essential for those with diabetes because it helps slow down the digestion and absorption of sugars. This prevents significant blood sugar spikes and keeps blood sugar levels stable.

Therefore, when you consume high-fiber fruits that contain sugar, that sugar absorption slows down, which helps control blood sugar levels in those with diabetes. 

#3 Low in carbohydrates

While most fruits contain higher amounts of carbohydrates per serving, such as cherries, eggplant only has about 7g of carbohydrates in a 100g serving. Wow!

According to the American Diabetes Association, eggplant is a non-starchy vegetable and is, therefore, low in carbohydrates. 

For someone with diabetes who needs to be aware of how many carbohydrates they are eating, an eggplant is a good option because it is relatively low in carbs and rich in fiber, which helps them feel full for longer. 

#4 Low in calories 

A 100g serving of eggplant only contains 25 calories. Therefore, adding it to your salads, soups, stews, casseroles, and more makes it not only more flavorful but much more nutritious from vitamins and minerals, such as potassium.

Additionally, low-calorie foods such as eggplant are suitable for those with diabetes because many with diabetes strive for weight loss. Eggplant is very filling and nutrient-dense because of its water and fiber content. 

#5 Contains protein

While just a gram of dietary protein per 100g serving does not seem like much, protein plays a huge role in the diet of someone with diabetes.

Like how fiber can slow down the digestion and absorption of sugars consumed, protein can do this as well. 

However, since it is just a gram or two of protein and not a complete protein, it is best to pair eggplant with lean meat, low-fat dairy, or a vegetarian protein source, such as tofu or tempeh. 

Nutritional Value of Eggplant

While we have already discussed eggplant’s carbohydrate, protein, and caloric value, let’s dive into more information about the nutrition of eggplant.

Eggplant
Vegetables
Per 100g
Net carbs
2.88g
Total carbs
5.88g
Fats
0.18g
Protein
0.98g
Calories
25
Glycemic Index
30
Fiber
3g
Sugars
3.53g

In terms of total fat content, a 100g serving of eggplant only has 0.18g, which is essentially negligible and can be considered zero. This makes eggplant great for weight loss as well.

To make eggplant even more flavorful and satisfying, add a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil for some healthy fats and bake in the oven! 

Additionally, eggplant has many vitamins and minerals in small quantities, but the most significant amount is potassium, with 229mg in a 100g serving. 

Potassium is a mineral that acts as an electrolyte in the body and functions in fluid balance along with sodium.

Glycemic index of eggplant

The glycemic index of eggplant is 20, which is considered to be a low-glycemic index food. 

According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the glycemic index is a measurement of how quickly the sugar in a food is digested and absorbed. For those with diabetes, consuming low-glycemic-index foods is ideal for optimal blood sugar control. 

This low glycemic index of eggplant is due to the protein and fiber content of eggplant, which slows down the digestion of the sugar and prevents blood sugar spikes. 

FAQs

Does eggplant have carbs?

Eggplant has a small number of carbs, with about 6g in a 100g serving. Therefore, it will not have a significant impact on your blood glucose level like other refined foods.

How much protein is in eggplant?

A 100g serving of eggplant has about 1g of dietary protein. However, this protein is incomplete and should be paired with other protein sources as well.

A Word From a Dietitian

Overall, eggplant is a great addition to the diet of someone with diabetes because of its excellent nutritional profile that includes fiber, protein, and antioxidants.

Since eggplant is not a complete protein source, it is best to combine it with lean meats such as chicken, legumes, tofu, dairy, or other protein sources as well.

Toss cubes or slices of eggplant in extra virgin olive oil, some salt, and pepper, and bake in the oven for the perfect side dish to pair with your meal.

Additionally, add eggplant into your next warm soup or comforting stew, such as ratatouille, for a flavorful and nutritious meal.

Conclusion

In conclusion, eggplant is a fruit many with diabetes fear because of its sugar and carbohydrate content.

However, this is unfounded because it is relatively low in carbs and has fiber and some protein that helps slow down the digestion and absorption of sugars and prevent spikes in blood sugar. 

In other words, this nutritious fruit is good for diabetes because it provides many nutrients, vitamins, and minerals, without too many calories, carbs, or sugar. 

Eat eggplant with your next meal to reap its benefits for diabetes.

Always seek professional medical advice that is individualized to you for diabetes management.

HR_author_photo_Edibel
Written by
Edibel Quintero is a medical doctor who graduated in 2013 from the University of Zulia and has been working in her profession since then. She specializes in obesity and nutrition, physical rehabilitation, sports massage and post-operative rehabilitation. Edibel’s goal is to help people live healthier lives by educating them about food, exercise, mental wellness and other lifestyle choices that can improve their quality of life.
Medically reviewed byRosmy Barrios, MD
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