Weightloss

Is Suji Good For Losing Weight? Graining It Out: HealthifyMe

Suji, also known as semolina, is a staple in almost every Indian household. It is a versatile ingredient used to make various dishes from breakfast to lunch and dinner. From the soft idlis to the spicy upma, suji is an essential ingredient that adds flavour and texture to the dish.

The versatility of suji is not limited to its use in traditional Indian cuisine, as people also use it to make modern and innovative dishes. For example, suji is used to make pasta and bread in Western cuisine. However, with its growing popularity, the question arises, “Is Suji good for weight loss?”.

Weight loss has become a buzzword today, and people are very conscious of what they eat. As a result, they are constantly on the lookout for ingredients that will help them achieve their weight loss goals. With suji being such a commonly used ingredient in Indian households, it is natural for people to wonder whether one can include it in their weight loss diet. This article sheds light on the benefits and drawbacks of suji and determines whether it is a suitable ingredient for those looking to shed those extra kilos.

Suji: An Overview

Suji, also known as semolina, is coarsely ground durum wheat, rich in fibre and protein. In some parts of the country, coarse millings of other wheat, rice, and corn varieties are also termed Suji.

Semolina has a medium glycemic index (66) and a medium glycemic load, making it permissible (in moderation) for those trying to lose weight. The glycemic index (GI) and glycemic load (GL) are two concepts that are often associated with weight loss. The glycemic index measures how quickly a particular food raises blood sugar levels after consumption. In contrast, the glycemic load considers both the quality and quantity of carbohydrates in a portion of food. Foods with a high GI cause a rapid spike in blood sugar levels, leading to a quick insulin release and potential energy crashes. On the other hand, foods with a low GI provide a slower, more sustained release of energy. Regarding weight loss, focusing on foods with a low GI and GL can help regulate blood sugar levels, promote feelings of fullness, and provide a steady source of energy, all of which can contribute to healthier eating habits and weight management. 

While Suji has a slightly gritty texture and a yellowish or off-white colour, it is a versatile culinary grain enjoyed globally. One can prepare delicious dishes using Suji, such as pancakes, cakes, pasta, and porridge.

Nutritional Profile of Suji

According to USDA, unenriched semolina (suji) contains the following nutrients.

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  • Energy: 360kCal
  • Protein: 12.7g
  • Total lipid (fat): 1.05g
  • Carbohydrate: 72.8g
  • Fibre, total dietary: 3.9g
  • Calcium: 17mg
  • Iron: 1.23mg
  • Magnesium: 47mg
  • Phosphorus: 136mg
  • Potassium: 186mg
  • Folate: 72µg

Suji for Weight Loss: How Does it Work?

As per one study, dietary modifications, including increased dietary fibre, decreased energy density, and higher protein intake, lead to weight loss when one successfully creates a calorie deficit and follows a regulated meal plan. Suji, which is abundant in nutrients, is highly recommended for those attempting to reduce weight for a variety of reasons, including the following:

Rich in Protein

Suji is a high-protein food, with more protein per gram than many other grains. Protein is a crucial nutrient because it aids in building and repairing muscle tissue, which is a must for weight loss.

According to research, adding protein to your diet also helps lower appetite, preserve muscle mass during weight loss, increase fat loss, improve body composition, and stimulate metabolism, allowing you to burn more calories throughout the day.

Another study discovered that compared to adherent participants in the regular protein diet group, a high-protein diet resulted in significantly higher weight loss.

Promising Source of Fibre 

Although the fibre content in suji is not very high, it still contains enough fibre to aid weight loss. As per research, fibre makes one feel satiated and prevents hunger pangs. As a result, it can assist in minimising overeating, promoting weight loss, and lower body weight.

Fibre can also assist in controlling blood sugar levels and lower the chance of chronic health issues like diabetes and heart disease. Fibre can also boost metabolism, allowing your body to burn more calories even when at rest.

So, incorporating foods like suji into your diet can enhance your weight loss efforts. A study shows that adding only one gram of fibre daily led to additional weight loss. So, while fibre alone may not lead to significant weight loss, it can support other weight-loss efforts and enhance progress.

Medium Glycemic Index

Suji has a medium glycemic index, with its GI value being 66. Therefore, it can potentially raise blood sugar levels at a moderate pace. However, the GI of semolina can vary depending on the preparation and what you are pairing it with. Therefore, it can aid with weight loss if clubbed with other healthy ingredients.

For example, semolina porridge made with milk has a higher GI than semolina made with water. Similarly, adding nuts and seeds and eating them with curd or salad can lower the GI of semolina-based dishes by slowing down the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates.

Summary 

Suji, or semolina, is an excellent addition to a weight loss diet due to its high protein content, which aids in building and repairing muscle tissue. Protein can also lower appetite, preserve muscle mass during weight loss, and increase fat loss. Additionally, Suji contains enough fibre to make one feel satiated, which can assist in minimising overeating, promoting weight loss, and controlling blood sugar levels. Although Suji has a medium glycemic index, its GI value can vary depending on the preparation and what it is paired with, making it a healthy choice when consumed moderately and as part of a balanced diet.

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Ways to Incorporate Suji into a Weight Loss Diet

Suji is a versatile ingredient that one can use to prepare various dishes. You can make sweet and savoury dishes using suji and prepare dishes from Indian food to Continental cuisine. Depending on the recipe, one can boil, roast, saute or toast suji.

Given below are some ideas for incorporating it into your meals.

Breakfast

Semolina porridge is a healthy and filling breakfast option. Cook semolina with water and add your favourite toppings, such as fruit, nuts, and seeds. 

Lunch or Dinner 

Suji can be used to prepare foods such as suji upma, suji idli and suji dosa for lunch or dinner. One can also use Suji to make khichdi or pulao with vegetables. These dishes are low in fat and high in fibre, making them ideal for weight loss. One can also make semolina flatbreads. They are healthy and high in fibre and protein. Combine semolina with water, salt, and yeast, then knead and bake until golden brown.

Snacks

Suji chilla or pancakes are delicious snacks. Combine suji, milk, mashed banana, and a pinch of baking powder. To make healthy and delicious pancakes, cook the batter in a nonstick pan. For a savoury snack, make suji dhokla or suji upma. You can even make yummy waffles using suji. One can also use semolina as a binding agent in veggie burgers to replace traditional breadcrumbs. Combine semolina with cooked vegetables, beans, and herbs, then form into patties and bake or grill.

Desserts

Suji halwa and kheer are some favourite suji desserts. To make it healthy, use natural sweeteners like honey or maple syrup instead of sugar. In addition, semolina pudding is also a nutritious and tasty dessert option. Mix semolina with milk, honey, and cinnamon, then bake in the oven until golden brown.

Thickening Agent in Soups

Semolina can be used to thicken soups and stews. It adds a creamy texture and a nutty flavour. Add a few tablespoons of semolina to your favourite soup recipe and cook until the soup thickens.

Summary

Suji can be incorporated into various dishes and used for sweet and savoury recipes, from breakfast to dinner, snacks, and desserts. Some ideas include semolina porridge, suji upma, suji dosa, and suji chilla. Suji can also be used as a binding agent in veggie burgers or as a thickening agent in soups and stews. Adding suji to your meals can increase your fibre and protein intake and help support your weight loss goals.

Suji Recipes to Try for Weight Loss

Suji Upma

Serves: 2

Cooking Time: 15 mins

Ingredients

  • Semolina (suji): ½ cup (30g)
  • Ginger (finely chopped): ½ inch
  • Onion (finely chopped): 1 small
  • Chilli (finely chopped): 1 piece
  • Black mustard seed: 1 tsp
  • Black gram: 30g
  • Bengal gram: 30g
  • Oil: 1 tbsp
  • Lemon juice: 1 tsp
  • Coriander leaves (finely chopped)
  • Salt to taste
  • Curry leaves: 5-10
  • Water: 1 cup (250 ml)

Method

  • Dry roast the suji in a skillet over low heat until a pleasant scent emerges. Serve on a platter. Make sure the suji does not brown too much.
  • In a pan, heat 2 tsp oil and add curry leaves and mustard seed. Add the chana dal, urad dal, and green chilli when the mustard seeds crack. Cook for a few minutes.
  • Fry the onions until they are transparent. Add the ginger and sauté for 2 minutes, then add the salt and ½ cup (125ml) of water and bring to a boil. Then gradually add the suji.
  • You can also add chopped veggies like carrots, beans, and cauliflower as per your choice. Cook them in ginger.
  • Continue to whisk it constantly so that no lumps form.
  • Cover it for a few seconds and leave it to cook until fluffy. Finally, remove it from the heat and add the lemon juice.
  • Garnish with coriander leaves.

Quick Suji Dosa

Serves: 2

Cooking time: 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • Suji (coarse): ½ cup (125g)
  • Whole Wheat flour: 2 tbsp
  • Salt: 1 tsp
  • Curd: 1 cup
  • Water for the batter as required
  • Oil: 2 tbsp
  • Mustard: 1 tsp
  • Urad dal: ½ tsp
  • Chana dal: ½ tsp
  • Cumin: ½ tsp
  • Chilli (finely chopped): 3 pieces
  • Ginger (finely chopped): 1 inch
  • Onion (sliced): 1 piece
  • Turmeric: ½ tsp
  • Salt: As per taste
  • Coriander (finely chopped)
  • Lemon juice: 1 tsp
  • A Pinch of Hing
  • Few curry leaves- 5-8

Method

  • First, combine rava, whole wheat flour, and salt in a mixing bowl.
  • Transfer to a large mixing bowl 
  • Add curd and mix well.
  • Also, add water and stir when needed to produce a smooth batter.
  • Cover and set aside for 15 minutes or until the rava gets thoroughly absorbed.
  • Heat oil in a big pan, then please add mustard, urad dal, chana dal, cumin, and a few curry leaves. Tempering should be sputtering.
  • Sauté chillies and ginger till the onions soften somewhat.
  • Add turmeric and salt. Cook over low heat until the spices become aromatic.
  • Add to the batter to form a smooth texture by adding water.
  • Add coriander and lemon as well. Combine thoroughly.
  • Pour a ladleful of batter over a hot tawa.
  • Spread thinly to make crispy dosas.
  • Cook the dosa until golden brown and crunchy.
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Other Health Advantages of Suji

Suji provides a wide range of benefits that are beneficial for overall health, including the following:

Enhances Heart Health

Suji is naturally low in saturated fat, which benefits heart health. Also, it contains dietary fibre, which can help reduce cholesterol levels in the blood. According to one study, ingesting more fibre can lower heart disease risk. In addition, semolina is a good source of complex carbohydrates, providing a steady energy source without causing spikes in blood sugar levels. High blood sugar levels can damage blood vessels and increase the risk of heart disease. Finally, semolina contains other nutrients like folate and magnesium, improving heart health.

Prevents Anaemia

Iron is essential in producing haemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells. Haemoglobin helps transport oxygen throughout the body. Iron is also critical to maintaining healthy immune function and overall well-being.

Although it contains a moderate amount of iron, it can help when combined with other healthy foods. For example, consuming semolina with foods rich in vitamin C, like tomatoes and lemon or other citrus fruits, improves iron absorption in the body.

Improves Blood Sugar Management

Semolina is high-carb with a moderate glycemic index, which can cause a moderate increase in blood sugar levels after consumption. Foods with a high glycemic index get digested fast and, as a result, can cause a rapid spike in blood sugar levels, especially for individuals with diabetes or those at risk of developing diabetes. Therefore, it is a good choice for such people.

Semolina’s high magnesium and dietary fibre content help with blood sugar regulation. Maintaining appropriate blood sugar levels is critical in lowering your risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Magnesium helps control blood sugar by enhancing cells’ responsiveness to insulin. As a result, this hormone regulates blood sugar levels. Studies also show that magnesium-rich diets lead to a lower incidence of diabetes.

Summary

Suji, or semolina, has numerous health benefits, including enhancing heart health, preventing anaemia, and improving blood sugar management. Semolina is low in saturated fat and high in dietary fibre, which can reduce cholesterol levels and lower the risk of heart disease. It is also a good source of iron, which can help prevent anaemia when combined with vitamin C-rich foods. In addition, its moderate glycemic index and high magnesium and fibre content regulate blood sugar levels, making it a good choice for individuals at risk of diabetes or heart disease.

Potential Side Effects of Semolina

Although there are not many proven side effects of consuming suji, one should consume it in moderation. It contains carbs, and excessive consumption can lead to weight gain. Furthermore, it can occasionally cause specific health problems. For example, if you are allergic to wheat, avoid suji because it can cause mild to severe allergic reactions such as a cold, throat soreness, headache, and anaphylaxis (difficulty breathing). Also, since suji contains gluten, people with gluten sensitivity, celiac disease, constipation, or recurring gastrointestinal pain, should avoid it.

HealthifyMe Suggestion

Are you tired of eating the same old boring breakfast every day? Why not try something new and exciting? Instead of the usual suji upma or semolina pancakes, try making a savoury suji vegetable cake. It is a unique way to incorporate suji into your diet and lose weight simultaneously. Add your favourite vegetables like grated carrots, bell peppers, and onions to the mixture and bake the dish in the oven. This dish is low in calories and rich in protein, making it an excellent weight-loss choice. It is also a perfect dish for those who are always on the go and need a quick and healthy breakfast.

Disclaimer: The purpose of this article is just to disperse knowledge and raise awareness. It does not intend to replace medical advice from professionals. For further information, please contact our certified nutritionists Here.

The Final Word

Suji or semolina can be a beneficial addition to your weight loss diet, given its rich protein and fibre content. It is a versatile ingredient that can be incorporated into various dishes, making it an ideal choice for those attempting to lose weight. While semolina has a medium glycemic index, one can pair it with other healthy ingredients to create healthy and satisfying meals. So, if you’re attempting to lose weight, semolina is a healthy and delicious ingredient to add to your diet.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: What is suji?

A: Suji, known as semolina, is a coarse durum wheat flour. You find suji in pasta, bread, macaroni and similar products. In addition, you can make desserts like halwa and breakfast preparations such as porridge, upma, idli, and dosa. One can also use it to thicken soups and make pulao. It is a versatile ingredient rich in protein and low in fat, making it a popular choice for those trying to follow a healthy diet.

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Q: Is suji a good option for weight loss?

A: Suji helps in weight loss since it is high in protein and contains some fibre. It helps lower cravings and enhance feelings of fullness, resulting in fewer calories consumed and weight loss. However, it is crucial to note that weight loss ultimately depends on consuming fewer calories than you burn via physical activity. Thus suji should be consumed as part of a well-balanced, calorie-controlled diet.

Q: What are the nutritional benefits of suji?

A: Suji is high in protein and contains fibre, which promotes a sense of satiety. It also includes iron and magnesium, supporting red blood cell synthesis, heart health, and regulating blood sugar.

Q: Is suji high in calories?

A: Suji is low in calories when compared to other grains and flour. However, the calorie value of suji-based foods, such as upma or halwa, varies depending on the other ingredients and cooking methods. Therefore, evaluating the overall calorie count of meals and snacks is critical when including suji in a weight management regimen.

Q: How much suji should I consume for weight loss?

A: The amount of suji you should eat for weight loss is determined by your specific calorie requirements and weight loss goals. You can consume approximately 30-60 g of semolina daily, depending on your age, gender and other dietary choices.

Q: Are there any side effects of consuming suji for weight loss?

A: Suji intake may be harmful to persons who are gluten intolerant, have celiac disease, constipation, or have recurring gastrointestinal pain. Some possible adverse effects are nausea, vomiting, indigestion, diarrhoea, sneezing, and headaches.

Q: What are some healthy ways to consume suji for weight loss?

A: Suji has been an integral component in Indian kitchens for centuries. The best part is that you may eat it in various ways. Dosa, upma, uttapam, idli, and dosa are healthy options. To make it healthier, club it with other healthy ingredients and make the dishes of your choice.

Q: Can suji be consumed at night for weight loss?

A: Suji can be consumed at night for weight loss if it fits within your day’s calorie and nutritional goals. However, it is crucial to remember that eating big servings or high-calorie versions of suji foods, and eating it closer to bedtime or leading a sedentary life, can result in weight gain instead of weight loss.

Q: How long does it take to see weight loss results from consuming suji?

A: The time it takes to observe weight loss results from suji depends on several factors, including your overall diet, level of physical activity, and individual metabolism. The initial stage of weight loss is when you lose the most weight and notice changes in your look and clothing fit. It typically occurs within the first 4-6 weeks. However, consuming suji alone is not a guarantee of weight loss because it is necessary to maintain an overall calorie deficit to lose weight.

Q: Should I consult a nutritionist before consuming suji for weight loss?

A: Speaking with a nutritionist or trained dietitian before making significant dietary changes is always a good idea. A nutritionist or registered dietitian may advise you on the appropriate amount of suji to consume based on your particular calorie and nutritional requirements and how to incorporate suji into a balanced and diverse diet.

Research Sources

1. The U S Department of Agriculture

https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/168933/nutrients

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https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6768815/

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4. Campos-Nonato I, Hernandez L, Barquera S. Effect of a High-Protein Diet versus Standard-Protein Diet on Weight Loss and Biomarkers of Metabolic Syndrome: A Randomized Clinical Trial. Obes Facts. 2017;10(3):238-251. DoI: 10.1159/000471485. Epub 2017 Jun 10. PMID: 28601864; PMCID: PMC5644969.

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