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March 25, 2024
April 23, 2024
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Farro, a nutrient-rich ancient grain, is gaining popularity in modern diets for its unique taste and health benefits. While farro contains carbohydrates, its glycemic index is relatively low compared to other grains, making it a suitable option for individuals managing blood sugar levels.¹ Rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, farro provides sustained energy and may help improve digestion and overall health. 

This article will explore the nuances of farro's impact on glycemic response and its potential advantages for individuals with diabetes, offering insights beyond typical comparisons with barley and other grains.

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Glycemic Index Table

Based on a 100-gram serving size of cooked farro, the calculated values are as follows:

  • Glycemic Index (GI): The glycemic index of farro is approximately 40, indicating a moderate impact on blood sugar levels.¹
  • Carbohydrates per Serving: Farro contains approximately 28.2 grams of carbohydrates per 100-gram serving.²
  • Glycemic Load (GL) per Serving: To calculate the glycemic load per serving, we use the formula: Glycemic Load = (Glycemic Index × Carbohydrates per Serving) / 100. For farro, the glycemic load per 100-gram serving is approximately 11.3 [(40 × 28.2) / 100].

The glycemic index (GI) measures how quickly a carbohydrate-containing food raises blood glucose levels. Foods with a low GI (55 or less) are digested and absorbed slowly, resulting in a gradual rise in blood sugar levels. Farro falls into this category, making it a suitable choice for individuals aiming to manage blood sugar levels. 

Cooking methods can affect the glycemic index of farro; for example, cooking it al dente may result in a lower GI compared to fully cooked farro. These nuances are important to consider when incorporating farro into a diabetic-friendly diet plan.

Glycemic Index

40

Serving Size

100g

Carbohydrate* per Serving (g)

28.2 g

GL per Serving

11.30

Nutritional Facts

Farro is a nutrient-dense ancient grain rich in fiber, protein, and various vitamins and minerals such as magnesium, iron, and zinc. A 100-gram serving of cooked farro typically contains about 3.5 grams of fiber, 3.5 grams of protein, and provides significant amounts of essential nutrients.² Additionally, farro is naturally low in fat and cholesterol, making it a wholesome choice for those seeking a nutritious addition to their diet.

The nutritional information below is for 100 g of farro.²

Calories

133 kcal

Carbs

28.2 g

Protein

3.5 g

Fiber

3.5 g

Cholesterol

0 mg

Vitamins

C (0 mg)

Sodium

13 mg

Total Fat

0.67 g

Is Farro Good for Weight Loss?

Farro can be a beneficial addition to a weight loss diet due to its high fiber content, which promotes feelings of fullness and satiety. Additionally, farro is a whole grain with a moderate glycemic index, meaning it may help regulate blood sugar levels and prevent spikes in insulin, potentially aiding in weight management efforts.¹ 

Its nutrient density, including vitamins, minerals, and protein, makes it a satisfying and nutritious choice for individuals seeking to control their weight. However, as with any food, portion control, and overall calorie intake remain essential factors in weight loss success.

Is Farro Good for People Living with Diabetes?

Farro can be a safe and beneficial option for individuals with diabetes when consumed in moderation as part of a balanced diet. Its moderate glycemic index and high fiber content contribute to slower digestion and steadier blood sugar levels. Incorporating whole grains like farro into the diet may help improve glycemic control, reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, and promote overall health in individuals with diabetes. 

However, it's crucial for individuals to monitor their portion sizes and carbohydrate intake, as well as consult with a healthcare provider or registered dietitian to tailor their diet plan to their specific needs and blood sugar management goals.

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Allergies

Allergies to farro are rare but can occur, particularly in individuals with sensitivities to gluten, as farro contains gluten proteins. Symptoms of a farro allergy may include gastrointestinal discomfort, bloating, or skin reactions in susceptible individuals. It's essential for individuals with known gluten sensitivities or celiac disease to exercise caution and consult with a healthcare professional before consuming farro or products containing farro-derived ingredients.

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FAQs

What is Glycemic Index?

The glycemic index (GI) is a measure of how quickly a carbohydrate-containing food raises blood sugar levels compared to a reference food, usually glucose. It ranks foods on a scale from 0 to 100, with higher values indicating a faster rise in blood sugar. The glycemic index (GI) scale is typically categorized as follows: Low GI [55 or less], Medium GI [56-69], High GI [70 or higher]. Foods with a high glycemic index digest rapidly and can cause dramatic fluctuations in blood glucose or glucose spikes.

What is Glycemic Load?

Glycemic load (GL) takes into account both the quality (glycemic index) and quantity (carbohydrate content) of carbohydrates in a specific serving of food. It is a measure of how much a particular food will raise blood sugar levels. GL is calculated by multiplying the glycemic index of a food by its carbohydrate content and dividing it by 100. It provides a more accurate representation of the overall impact of a food on blood sugar compared to the glycemic index alone.

Does Farro Spike Insulin?

No, farro does not spike insulin. Farro is a whole grain that has a low glycemic index, which means it is digested and absorbed slowly, resulting in a gradual release of glucose into the bloodstream. This slow release helps to stabilize blood sugar levels and prevent spikes in insulin. Therefore, farro can be a suitable option for individuals looking to manage their blood sugar levels.

Is Farro Low Glycemic?

Yes, farro is considered to be low glycemic. Farro is a whole grain that has a low glycemic index (GI) value. The glycemic index is a measure of how quickly a food raises blood sugar levels. Foods with a low GI value (55 or less) are digested and absorbed more slowly, resulting in a slower and more gradual rise in blood sugar levels. This is beneficial for maintaining stable blood sugar levels and can be particularly important for individuals with diabetes or those looking to manage their weight. Farro's low glycemic index makes it a healthy choice for those seeking to control their blood sugar levels and maintain overall health.

Can People Living with Diabetes Eat Farro?

Yes, people living with diabetes can eat farro. Farro is a nutritious whole grain that is low on the glycemic index, meaning it has a minimal impact on blood sugar levels. It is also high in fiber, which helps regulate blood sugar levels and promotes overall digestive health. However, it is important for individuals with diabetes to monitor their portion sizes and incorporate farro into a balanced meal plan that aligns with their specific dietary needs and goals. Consulting with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian is recommended for personalized guidance.

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References

  1. The University of Sydney. (2023, May 1). Glycemic Index – Glycemic Index Research and GI Newshttps://glycemicindex.com/
  2. USDA FoodData Central. (2023, October 26). Food Details - Farro. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/2659627/nutrients 

About the author

It is a long established fact that a reader will be distracted by the readable content of a page when looking at its layout.

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About the author

Brittany Barry is a national board-certified health coach and NASM-certified personal trainer based in South Carolina.

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Please note: The Signos team is committed to sharing insightful and actionable health articles that are backed by scientific research, supported by expert reviews, and vetted by experienced health editors. The Signos blog is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If you have or suspect you have a medical problem, promptly contact your professional healthcare provider. Read more about our editorial process and content philosophy here.

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