Steamed, Savoury, and Satisfying: Is Dhokla Good for Weight Loss?

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Steamed, Savoury, and Satisfying: Is Dhokla Good for Weight Loss? Blog – HealthifyMe Blog – HealthifyMe – The definitive guide to weight loss, fitness and living a healthier life.

The Indian state of Gujarat and some of its neighbouring states are the traditional home of the savoury, puffy, and spongy delicacy known as dhokla – a popular Gujarati treat recognised for its excellent texture and flavour. Dhokla is versatile, delicious, and simple to prepare. It comes in many varieties. Moreover, it is rich in nutrients, including fibre, complex carbohydrates, and minerals. Due to its numerous health advantages, dhokla has become a staple in many people’s diets. 

Dhokla is well-known for its nutrient value. According to experts, the well-liked dish, if prepared in the correct way, can lower cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure while promoting weight loss. 

Understanding Dhokla

Dhokla is a steamed snack made from fermented batter made from Bengal gram flour, also known as chickpea flour. One can also make it with moong dal and urad dal. Dhokla is good for weight loss for several reasons.

Firstly, when prepared correctly, dhokla is low in calories and fat, which makes it an ideal food for weight loss. A serving of dhokla contains about 150-200 calories, making it a healthy snack option that can help you maintain a calorie deficit, which is crucial for weight loss. Secondly, dhokla is high in protein and fibre, which can help one feel full for extended periods, reducing appetite and helping you eat fewer calories overall. The high protein content also helps preserve lean muscle mass, essential for maintaining a healthy metabolism during weight loss.

Additionally, the fermentation process used to make dhokla increases the bioavailability of nutrients in the batter, making it a rich source of vitamins and minerals, including B vitamins, iron, and calcium. Lastly, dhokla is steamed rather than fried, making it a healthier snack that is low in unhealthy fats and calories. As a result, dhokla is an excellent alternative to other fried snacks that are high in calories, such as samosas or pakoras.

Summary

Dhokla is a healthy snack that is moderate in calories, high in protein and fibre, and nutrient-dense, making it an excellent food for weight loss when consumed in moderation as part of a balanced diet.  

Dhokla: The Snack with Multiple Variants

Some popular variants include, khaman dhokla, khatta dhokla, moong daal dhokla, cheese dhokla, rava dhokla, oats dhokla, besan dhokla, green peas dhokla, mixed daal dhokla, etc. 

Khaman dhokla and other dhoklas have a difference. Khaman uses only Bengal gram flour and is instant. The other varieties of dhokla use overnight-soaked dals or lentils. The fermented batter then goes through the tampering and steaming process. It is then cut into pieces and garnished with green chilis, mustard seeds, and curry leaves. One usually serves it with coriander or mint chutney. 

This simple vegetarian dish contains fibre, protein, and essential nutrients. 

Below is the nutritional information for one piece (35 g) of khaman dhokla. Please note that the dhokla varieties that use rice and lentil have a higher calorie count. 

Calories: 54 kcalFibre: 1.0 gProtein: 2.4 gCarbohydrates: 5.6 gFat: 2.4 gCholesterol: 1.53 mg

Benefits of Dhokla for Weight Loss

Moderate Fibre

It is no secret that fibre absorbs water and expands in the stomach and colon. Furthermore, studies show it has a high satiety value. As a result, it keeps one satisfied for an extended period, preventing overeating or reducing overall calorie intake. Most of the dhokla variants contain moderate fibre. However, adding vegetables to your dhokla can enhance the fibre content and make it suitable for weight loss.

High in Protein 

Research shows proteins help one feel fuller longer and curb hunger. For example, lentils and gram flour make dhokla an excellent protein source. In addition, increased levels of the satiety hormones GLP-1, peptide YY, and cholecystokinin and decreased levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin get produced when one consumes a lot of protein.

A study shows that a high-protein breakfast decreased postprandial ghrelin concentrations more strongly over time than a high-carb breakfast. In addition, the high protein breakfast also reduced gastric emptying through increased secretion of cholecystokinin and glucagon-like peptide.

The besan dhokla, the most common form of Dhokla, contains moderate protein due to Besan. You can enrich your dhokla with higher protein content by adding protein-rich ingredients like lentils, dal etc.

Low in Calories

To lose weight, a calorie-deficit diet is essential. It would help if you burned more calories than you consumed. Therefore, low-calorie foods like dhokla, made out of besan, are an excellent weight-loss food choice. 

Since dhokla goes through a steaming process, it is healthy. It is a perfect addition to your weight loss plan because it is rich in protein, fibre, and other nutrients. However, please consume 1 or 2 pieces of dhokla to stay in the 150-200 calorie range. It is ideal for breakfast or an evening snack option. 

Low GI (Glycemic Index)

A food’s glycemic index is a rating depending on how much blood sugar it raises after intake. For example, the glycemic index of Bengal gram flour is approximately 10. So even after adding other ingredients to make dhokla, the GI stays within a healthy limit.

The GI of dhokla is between 31 to 39. According to studies, selecting foods with a low GI is crucial for weight loss. Dhokla, with moderate fibre content, aids in weight reduction because they take longer to digest, which causes a gradual rise in blood sugar levels. 

Remember, dhokla made from rice will not offer low-GI benefits because rice does not have a low GI value.

Essential Tips to Remember While Adding Dhokla to Your Diet

When incorporating Dhokla into a weight loss or management diet plan, avoid adding sugar during preparation or using sugar water tadka as a topping. Also, refrain from using excessive oil or ghee to temper or fry after steaming the dhokla.

On the other hand, enhancing the fibre content by including various colourful vegetables in the batter is beneficial. Combining cereals and lentils or dal can improve the protein quality in Dhokla. Furthermore, adding nuts and seeds to the recipe can provide healthy fats, adding nutritional value.

Best Dhokla Varieties for Weight Loss

Dhokla can keep you energised and active for a long time because it is a perfect fusion of proteins and fibre. 

Besan Dhokla

Besan can help you lose weight due to the low-calorie and high content of vital minerals, including zinc, iron, and folate. Additionally, because of its high protein and fibre content, it is excellent for promoting a healthy weight and managing hunger. The ingredients used in dhokla are incredibly nutritious and high in protein. The steaming dish is excellent for people trying to reduce weight.

Oats Dhokla

The benefits of oats are no secret. Investigations show that oats are rich in fibre and are a superfood for weight loss.

One can exclude mustard seeds and curd from the recipe when preparing oats dhokla for weight loss. However, even if you use them, limit the quantity to avoid compromising the weight loss benefits.

On the other hand, oats dhokla is rich in soluble fibre and beta-glucan, which contribute to controlling blood sugar and cholesterol levels. In addition, one can incorporate vegetables to boost vitamin content and add dals for additional protein benefits to enhance its nutritional value.

Chickpea Dhokla

Chickpeas offer a variety of health benefits. They help with digestion and weight loss. Chickpeas are high-fibre. Research suggests that eating more chickpeas can help make bowel movements more regular. The fibre, selenium, potassium, vitamin B complex, iron, and magnesium in chickpeas all support your health.

Jowar Dhokla

Jowar is one of the best ingredients for weight loss. As per one study, it is more slowly digested than other cereals, has low unsaturated lipids, and is a source of minerals and vitamins. Furthermore, they are rich in phenolic compounds, especially 3-deoxy anthocyanidins. Phenolics and fat-soluble compounds benefit the gut microbiota and parameters related to obesity, oxidative stress, inflammation, diabetes, dyslipidemia, cancer, and hypertension.

Moon Palak Dhokla

Moong Palak Dhokla is an excellent choice for weight loss due to its combination of whole green gram or split dal, which provides a good source of protein, and spinach, which offers a significant amount of fibre. The high protein and fibre content in this dhokla helps keep you feeling full for longer, making it an ideal option for a satisfying and nutritious breakfast.

Summary

The Indian state of Gujarat and some of its neighbouring states are the traditional home of the spongy delicacy known as dhokla. Nutritionists state that the popular dish can aid in weight loss because it is high in protein and fibre and low in GI and calories. The best variants of dhokla include besan, oats, chickpeas, and jowar. Some other popular variants include Khatta dhokla, moong daal dhokla, cheese dhokla, rava dhokla, green peas dhokla, mixed daal dhokla, etc.

Best Dhokla Recipes for Weight Loss

Oats Dhokla

Servings: 2

Total time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Ingredients

Oats: 2 tbspGrated Ginger: 1 tspGram flour: 2 tbspFlaxseed: ½ tspGreen chillies: 2Water: ½ cupSalt: to tasteCurd: 2 ½ tbspOil: ¾ tspBaking powder: ½ tsp (optional)Curry leaves: 2-3Mustard seeds: ½ tsp

Method

The oats should be pan-roasted. Then grind them thoroughly after it cools down.Add besan, curd, and leave it for an hour.Then combine water, salt, grated ginger, and baking powder. Next, pour the batter into a steaming tray and cook for a while. For tempering/tadka, heat some oil in another pan and add curry leaves, mustard seeds, flaxseeds, green chillies, and water. (tempering is optional)Add the mixture to dhokla.

Jowar Dhokla 

Servings: 2-3 

Total time: 1-3 hours approx. 

Ingredients

Jowar flour: 1 cupsuji/rava: 2 tbspSour curd: 1 tbspWater: ½ cupGinger: 1 tbsp (grated)Green chillies: to tasteOil: 1 tbspSalt: to tasteMustard seeds: ½ tbspCurry leaves: 3-4 Eno: 1 tbsp (optional)Red chilli powder: to taste 

Method

Add jowar flour, suji, and water to a bowl. Check the constituency and stir well to get a ribbon constituency. Let the batter rest for 15-20 minutes. Add ginger, finely chopped green chillies, oil, and salt. Add 1 tbsp curd (allow it to rest for 2 hours) / Eno (you can make it instantly) and mix well. Pour the batter into a tray greased with oil. Drizzle some chilli powder and place the tray inside the steamer for 15-20 minutes. For tempering/tadka, heat some oil in another pan. Then, add some curry leaves, mustard seeds, and green chillies. (tempering is optional)  Cut the dhokla into small cubes and add the tadka mixture to the dhokla.

Besan Vegetable Dhokla

Servings: 5-6

Total time: 35 minutes

Ingredients

Besan/gram flour: 1 cupSuji/rava: 2 tbspGinger: 1 tbspChilli paste: 1 tbspMix vegetables – ½ cup (grated carrot, dudhi, beet, chopped spinach, cabbage – opt vegetables of choice)Salt: to taste Water: ¾ cupCurry leaves: 3-5Green chillies: 4-5 Mustard seeds: 1 tbspOil: 1tbspEno fruit salt: 1 tbsp

Method:

Make a smooth batter with besan, suji, ginger, vegetables, salt and water. Preheat the steamer and grease the dhokla trays. Add Eno fruit salt, pour the batter immediately into the greased plates, and steam for 12-15 minutes.Prepare the tadka/tempering with oil, mustard seeds, and curry leaves. (tempering is optional)After the dhokla is prepared, let it rest for 5 minutes and cut it with a knife into small cubes. Finally, pour the tadka over the steamed dhokla and serve with coriander chutney.

How Much to Consume for Weight Loss?

Dhokla is a healthy snack. However, to avoid any adverse side effects and weight gain, it is crucial to consume it in the proper amount. For example, one piece of besan dhokla is 35 grams with approximately 54 kcal. Therefore, you can eat 1-3 small pieces of dhokla during a weight loss program. 

Risk of Overconsumption

Moderation is the key to good health. Dhokla is rich in carbohydrates. Thus, overeating can increase calorie intake and cause weight gain. Additionally, it may cause pain, gas, or constipation by upsetting your stomach.

Summary

One must understand the importance of consuming dhokla in moderation for weight loss. While it is a healthy snack, overconsumption can lead to weight gain and digestive issues due to its high carbohydrate content. To avoid adverse effects, consuming 1-3 small pieces of dhokla is recommended.

HealthifyMe Suggestion

How about adding some grated carrots and beetroot to your dhokla batter? Both are low in calories and high in fibre, vitamins, and minerals. Plus, they add natural sweetness and crunch to your dhokla, making it a delicious and nutritious treat that can keep you full for longer. You can also top it with chopped cilantro, mint leaves, and a squeeze of lemon juice for extra flavour and a refreshing touch. This way, you get the benefits of fibre, protein, and low calories from the dhokla and the added nutrition and taste from the veggies. So give it a try and enjoy your unique and healthy dhokla!

Conclusion

Dhokla is a steamed snack that originated in Gujarat. It is made from gram flour or lentils. Hence, it is low in calories and fat, protein and fibre rich, and nutrient-dense. The high protein and fibre in dhokla help increase satiety and curb appetite. It is an ideal breakfast or snack for weight loss. Additionally, the fermentation process increases the bioavailability of nutrients, making it a rich source of essential vitamins and minerals. Furthermore, being steamed rather than fried, dhokla is a healthier snack than samosa or kachoris.

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.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: What is dhokla, and how is it made?

A: Dhokla is a popular savoury and steaming snack that originated in the Indian state of Gujarat. It is a versatile dish and comes in various varieties. The making process involves fermenting a batter of Bengal gram flour, moong dal or urad dal. The batter is then steamed, tempered and garnished with green chillies, mustard seeds and curry leaves.

Q: Is dhokla a healthy food option for weight loss?

A: Whether or not Dhokla is healthy for weight loss depends on its ingredients. However, the khaman Dhokla can be healthier than other snacks as it is low in calories and fat, high in protein and fibre, and nutrient-dense. As a result, it helps one feel full for extended periods, reducing appetite and helping one eat fewer calories overall. In addition, the fermentation process used to make dal, lentils or cereals base dhokla increases the bioavailability of nutrients in the batter, making it a rich source of vitamins and minerals, including B vitamins, iron, and calcium. Additionally, dhokla is steamed rather than fried, making it a healthier snack that is low in unhealthy fats and calories. However, one should consume it in moderation.

Q: How many calories are there in a serving of dhokla?

A: It depends on the ingredients and the making process. However, a serving of traditional khaman dhokla weighing 35 g contains 54 kcal, 1 g fibre, 2.4 g protein, 5.6 g carbohydrates, 2.4 g fat.

Q: What are the nutritional benefits of eating dhokla for weight loss?

A: Dhokla is a good food option for weight loss as it is high in fibre, which helps keep one full for extended periods and reduces overall calorie intake. It is also high in protein, which increases levels of the satiety hormones GLP-1, peptide YY, and cholecystokinin. It also decreases the hunger hormone (ghrelin) levels, helping one feel fuller longer and curb hunger. Dhokla is also rich in nutrients like B vitamins, iron, and calcium, essential for maintaining a healthy metabolism during weight loss.

Q: Can dhokla be included in a weight loss diet plan?

A: Dhokla can be included in a weight loss diet plan as it is a low-calorie, nutrient-dense, and high-fibre food that can help maintain a calorie deficit and promote weight loss. However, it can only help when consumed moderately as a part of a balanced diet.

Q: Are there any potential risks or side effects of eating dhokla while trying to lose weight?

A: There are no potential risks or proven side effects of eating dhokla while trying to lose weight, provided that it is consumed in moderation as part of a balanced diet.

Q: How often can dhokla be eaten while on a weight loss diet?

A: One can eat dhokla as a snack or as a part of a meal, depending on one’s preferences and dietary requirements. Since it is low in calories and fat, consuming it more frequently than other high-calorie snacks is okay. However, moderation is still necessary to maintain a calorie deficit and promote weight loss.

Q: Are there any variations of dhokla that are more suitable for weight loss?

A: Some variations of dhokla that are more suitable for weight loss include oats dhokla, green peas dhokla, mixed daal dhokla, and khaman dhokla (with spinach or different vegetables and dal), as they are low in calories and fat and high in fibre and protein.

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

A: Some healthy ways to consume dhokla for weight loss include pairing it with green chutney, mint chutney or garlic chilli chutney and consuming it as a mid-afternoon snack or as a part of a meal. One can also add vegetables like grated carrots, chopped coriander, or finely chopped capsicum to increase the nutrient content of the dish.

Q: Can eating too much dhokla hinder weight loss progress?

A: Overeating dhokla can hinder weight loss as it can increase overall calorie intake. While dhokla is a healthy food option for weight loss, consume it as part of a healthy and balanced diet and in moderation to maintain a calorie deficit.

Research Sources

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2. Paddon-Jones D, Westman E, Mattes RD, Wolfe RR, Astrup A, Westerterp-Plantenga M. Protein, weight management, and satiety. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008 May;87(5):1558S-1561S. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/87.5.1558S. PMID: 18469287.

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