Idli for Weight Loss: The Surprising Secret to Shed Pounds with a Traditional Indian Dish

Mrs. Shalini offered me her favourite coloured idlis with a big smile. “Sir, this is the secret to my weight loss. I stuck to Idli for weight loss” She beamed. Her husband teased and replied, “Yes sir and this is the secret to my taste loss.” filling the room with bouts of laughter.

Mrs. Shalini said, “Sir, I have been following this idli breakfast and dinner regime( 6 idlis per day and afternoon normal lunch) for 4 months. Not only have I lost weight, but feel energetic and lively all day. As you advised, I started with idlis made with rice and urad dal and now I keep experimenting with different veggies added to the recipe.”

Without a pause, she added, “My husband complains about the same menu every morning but his health speaks for itself. He too has lost weight and has not touched his acidity pills for more than a month.

I could not agree more!

A few days back, Bollywood diva Katrina Kaif revealed in the challenge #What’sInYourDabba that she savors idli and chutney. Her choice of chutneys includes – moringa spinach chutney, tomato and beetroot chutney and plain coconut chutney.

Also Read: Ways to beat middle age weight gain

#Idli for Weight Loss

Idli-sambar is the most nutritious Indian breakfast. It is light on the stomach and rich in nutrition. The fermented rice and urad dal is a power pack of proteins, carbohydrates and vitamins. The soft white and yummy puffs are good for the heart. It contains no fats, saturated fats or cholesterol. Idli for weight loss makes an ideal food!

Also Read – Wine and Weight Gain: How the glass of wine affects your waistline?

Nutrition profile of #Idli

Each plain Idli has approximately 39 calories, 2 grams protein, 2 grams dietary fibre, 8 grams carbohydrates and no fat. The fermented process increases the bioavailability of nutrients like folic acid, riboflavin, niacin, thiamine, biotin and Vitamin K as well as some antibiotic and anti-carcinogenic substances.

“The rice and urad dal in Idlis complement each other. Making it a complete protein-rich meal. The vegetables and dal in the sambar are good supplements.” Meenakshi Bajaj, dietitian and coordinator at Academy of Clinical Nutrition, Madras Medical College, opined.  

#Health Benefits of Idli

  • Idli is light and doesn’t make you lethargic. 
  • Idlis are gluten-free. They are a rich source of carbohydrates, fibres and proteins.
  • As Idlis are fermented, it becomes more protein and vitamin-rich. 
  • Idlis aids in easy weight loss. It is easy to digest and great for many disease management. 

5 reasons that prove Idli for weight loss is a million dollar secret

1. Low in calories

Idlis are steamed food. Steamed food does not contain oil, fats or butter. Hence, they are very low in calories. Though there is a perception that rice can cause weight gain, but expert nutritionists and dieticians are advocating not to be afraid of rice.

2. Easy to digest

Idlis are easily digestible. The fermentation process breaks down the minerals and vitamins. This process also makes it rich in good bacteria which is great for the gut. This makes it easy for the body to digest and absorb the nutrients. Idlis digest and flush out easily.

3. Fuller appetite

Idlis are rich in fibre and protein. They curb hunger and keeps one full for longer. This is a great way to aid weight loss. It cuts out the hunger pangs and intake of unhealthy foods between meals.

4. Rich in fibre

Idlis are rich in fibre. It boosts digestion and promotes weight loss. Fiber is essential for proper elimination. Idli helps the body to flush out toxins and accumulated fats.

5. Sambar and Weight loss

Sambhar is rich in fibre and protein. It is a good source of antioxidants. Sambar often contains multiple vegetables including papaya, morings, tomato. Each of these have their own list of health benefits. It is low on fat and high on nutrition which is needed by the body.


Yes, Idli work wonders for weight loss. But this does not mean you eat it three times a day!

Not only it will saturate your taste, but can also cause deficiency of certain nutrients. As our diet should be balanced with diverse items offering different nutrients.

Idli for breakfast is an ideal meal. It satiates your hunger while keeping the stomach light.  They do not make you lethargic. And an active body can further aid in weight loss.

So, keep eating idli, keep losing weight!

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Srinivas Raitha April 5, 2019 at 5:04 am

Yes I love idli. When I was in Africa, i used to search any Indian restaurants, especially South Indians! But very rare to found. Northies cannot cook idlis as we do!!!
When I go out of the town, i prefer only idlis for breakfast.

Satvik April 5, 2019 at 4:21 pm

Idli is surely one of the simplest, yet the best breakfast (though I love the taste of dosa more) as its more healthy as well. My mom always tells us that if we eat out, eat idli’s, as there are less chances of infection that can affect us, as surviving through steam is pretty hard.

Suyog Saraiya April 10, 2019 at 1:04 am

Idli is always combined with Sambar in the south. Coconut chutney is an after-add for taste. I learnt the rationale of having sambar before or along with each bite of idli. Sambar, which is high protein and takes time to digest. Body is busy digesting that. Hence absorption of simple sugar from idli slows down considerably. This it doesn’t convert to calories very fast…. Scientific India….

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