Mary Ellen Phipps, MPH, RDN, LD

Mary Ellen Phipps, MPH, RDN, LD

Mary Ellen Phipps, MPH, RDN, LD, the founder of Milk & Honey Nutrition, is a diabetes dietitian (Registered Dietitian Nutritionist) renowned for combining her knowledge of diabetes and culinary expertise into easy-to-follow recipes and articles!

Overview

Tortillas for Diabetes – Flour, Corn, Low Carb & More

Article Overview

tortillas for diabetes stack of corn tortillas with blue background

Let’s take a look at how to choose tortillas for diabetes, and some of my favorite brands you can find at your local grocery store.

Tortillas are used in so many different recipes and cuisines, and you can absolutely still enjoy them when you have diabetes. Below, we discuss several options and categories of tortillas for diabetes.

Can people with diabetes eat tortillas?

Absolutely, yes! Tortillas can most definitely be part of a diabetes friendly or blood sugar friendly eating pattern. So, if you’ve been worried about whether or not you can eat tortillas with diabetes, let’s address that first. Yes, you can enjoy tortillas when you have diabetes. 

Do tortillas raise blood sugar?

Most tortillas have carbohydrate in them, so yes they will raise blood sugar levels. But, just as we have discussed with other foods, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Some rises and falls in blood sugars are normal and part of a healthy metabolism.

Carbs in tortillas

A standard flour tortilla will usually have ~15g carbohydrate, while the larger burrito or wrap size tortillas will have closer to 30g carbohydrate.

Most corn tortillas tend to be smaller in size and will run 10-20g carbohydrate/ tortilla.

Are tortillas healthy?

Tortillas can be part of a healthy and balanced diet. Some types of tortillas though are better than others for people with diabetes, and there are certain foods and nutrients we should try to pair them with to avoid blood sugar spikes after we eat. 

Healthy tortillas

You’ve likely seen many tortilla options at the grocery store promoted as being the healthy tortilla option you should choose. There are some great tortillas for diabetes to choose from, but at the end of the day, I’m more concerned about what you’re eating with the tortillas rather than the tortilla itself. It’s important to choose blood sugar friendly options, but it’s also important to make sure you actually enjoy the tortillas you’re eating!

Wondering if you can eat bread with diabetes? Read more about the best bread for diabetes. 

How to choose a tortilla for diabetes

So, what should you look for when choosing tortillas for diabetes? The same things we look for in every other food: fat, fiber, and protein! And for tortillas, we are especially looking for varieties that have more protein and fiber. While there is not a set specific number, I usually like to see at least 2g fiber, and at least 4g protein, but these numbers are not set in stone and depend on what other attributes the tortilla has and what foods you’re planning on eating with them.

flour tortillas for diabetes

Are corn or flour tortillas healthier for diabetes? Or something else?

When dining out at a restaurant, I recommend going with what you prefer the taste of and then using other foods at the meal to ensure you’re getting adequate protein and fiber. At home, we can use nutrition labels to help inform our choices, but this isn’t always possible when you’re at a restaurant.

Are flour tortillas bad for diabetes?

Flour tortillas can definitely be part of a blood sugar friendly diet and they are not bad for diabetes when consumed in moderation. I give some examples of my favorite types and brands below.

Flour tortilla glycemic index

The glycemic index tells us how quickly a food can raise blood glucose levels. (It does not take into account how much carbohydrate is in a food.) The glycemic index of a typical flour tortilla is 30. Flour tortillas are a low glycemic index food.

Low glycemic index0-55
Medium glycemic index56-70
High glycemic index>70

The glycemic load, however, is a more accurate picture of how much and how quickly a food may raise blood sugar levels. The glycemic load considers both how quickly a food can raise blood sugar levels and how much carbohydrate is in the food.

This tells us how much of an impact a food can potentially have on blood sugar levels. The glycemic load of a typical flour tortilla is 8.  This categorizes them as a low glycemic food. 

Low glycemic load0 – 10
Moderate glycemic load11-19
High glycemic load20+

Are corn tortillas bad for diabetes?

Corn tortillas have a reputation of being healthier than flour tortillas, so you may be wondering if corn tortillas good for diabetes? The answer really depends on if you enjoy eating them or not. They do have a higher glycemic index than flour tortillas, but it is not a big enough difference in my opinion to recommend one type of tortilla over another. 

Can people with diabetes eat corn tortillas?

Yes, people with diabetes can enjoy corn tortillas!

Are corn tortillas keto?

No, a true corn tortilla is not keto. Some brands make lower carb options which usually utilize almond flour or another low carb flour.

Blue corn tortillas for diabetes

Research has shown that blue corn products have less starch, more protein, and a lower glycemic index than the same products made with white corn, making them a better choice for people with diabetes.

Corn tortilla glycemic index

White corn tortillas have a glycemic index of 52 and a glycemic load of 12. (See the charts above.) Based on this, they are considered a low glycemic index food and medium glycemic load food. I recommend pairing them with some additional fiber and protein like beans, avocado, meat, and/or veggies.

corn tortillas for diabetes

Are low carb tortillas good for diabetes?

Low carb tortillas can be a great option for people with diabetes if you enjoy the taste of them. But, if you don’t like them, there’s no need to force yourself to eat them. There are plenty of options when it comes to tortillas for diabetes that aren’t considered low carb, but are still very blood sugar friendly. 

What about tortilla chips for diabetes?

Before we look at some of my favorite tortilla options available at the grocery store, I want to briefly discuss tortilla chips. These can be hard for people with diabetes to navigate for two reasons:

  • Tortilla chips can raise blood sugars quickly
  • We often eat more than we realize which can lead to eating more carbohydrates than we planned

For the tightest blood sugar control, we’d need to count out exactly how many chips we’re eating… but, this can seem really restrictive and honestly often leads to not being satisfied with the amount in front of you. 

So, when you want to enjoy tortilla chips, I have two main tips:

  • Eat them slowly. Try not to eat them super fast. This way you can give your body time to digest them and can stop when you are satisfied or full.
  • Pair them with a fat or protein source. There’s a reason chips and guacamole are such a perfect combo!
5-minute guacamole for one

Best tortillas for diabetes

Let’s look at some of my favorite tortillas for diabetes. All of these tortilla options offer some combination of fiber and protein, and/or are lower in carbohydrate.

tortillas for diabetes mission whole wheat tortillas egglife egg white wraps siete almond flour tortillas flatout flatbread wraps latortilla factory whole grain tortillas
  1. Mission Whole Wheat Tortillas
  2. Santa Fe Tortilla Company Whole Grain & Flax Tortillas
  3. Thrive Market Organic Coconut Wraps
  4. FlatOut Multigrain Flatbreads
  5. Siete Almond Flour Tortillas
  6. Mission Almond Flour Tortillas
  7. OhLa Almond Flour Tortillas
  8. LaTortilla Factory Low Carb Whole Wheat Tortillas with Quinoa + Flax
  9. Marcela’s Cactus Tortillas
  10. BFree Gluten Free Quinoa & Chia Seed Tortillas
  11. Mission Low Calorie Yellow Corn Tortillas
  12. Mission Extra Thin Yellow Corn Tortillas
  13. Egglife Egg White Wraps

Some of the links used below are Amazon affiliate links. This means if you decide to purchase them through the link, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Best whole wheat tortillas for diabetes

Best wraps for diabetes

Best grain free tortillas for diabetes

Best low carb tortillas for diabetes

Best low carb gluten free tortillas for diabetes

Best low carb corn tortillas

Best keto tortillas for diabetes

  • Egglife Egg White Wraps: Egg white wraps exploded onto the market several years ago and they can be such a useful (and yummy!) tool for managing diabetes. I love the Egglife brand. The Everything But The Bagel flavor is my favorite.
tortillas for diabetes stack of tortillas with blue background

My favorite ways to use tortillas for diabetes friendly recipes

Now that we’ve covered what to look for in a tortilla when you have diabetes, and some of my favorite brands, here are some of my favorite recipes using tortillas…

This article has been updated since its original publish date in December 2021.

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6 Responses

  1. My favorite is the Mission Low Carb Whole Wheat tortilla. Will definitely try the others listed. Thank you.

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