Gravy is a staple  in British cuisine and is commonly enjoyed with dishes like roast dinners, pies and other comfort foods. Gravy is so much loved that a recent poll done by Schwartz in 2002 showed that 27 per cent of adults have known to ask for extra gravy when dining out .
One of the most popular gravy brands, Bisto is a well-known household brand that is sold in many major supermarkets. It is available in many delicious flavours, and it comes in granules, seasoning mixes, or sauce pots for added convenience. However, for people living with diabetes, enjoying flavourful foods like Bisto gravy requires careful consideration. In this article, we'll delve into the relationship between Bisto gravy and diabetes, exploring ways to strike a balance between indulgence and health.
Diabetes is a chronic condition that leads to elevated blood glucose due to lack of insulin production, absence of insulin production or insulin resistance, which occurs when your body is not able to effectively use the insulin that is being produced. There are many types of diabetes, such as type 1, type 2, gestational diabetes and rarer types of diabetes, such as type 3c, "Maturity onset diabetes of the young" (MODY) or "Latent autoimmune diabetes of adult" (LADA). Regardless of the type of diabetes, it is vital for people living with diabetes to be aware of the carbohydrate content in their diet and its effect on their blood glucose levels.
Navigating Bisto Gravy with Diabetes
For people living with diabetes, the challenge lies in enjoying foods like Bisto gravy without causing significant fluctuations in blood glucose levels. To be able to do that, we need to understand the nutritional values of Bisto Gravy.
Nutrition values per 50ml portion of Bisto Gravy: 
- Energy: 55KJ (13Kcal) <1%
- Fat: 0.5g <1%
- Saturates: 0.4g <2%
- Sugar: <0.5g <1%
- Salt: 0.47g 8%
|Typical Values||Per 100g as sold||Per 50ml portion as prepared|
|of which Saturates||11.2g||0.4g|
|of which Sugars||12.2g||<0.5g|
As you can see from Table 1, Bisto Gravy consists of a small amount of carbohydrate once prepared in a 50ml portion as directed. However, it can still lead to a spike in blood sugar if it is taken in large portions.
Hence, here are some strategies to consider:
1. Portion Control
As mentioned above, a serving (50 ml portion) of Bisto gravy contains a relatively small amount of carbohydrates and sugar.
2. Choosing Lean Meats
Choose lean cuts of meat and trim any visible fat and skin when preparing dishes with Bisto gravy. This reduces the overall fat and calorie content of the meal, helping to maintain cardiovascular health and manage blood glucose levels.
3. Monitor Carbohydrates
When preparing meals like roast dinner or pies that include Bisto gravy, it's crucial to keep track of not only the carbohydrates from the meal but also the carbohydrates from the gravy. This will help you stay mindful of your overall carbohydrate intake and maintain a balanced and healthy diet.
4. Adding Fiber
Including high-fibre foods such as vegetables and whole grains in your meals can help slow down carbohydrate digestion and lead to gentler blood sugar spikes .
5. Customize Bisto Mix
Consider mixing your Bisto gravy according to your taste buds and health needs. If you are watching salt intake, consider switching to Bisto Reduced Salt Gravy Granules or use fewer granules than recommended to reduce the overall salt and carbohydrate content.
Is there a keto-friendly version of gravy?
Yes, there is! If you are keen to reduce the carbohydrate amount in gravy, try adding other types of flour, such as coconut flour, almond flour, flaxseed meal or sunflower seed flour, which are keto-friendly to your sauce.
If you wish to have a creamier sauce, then try adding xanthan gum, which is a common food additive that acts as a thickening agent, emulsifier and binding agent .
How should I monitor my blood glucose after having Bisto Gravy?
Monitoring blood glucose levels is an important step for people living with diabetes, especially if you want to know how the specific food affects your blood glucose levels. This can be done via a continuous glucose monitor or by carrying out a finger-prick test.
Diabetes UK recommends checking your blood glucose with a target of 5-9 mmol/L at 90 minutes after meals for adults with type 1 diabetes and less than 8.5 mmol/L at 2 hours for adults with type 2 diabetes. However, if it is difficult to check your blood glucose after meals, then check your blood glucose before your next meal and aim for a target of 4 – 7 mmol/L .
As Bisto gravy tends to be consumed with other food, it is important that you note down the number of carbohydrates in your meal as well.
People living with diabetes can continue to enjoy delicious Bisto gravy without guilt by making smart choices and being mindful of their portion choices. Reducing portion sizes, monitoring their carbohydrate intake, and adding fibre and lean meats to their meals can lead to a smaller spike in their blood glucose after meals.
Finally, If you are having difficulties managing your blood glucose after meals, consider discussing this with your healthcare professionals.
- Young, A. (2022, November 25). One in 10 Brits Love Gravy so much they have it on everything - including cereal. Mirror. https://www.mirror.co.uk/lifestyle/dieting/recipes/gravy-weird-food-pairings-recipes-28576276
- Laroche, F. (2022, November 24). Brits are so obsessed with gravy that they'll drink it through straws - and create unusual pairings. digitalhub. https://swnsdigital.com/uk/2022/11/brits-are-so-obsessed-with-gravy-that-theyll-drink-it-through-straws-and-create-unusual-pairings/
- Bisto Gravy Granules Nutrition Value . (n.d.). https://www.sainsburys.co.uk/gol-ui/product/gravy/bisto-chicken-gravy-granules-300g
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022, June 20). Fiber: The CARB that helps you manage diabetes. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/library/features/role-of-fiber.html#:~:text=Specifically%2C%20fiber%20can%20help%3A,the%20way%20other%20carbohydrates%20can.
- Gore, M. (2023, July 27). You'll want to pour keto gravy over everything. Delish. https://www.delish.com/holiday-recipes/thanksgiving/a25238623/keto-gravy-recipe/
- BridgetChapple. (n.d.). Checking your blood sugar levels. Diabetes UK. https://www.diabetes.org.uk/guide-to-diabetes/managing-your-diabetes/testing
Official staff of Sinocare.
Note: All information on Sinocare blog articles is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.