Oatmeal is one of those foods that can spike blood sugar, but it’s also a very healthy whole grain noted for its soluble fiber, which can improve blood cholesterol. So how do we maximize the benefits of oatmeal and minimize its effect on blood glucose? Here are some simple tips.
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The Science Behind Oats
I have a perfect food to talk about today. I know this can get confusing, so I want to get the science-based information to you, which will help you make the decision on whether oatmeal is okay for people with diabetes to eat.
Yes, Oatmeal is a source of carbohydrates. But it is a whole grain, a complex carbohydrate. And that makes a difference when we are deciding the best choices for carbohydrates.
There are more benefits to add here… Oats contain soluble fiber, which has been shown to lower cholesterol levels. This soluble fiber called beta-glucan can help improve insulin response; they contain antioxidants that can help lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation, and improve blood flow. Oats contain vitamins and minerals-magnesium, iron, phosphorus, zinc, folate, copper, and vitamins B1 and B5. And due to the fiber content in oatmeal, it can help relieve constipation.
So…all of these are good things for people with diabetes.
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Read The Food Label
We need to watch out for the portion size and make sure we are consuming the oats that contain the most fiber per portion. We can find this by looking at the food label.
First, look at the ingredients so you are choosing a whole grain oat that is listed as the first ingredient.
Steel-cut oats: ¼ cup dry steel-cut oats contain 170 calories, 3-4 g fat (0.5 g saturated fat), 29-31 g carbohydrates, 4-5 g fiber, no sodium, and 4-7 g protein (It’s important to note the portion size for steel-cut oats as it is smaller than other oatmeal.)
Rolled oats: there are a variety of brands on the market. The Nutrition for a multi-grain, wholegrain hot cereal that I like contains a 1/3 cup dry serving size: 130 calories, 1 g fat, 28 g carbs, 5 g fiber, and 4 g protein.
Quick oats: Nutrition (serving size ½ cup dry): 150-180 calories, 2.5-3 g fat (0.5 g saturated fat), 27-29 g carbs, 4-5 g fiber, and 5-7 g protein
Instant Oats (no flavoring): Nutrition (serving size 1 packet): 110-130 calories, 2-2.5 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 19-23 g carbs, 3 g fiber, 4 g protein
To Eat Oats Or To Not Eat Oats?
If you are noticing your blood sugar rise when you eat oatmeal, you can add a couple of things to your oats to help slow down the rise. Try adding protein or healthy fats, like nuts, hemp seeds, an egg, or a side of cheese to help blunt the spikes.
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Bottom line – eat oats but watch the portion size and manage blood sugar spikes if necessary.
My favorite way to eat oatmeal is by adding cinnamon and a low-calorie sweetener to my oats, along with almonds, hemp seeds, or egg whites. What’s your favorite way to prep your oats? Leave me a comment.
Until next time, cheers to your health!
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