Is Oatmeal good for diabetics? – Overview
Oatmeal is a healthy and tasty start to the day for many people. It is low in calories and high in fiber, making it an ideal meal for weight conscious people.
However, it is high in carbohydrates. For this reason, people with diabetes may doubt the safety of this cereal for them.
In this article, we will tell you what oatmeal is and whether it is suitable for diabetics. Perhaps the answer will surprise you a little.
There are three main types of oatmeal: steel-cut (irish), rolled, and instant oatmeal. Types of oatmeals differ in production method, degree of crushing and cooking time. Whole grains are the least processed, but they also take significantly longer to cook.
Regardless of how you cook it, oatmeal is a good source of carbohydrates and soluble fiber. It also contains a variety of vitamins and minerals like Vitamin Bs and A, manganese, zinc, copper, magnesium, iron, calcium, folate – basically it’s a powerhouse of all the good stuff for our body.
The sugar content of oatmeal might be a topic of concern for those with diabetes, but fortunately oatmeal is still considered to be one of the best breakfast options for diabetics.
Is Oatmeal good for diabetics? Nutrition Values
- 100 gram of Oatmeal contains
- Calories – 67
- Lipids – 1,4 g
- Carbohydrates – 50 g
- Proteins – 2,4 g
- Fiber – 10 g
- Potassium – 61 mg
- Sodium – 49 mg
- Calcium – 80 mg
- Vitamin A – 433 IU
Oatmeal is go-to food option for diabetics for several reasons
1. Glycemic index
Oatmeal has a low glycemic index, below 55 , meaning it does not raise blood sugar levels quickly, since oats are absorbed quickly. For that reason those with diabetes can freely enjoy the oats without worrying about blood sugar spikes.
Low Glycemic index makes oatmeal a better breakfast alternative than cornflakes – which has a GI of 81.
Although as we have already mentioned there are various types of oatmeals which differ according to processing and cooking.
Steel-cut oatmeals are a better option for diabetics than other types of oatmeals like rolled-up ones, since they are less processed and have a lesser glycemic index of 42.
2. The fiber
Oatmeal is a great source of soluble fiber – which is known for its wide variety of health benefits, especially for digestive health.
According to ADA adults should consume 25-30 grams of fiber each day – consuming 100 grams of oatmeal every morning files up the daily need.
Main soluble fiber found in oatmeal is called – beta glucan.
Various researches demonstrate beneficial effects beta glucans have for cardiovascular health and metabolism, it’s has been suggested to reduce high cholesterol and can be potentially beneficial in the treatment of diabetes and associated cardiovascular risks.
This NCBI Study has shown that beta-glucans could reduce hyperglycemia, hyperlipidemia, and hypertension.
All these benefits make oatmeal great go-to food for those with diabetes.
In this instance also, steel-cut oatmeals are a better source of beta-glucans, compared to other types of oats.
3. Low in Calories
It’s a well-known fact that losing extra weight potentially prevents diabetes and its associated long-term complications – therefore selecting diet-friendly meals for diabetics is of an extremely high importance.
Since we have already seen – 100 grams of oatmeal is just 67 calories, to highlight my point let’s compare it to other breakfast options like cornflakes – with 357 calories per 100 grams, egg Omelet – 154 calories, Greek yogurt – 160.
In the mornings, consuming raw clean cut irish oatmeal is without a doubt a better food of choice for diabetics. Besides that, high fiber foods are known to make you feel full easier and longer, which makes you eat less snacks throughout the day.
4. Sugar and Lipid Profile
A 2015 NCBI study revealed a beneficial effect of oats consumption on glucose control and lipid profiles in type 2 diabetic patients.
Oatmeal consumption was marked to significantly reduce the postprandial glucose, insulin responses and the need and doses of insulin injection in comparison to control groups.
Things you should be cautious about
Portion control – always make sure you don’t overeat oatmeal, since it still has content of carbohydrates which can potentially trigger blood sugar spikes, in diabetes everything should be consumed in moderation
Avoid sweeteners – Oatmeals often have added sugars in the form of fruits, honey, caramel etc. You should take extra carbs into account, it’s advisable to consume oatmeal raw – meaning, without any sugary additives
Control your blood sugar levels – especially when making changes to a diet, always keeping an eye on blood glucose levels is mandatory.
Choose a type of oatmeal wisely – Steel-cut oatmeal is considered to be a safer and healthier type of oatmeal for those with diabetes – since they are the least processed version of oats. If you are trying to lower your blood sugar levels, avoid instant oatmeals – because they are often loaded with sugars.