Grits can be a great side dish to have with your breakfast, lunch, or dinner. They can also be good as a snack! But can diabetics eat grits? You might need to know the answer to that question if you want grits as part of your diet. 

In this Diabetic & Me article you will learn about:

  • Can diabetics eat grits?
  • How are grits made?
  • Do grits raise blood sugar levels?
  • What is the glycemic index of grits?

Can a Diabetic Eat Grits?

People with diabetes can eat grits, but with every food that contains carbs it's important that you take the number of carbs it contains into consideration.

When you eat grits, try to balance them with protein and fat. For example, if you eat grits for breakfast, try eating them alongside some eggs or bacon to balance out the carbs in the meal. You can also pair your grits with low-fat cheese which has no carbs at all! This will be a great way to get healthy fats into your diet while keeping it balanced.

always take into consideration the processing method of your grits before you buy and eat them. For example, instant grits usually have added sugar and other ingredients that turn them into processed food which you should avoid if possible when buying foods for your diabetes diet.

What Are The Different Kinds of Grits?

Grits are made from ground dried hominy which comes from corn kernels soaked in lye water overnight before being rinsed thoroughly and boiled for hours until soft enough to grind up. The texture is similar to oatmeal but looks more like white rice when cooked. Grits can be one of the most difficult foods to eat for anyone. It can be served hot or cold depending on personal preference.

There are 4 different grits:

  • Coarse Ground grits: Also known as "old-fashioned" - has a slightly larger grain than other kinds.
  • Stone Ground Grits: These are medium ground grits - this is the most common kind of stone-ground varieties sold in America today and it's also known as stone-ground grits which are usually less processed than instant. For people with diabetes, this is an excellent choice as they keep your blood sugar steady.
  • Hominy: These are made from the kernels of corn that have been treated with lye to remove the hull and germ.
  • Instant (quick) grits: These tend to be more finely milled and resemble white rice when cooked, but they're not 100% identical since there can be differences depending on how much processing was done before packaging them.

Always take the label into consideration when buying packaged foods like this! It may say that it contains no added sugar, but if you read carefully you'll notice that it might contain corn syrup solids instead. It is best, as a diabetic, that you consume stone ground varieties. Other grits will likely increase your blood sugar levels.

What Is The Glycemic Index of Grits?

A glycemic index is a number that reflects how much your blood sugar levels will increase after you eat a certain food. The lower the index, the less impact it's likely to have on your body. The American Diabetes Association states that any food with a glycemic index below 55 is considered a low glycemic food that you can eat as part of your diabetes diet without worrying too much about it having an impact on your blood sugars.

Grits are mostly carbohydrates and they typically contain 12 grams of carbs per 100g (based on instant grits).

Grits have a glycemic index (GI) of 69 a,d a high glycemic load (GL) of 14. Based on these numbers, which are above average, grits will raise your blood sugar levels.


Grits are a great source of carbs, but they're also good sources for other nutrients such as fiber, iron, magnesium, manganese, and selenium too! Most grits contain little or no sugar at all since it's not usually added during processing unless you buy instant grits which often have added sugars in them.

People with diabetes should always aim to eat stone-ground grits which are less processed and have a lower glycemic index. Stone-ground varieties are great for people with diabetes because they contain low-fat proteins, healthy fats, vegetables, fiber and so much more!

About the Author

Ely Fornoville

Hi, I'm Ely Fornoville and I am the founder of Diabetic & Me. Being a type 1 diabetic since 1996 I developed a passion to help people learn more about diabetes. I write about diabetes and share stories from other diabetics around the world. I am currently using a Medtronic Guardian 4 and a Minimed 780G insulin pump with Humalog.

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