Oatmeal is a type of food that is common in many homes. It is versatile and can be eaten for breakfast or as a side dish. You may be wondering, is oatmeal good for diabetics? I'll answer this question and more by going over some basics about oatmeal, what makes it special, how you can eat it, the difference between different types of oats (overnight oats vs steel-cut oats), and the benefits of eating oatmeal if you have diabetes.

In this Diabetic & Me article you will learn about:

  • Can diabetics eat oatmeal?
  • What are the benefits of eating oatmeal?
  • Does oatmeal raise or lower blood sugar levels?

What Is Oatmeal?

Oatmeal is a grain that is made by grinding down whole oat groats (the inner portion of the oat) or steel-cut oats. It is traditionally eaten for breakfast in many countries and is commonly served with milk or yogurt and some type of sweetener added to it. There are a number of different types of oatmeal you can eat.

What Are the Different Kinds of Oatmeal?

Quick Cooking Oatmeal

Quick-cooking oatmeal is simply rolled flat while old-fashioned is crushed between rollers before being steamed into oblong shapes.

Instant Oatmeal

Instant oats has been processed even more than quick-cooking, so if possible avoid this form as well since there will be less beneficial nutrients from processing it several times over from its original state before consumption.

Steel-cut Oats

Steel-cut oats have not been preprocessed, so they take longer to cook in the morning. They are less processed than old-fashioned oats and quick-cooking is even better since it is whole oat groats that have been cut down into smaller pieces before being steamed, making them a complex carbohydrate food rather than a simple sugar one like regular rolled or instant oats.

Overnight Oats

This is another type of oatmeal where you soak the ingredients overnight instead of cooking it on the stovetop for five minutes in the morning. There is also no need to worry about preparing this kind of dish at night if you don't want to do dishes after breakfast--you can just put everything together in a jar and leave it in your fridge until you're for breakfast and a healthy diet!

Does Oatmeal Bring Down Blood Sugar?

Like any other food, also eating oats have an effect on your blood glucose. Therefore it's always important to keep managing blood sugar.

Oats intake in patients has shown that oatmeal brings down blood sugar if it is the right kind of oatmeal. Steel-cut oats are significantly healthier than other types of oats because they are whole grain and contain more fiber to stabilize blood sugar levels by slowing digesting time due to their higher carb content.

Can a Diabetic Eat Oatmeal?

There is no such thing as a single "perfect" diabetic diet, and neither is there a ONE food that works for everyone. Generally, food raises blood glucose and the effects of oats intake will also have an effect on your blood sugar control due to the carbohydrates it holds.

Oatmeal is a good source of nutrition for diabetics but also needs to be eaten with care as oatmeal is still mainly a source of carbohydrates. It's worth knowing that around 8 of these carbohydrate grams are in the form of dietary fiber, which may help to prevent blood glucose levels from spiking. With that in mind, eating oats in moderation and adhering to a meal plan that is appropriate for diabetes is still crucial.

If you have diabetes, eating a bowl of oatmeal with hot water or some type of healthy low-fat milk or greek yogurt every morning before you eat any other snacks will be beneficial in treating your condition because it is packed with nutrients that will protect against inflammation and help regulate your insulin response when paired with a nutritious diet plan.

As long as you eat steel-cut oats that are not prepackaged or instant oatmeal with added sweeteners, oatmeal is generally safe to include in your diet plan if you have diabetes, just make sure it doesn't contain any added sugars and salt. Don't add sweeteners that contain many calories like; honey, syrup, or brown sugar.

What Are The Benefits of Eating Oatmeal?

In addition to lowering or regulating your glucose level without serious blood sugar spikes, oats also provide numerous benefits like improving your heart health, lowering LDL cholesterol levels (bad cholesterol), and reducing the risk for coronary artery disease.

What Are The Benefits Of Eating Oatmeal?

Low Glycemic Index Score

The glycemic index rates how quickly carbohydrate-containing foods raise sugar levels in your body after you eat them.

The glycemic index of oatmeal is usually somewhere under 55, which is considered to be a low glycemic index. Other breakfast cereals, such as corn flakes, have a GI of more than 70. This makes oats ideal for diabetics or anyone who wants their blood sugar level more stabilized throughout the day!

Oats are also one of the top recommended whole grain products by dietitians because they provide numerous health benefits without any added sugars or sodium that commonly come from less healthy alternatives such as instant oatmeals made from refined flour.

It Is Rich in Fiber

Oatmeal contains soluble fiber which slows down the digestion process and helps in keeping your blood sugar stable.

Oatmeal, for example, contains beta-glucan soluble fiber that has been shown to help improve cholesterol levels when consumed regularly. The heart health benefits of oatmeal also come from its high contents of vitamin B-vitamins such as thiamin (B), riboflavin (B), and niacin (B). It is these vitamins that regulate how much glucose enters the bloodstream after you eat a meal — and they do it well!

The dietary fibers found naturally in oats can also reduce stroke risk by lowering LDL cholesterol levels while increasing HDL which means lower chances of developing heart disease or having a cardiac arrest.

Regulates and Lowers Blood Glucose

Eating oatmeal helps in regulating and lowering blood glucose levels.

There are some studies that show oatmeal helps in lowering blood sugar levels. In a study, participants who ate oats for breakfast reduced post-meal glucose by eight percent compared to those who had ready-to-eat cereal or corn flakes which means a lower risk of getting type II diabetes!

Oats also slow the absorption rate of dietary carbohydrates and glucose from other foods eaten at mealtime, thus smoothing out any sudden spikes in your blood sugar levels.

The Science Behind Oats and Diabetes

Oats are a popular and beneficial food choice for individuals with diabetes due to their low glycemic index (GI), high fiber content, and numerous health benefits. Here's a breakdown of the science behind oats and diabetes:

Glycemic Impact

Oats have a low glycemic index (GI), indicating that they slowly release glucose into the bloodstream. This gradual release helps individuals with diabetes maintain stable blood sugar levels.

Unlike high-GI foods that can cause rapid spikes in blood sugar, oats provide a sustained energy source without leading to undesirable fluctuations in glucose levels.

Fiber and Insulin Sensitivity

Oats are rich in beta-glucan, a soluble fiber known for its ability to improve insulin sensitivity. When consumed, beta-glucan forms a gel-like substance in the digestive tract, slowing the absorption of carbohydrates and glucose.

This prevents rapid post-meal blood sugar spikes and enhances insulin sensitivity over time. By making cells more responsive to insulin, oats help manage blood sugar levels more effectively, addressing a common issue in type 2 diabetes.

Cardiovascular Benefits

Oats contain compounds that reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. Beta-glucans in oats bind to cholesterol molecules in the digestive tract, preventing their absorption and leading to decreased LDL cholesterol. This promotes better heart health by reducing the risk of cholesterol-related problems.

Also, oats can help regulate blood pressure due to their magnesium, potassium, and phytonutrient content. Keeping blood pressure in check is essential for preventing hypertension and associated cardiovascular issues.

Oats contain antioxidants like avenanthramides, which possess anti-inflammatory and vasodilatory properties. These antioxidants contribute to heart health by reducing inflammation and relaxing blood vessels, reducing the risk of cardiovascular complications in diabetes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is oatmeal good for lowering A1c?

Yes, oatmeal with low GI and soluble fiber can help stabilize blood sugar and contribute to better A1c control in diabetes.

Can people with diabetes have oatmeal and toast for breakfast?

Yes, people with diabetes can enjoy oatmeal and whole-grain toast in moderation. Choose plain oatmeal, watch portion sizes, and opt for whole-grain toast.

Which oatmeal is best for people with diabetes?

Plain or unsweetened oatmeal, like steel-cut or rolled oats, is best. Avoid flavored or instant oatmeal with added sugars.

Conclusion

Oatmeal is a nutritious food that can help stabilize blood sugar levels and provide numerous health benefits. It's important to make sure you're eating the right kind of oatmeal, though--steel-cut oats are significantly healthier than other types of oats because they contain more fiber and whole grains. This article has been an eye-opening resource for those who want to know about all the different types of oatmeal and how it may be beneficial in managing diabetes or just as a healthy breakfast option!


Sources

At Diabetic Me, we are committed to delivering information that is precise, accurate, and pertinent. Our articles are supported by verified data from research papers, prestigious organizations, academic institutions, and medical associations to guarantee the integrity and relevance of the information we provide. You can learn more about our process and team on the about us page.

  1. National Library of Medicine The Metabolic Effects of Oats Intake in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

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 currently use a Medtronic Guardian 4 CGM and a MiniMed 780G insulin pump with Humalog insulin.

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