Diabetes is a growing health problem worldwide. People across the globe, irrespective of their age, are getting diabetes. So, if you have high blood sugar, it is vital to check on the foods you consume. Breakfast being the most important meal of the day, you must choose the right foods. And to do that, we are here with the best cereal diabetics and much more. Start scrolling down, and you are sure to be informed completely after you finish this blog!
Table of Contents
What is the glycemic index?
Before we get into the detail to know the best cereal for diabetics and more, let us check out everything about the glycemic index! The best breakfast for people with diabetes is cereals, but there are many other healthy options available.
GI or glycemic index is the carbohydrate measure that raises the blood sugar levels in your body. It is best that people who have high blood sugar to consume low glycemic index cereals and foods. That is because it prevents the spiking up of blood sugar levels.
The Harvard School of Public Health advises:
- The low glycemic index foods must have ratings of 55 or lower,
- The medium glycemic index foods must have ratings between 56 to 69,
- And, the high glycemic index foods must have ratings between 70 to 100.
If you mix the foods, it will affect the absorption and digestion that will eventually affect the glycemic index ratings. For instance, if you consume cereals with a high glycemic index with nuts, Greek yogurt, and any other low GI food, your digestion will worsen. All of which will help in preventing high blood sugar levels.
What is the glycemic load?
Now that you know how essential it is to consume low glycemic cereals and foods, let us check out everything about the glycemic load.
The glycemic load is basically another form measure of how the food affects the blood sugar levels. It counts the digestibility of several carbohydrates and even the portion size. Through the glycemic load, you can differentiate between the bad and good carb choices. For instance, carrots are high in the glycemic ratings but possess a low glycemic load. So, it is an ideal veggie for people who have high blood sugar levels.
The Harvard School of Public Health advises:
- The low glycemic load is lower than 10,
- The medium glycemic load is between 11 to 19,
- A high glycemic load is 20 or higher.
People who have diabetes should consume foods that have a low glycemic load.
Best Cereal for Diabetics – Whole Grains
The best breakfast for people with diabetes is cereals. But you must choose them correctly.
The aisle of the grocery store contains plenty of cereal options. But selecting the best cereal for diabetics is the trick. It is common to get the famous brands selling sugars and refined grains as their topmost ingredients in the cereal. But those are the ones that contain limited nutrients and loads of calorie-content. So, you will spike your blood sugar levels massively by consuming these cereals.
The best cereal for diabetics is the whole grains that possess the whole grain kernel. When you consume the grain kernel, you are getting loads of healthy fibers. And these are the essential nutrient in your diet. That’s because it helps in controlling the chances of heart ailments and prevents blood sugar. Plus, whole grains contain loads of minerals and vitamins.
In particular, you will find the best whole-grain cereal for people with diabetes to contain:
- Whole wheat flour
- wheat bran
- whole cornmeal
- brown rice
- wild rice
The American Diabetes Association suggests that steel-cut oatmeal, oat bran, and rolled oatmeal contain a low glycemic index. It contains the glycemic index rating to be approximately 55 or even lesser.
The quick oats contain the medium glycemic index that contains a rating of 56 to 69. Puffed rice, corn flakes, instant oats, and bran flakes have a high glycemic index with 70 or more ratings.
Do you think if corn flakes suitable for people with diabetes? Well, with such a high glycemic index, it is indeed not the right choice to make. It is always best to consume whole grains or steel-cut oats. They are healthy will keep your blood sugar levels in control.
How to Increase the Nutrient-Content in your cereal?
Now that you know all about the best cereal for people with diabetes, let us check out to increase the nutritional value of your breakfast. Here are the following ways:
Add some nuts and protein
When you know which of the whole grain cereal is your favorite, it is time to increase its nutrition value. All you need to do is add some protein and nuts to improve its taste and texture.
If you add protein to your cereal, you will control your blood sugar levels during breakfast. Plus, it may also help you manage the sugar levels that may rise after lunch.
Incorporating protein into your diet is relatively easy. All you need to do is add eggs, unsweetened Greek yogurt, or high protein foods.
If you add in some nuts, you will ensure the bland cereal gets a crunchier texture, plus provide you with healthy fats. Some great choices to add to your cereal are unsalted almonds, pecans, or walnuts. All these contain polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats that are good for you. But always keep in mind that these have high-calorie content. So, you should watch out for the portions you consume.
If your controlled and balanced meal plan allows you to include fruits, then it can bring about a slightly sweet taste to your breakfast. As you are opting for whole grains, try to choose whole fruits. Especially ones that contain skin like berries. It will add an adequate amount of fiber that is good for your health overall.
Top it with a dairy substitute or dairy
To enhance the nutritive value of cereals, it is best to add around half a cup of dairy substitute or milk. It is applicable only if your meal plan permits you to include milk into your diet. Always keep note that milk contains natural sugars.
Skim milk contains around 1 to 2 percent of milk. It can easily fit in place of whole milk and consume lesser saturated fats and low-calorie content.
You can always choose almond or soy milk if you happen to dislike dairy milk or lactose intolerant—the carbohydrate content in cow milk is equal to the amount present in soy milk. But unsweetened almond milk has lower calories and calorie content than soy or cow milk.
How to choose the best breakfast?
As you know, the best cereal for diabetics needs to be chosen wisely. Such a vast option for grain in the grocery store can be confusing to select the correct one. Most branded cereals contain loads of quick digesting carbohydrates. And they indeed include a high glycemic index, which is not the ideal option when you have diabetes. Your body will break down the carbohydrates quickly that will increase your sugar levels. In that case, it can be threatening to people having diabetes.
Luckily, all the cereals you buy in the grocery stores are made with the same ingredients. Some products can contain good ingredients for people who have diabetes and do not take your sugar levels through peaks and throughs.
Here is a list with all the key points you need to keep in mind while selecting the breakfast suitable for diabetes. Check out the following:
Alternatives and Additions
If you do not like consuming cereals, then you choose other breakfast items. Other breakfast ideas are whole grain bread or protein-rich eggs. You can also choose bread made from rye or wheat.
The protein-rich eggs contain around one gram or lesser carbohydrate content. So, it naturally does not affect blood sugar levels. More so, it will slow your digestion process that is ideal for people having diabetes.
Decipher the nutrition labels
You can always add foods or select alternatives if you do not like consuming cereals. But if you want to stick to grains, you must decipher the labels correctly. Do not get influenced by the colorful packaging and attractive taglines. Read the nutrition levels well.
Don’t go for ‘fat-free’ cereals
It is natural to love fat-free cereals. But the ones that claim fat-free contain starches and sugars to add flavor and texture to the cereals.
It is true that few fats are good for your health and supports maintain your blood sugar levels normal. So, you mustn’t remove fats from your diet altogether.
Check out the serving sizes
When you are at the grocery store and want to get the best cereal for diabetics, check the serving sizes. A typical serving usually ranges from 1/4th cup to 1 and a half cup. The dimensions are relatively small because of the nutrient density it contains.
For instance, muesli serving sizes are half a cup. But is that the amount of muesli you consume every morning? Don’t you eat around two or three cups of it?
In that case, the nutrient intake is two or three times more mentioned in the label. Consequently, your body is getting two or three times more carbs spiking the blood sugar levels.
Calculate the total carbohydrates
The total amount of carbohydrate should ideally be lesser than 40 gm in each serving. You will notice the added sugars, total sugar, and dietary fiber mentioned when you are looking at the label. Calculate all the amounts and check if it is more than 40 or not. If you find the total to be 35 grams, it is the choice for you.
Also, keep a note that the total sugar should be lower than 10 gm in each serving. The dietary fiber should ideally be four to five grams with a minimal amount of added sugars. Try to focus on lower total sugar and higher fiber content in the cereal you purchase.
Don’t miss the protein
Try to choose the cereal that contains a minimum of four grams in each serving. You will find the protein, fiber, and fat content boost in keeping you fuller for long and even controls sudden blood sugar rises.
Check out the ingredients
When you check the labels, keep a close watch that sugar is not among the first few ingredients. In general, components are put on a list according to their weight. That means the ingredients in the most amounts will be listed at the top, and it gradually lowers with items most minor present.
Since already know the best cereal for diabetics is the one that contains whole-grains. So, check out if the grain contains barley, wheat, quinoa, oats, or amaranth in the list. If you find the word ‘enriched’ in the list, it means vital nutrients are added into the grains to fulfill your daily requirements.
Be cautious about added sugar
When you see the term added sugars, you can be sure it contains poison for diabetes in disguise. Some of the added sugar examples are brown rice syrup, cane syrup, coconut sugar, molasses, agave nectar, and high-fructose corn syrup.
Beware of the words that end with the letters ‘use’. It is a code that implies sugar.
As we bring you to the end of our blog today, you indeed have a clear idea about the best cereal for diabetics. It is always best you go for the whole grains rather than choosing the refined grains. A few whole grains to choose from are steel-cut oats, rolled bran, and rolled oatmeal. You can always mix nuts and protein with your cereal to enhance its nutritive value, texture, and taste. Also, keep in mind to have a close watch on the ingredient list when you are purchasing the cereals. You can follow all the tips mentioned above even if you do have diabetes. As the famous saying tells us, ‘prevention is better than cure.’ So, watch your sugar intake and prevent any chances of having diabetes.