Almost everyone is aware that oatmeal is a nutritious option that can be consumed at the beginning of the day. It’s tasty and the favorites of many to start the day.
This food is excellent for people who want to lose weight because of its low energy content and has lots of fiber inside. However, oatmeal is known to have lots of carbohydrates inside. That might pose a problem to diabetics. You might be wondering? Is this food safe for diabetics to eat?
This is why this article was created. We will explore whether or not it is safe for diabetics to eat oatmeal or not.
Is Oatmeal Full of Nutrients?
Oatmeal, sometimes called porridge, is a food made with oat groats. These are oat kernels that have had their hard outer husks removed.
Table of Contents
- 1 Is Oatmeal Full of Nutrients?
- 1.1 Why Diabetics Are and Should Be Concerned About Carbohydrates
- 1.2 Fiber Helps Reduce Blood Sugar Spikes
- 1.3 Oats May Improve Blood Sugar Control
- 2 Other Health Benefits of Oatmeal
- 3 Should People With Diabetes Eat Oatmeal?
- 4 Diabetes Oatmeal Summary
Oatmeal is divided into three types: steel-cut, rolled, and instant oatmeal. What makes these different from each other is how it is processed and refined.
The most common way people eat their oatmeal is when it is hot. Very rarely do people eat it cold. It doesn’t taste that good when it is cold. It’s relatively simple to prepare. All you have to do is mix hot water or milk with the oats, and you have oatmeal. Some people mix it overnight so they can instantly eat it when they wake up in the morning.
It doesn’t really matter how you prepare it. It all depends on your preference. You will get roughly the same number of nutrients. Oatmeal contains lots of carbohydrates, fibers, and a wide range of vitamins/minerals.
Here is the nutritional content of a full cup of oatmeal.
- Calories: 600
- Carbs: 100 grams
- Protein: 26 grams
- Fiber: 16 grams
- Fat: 10 grams
- Vitamin B5
Now you can see why oatmeal is a good food to eat. It has lots of nutrients but low amount of calories. You get the biggest bang for your buck so to speak.
If you add a cup of milk to your cup of oatmeal, you will add about 23 more grams of carbohydrates. That might be a lot depending on your daily intake of food.
Summary: Oatmeal is full of nutrients, fiber, and carbs. It’s a good food to eat.
Why Diabetics Are and Should Be Concerned About Carbohydrates
It’s well-known that oatmeal has a lot of carbohydrates. 70% of the substance’s caloric content consists of carbohydrates. That’s a lot!
Diabetics have a problem with this, as if carb intake isn’t properly regulated – it can rapidly spike your blood sugar levels.
People who aren’t diabetic have a substance called insulin that gets released in order to properly manage blood sugar levels. It acts as a stabilizing force when you are consuming food. Too little and the insulin will raise it to normal. Too much and the insulin will bring it down.
Insulin Works by Telling Your Body to Take the Sugar Out of Your Blood and Into Your Cells
People with diabetes have an issue with the production of insulin. The stabilizing force isn’t working properly for whatever reason. When blood sugar levels go high, the body is unable to bring it back down to a normal level. When the levels are too low, the body is unable to bring it back down to a normal level.
This is why diabetics are cautious about the food they consume. They must monitor their blood sugar levels like a hawk in order to make sure it doesn’t go too high or low. It’s common for diabetics to carry snacks around them in case it goes too low.
Proper monitoring of blood sugar levels allow diabetics to avoid the worst that could happen. It avoids brain damage, eye damage, limb damage, and so much more.
Summary: Oats have a lot of carbohydrates and diabetics could have an issue with this.
Fiber Helps Reduce Blood Sugar Spikes
The weird thing about oatmeal is that it has two contrasting forces at play. Carbs spike your blood sugar level, but fiber produces an opposite effect.
Fiber assists in the process of reducing the absorption rate of the carbohydrates that are present in the oats. If the fiber wasn't present you would have larger blood sugar level spikes.
Ideally, you want the carbohydrates that do not get absorbed quickly. You want it done nice and slow so your body won’t overreact to the amount that it is getting. If you are getting it nice and slow, then your sugar levels will respond accordingly.
You want to use a tool called the glycemic index. The index quantifies how quickly a food can raise your blood sugar levels. The scale is categorized through low, medium, and high. The numbering system is based on a scale of 1-100.
A low GI score is 60 or less. A medium GI score is 60-70. A high GI score is 70-100
For diabetics it is preferable that you consume foods that have low GI scores. This is common sense. The lower the GI score, the less your body will overreact to the carbohydrate levels inside your body. Oatmeal that is rolled or steel-cut are generally considered a low to medium on the GI scale. A rough numeric value is 50-60.
Instant oats has the highest GI levels with a numeric value of 70 compared to the other three. Diabetics should stay clear from instant oats or at least eat it in small amounts in order to avoid its properties.
Summary: Thanks to the fiber content inside oatmeal, it allows carbohydrates to be absorbed slowly within the body. This makes sure that your blood sugar levels do not go too out of control.
Oats May Improve Blood Sugar Control
Many scientific studies indicate that oats can be helpful in helping you control your blood sugar levels. These scientific studies have concluded that the consumption of oats can be extremely helpful in reducing blood sugar levels. The studies also confirm the phenomena of fiber assisting in slowing down the absorption rate of carbohydrates
Some scientific studies conflict with the general findings. Certain studies conclude that oatmeal has no effect on reducing blood sugar levels. This means that more research needs to be conducted before any definitive conclusion can be reached. People with type 2 diabetes had their blood sugar levels reduce dramatically when they consume oats. This is what the current scientific research indicates.
Not enough research has been conducted on the effects of oats on type 1 diabetes. It can be theorized that the effects are similar but more research needs to be done before something definite is concluded.
Summary: Oats can assist people to reduce blood sugar levels and is especially useful for people who have type 2 diabetes.
Other Health Benefits of Oatmeal
Some scientific studies have indicated that eating oats can reduce the amount of cholesterol in your body. If you want to reduce the cholesterol levels in your body, then perhaps eating oats is the way to go.
Researchers have found something called beta-glucans within the oats. These glucans help you with their digestive process and keeps the cholesterol levels down.
The glucans also assist you in making sure that the cholesterol is flushed out of your system. This takes on the form of going to the bathroom and taking a stool. That is the benefit of the glucans that can be found in the oats.
Since high cholesterol levels have been associated with higher risk of heart disease, you bring down the risk of heart disease by consuming oats. This is a chain reaction of positive benefits.
Helps You To Lose Weight
Oats can help you lose weight. Why? Because it’s an effective appetite suppressant. If you don’t feel hungry, you will be able to eat less and consume lesser calories as a result. In order to lose you need to burn more calories than you expend.
This makes oats an effective tool in helping you to lose weight. It’s packed with nutrients and fiber. You get a wide range of health benefits by just consuming this one food.
It’s thought that the filling effect of oats is partly due to the high levels of beta-glucans they contain.
The beta glucans that are present in the oats, also assists in the process of slowing down the amount of food that leaves your body. This is good because this is the source of the reason why oats are an appetite suppressant. If it takes a long time for the food in your body to leave, you won’t be as hungry as much. Once your stomach is empty of all food, you will grow hungry again and need more food. This is bad if you want to lose weight.
If you want to lose weight, incorporating oats into your diet is the way to go.
Increases Gut Health
Oats has a high amount of fiber. This fiber is thought to be helpful in managing the bacteria levels in your body.
One scientific study indicates that oatmeal can affect the bacteria balance within your body. Most people aren’t aware of the fact that there are actually beneficial bacteria that’s in your body. This beneficial bacterium provides a wide range of health benefits for your body. There are also bad bacteria in your body and the good bacteria helps to kill the bad.
Oatmeal can play a role in maintaining the balance between good bacteria and bad bacteria.
However, this was a small study. More research needs to be done on the matter before anything definitive is claimed. Oatmeal shouldn’t be considered the end all be all for health benefits.
Should People With Diabetes Eat Oatmeal?
You might be thinking to yourself… should I eat oatmeal if I am diabetic? You might be scared of spiking your blood sugar levels too high. That is a legitimate concern. The answer is yes you can, if you are careful about it. Many diabetics include this tasty food in their diet with no problems. Very few diabetics have issues with incorporating it into their diet. The only people who experience issues are the people who eat too much of it or have some other kind of illness.
It’s best to consume plain rolled or steel cut oatmeal because it’s low on the GI scale. It’s best to avoid instant oats. However, if you do end up eating instant oats make sure you eat it in small amounts. This will allow you to avoid having your blood sugar levels spike up too much.
There Are Several Things You Want to Consider Before
Just because plain rolled or steel cut oatmeal has a low GI scale, doesn’t mean you can pig out and eat as much as you want. Eating too much will spike your blood sugar levels to a high rate.
The glycemic index is a rough measure of how much a particular food will spike your blood sugar levels.
Everyone reacts to different foods differently. It’s important to monitor your own blood sugar levels and see which works best for you.
If you are running on a low carb diet, it’s best to avoid oatmeal altogether. Oatmeal contains too many carbohydrates for it to be appropriate in a low carb diet. Avoid it altogether and eat other foods if you want to maintain a low carb diet.
Diabetes Oatmeal Summary
Oats are a healthy and nutritious food option for many people out there. It’s definitely recommended that you eat this tasty food if you can. Diabetics should not have an issue with consuming this food, as long they are careful in the process of doing so.
At the end of the day, carbs are still carbs. Take too much of them and your blood sugar levels will spike.
Diabetics should pay attention to their portion sizes and how much they eat at any given day. By doing this you will save lot of hassle and unnecessary headache in the future.