Table of Contents
Can you have oatmeal if you have diabetes?
Oatmeal is reasonably good if you want to have carbs in your breakfast. It’s better than your white bread. It’s better than your other pastries. Oatmeal is heart-healthy. There are substances in oatmeal that helps your heart. All you need to understand how much carbs you’re getting when you eat oatmeal. For example, one cup of cooked oatmeal is around 30 grams of carbs right, so if you’re allowed to have 30 grams of carbs, that’s it. You cannot have anything else, and if you start adding stuff on top of oatmeal such as other fruits and bananas and things like that, then you have to consider that as well since you’re adding those carbs together.
Some people love oatmeal. Questions from patients are like this: I am eating oatmeal, the oatmeal is good, but my blood sugar is still spiking, why?
Does your blood sugar spike after oatmeal? Do you know why oatmeal spike your blood sugar if you have diabetes? Can even a diabetic eat oatmeal at all? In this article, Dr. Ergin explains based on science and his experience with his patients. He talks about glycemic index, portion size, instant vs steel-cut oatmeal, etc.
Are oatmeals low glycemic index food?
Yes and no. Steel-cut oatmeal is a low glycemic index because it is absorbed more slowly so that oatmeal does not necessarily spike your blood sugar quickly. Yet, it will still spike your blood sugar; it’s just not as quick. That’s a good thing because if you’re taking medications, they sometimes take time to get into your blood, and if your blood sugar spikes so fast before drugs kick in and that will be a problem, right?
The Glycemic index of the steel-cut oatmeals is good there it’s below 55. On the other hand, not every oatmeal is the same. you have to really understand that now the best thing you can have is steel-cut oatmeal which takes almost 30 minutes to cook. my best suggestion for that would be an instapot or something like a pressure cooker that can cook oatmeal within less than five minutes. it’s still not going to be one minute like the instant oatmeal which probably most people do eat especially if you’re working, trying to get to work, etc. Although instant oatmeal still keeps the nutritional value oatmeal loses all of its fibers because it is heavily processed. So I would not recommend eating oatmeal that is not steel-cut oatmeal. That includes rolled oats, instant oats, and any other oats out there.
What are the different types of oatmeals?
Steel-cut oats are the least broken down, so they are chewier than other oats.
Rolled oats, on the other hand, are called old-fashioned oats. They are steamed and rolled groats. The process helps them cook faster than steel-cut oats.
Instant oats are the most processed. They have minimal fibers. When possible, go for a steel-cut if you want all the benefits without a significant rise in blood sugar, especially for type 2 diabetics.
Overnight oats refer to soaking in water overnight. Rolled oats are used for these recipes.
Oatmeal versus potato versus bread for diabetics
If you really want to have your carbs again you can use steel-cut oatmeal instead of a potato at breakfast which is very high in the glycemic index or instead of a white bread which is very high in the glycemic index as well. Oatmeal is still very good for you as long as you know your portion size. If you know how much carbohydrates you are getting from the oatmeal and you understand your body you should be able to control your blood sugar even after eating oatmeal. Just because oatmeal can spike your blood sugar less that does not mean that it is free food or you can have oatmeal as much as you want. Some people do not want to diet and stay just want to take medications. If that is you there is also possible although this will probably come back with the price of weight gain.
For example, some people are very insulin resistant in the morning. For instance, some people will have a coffee and their blood sugar will still spike even with the black coffee. as a result, you may want to check your blood sugars after meals, for example after you have oatmeal. You will know if your blood sugar is spiking with the oatmeal.
Everybody is different. Some patients may spike your blood sugars up to 150 mg/dL and someone else can go as high as 400 mg/dL when both of their blood sugars are 120 at baseline. If your blood sugar spikes after a still cut oatmeal, this means that you’re either not taking enough medication for breakfast or you’re very insulin resistant. It would have helped if you exercised the night before or the day before.
Can type 1 diabetic patients eat oatmeal and does it spike their blood sugar?
If you’re type 1 diabetic, that is a different story. Type 1 diabetics will know precisely how much insulin to take. that’s not a bad idea actually for them to eat that oatmeal and then just take whatever they need to take because they’re already on insulin. They know exactly how much insulin to take. Some type 2 diabetics also take insulin, they are more insulin resistant.
So, again it’s not just about the food you’re eating, how much you’re eating the glycemic index of that food. Also what medications you are on matters along with how insulin resistant you are. These are the things you have to consider before you are blaming any food or yourself. don’t blame yourself, just find a way to get it right. if the oatmeal is spiking your blood sugar too much and you have nothing else to replace oatmeal with then just avoid the oatmeal. I know it’s not the easiest thing to say and it is easier said than done but that’s what it is. You can always be creative and find ways to prevent these blood sugar spikes.
We can help you with your diabetes management as well.
Ahmet Ergin, MD, FACE, CDCES, ECNU
2260 Palm Beach Lakes Blvd. Ste 212 Unit #7
West Palm Beach, Florida