If you have diabetes, you know what it feels like when your blood sugar spikes. You immediately think of insulin as the solution. However, insulin doesn’t always help with keeping your blood sugars low. And we won’t sugarcoat it for you--pun intended. If you’re not engaging in healthy habits such as regular exercise and maintaining a healthy diet, it’s likely that you won’t be able to keep your condition under control. The difficult part is knowing which foods are good for diabetes and keeping blood sugars low, and that’s probably the reason why you landed on this article in the first place. So, the question is, do oats raise blood sugar? Continue reading below to find out!
Are Oats Harmful to your Blood Sugar Levels?
The short answer? No! Adding oats to your diet can actually be an easy and effective way to help manage diabetes and blood sugar spikes. That’s because oats contain many important nutrients that can help you stay healthy and manage your blood sugar levels.
First, oatmeal has a lot of carbohydrates. It often seems that carbs are given a bad rap because there are many types of carbs that are bad for you. However, foods can be high in carbs and still help with your blood sugar levels if those carbs are mostly fiber. Fiber is an important nutrient, and one many people don’t get enough of. Because oats are high in fiber and low glycemic index, it does a miraculous job in regulating blood sugar levels and reduces the need for insulin injections.
Not only that, but the main type of fiber in oatmeal is known as beta-glucan, a unique fiber that makes you feel full longer and ultimately helps with weight management. Being able to more effectively regulate your diet and keep a healthy weight can have a domino effect as that can then contribute to lower blood sugar levels. In addition to direct effects on your blood sugar levels, oats also increase energy levels so that you have more stamina to exercise and remain active. Plus, it also helps regulate digestion.
On top of helping you manage your diabetes through its fiber content, oats also contain many minerals that are necessary for everyone’s good health. Oatmeal is a good source of calcium, magnesium, phosphate, thiamin, zinc, iron, and potassium. You can rest assured that eating oatmeal will help keep your body healthy and happy as it absorbs all of these important nutrients.
All of these benefits probably make it sound too good to be true, right? Well, while oats are generally a great addition to your diet, there are a few cons to eating oats.
Cons of Oats and Diabetes
We will go ahead and say that straight out of the gate, the pros significantly outweigh the cons. But, we want you to know exactly what you’re getting into when you add oats into your diet regularly. A few cons include:
Bloating: Oats are high in fiber, which is great for your blood sugar, but not always for your digestive system. That means you may naturally feel bloated after eating a bowl of oatmeal. However, you can reduce bloating by drinking plenty of water when eating oats.
Flatulence: Now, we know you are thinking this is gross, but let’s all be adults here. The high amount of fiber in oatmeal leads to that bloated feeling, and bloating leads to gas. However, no one really wants to suffer from excessive gas if they don’t have to, and not only because it’s smelly. Excess gas can be uncomfortable and make it difficult to perform your daily tasks. But, don’t worry, water fixes everything. Again drink plenty of water, and you’ll be fine.
Add-ins: When people make oats, it’s typical to buy oats with flavors added in or to add in flavors yourself. But, the extra add-ins can work against you. Oats themselves aren't considered fattening. Just be cautious and check to make sure there isn't any extra sugar or flavorings that can be harmful to diabetes.
The Best Oats for Diabetes
While most oatmeal is a great food to eat if you have diabetes, there are some exceptions. As mentioned above, pre-packaged oatmeal with flavor added in is made with the most processed type of oats, instant oats, and often contains large amounts of added sugars. While it’s convenient and delicious, you should look elsewhere for your morning bowl of oatmeal. The very best type of oatmeal for people with Type 2 diabetes is steel-cut oats. Because they are the least processed and are full of fiber, they actually have the lowest glycemic load, making it easier for your body to digest, and preventing blood sugar spikes. If you don’t love or have time to cook steel cut oats, try rolled oats or overnight oats (also called ONO). These are also much less processed than instant oats, have a low glycemic load, and are still full of fiber.
Just make sure not to add too many extra carbs to your healthy bowl of oatmeal. That’s where people with diabetes can really get in trouble. While oatmeal itself has a low glycemic load, adding spoonfuls of brown sugar or dried nuts can make your carb count skyrocket, and your blood sugar won’t be far behind.
If you’re looking for oats that are beneficial to your diabetes and will help reduce your blood sugar levels, look no further than Oats Overnight. Not only our oats are easy-to-make, healthy, nutritious, and gluten-free, but their sugar content makes them a great option for diabetics! Plus, we will ship our oats straight to your door for free (if you are in the US). Check out our options here.
Disclaimer: Each new type of food can have a different effect on your body and blood sugar levels. When adding something new to your diet, make sure to test your blood sugar right before eating, and then again two hours later. Ensure that your body responds well to a new type of food before making it a regular part of your diet.