Are Oats Good For Diabetes?

Reviewed by

Shifa Fathima

Oats are hearty crops that are rich in fibre, which makes them a filling breakfast meal. The cereal is steamed, flattened and sliced in different ways, which produces a variety of oats. Oatmeal is old-fashioned oats cooked in water and has a slightly varied nutritional content than dry oats. It can be made of oats, rolled or steel-cut, cooked in a warm liquid such as water or milk.

Types of Oats

  1. Rolled Oats also called Old Fashioned Oats : They are flat, flaky, absorb more water and cook faster than steel-cut oats
  2. Steel Cut Oats also called Coarse Oatmeal: Chopped tiny pieces with a tough texture, which turns chewy after being cooked.
  3. Quick Cook : Cooks in One minute; both on stove-top and microwave.
  4. Instant : A finer version of rolled oats that is cut thinner than others, cooks fast and has a soft texture.
Steel Cut Oats vs. Rolled Oats vs. Quick Oats - What's the Difference? -  Chef Julie Harrington, RD
Types of Oatmeal

Dietary Breakdown of Nutrients

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Which Oatmeal is the best choice for people living with Diabetes?

Oatmeal can be made of different types of oats, and when it comes to blood sugar management, they are not all created equal. For people with Diabetes, the choice of oatmeal should be the one thats least processed and has a relatively low glycemic index (GI).

Pros of Oatmeal in Diabetes

Oats is a nutrient-rich cereal that has both benefits and drawbacks for people with diabetes. The superfood might be carb-rich, but it can help to control diabetes when consumed in small amounts.

  • Glycemic index estimates how food raises blood glucose levels, and one should consume meals with a low GI. Oatmeal and muesli (containing oats) score under 55 on the index, which is lower than other breakfast cereals such as corn flakes (GI over 70).
  • Fibre: Rich food slows sugar breakdown in the body, which prevents glucose and insulin spikes.
  • People with Diabetes are twice as likely to have heart disease than someone whos not. Therefore, it is necessary to control their cholesterol levels. Oatmeal contains beta-glucans, which is a specific form of fibre that helps lower harmful cholesterol levels and maintains the good ones.
  • Oatmeal is a powerhouse of energy and keeps one satiated for longer times, which prevents regular snacking. Thus, people can keep their calorie consumption low and maintain their blood sugar balance.
  • According to Nutrients’ systematic review, people diagnosed with type-2 diabetes who consume oatmeal had a better insulin response. Thus, oatmeal helps increase insulin sensitivity temporarily.
  • Oatmeal is low in sodium and sugars, which makes them an overall healthy food choice.

Cons of Oatmeal for Diabetes

Oatmeal is a substantial source of carbohydrates and contains 50 grams of carbohydrates in ½ cup of raw oats. Hence, consuming oats in moderation is key to preventing spikes in blood sugar levels. Moreover, consuming instant oatmeal with added sugar and fruit extracts or consumption in high amounts can cause counterproductive effects. Moreover, oatmeal can affect people with delayed gastric emptying (gastroparesis), and the high fibre content can further slow down the digestion capability. To answer the question ‘are oats good for diabetes?’, the cereal works wonders when consumed in regulated amounts.

Do’s and Don’ts of Oatmeal for Diabetes

Most people ask - ‘Which oats are good for diabetes?’. The obvious answer is oatmeal. It is the simplest preparation of oats, which is healthy but bland. However, you can safely add flavours in the following ways to make it more enjoyable.


Whole grain oats are rich in soluble fibre and have a low glycemic index, which makes them a hearty breakfast staple. The superfood can be added in several ways to one’s diet to fit into their health plan. In smaller amounts, oats can be a healthy addition to one’s diet. However, regular monitoring of blood sugar levels is important. Steel-cut or rolled oats make for a better base and watching out for added ingredients is essential. Thus, oats are a powerhouse of nutrients and can be considered a superfood.

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