Everyone loves a sweet treat after a good meal. Most of us are familiar with those midnight sugar cravings that result in raiding the kitchen for cookies or ice cream. However, while most of us can get away with the repercussions of these binge sessions, the results can be harsh for someone suffering from diabetes.

There are two types of diabetes. While both types lead to high blood sugar levels that can cause a lot of complications, the main difference between the two is that people with Type 1 diabetes don’t produce insulin while people with Type 2 diabetes don’t respond to insulin and sometimes don’t make enough insulin.

Experts recommend patients suffering from both variants keep a close eye on their diet in order to control the symptoms of the disease. Managing one’s sugar and carb intake remains some of the most important factors of controlling blood sugar levels, and including whole grains like oats may play a key role.

Are Oats Good for Diabetic Patients?

oats

This is a question that is commonly asked as oats are considered to be the healthy alternative for your daily sugary cereals. Raghav Gupta, Founder, Oateo Oats, told HerZindagi that "people suffering from diabetes can enjoy all of the foods they love in moderation, however, some modifications must be made. Oatmeal is a healthy, fiber-rich grain that makes for a great alternative when you have diabetes."

The Connection

One of the main aspects to focus on while treating diabetes is to decrease inflammation. Oats, more specifically oat bran and oatmeal constitute wholesome, high-fiber grains that have positive effects on not only bringing down the LDL cholesterol levels but also regulating the blood sugar spikes which in turn reduces inflammation in the body.

As a diabetic patient, you must keep in mind the glycemic index (GI) of the different foods you consume. The GI index is used to measure how quickly the carb content of the food you eat raises your blood glucose levels. Foods with a low GI are known for better managing blood sugar levels. Having talked about GI, another element to consider is the glycemic load (GL), another score that factors in the GI, as well as the serving size of carbs in a dish, thereby making it a more accurate predictor for how a particular food product or dish will affect blood sugar levels.

Oatmeal is said to have a low GI, rated at 55 or less depending on which type it is. Breakfast cereals like cornflakes have a score of above 70, which is a high score on the index. One cup of oatmeal has a GL of 11.5, implying that it has a moderate effect on blood sugar levels.

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Here are some Do's and Don'ts shared by Raghav Gupta, that you must understand and follow. 

Do’s

  • Opt for oat bran or steel-cut oats. These contain higher amounts of soluble fiber, that help regulate blood sugar levels and aid the process of slower digestion.

cinnamon oats

  • Use cinnamon. Cinnamon is packed with antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties. This helps improve body sensitivity to insulin and may help lower blood sugar levels.
  • Add berries. Berries also consist of antioxidants and healthy nutrients that act as a natural sweetener to your oatmeal dish.
  • Incorporate proteins and healthy fat to stabilise blood sugar levels and balance your energy sources.
  • Go for low-fat milk or almond milk to improve nutritional content.

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Don'ts

  • Avoid purchasing prepackaged or instant oatmeal with added sweeteners. While it is convenient, it doesn’t make up for the loss of nutrients and the blood sugar spikes.
  • Don’t add dried fruit as it will raise the glycemic index.
  • Refrain from adding too many caloric sweeteners. People usually add sugar, honey, brown sugar, or syrup to oatmeal. These tend to significantly raise blood glucose levels.

almond milk oats

  • Limit or avoid the usage of cream. Use either water, almond, soy, or low-fat milk to make your oatmeal.
  • Do consult your doctor in case you are not sure about what you are eating especially when you have something as serious as diabetes, Do not take your health for granted. 

Stay tuned to HerZindagi for more on the right eating habits and take care.