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Cereals for Diabetics

A Useful Guide for Choosing the Best Cereals for Diabetics

There are numerous health benefits of starting the day with a high-fiber breakfast cereal. However, not all types of cereals are good for diabetics. Diabetics should take whole grain or bran cereals with no sugar. The following HealthHearty write-up provides information on choosing the best cereals for diabetics.
Aarti R
Last Updated: Jan 27, 2018
Diabetes is a medical condition that is characterized by elevated blood sugar levels. It is categorized into type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes occurs due to the body's inability to produce insulin, which is a hormone produced by pancreas. Insulin regulates the level of sugar in the bloodstream by allowing sugar to enter the tissues. In people affected by type 2 diabetes, the body does produce some insulin, but is not able to utilize it. Therefore, it becomes essential to monitor and regulate the blood sugar levels by drug therapy and lifestyle changes. Diabetics have to make sure that they cut down on the intake of food items that are rich in carbohydrates. It is advised to consume carbohydrates or food items that have a low glycemic index. These are foods that release glucose more slowly and steadily, thereby lowering the chances of a sudden rise in postprandial (after meal) blood sugar readings. Diabetics should be extremely cautious about their diet. Every meal should contain food items that are rich in fiber, and the carbohydrate intake must be monitored. Starting the day with a diabetes-friendly cereal would be a wise thing to do, but make sure that the cereal is high in fiber and low in sugar.
Cereals for People Affected by Diabetes
There's no dearth of healthy breakfast options for diabetics, one of them being cereals. However, make sure that you take a good look at the nutritional information given on the package. Remember that taking cereals made with refined grains or those with added sugars would defeat the purpose. Here are some of the types of cereals that can be taken by diabetics.
Whole Grain Cereal
Whole grains or unrefined grains contain bran (outer layer that is rich in fiber), endosperm (starchy part that is the source of energy), and germ (nutrient-rich inner part). The process of milling removes the bran and the germ. This is the reason whole grains are far more nutritious than the refined grains. Starting the day with a whole grain cereal breakfast with no added sugars is certainly a healthy breakfast option for diabetics. To add to that, consumption of whole grain cereals is more likely to create a feeling of fullness.
Hot Cereals
Oatmeal (porridge that is made of rolled oats) is another wholesome breakfast option for diabetics. It can be cooked in water or plain milk. However, diabetics should refrain from adding sugar. While skim milk can be used, fresh or dried fruits can be added for improving the flavor. While buying hot cereals, keep in mind that you must buy cereals which are unsweetened.
Bran Cereals
Due to their high fiber content, consumption of bran cereals helps to improve digestive health. These fulfill the body's daily requirement for fiber. If your diet doesn't provide you with enough dietary fiber, you can go for bran cereal. Bran cereals with less sugar content will certainly work well for diabetics.
Tips for Choosing the Right Cereal
Since the market is flooded with so many brands that offer different types of cereals, choosing a cereal can be a difficult task. Here's what you need to do:
➞ Always read the nutritional facts label to get an idea on the amount of fiber, fat, carbohydrates, sugar, calories, etc., in one serving.
➞ Buy whole grain cereals or bran cereals, as these are rich in dietary fiber.
➞ Diabetics need to closely look at the amount of sugar in one serving. As per the recommendations of the U. S. Government's Dietary Reference Intakes, added sugars should not exceed 25% of total calories.
➞ Don't take cereals that contain frosting, chocolate, or any other ingredients that add extra calories, carbohydrates, and unhealthy fat. Buy plain oatmeal or the original versions of a cereal.
➞ Cereals that show milled corn, cornmeal, wheat flour, or rice in the list of ingredients, might be a mixture of whole and refined grains. It is best to opt for bran cereals and whole grain cereals.
➞ According to the American Diabetes Association, diabetics should eat cereals with 3 g or more of dietary fiber and 6 g or less of total sugar.
➞ A cup of milk contains around 12 g of carbohydrates, which is why, diabetics must also pay attention to the serving size.
➞ In order to keep your carbohydrate intake in check, avoid consuming toast or excessive amounts of sweetened fruit juice with cereal.
Cereals are great foods for breakfast, but people affected by diabetes must opt for a whole grain cereals served with low fat milk, with no added sugar. Always opt for cereals that will increase your energy levels without elevating the blood sugar levels. You can also buy organic cereals made from crops grown without synthetic fertilizers or pesticides. If you are bored of having the same cereal every single day, you could add chopped berries, boiled sweet potatoes, or nuts (walnuts, almonds, cashews, etc.) to improve the flavor. You can opt to have your bowl of cereal with a dollop of fat-free yogurt instead of milk.