Oats and Diabetes
Oatmeal, made from oats, has long been considered a nutritious and healthy way to start your day. According to some studies on oats and diabetes, this food may have a range of health benefits for diabetes.
In this article, we will explore those benefits and provide reasons why this whole-grain cereal is considered beneficial in the management of diabetes.
- Protein 4.7 g
- Carbohydrate 13 g
- Fat 2.5 g
- Fiber 1.7 g
- Sugar 0.1 g
- Cholesterol 7 g
Nutritional Value of Oats
Oats cooked in hot water is the most basic kind of oatmeal. According to the USDA, one cup of regular and quick oatmeal packs 3.98 g of fiber and 5.94 g of protein. Hence, if you are looking to eat less often and lose weight, this whole-grain cereal seems to be an ideal food choice.
Although it has a relatively low-calorie content at 166 cal per cup, its carb content is on the high side (28.1 g per cup). However, rolled oats have a low glycemic index (GI) of 55, minimizing sudden blood sugar spikes after consumption. On the other hand, quick oats have a higher GI at 79. Hence, it’s essential to pay attention to the kind of oats you take as a person with diabetes.
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How Oats Benefits People With Diabetes
Discussed below are some of the reasons to eat oats.
Reduces Cholesterol Level
People with diabetes are more likely to develop heart disease. As such, they should closely monitor their cholesterol levels. Beta-glucans, a type of soluble fiber found in oats, has been demonstrated in trials to help lower bad cholesterol while maintaining good cholesterol levels.
Fiber, contained in oats, is essential for digestion, particularly in people with diabetes. Notably, dietary fiber may slow the body's sugar breakdown process, preventing blood sugar and insulin levels from shooting through the roof.
Regulates Blood Sugar Levels and Improves Insulin Sensitivity
Oats are unique owing to their beta-glucan content. According to a systematic review on oats and diabetes published in the journal Nutrición Hospitalaria, eating beta-glucans was sufficient to help diabetics lower their blood glucose levels, especially over the long term.
Additionally, according to a systematic study published in the journal Nutrients, people with diabetes who ate oats had better insulin and glucose responses than those who ate a similar control meal.
Oats' anti-inflammatory properties are yet another reason to eat them. The body's natural defense mechanism to pain and a range of ailments is inflammation, but this response can become blown out of proportion in diseases (like diabetes) or long-term stress.
To counter this, the avenanthramide content of oats—an anti-inflammatory compound and antioxidant—may help prevent diabetes-related inflammation and disease progression.
Good for the Heart
In addition to diabetes, people with high cholesterol may require treatment for other conditions. The healthy beta-glucans in oats may be particularly beneficial to them. According to research, consuming at least 3 g of beta-glucans from oats reduces bad cholesterol while maintaining good cholesterol levels. This could prevent the development of diabetes complications like cardiovascular diseases.
Keeps You Full
Oats can be part of a nutritious breakfast that keeps you satisfied for longer. Oatmeal, for example, is high in fiber, which may help you feel fuller for longer. This may limit snacking, which may help with blood glucose balance in general. It could also assist in maintaining or losing weight.
Research on Oats and Diabetes
People with diabetes who ate oats had a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, according to a 2014 study. Heart disease is a well-known complication of diabetes — high blood glucose levels can harm nerves and blood vessels connected to the heart. Namely, the study reveals that eating a low-carbohydrate diet reduced the number of microparticles in blood platelets, which may contribute to high blood sugar and inflammation.
According to the National Library of Medicine, adults with type 2 diabetes who consumed oats and oat bran for four to eight weeks saw reductions in 24-hour blood sugar counts and overall insulin levels.
Furthermore, in a 2014 publication, recommendations for avoiding and controlling diabetes advised eating foods like oatmeal, whole grains, fruit, vegetables, and legumes to get at least 10 g of fiber per meal.
Should a Diabetic Consume Oats?
Yes! However, be selective with your oats. Also, keep an eye on the ingredients that have been added. Here are some suggestions to help you make oatmeal a healthy breakfast staple:
- Try to regulate your serving size. Excessive oats intake adds calories and carbs to your diet, more than you ever need.
- Use water, low-fat milk, or unsweetened plant-based milk to make your oats.
- Add a dab of nut butter or a couple of tablespoons of nuts to boost the protein content. This will help you control your blood sugar levels and satisfy your appetite. Alternatively, serve alongside a boiled egg or a scoop of cottage cheese.
Oats contain several nutrients that are beneficial for diabetes. However, oatmeal consumption has some disadvantages for diabetes as well. If you choose instant oatmeal with added sugar or eat too much oatmeal at once, it can cause blood sugar levels to spike.
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