Eating Oatmeal Could Potentially Reverse Diabetes

raw oats scattered everywhere


Type 2 diabetes is a chronic disease posing a global and economic burden. Its prevalence, particularly in the developing countries, is still increasing. It a result of lifestyle changes. Today, the key components of managing the condition include physical activity, diabetes education, the monitoring of glucose levels, pharmacotherapy, and nutrition therapy. Diet control is a recommended lifestyle intervention for people with type 2 diabetes.

Is Oatmeal Good for Diabetes?

Studies about oatmeals for diabetes treatment show that oats and other high-fibre foods consumed during breakfast or as a snack during the day may reduce the risk of diabetes type 2 by 35-42 percent. If you are diabetic, you should consume at least 14g fiber/1000 kcals daily. 25 g/day is the recommended fiber consumption unit for women, while men are advised to consume 38 g/day. Research shows that dietary fibers are excellent at promoting the reduction of blood lipids, laxation, and the modulation of blood glucose.

Rich in B-glucan, oatmeal is a great source of soluble dietary fiber. Soluble fibers are for slowing down the absorption of glucose from food in the stomach thereby keeping blood sugar levels stabilized. B-glucan is a bioactive component great at improving insulin sensitivity, regulating blood lipids, maintaining glycemic control, and reducing postprandial glucose. You could top your oatmeal breakfast with about 2 spoons of chopped pecans, walnuts, or almond for further blood glucose control. Only indulge in oatmeals that are low in sugar, not the sweetened one if you have diabetes.

Oatmeal is a popular breakfast option derived from the oat groats. Because unsweetened oatmeals have a low glycemic index, it can maintain a healthy blood sugar level. Research also shows that it reduces the amount of insulin needed by patients. Taking oatmeal in recommended levels can also promote the health of your heart. Be careful not to overload on oats because doing so would lead to bloating. This is because oatmeal is high in fiber and flatulence. Adding sweeteners and sugar to it would reverse the good effects of fiber.

a bowl of oats and blueberries

Oatmeal Health Benefits for Diabetes

Low Glycemic Index

Glycemic index (GI) is the value assigned to foods depending on their effect on blood glucose. Foods high in GI may lead to diseases such as kidney disease and increased vascular risk. Foods low in GI on the scale release glucose slowly, meaning they do not trigger a spike in blood sugar. Being a soluble fiber, oatmeals (slow carb) are classed low on the GI scale. Depending on its preparation, it produces a low to moderate effect on blood glucose and the production of insulin.

The American Diabetes Association now says that eating oatmeal in its recommended amount daily could potentially reverse type 2 diabetes. Notice that insoluble fibers do not dissolve in water while the soluble grains absorb water and turn viscous. It means that food with soluble fibers digest slowly because they do not dissolve instantly in the digestive system. This enables the release of sugar content at gradual rates.

Low Blood Sugar

Oats contain fibers known as beta-glucans. Consuming good amounts of glucan has been scientifically proven to lower the levels of blood glucose in diabetic patients. Because oatmeals are complex carbohydrates, it provides long-lasting energy and boosts metabolism by lowering cholesterol and reduces fasting blood glucose.

Feeling of Fullness

Oatmeals are fibre-rich food that helps you stay full for long. The consumption of this for breakfast can deter you from snacking during the day resulting in improved blood sugar balance. It is also an excellent way of cutting on calories to maintain an ideal weight. 

Oatmeal Dietary Ideas

Oatmeals contain healthy nutrients including complex carbs, protein and heart healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Uncooked oatmeal is healthy provided it is soaked in liquid such as cranberry, milk, or water. You can only get the full nutritional benefit by using whole oatmeals. In its basic form, this complex carb contains water and oats. If you are diabetic and would, like to add a sweetener, stevia is your best option because it does not contain any carbohydrates, so it would not affect blood sugar and insulin levels. You could also add cocoa and cinnamon to change the flavor.

Some breads are baked using oatmeal. Avoid white bread if you have diabetes because most of them have a high GI score. Breads containing whole oats are the better option for people with diabetes type 2. Whenever you want to make a homemade snack, pie, cookies, eggs, or pancakes, be sure to add oats in your recipe. Grits are a southern classic that could also be integrated into your diet in moderation.

bowl of oatmeal and a cup of orange juice

Is Instant Oatmeal a Healthy Breakfast Starter for Diabetics?

First, understand that oatmeal is a highly nutritious fiber. Steel-cut oats especially are excellent at retaining all the nutrients and fiber that make this complex carb a must have breakfast for diabetics. The instant ones are different from the oatmeals derived from whole grains.

The instant one is a combination of flours and oats with high amounts of added sugars. In fact, they also have fibers extracted. That said, in its instant form, this slow carb is a high GI food to be avoided by people suffering from type 1 and 2 diabetes. If you have diabetes, avoid instant or packaged oatmeal and instead choose whole grain or steel-cut oats. The Quaker maple protein Cranberry instant almond is a good example. It comes with a combination of the nuttiest almonds and a tasty cranberry flavor. Read this article for diabetic breakfast ideas

The Dangers of Oatmeal in Diabetics

Unless you eat certain forms of oatmeal with artificial flavoring of sugar, this complex carb does not present major adverse effects. Women in the gestational period and people with gastroparesis which is delayed by gastric emptying might want to avoid oatmeal. With a combination of gastroparesis and diabetes, the effects of oats can be harmful. Other negative effects of oats include:

  • Flatulence: Caused by high fiber content. Drink water while eating to reduce flatulence.
  • Bloating: Caused by high fiber content. Drink Water as you eat.
  • Add-ins such as instant packets with sweeteners and extra sugar can work against you.

People with type 1 and 2 diabetes must limit the intake of fats and calories, making eating out at McDonald’s highly challenging. However, McDonald’s has good alternatives for diabetics, the fruit and brown sugar oatmeal. That being said, people with pre-diabetes and diabetes have to watch out on calorie-laden additives such a cream, raisins, and brown sugar.