The popularity of processed and packaged health foods is on the rise. Such so-called health foods are claimed to be fortified with nutrients, free from fat, and low in calories. One such popular breakfast option being advertised is Corn flakes.
Corn flakes with milk do not stand anywhere near the recommended breakfast options for diabetics. Corn flakes have a high GI ranking of 93. They are flavored with malt and high fructose corn syrup. If taken as breakfast they can cause a huge spike in the blood sugar levels and that’s not favorable for a Diabetic patient.
It does not matter what type of Diabetes you are struggling with, maintaining your levels of blood sugar in a healthy range is very important. One can easily achieve this goal by starting the day with a healthy breakfast that has a low glycemic index (GI).
Why the Glycemic Index is Important?
If you want to understand the effect of different foods on the blood sugar levels of a diabetic patient then it is very important to grasp the concept of the Glycemic Index.
Glycemic Index is a measure of how quickly a food item raises the level of blood sugar in the blood after consumption. It ranks the food items on a scale of 0-100. Food that is on the higher end of the scale is quickly digested and raise the level of sugar in the blood.
Foods made up of processed sugar and other refined carbohydrates usually lie on the higher end of the glycemic index scale.
On the other hand Foods rich in fiber, protein, and healthy fat are digested and absorbed in a slow manner and as a result, cause a steady rise in the blood sugar levels.
That is why a diabetic patient should choose food that has a medium or low glycemic index.
Choosing The Right Cereal for Diabetics
A quick bowl of cereal is a great option when you are in a rush to reach your workplace. As I have discussed above, cornflakes like many other modern cereal brands are loaded with added sugar and processed grains. It can be dangerous for a diabetic patient to have such a meal as his breakfast.
Luckily not all the cereals are the same in nature. Let’s learn about some cereal options that are low in glycemic index and have a high nutritive value. I have arranged the cereals below from lower to the higher glycemic index rating.
Oatmeal has a GI rating of 55, Its rich in fiber, protein, and slow-digesting carbs. You can opt for organic or popular brands like quaker. But beware of instant oats because they are usually presweetened and have twice the glycemic index as compared to regular ones.
2. Wheat Bran based Cereals
Wheat bran based cereals have one of the lowest GI Rating that is 55. It is processed into pellets or flakes to consume it as a cereal. The Wheat bran based cereals are also rich in nutrients like thiamine, Folic Acid, vitamin B12, magnesium, zinc, and iron.
In general, muesli has a Glycemic Index of 66, it is a blend of healthy fats and low in saturated fats. Muesli is not a single cereal but its a mix of rolled oats, dried fruits, nuts, and seeds. Muesli is an excellent source of fiber, protein, and B vitamins. Nuts in the muesli are rich sources of omega 3 fatty acids and antioxidants.
4. Rice Based Cereals
Rice-based cereals have a GI rating of 69. It is an excellent choice for a person looking for a gluten-free breakfast option. Rice-based cereal is low in fiber, content as compared to oatmeal and wheat bran cereal. But it’s rich in B vitamins and often come with added dry fruits, nuts, and seeds.
Grape Nuts are slightly better than corn-based cereals with a GI rating of 75. It consists of kernels made of whole wheat flour and malted barley. The high light of grape- nut is its fiber content. A half-cup of grape-nut contains 7 grams of fiber. Aside from fiber, they are also rich in Vitamin B6, B12, and Folic Acid.
6. Cream of Wheat
The cream of wheat cereal has a GI rating of approximately 66. But the instant version of the same cereal can have a higher value of the glycemic index. High-quality whole wheat is grounded finely to prepare cream of wheat. Cream of wheat is rich in iron. You can get 11 mg of iron per serving of this cereal. Red blood cells in the human body use the iron to carry oxygenated blood to all the vital organs.
Characteristics of a Healthy Cereal
A good cereal should contain whole grains like wheat, oat, brown rice, etc. whole grains are rich in B vitamins and soluble fiber. It should be rich in fiber, low in carbs, and added sugars. So do not forget to check the nutritional label before choosing a cereal for your breakfast.