American Diabetes Month is observed annually each November to raise awareness of the risk factors of diabetes and promote positive changes. More than 30 million people in the U.S. are living with diabetes, and every 21 seconds another person is diagnosed with the disease.
With fiber, nutrients and a low-medium Glycemic Index ranking, all-natural, whole grain oats are a healthy choice for anyone looking to prevent or control Type 2 diabetes. Research shows that eating a diabetes-adapted diet containing oats can help lower insulin usage by up to 40%.
Eating a diet rich in whole grains is an important defense against diabetes. Oats have the highest proportion of soluble fiber of any whole grain, making them an especially smart choice for diabetes management. Soluble fiber helps improve blood glucose control by slowing the absorption and release of glucose into the bloodstream.
Oats are rich in a specific type of soluble fiber called beta-glucan, which studies suggest has particular benefits for reducing your risk of diabetes and improving heart health. People living with diabetes are more susceptible to heart disease than people living without diabetes, so it’s important to keep your heart healthy!
Another great benefit of oats for managing diabetes is their ranking on the Glycemic Index (GI), which measures how fast and how high a carbohydrate-containing food spikes your blood sugar on a scale of 1 to 100. Oats are considered a low-medium GI food, which means they raise blood sugar more gently than higher GI foods – think rolling waves, as opposed to jagged spikes.
Rolled and Steel-cut oats have a GI ranking of 42, low, while instant oatmeal ranks significantly higher at 79. Instant oatmeal may be the very quickest option, but if you’re concerned about your blood sugar, your best bets are steel cut, rolled, or whole groat. You can further slow a blood sugar spike by eating your oats with a source of lean protein, like pulses, egg whites and low-fat dairy products.
With all of these benefits, it shouldn’t be surprising to hear that oats are considered a diabetes superfood! The American Diabetes Association’s list of Top 10 Diabetes Superfoods is made up of foods low on the GI that are also sources of nutrients like calcium, potassium, fiber and magnesium. With their extensive nutrient profile, oats have earned their place on the list!