Whether you have diabetes or you are aiming to lose weight, controlling your blood sugar levels is essential. Good blood glucose control in diabetes is important, as avoiding raised blood sugars helps to prevent the long-term complications associated with diabetes, including sight loss, nerve damage and kidney failure. Meanwhile, when following a diet for weight loss, optimal blood sugar control prevents insulin spikes, which in turn reduces hunger and fat storage. If you are unsure which foods are best to include in your diet to promote good blood sugar control, read on to find out.
There really is no better way to start the day than a bowl of porridge if you have diabetes or if you have weight loss in your sights. Oats have a high soluble fiber content, which slows down the rate at which they raise your blood sugar level, giving them a low glycemic index (GI) value. However, research investigating the effectiveness of oats for managing blood glucose levels found that oatmeal with intact grains has a greater impact on glycemic control than oat-based products that are more highly processed. While the soluble fiber content of a given product may counteract the effects of processing to an extent, information about the different fibers in commercially available oats is often not available for customers to check. The results of this research therefore suggest that making up your own porridge using oatmeal may prove a more effective strategy for controlling your blood sugars than relying on instant porridge.
Despite the low GI of oats, you still need to be careful what you add to your porridge, as a spoonful of sugar, jam, honey or syrup will partly undo the good work of the oats. If you want to sweeten your porridge, use a calorie-free sweetener or add chopped fruit. While porridge is the obvious way to include oats in your day, there are other options open to you. For example, you can use oats in baking to reduce the impact that cookies and tray bakes have on your blood glucose levels, though you still need to watch the overall sugar content of your recipes. Additionally, don’t forget that oatmeal can also be used in savory dishes as a crust or as an addition to soups and stews.