Diet is extremely important for people with high blood sugar levels. They should be careful about the type and amount of foods, drinks, and snacks they consume.
Generally, people with diabetes should avoid salt, sugar, and saturated fats, and consume a fair amount of fruits and vegetables. But, whole grains are another type of food people with high blood sugar should learn about.
What Are Whole Grains?
A lot of people don’t eat enough whole grains. These are seeds of wheat, corn, maize, rice, oats, quinoa, and other cereal plants. When they are unprocessed, they consist of 3 parts, the endosperm, bran, and germ.
The central part of the grain, endosperm, is loaded with starch. Bran – the outer layer, is abundant in phytochemicals, B vitamins, and insoluble dietary fiber. The germ is packed with protein, vitamins B and E, and healthy fats.
Refined whole grains (such as white bread), are deprived of most of these nutrients since the germ and bran are removed in the process. On the other hand, wholegrain foods keep all 3 nutrient-rich parts of the grain.
You can eat them as a whole, like oats and brown rice, milled into flour and used for making pasta and bread, or cracked like bulgur wheat.
In order to say that one food is a whole grain, it has to be at least 51% whole grain ingredients by weight per serving.
Why Are Whole grains Beneficial?
Whole grains are not just beneficial for those with diabetes, but for everyone in general. They have a low glycemic index, so they don’t affect blood sugar levels as fast as refined carbs. This means that they are better for managing diabetes.
Still, they are also carbohydrate foods, so be mindful of the portion sizes as all carbs affect blood sugar levels.
According to many studies, healthy diets that include whole grains can cut the risk of stroke, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and even cancer. Still, it’s not entirely known how these foods help prevent these serious health problems.
Wholegrain foods help maintain a healthy weight and gut thanks to the phytochemicals they contain. Other research says whole grains are more filling than refined carbs, thus keeping you full for longer and helping you maintain optimal weight.
Besides being helpful in diabetes and weight management, whole grains are also good for regulating your cholesterol levels.
How Much to Eat?
According to many researchers, the recommended amount of whole grains is 3 servings a day. Make sure you eat whole grains instead of refined products to help regulate your weight and blood sugar in the long run.
Here are some foods and their amount which equates to one serving of whole grains:
- 34 g (1 bowl) of muesli
- 25 g porridge oats
- 1 bowl of wheat-based breakfast cereal
- 30g (1 bowl) toasted whole-grain oat cereal
- 1 bowl of breakfast whole-wheat cereal
- 1 wholemeal pitta bread
- 23g brown rice (uncooked weight)
- 40g (1 large slice0 of multi-grain bread
- 3 Ryvitas
- 23g whole-wheat pasta (uncooked weight)
- 3 oatcakes
- 1 slice of rye bread.
Tips for Adding More Whole grains to Your Meals
Before making any drastic changes in your diabetic diet, make sure you consult your doctor.
- Replace refined starchy carbs with wholegrain carbs. For instance, eat brown rice instead of white rice, and wholemeal bread instead of white bread.
- Make these diet changes slowly to get used to the new foods. For instance, when cooking for the family, mix white with brown rice. Or, use one slice of wholemeal bread and another of white bread to make a unique sandwich. You can have low-fat milk and wholegrain cereals for breakfast. Also, consider wholemeal pasta or wholegrain chapatti as your next snack or meal.
- The next time you shop, look for foods that have “whole grain” appearing on the list of ingredients.
- Go to dining outlets and restaurants that serve whole grains like brown rice.