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  • Adriano dos Santos

Exploring a Healthier Oatmeal Alternative for Stable Blood Sugar

When it comes to breakfast, oatmeal has long been a popular choice. It's often hailed as a superfood due to its dietary fibre content and its associations with heart health and weight loss.

Exploring a Healthier Oatmeal Alternative for Stable Blood Sugar

However, recent data suggests that oatmeal might not be as blood sugar-friendly as we once thought. In fact, it can lead to significant spikes in blood glucose levels, which can have negative implications for your overall health.


Understanding the Oatmeal Effect on Blood Sugar

To comprehend why oatmeal can lead to blood sugar spikes, we need to examine the oats themselves. Rolled and instant oats, which are commonly used for convenience, are highly processed. They have their outer husk removed and are pre-cooked and toasted dry, all to speed up cooking time. This processing makes the carbohydrates in oats more rapidly convert to glucose and be absorbed, resulting in blood sugar spikes.


Whole grain composition

Structure of a wheat grain. Processed or “refined” grains have the outer layers and the germ removed, leaving mostly the starchy endosperm. Source

A sudden increase in blood glucose often leads to a subsequent crash, as your body releases extra insulin to bring your blood sugar levels back to normal. This rollercoaster of high glycemic variability is linked to various health problems, including insulin resistance, Type 2 diabetes, obesity, Alzheimer's disease, and cancer. Considering the links between metabolic function and cardiovascular disease, the reputation of oatmeal as a heart-healthy food becomes less certain.

Moreover, many people enhance the taste of their oatmeal with added sugars or processed "natural flavours," further exacerbating the blood sugar issue. It's common to sweeten oatmeal with ingredients like brown sugar, maple syrup, or high-glycemic fruits such as bananas or raisins. This results in a breakfast that's high in sugar but lacks the necessary protein and fibre to mitigate the glucose spike from carbohydrates.

Can Oatmeal Be Blood Sugar-Friendly?


Typ of oats

If you're a fan of oatmeal and want to enjoy it with less impact on your blood sugar, there are some steps you can take. One option is to switch from rolled and instant oats to steel-cut oats or oat groats. Oat groats, in particular, are whole oat kernels with only the inedible outer hull removed, making them the least processed oat option. Both steel-cut oats and oat groats digest more slowly in your body, resulting in a slower rise in blood glucose levels. However, it's essential to note that individual glycemic responses vary, and even these less-processed oats can still cause blood sugar spikes for some individuals.

Another way to make oatmeal more blood sugar-friendly is to top it with ingredients rich in protein, fat, and fibre, such as nut butters, nuts, seeds (like chia, flax, hemp, or pumpkin), unsweetened protein powder, natural sweeteners (like monk fruit or allulose), unsweetened coconut flakes, spices (like cinnamon and nutmeg), and low-glycemic fruits (such as apples, pears, blueberries, and blackberries). These additions slow down the digestion of carbohydrates and help maintain stable blood sugar levels while providing essential nutrients and antioxidants to support metabolic health.


The Ultimate Oatmeal Alternative

For those seeking a more effective way to stabilize blood sugar and maintain a healthy breakfast routine, an alternative to oats that can be considered is a blend of chia seeds, flaxseeds, and hemp seeds. This combination can be transformed into a warm and satisfying breakfast pudding, which is low in carbs, high in protein, healthy fats, and fibre, and is excellent for blood sugar stability.

Here's a simple recipe for a Warm Chia, Flax, and Hemp Pudding:

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk

  • 2 tbsp chia seeds

  • 2 tbsp flax meal

  • 2-4 tbsp hemp hearts

  • Unsweetened protein powder (optional)

  • Optional toppings: nut butter, berries, or cinnamon

Instructions:

  1. Heat almond milk in a pan over medium heat.

  2. Add chia seeds, flax meal, and hemp hearts, and stir as the mixture simmers.

  3. Once it's creamy, stir in protein powder (if using).

  4. Serve warm in a bowl with your choice of toppings.


Nutritional Benefits of Chia, Flax, and Hemp Seeds

Nutritional Benefits of Chia, Flax, and Hemp Seeds

This triple-seed pudding offers a range of essential nutrients and metabolic benefits, including:

  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Chia, flax, and hemp seeds are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which combat inflammation, a key factor in various chronic diseases.

  • Alpha-Linolenic Acid (ALA): ALA, a type of omega-3, is anti-inflammatory and may protect against strokes and enhance insulin sensitivity.

  • Improved Glucose Tolerance: Chia seeds, in particular, have been shown to improve glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity.

  • Satiety: Chia and flax seeds promote a feeling of fullness by slowing digestion, thanks to their high fibre content.

  • Protein: Hemp seeds are rich in protein, supporting various aspects of health, including neurological and cardiovascular well-being.

In conclusion, while oatmeal has long been considered a breakfast staple, its impact on blood sugar levels may not be ideal for everyone. For those looking to stabilize blood sugar while enjoying a satisfying breakfast, the combination of chia, flax, and hemp seeds can be an excellent alternative. It provides a wealth of health benefits and can help maintain steady blood glucose levels while being a delicious and nutritious addition to your morning routine.




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