We're constantly receiving comments such as:
- “I like breakfast cereal, but most of the have too much sugar and are full of carbs, which ones can I have?”
- “Are whole wheat cereals any good?”
- “Cereal is my biggest downfall, what can I do?”
- “I don’t always want eggs, are there any cereals I can eat?”
Without a doubt, many of us have become dependent on breakfast cereal as our go-to morning option. It's the food we've all grown up eating for breakfast for many years.
Still, while that's the case, that doesn't necessarily mean cereal makes a good companion for type 2 diabetes or prediabetes.
So let's get to the bottom of this once and for all…
Are Breakfast Cereals Healthy?
Whole grain breakfast cereals, both hot and cold, are generally considered to be healthy choices. And they are touted as the perfect food to help start off your day right.
Sure, cereals like Shredded Wheat and steel cut oats are certainly better than some other popular breakfast cereals such as Cocoa Crispy Rice Cereal (Cocoa Pops) or Fruit Loops. And cereals like Shredded Wheat and steel cut oats are a better choice than refined flour, sugar-filled pancakes, donuts, and muffins. But, that doesn’t mean that whole grain cereals are the best option for your breakfast.
While some whole grain cereals may be ‘better' options, the reality is, overall breakfast cereals are not a good option to kick off anyone's day, let alone if you have type 2 diabetes or prediabetes. The most obvious reason being they are carb heavy and therefore, not overly friendly for promoting better blood sugar and A1c results.
Fortunately, there are plenty of hearty low carb breakfast options that will leave you feeling energized, satisfied, ready to take on the day, and keep your blood sugar in check.
Breakfast Cereals Compared
Obviously, you know that sugar-laden “junk food” breakfast cereals like Lucky Charms and Frosted Flakes are out of the picture – at least, I hope so.
That's one of the big issues with most breakfast cereals, is that they are full of “added sugar,” so we're not going to bother comparing those.
But what about the healthy, whole grain cereals that are marketed as a part of your balanced breakfast?
Before we discuss this, consider the chart below (approx. nutrition per 1 cup cereal):
Do you notice a trend among these whole grain cereals?
It looks like these “healthier” options aren’t so “balanced” in the one area that matters most to people with type 2 diabetes and prediabetes: carbohydrates.
All of them contain at least 23 grams of carbs per 1 cup serving. And some of them even pack up to 40 and 50 grams of carbs!
Yes, these whole grains are complex carbohydrates that contain some fiber. Yes, this does automatically make them a lot better than the sugary cereals filled with refined grains, simple sugars and lack of fiber.
However, what we do know for certain is that whole grains DO NOT assist with blood sugar control. The American Diabetes Association states in their 2017 Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes, that: “whole-grain consumption is not associated with improvements in glycemic control in type 2 diabetes.” Or in other words, it doesn't help you regulate blood sugar and A1c – that's what the research clearly shows.
Why is this the case?
Because at the end of the day carbs are still carbs. Whether they are from whole grains or not, that 27.3 grams of carbs from oatmeal is only going to end up in one place – your bloodstream! Since most people then pack fruit and sweeteners on top of cereals, this can quickly bump your carbs up even more, resulting in nothing but a carb onslaught.
And while whole grains are frequently promoted for their high levels of dietary fiber as well, overall they just don't provide as much fiber as it may seem. You can get more fiber from vegetables, nuts and seeds!
The “Whole Grain” Debate
It can be difficult to navigate all the mixed messages and conflicting sources of information out there, especially when it comes to your health.
One article may say whole grains are great for managing your blood sugar, while the next one refutes that point and sites completely different sources to back up their argument.
So, are whole grains good or are they bad for people with type 2 diabetes?
To answer that question, let’s go straight to the unbiased research and see what it has to say.
To start off, yes, some research supports the idea that consuming more whole grains may be linked to a modest decrease in a person’s risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
The connection between whole grain consumption and diabetes risk is not rock solid, however, and it is likely that people who purposely choose whole grains over refined grains may already be more health conscious. Therefore, these people may be less likely to develop diabetes due to their healthier lifestyle habits.
But regardless, it is important to highlight the difference between preventing diabetes and treating existing diabetes, as these are two very different scenarios. Be wary of the information you read because in many cases the information is talking about prevention, not treatment.
Here at DMP, we're interested in what's best for TREATMENT of type 2 diabetes and prediabetes. Not only is it common sense that carb heavy foods will raise blood sugar and A1c (this is not rocket science, it's simple biochemistry). But there is no research to indicate carb heavy whole grains assist with diabetes treatment.
Therefore, we encourage you to eliminate all grains, and yes, that means all breakfast cereals commonly sold at the store.
At the end of the day, it's your choice of course. And while some people do get away with eating whole grain cereals or oatmeal, in our experience most don't and do far better without them.
The results of all our members speak volumes of what can be achieved when you eat to treat your diabetes, rather than to listen to widespread dogma about “healthy” diets, which is generally only suited to the general (healthy) population.
Please pin, tweet or share; then keep on reading for a few delicious recipes below. 🙂
What Should I Eat For Breakfast Then?
Real food that is lower in carbs!
You don’t have to compromise blood sugar control in order to enjoy a well-rounded, hearty breakfast. But you will have to alter some potentially long-standing breakfast habits.
Toss that cereal aside and give one of these hearty, blood sugar-friendly breakfast ideas a try:
- Mixed veggie egg scramble
- Veggie omelet with avocado
- Hardboiled eggs on low carb toast
- Greek yogurt with nuts and berries
- Breakfast smoothie
- Kale, tomato and egg muffin
- Or try eating last night's leftovers – it doesn't have to be “breakfast” food – just eat real food!
For a breakfast that's more in line with cereal, try:
Made with ingredients that won't send your blood sugar soaring, of course!
We also have many more breakfast options (including cereals) inside our members only area.
Please pin, tweet or share this info to help others – thanks!