What's the Deal With Oatmeal?

by Dr. David Williams
Filed Under: Blood Sugar
Last Reviewed 02/06/2014

As most of my readers know, I am a huge fan of eggs. But every so often, I like to mix it up and have some oatmeal. 

Oatmeal is interesting because, while it is a healthy food choice, it actually has a pretty high glycemic index, meaning it could cause a spike in blood sugar. However, how you eat oatmeal could determine how much of a spike it could cause.

For instance, if you add a teaspoon of sugar or some honey to a bowl of oatmeal, the glycemic index will skyrocket and it will trigger an even greater spike in blood sugar levels. If, however, you add a tablespoon of butter and some cinnamon, it has less effect on blood sugar levels. 

Since most meals contain more than one item, it’s really best to monitor your blood sugar levels to get a handle on what’s actually happening with various type meals.

Monitor How Oatmeal and Other Foods Affect You

That’s why I suggest self-testing using a glucose monitor. It’s an easy and precise way to see how specific foods affect your blood sugar levels and then compare that to the way you feel (your mood, energy level, etc.). 

Ideally, I would suggest keeping your “postprandial” level (the level one hour after you eat) at 100 mg/dL or below. Check your blood sugar before you eat and then one hour afterward. If the postprandial level exceeds 100 mg/dL, that meal or food is a problem. It doesn’t matter if it’s something you know is sweet, such as a dessert, or something you think is healthy. If it spikes your postprandial blood sugar, it’s a problem for you. Once you identify the problem foods, you don’t need to keep checking them. For example, if you ate some oatmeal and your postprandial level was 125 mg/dL, then avoid oatmeal from there on out. Only check new meals to determine which ones don’t cause a spike in blood sugar over 100 mg/dL.

So for a small investment, you can learn a lot about how even healthy food options like oatmeal can affect you. 

Now it's your turn: How do you eat your oatmeal?

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