Ask Leyla: Are steel-cut oats better for my blood sugar?

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| By Leyla Muedin MS, RD, CDN

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Are steel cut oats better for my blood sugar?

Q: My brother-in-law was just diagnosed with prediabetes, with a hemoglobin A1C of 6.4. His trainer suggested he eat steel-cut oats as opposed to regular oatmeal because it does not affect your sugar like regular oatmeal. Is that true?

A: First, let’s talk about Hemoglobin A1c. This test is a marker of average blood sugar over a three-month period. The prediabetes range is greater than 5.7 and less than 6.4. At 6.4, I would suggest your brother in law has frank type 2 diabetes. 

Both prediabetes and diabetes are defined as conditions of carbohydrate intolerance. While steel-cut oatmeal may have less of an impact on blood sugar than quick-cooking or instant oatmeal, it still contains a lot of carbs—approximately 20-25 grams per serving. The fiber content is helpful in blunting a rise in blood sugar; however, this doesn’t work for everybody. Adding a pat of butter or drizzle of coconut oil could help lower the glycemic load

RELATED: Ask Leyla: How can I manage my weight with diabetes?

If your brother in law is to eat oatmeal at all, it shouldn’t be more than very occasionally given his high hemoglobin A1c. A qualified nutritionist can work with him to create an appropriate lower-carb diet plan and supplementation with the objective of lowering his A1c and reversing the trend toward diabetes.

To your health! 

Leyla Muedin, MS, RD, CDN 

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