Can Steel-Cut Oats Reduce Type 2 Diabetes?


Jar of Steel Cut Oats

It's no secret that whole grains are a healthy addition to any diet, but it may surprise you to discover that oats — particularly steel-cut oats — are a powerhouse food that can minimize the risk of several medical conditions, including heart disease, some cancers and type 2 diabetes. A recent study that was conducted over 10 years showed that whole grains such as steel-cut oats have some type of protective effect against the development of type 2 diabetes in women.

Rolled and old-fashioned oats are steamed, rolled into flakes, steamed again and then toasted, and they lose some of their nutritional value during this process. The instant oats that many children eat for breakfast often have added ingredients, such as sugar, salt and flavorings. Steel-cut oats, however, are whole grains that undergo minimal processing so they retain a higher nutritional value and contain more complex carbohydrates than their counterparts.

Glycemic Index

A food's glycemic index value is an indicator of how long it takes the body to absorb it, which has a direct impact on blood glucose levels. A lower GI rating means that the body absorbs the food slowly, resulting in more stable blood glucose levels. Foods with a high GI are absorbed more quickly, releasing larger amounts of glucose into the blood over a shorter period of time, which causes unhealthy blood glucose spikes.

According to Diabetes Health magazine, steel-cut oats have a glycemic index of 42, compared to other types of oatmeal, which have GI values that range from 66 to 83. This low GI rating combined with steel-cut oats' high levels of beta glucans ensures that steel-cut oats keep blood glucose levels stable after consumption and that they keep you feeling full for a longer period of time. Research presented at the 2012 Institute of Food Technologies conference suggested that a breakfast filled with low-GI foods can keep blood glucose levels under control through lunchtime, which can help to keep type 2 diabetes in check.

Magnesium

A mere 1/4 cup of dry steel-cut oats contains 17 percent of the daily value of magnesium, which is known optimize the secretion of insulin and enhance its partnership with blood glucose to properly fuel the body. An eight-year trial that involved more than 41,000 participants concluded that the consumption of whole grains that are rich in magnesium greatly lower the risk of type 2 developing type 2 diabetes.

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