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April 19, 2024
May 20, 2024
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Start your day with a hearty bowl of rolled oats, a breakfast staple renowned for its nutritional benefits and versatility. While commonly praised for its high fiber content and ability to promote heart health, rolled oats also boast a low glycemic index, making them a suitable choice for individuals managing blood sugar levels. 

Rolled oats have a glycemic index of around 55, indicating a slower and more controlled release of glucose into the bloodstream compared to high-GI foods.¹ This slower release can help prevent spikes in blood sugar levels, making rolled oats an excellent option for those with diabetes or anyone seeking sustained energy throughout the day. So, whether enjoyed as a warm porridge or added to baked goods, incorporating rolled oats into your diet can contribute to overall health and well-being.

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Glycemic Index Table

Based on the serving size of rolled oats (100g), here are the calculations:

  • Glycemic Index (GI): The glycemic index of rolled oats is approximately 55.¹ The GI measures how quickly a carbohydrate-containing food raises blood glucose levels compared to a reference food (usually pure glucose or white bread). Foods with a GI of 55 or less are considered to have a low glycemic index, meaning they cause a slower and more gradual increase in blood sugar levels.
  • Carbohydrate per Serving: According to the USDA FoodData Central, rolled oats contain approximately 66 grams of carbohydrates per 100-gram serving size.²
  • Glycemic Load (GL) per Serving: The glycemic load of rolled oats can be calculated by multiplying the glycemic index by the amount of carbohydrates in a serving and then dividing by 100. So, for rolled oats:
    •   GL = (GI * Carbohydrate per serving) / 100
    •   GL = (55 * 66) / 100
    •   GL ≈ 36.3

Cooking methods and additional ingredients can affect the glycemic index of rolled oats. For example, instant oats tend to have a higher glycemic index than steel-cut or whole-rolled oats due to their more processed nature. Adding toppings like nuts or fruits with fiber can also help lower the overall glycemic impact of the meal by slowing down digestion. These factors should be considered when incorporating rolled oats into a balanced diet, especially for individuals with diabetes or those looking to manage blood sugar levels effectively.

Glycemic Index

55

Serving Size

100g

Carbohydrate* per Serving (g)

66

GL per Serving

36.30

Nutritional Facts

Rolled oats are a nutritional powerhouse packed with essential nutrients that contribute to overall health and well-being. A 100-gram serving of rolled oats typically contains approximately 10.6 grams of protein, 7.0 grams of dietary fiber, and 1.0 grams of fat, according to data from the USDA FoodData Central.² Additionally, rolled oats are rich in vitamins and minerals such as manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, and iron, making them a nutrient-dense addition to any diet.

The nutritional information below is for 100 g of rolled oats.²

Calories

389 kcal

Carbs

66 g

Protein

10.6 g

Fiber

7.0 g

Cholesterol

0 mg

Vitamins

K (275 mg), Fe (3.25 mg)

Sodium

0 mg

Total Fat

1.0 g

Are Rolled Oats Good for Weight Loss?

Rolled oats can be a valuable tool for individuals aiming to lose weight due to their high fiber content and ability to promote satiety. The soluble fiber in oats absorbs water, forming a gel-like substance in the digestive system that helps you feel fuller for longer, potentially reducing overall calorie intake. Additionally, oats are a relatively low-calorie food, with approximately 389 calories per 100 grams.² Incorporating rolled oats into a balanced diet can support weight loss efforts by helping to control hunger and reduce the likelihood of overeating.

Are Rolled Oats Good for People Living with Diabetes?

Rolled oats can be a beneficial addition to the diet of individuals with diabetes due to their low glycemic index and high fiber content. The soluble fiber in oats, particularly beta-glucan, helps slow down digestion and absorption of carbohydrates, leading to more stable blood sugar levels. 

According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), incorporating oats into a balanced meal plan can contribute to improved glycemic control and overall health for people with diabetes. It's important for individuals to monitor their portion sizes and choose minimally processed oats to maximize the health benefits.

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Allergies

While oats are generally considered safe for consumption, some individuals may experience allergic reactions to proteins found in oats, particularly avenin. Symptoms of oat allergy can include skin irritation, gastrointestinal discomfort, and respiratory issues. It's essential for individuals with known allergies to oats to read food labels carefully and avoid products containing oats or oat-derived ingredients. 

Additionally, cross-contamination with other grains, such as wheat, is a concern for those with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease, as oats may be processed in facilities that also handle gluten-containing grains.

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FAQs

What is Glycemic Index?

The glycemic index (GI) is a measure of how quickly a carbohydrate-containing food raises blood sugar levels compared to a reference food, usually glucose. It ranks foods on a scale from 0 to 100, with higher values indicating a faster rise in blood sugar. The glycemic index (GI) scale is typically categorized as follows: Low GI [55 or less], Medium GI [56-69], High GI [70 or higher]. Foods with a high glycemic index digest rapidly and can cause dramatic fluctuations in blood glucose or glucose spikes.

What is Glycemic Load?

Glycemic load (GL) takes into account both the quality (glycemic index) and quantity (carbohydrate content) of carbohydrates in a specific serving of food. It is a measure of how much a particular food will raise blood sugar levels. GL is calculated by multiplying the glycemic index of a food by its carbohydrate content and dividing it by 100. It provides a more accurate representation of the overall impact of a food on blood sugar compared to the glycemic index alone.

Does Rolled Oats Spike Insulin?

No, rolled oats do not spike insulin levels. Rolled oats have a low glycemic index, which means they are digested and absorbed slowly, resulting in a gradual release of glucose into the bloodstream. This slow release helps to stabilize blood sugar levels and prevent insulin spikes. Therefore, rolled oats are a great option for those looking to maintain stable blood sugar levels.

Is Rolled Oats Low Glycemic?

Yes, rolled oats are considered to be low glycemic. The glycemic index (GI) is a measure of how quickly a food raises blood sugar levels. Foods with a low GI value (55 or less) are digested and absorbed more slowly, resulting in a slower and more gradual rise in blood sugar levels. Rolled oats have a GI value of around 55, making them a good choice for those looking to manage their blood sugar levels. The slow digestion and absorption of rolled oats can help provide sustained energy and prevent spikes in blood sugar levels.

Can People Living with Diabetes Eat Rolled Oats?

Yes, people living with diabetes can eat rolled oats. Rolled oats are a healthy and nutritious option for individuals with diabetes. They have a low glycemic index, which means they have a minimal impact on blood sugar levels. Additionally, rolled oats are high in fiber, which helps regulate blood sugar levels and improve overall glycemic control. However, it is important to monitor portion sizes and avoid adding excessive amounts of sweeteners or toppings that may increase the sugar content of the meal.

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References

  1. The University of Sydney. (2023, May 1). Glycemic Index – Glycemic Index Research and GI Newshttps://glycemicindex.com/
  2. USDA FoodData Central. (2022, October 28). Food Details - oats, whole grain, rolled, old fashioned. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/2346396/nutrients

About the author

It is a long established fact that a reader will be distracted by the readable content of a page when looking at its layout.

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About the author

Brittany Barry is a national board-certified health coach and NASM-certified personal trainer based in South Carolina.

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Please note: The Signos team is committed to sharing insightful and actionable health articles that are backed by scientific research, supported by expert reviews, and vetted by experienced health editors. The Signos blog is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If you have or suspect you have a medical problem, promptly contact your professional healthcare provider. Read more about our editorial process and content philosophy here.

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