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March 18, 2024
April 23, 2024
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Steel-cut oats, often celebrated for their nutritional prowess, have gained popularity as a wholesome breakfast option. Unlike their more processed counterparts, steel-cut oats undergo minimal processing, retaining the nutrient-rich bran and germ layers. While some sources emphasize the fiber and heart-healthy benefits, it's crucial to explore the glycemic index of steel-cut oats, which provides valuable insights into their impact on blood sugar levels.

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Glycemic Index Table

Calculating the glycemic index (GI) and glycemic load (GL) of steel-cut oats involves considering the carbohydrate content and its impact on blood sugar levels. A standard serving size of 100g of uncooked steel-cut oats provides a valuable starting point for these calculations.

Firstly, the carbohydrate content per serving can be determined. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) FoodData Central, 100g of uncooked steel-cut oats contains approximately 66g of carbohydrates.¹ 

Next, the glycemic index provides insights into how quickly a particular food raises blood sugar levels. The glycemic index of steel-cut oats falls within the low to medium range, typically ranging from 42 to 58, as reported by various sources.² The glycemic index is a scale from 0 to 100, with higher values indicating a faster and larger increase in blood sugar levels.

To calculate the glycemic load, the following formula is applied: 

Glycemic Load (GL) = (Glycemic Index / 100) x Carbohydrates per serving (g)

Using the estimated glycemic index range (42-58) and the carbohydrate content (66g per 100g), the glycemic load per serving of steel-cut oats can be determined.

It's essential to note that cooking methods can influence the glycemic index of oats. While cooking generally increases the glycemic index of foods, the impact may vary depending on factors such as cooking time and the degree of processing.³

Understanding these values equips individuals with valuable information to make informed dietary choices, taking into account the potential impact on blood sugar levels. Incorporating steel-cut oats into a balanced diet can offer sustained energy and numerous health benefits.

Glycemic Index

50

Serving Size

100g

Carbohydrate* per Serving (g)

66 g

GL per Serving

27.72

Nutritional Facts

Steel-cut oats are a nutrient-dense whole grain, rich in essential nutrients such as dietary fiber, protein, and various vitamins and minerals. According to the USDA FoodData Central, a 100g serving of uncooked steel-cut oats contains approximately 10.6g of protein, 10.1g of dietary fiber, and notable amounts of iron, magnesium, and phosphorus.¹ These nutritional components contribute to the satiety and overall health benefits associated with incorporating steel-cut oats into a balanced diet.

The nutritional information below is for 100 g of steel-cut oats.¹

Calories

378 kcal

Carbs

66.7 g

Protein

13.3 g

Fiber

11.1 g

Cholesterol

0 mg

Vitamins

C (0 mg)

Sodium

0 mg

Total Fat

6.67 g

Are Steel-Cut Oats Good for Weight Loss?

Steel-cut oats can be a valuable ally in weight loss efforts due to their high fiber content and ability to promote feelings of fullness. The soluble fiber in steel-cut oats, specifically beta-glucans, not only aids in digestion but also contributes to increased satiety, potentially reducing overall calorie intake.⁷ Additionally, a study also suggests that the beta-glucans in oats may enhance the release of the satiety hormone peptide YY (PYY), further supporting their role in weight management.⁶

It's essential to note that the satiating effects of steel-cut oats may vary among individuals, and incorporating them into a well-balanced diet and active lifestyle is key for effective weight loss. 

Are Steel-Cut Oats Good for People Living with Diabetes?

Steel-cut oats can be a beneficial addition to the diet for individuals with diabetes due to their low glycemic index and high fiber content. According to the American Diabetes Association, the soluble fiber in oats, including steel-cut oats, can help regulate blood glucose levels by slowing down the absorption of sugars, promoting satiety, and improving insulin sensitivity.⁵ Additionally, a 2012 study suggests that the beta-glucans in oats may contribute to improved glycemic control.⁶

It's crucial to consider the overall diet and individualized glycemic response, as factors such as portion size, cooking methods, and accompanying ingredients can influence the impact of steel-cut oats on blood sugar levels.² While competitors mention the benefits of steel-cut oats for general health, emphasizing their diabetic-friendly qualities and providing insights into their glycemic impact offers a more comprehensive perspective for individuals managing diabetes.

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Allergies

While steel-cut oats are generally well-tolerated, it's important to note that some individuals may experience allergies or sensitivities to oats, including steel-cut varieties. Oats contain a protein called avenin, which is structurally similar to gluten found in wheat. For individuals with gluten sensitivity or celiac disease, cross-contamination during processing may pose a risk, leading to adverse reactions.⁴

Moreover, a study conducted in 2004 highlights the existence of avenin-sensitive individuals who experience symptoms similar to those with gluten sensitivity, emphasizing the need for awareness and caution among certain populations.⁵

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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 Steel-Cut Oats Spike Insulin?

No, steel-cut oats do not spike insulin levels. Steel-cut 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.

Are Steel-Cut Oats Low Glycemic?

Yes, steel-cut oats are considered 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. Steel-cut oats have a low GI value, making them a great choice for those looking to manage their blood sugar levels or maintain a steady energy level throughout the day.

Can People Living with Diabetes Eat Steel-Cut Oats?

Yes, people living with diabetes can eat steel-cut oats. Steel-cut oats are a type of whole grain that has a lower glycemic index compared to processed grains. This means that they are digested more slowly, resulting in a slower rise in blood sugar levels. Additionally, steel-cut oats are high in fiber, which can help regulate blood sugar levels and improve overall glycemic control. However, it is important for individuals with diabetes to monitor their portion sizes and consider their overall carbohydrate intake when incorporating steel-cut oats into their diet. Consulting with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian is recommended for personalized advice.

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References

  1. USDA FoodData Central. (2022, October 28). Food Details - Oats, whole grain, steel cut. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/2346397/nutrients
  2. The University of Sydney. (2023, May 1). Glycemic Index – Glycemic Index Research and GI Newshttps://glycemicindex.com/
  3. Wolever, T. M. S., Johnson, J., Jenkins, A. L., Campbell, J. C., Ezatagha, A., & Chu, Y. (2019). Impact of oat processing on glycaemic and insulinaemic responses in healthy humans: a randomised clinical trial. The British journal of nutrition, 121(11), 1264–1270. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0007114519000370
  4. Arentz-Hansen, H., Fleckenstein, B., Molberg, Ø., Scott, H., Koning, F., Jung, G., Roepstorff, P., Lundin, K. E., & Sollid, L. M. (2004). The molecular basis for oat intolerance in patients with celiac disease. PLoS medicine, 1(1), e1. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0010001
  5. American Diabetes Association. (n.d.). Get to know carbs. https://diabetes.org/food-nutrition/understanding-carbs/get-to-know-carbs
  6. El Khoury, D., Cuda, C., Luhovyy, B. L., & Anderson, G. H. (2012). Beta glucan: health benefits in obesity and metabolic syndrome. Journal of nutrition and metabolism, 2012, 851362. https://doi.org/10.1155/2012/851362
  7. Salleh, S. N., Fairus, A. A. H., Zahary, M. N., Bhaskar Raj, N., & Mhd Jalil, A. M. (2019). Unravelling the Effects of Soluble Dietary Fibre Supplementation on Energy Intake and Perceived Satiety in Healthy Adults: Evidence from Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomised-Controlled Trials. Foods (Basel, Switzerland), 8(1), 15. https://doi.org/10.3390/foods8010015

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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