What cereals can be used for type 2 diabetes – a list of the best

People with diabetes need to adhere to a special diet throughout their lives. In order to control their health, they need to eat many substances that their body cannot produce. Such substances are found in cereals.

The benefits of cereals for diabetes

Porridge contains many nutrients such as proteins, fats and carbohydrates that help maintain normal blood sugar levels. Cereals also contain vitamins and minerals, acids (organic and fatty) and fiber, which prevents the flow of sugar into the blood from the intestines and removes toxins. But the main component of cereals for diabetics is carbohydrates. So, some cereals contain difficult-to-digest complex carbohydrates, which are gradually broken down and converted into glucose. These carbohydrates are healthier than the fast ones found in sugars and sugary foods. They do not cause a sharp rise in blood glucose and do not impair the functioning of the pancreas. People with diabetes are not recommended to eat foods rich in simple carbohydrates, because they are quickly absorbed and cause a spike in blood glucose. Thus, cereals help to restore the protective functions of the body and have a beneficial effect on the normalization of blood sugar levels.

Choosing porridge

You can and should eat porridge, but do not forget about the glycemic index. It refers to the rate at which the product is broken down and converted into glucose. In addition, when choosing a cereal, you should take into account your personal calorie consumption, the amount of nutrients contained in the cereal and the number of meals you take per day. The glycemic index (GI) of the products must be taken into account. It is the rate at which carbohydrates are absorbed by the body and the blood sugar rises. The glycemic index is calculated on a scale of 0 to 100.

  • 0-50 U – food with this indicator should be the main diet for diabetes;
  • 50-69 UNITS – products with this indicator can be eaten extremely rarely, in small portions;
  • 70 units and more – such food can provoke a jump in blood sugar, therefore it is prohibited for diabetics.

What cereals can be eaten with diabetes

With diabetes mellitus, cereals and cereals containing complex carbohydrates are allowed to eat:

  • millet;
  • buckwheat;
  • corn;
  • wheat;
  • pearl barley;
  • oatmeal (oatmeal);
  • barley;
  • pea;
  • brown and black rice.

Porridge for type 1 diabetes

The task of nutrition in type 1 diabetes is to maintain the functioning of the pancreas, to prevent sharp jumps in blood glucose. But insulin dependence allows you to be less picky about your food choices. The main thing is that they do not contain simple carbohydrates, and their glycemic index does not exceed 70 units.

Millet groats

Glycemic index – 45 units Millet porridge, beloved by many, can be used for any illness. Millet has unique amino acids that form our muscles and body cells. Few people know that millet porridge is in third place after oats and buckwheat in terms of amino acid content. Millet groats contain a large amount of potassium, which is very useful for people with cardiovascular diseases. Millet contains complex carbohydrates, and in addition to nutrients, it provides the body with energy. The beneficial substances contained in millet contribute to the improvement of metabolic processes, therefore millet porridge is also important for type II diabetics who are obese. It is difficult to gain extra pounds from wheat porridge, so if you have type 2 diabetes, you can safely eat this porridge. But there are several cases in which it is forbidden to eat millet groats:

  • low stomach acidity,
  • inflammation in the intestines,
  • constipation,
  • diseases of the thyroid gland.

Millet porridge does not provoke allergies.

Millet porridge can be cooked with milk, pumpkin, nuts, or dried fruit. It is delicious.

Corn grits

Glycemic index – 70 units This cereal is approved for insulin-dependent type 1 diabetes and only in small quantities. A high glycemic index of the product can lead to hyperglycemia, so you can cook corn porridge no more than once a week. Corn grits restore blood sugar levels, give strength to the body, and normalize the functioning of the gastrointestinal tract. The cereal is hypoallergenic , has a rich composition of vitamins, promotes better blood clotting. It is allowed to eat cereals without sugar, milk and butter. Instant corn flakes are prohibited.

Barley grits

Glycemic index – 40 units Barley, as well as pearl barley, is obtained from barley. It is low in calories, takes a long time to digest and will leave you full for a long time – these are some of the reasons why barley is good for people with types 1 and 2 diabetes. Porridge contains many useful vitamins, helps the gastrointestinal tract, improves memory, vision and immunity. Barley porridge can be cooked with meat, mushrooms (which also contain a low glycemic index), vegetables.


Glycemic index – 75 units Flaxseed normalizes cholesterol and blood pressure, and also has a beneficial effect on the skin and hair. Such porridge is useful for people suffering from diseases of the digestive system, including gastritis. However, it should not be used for food if you have kidney stones, bladder stones, etc. For diabetics, it is rarely possible to cook flaxseed porridge, no more than once every 2 weeks.

An example of one of the recipes

You will need barley grits, mushrooms, herbs, onions, and garlic. Preparation:

  • Rinse the cereal with your hands to rinse off excess starch.
  • Pour into a saucepan with water, salt.
  • Bring to a boil, then simmer over low heat until the water evaporates completely (about 30 minutes).
  • Cut the onion into cubes and fry.
  • Add salt and pepper to the mushrooms, add the resulting mixture to the onion.
  • Add garlic and herbs to the pan.
  • Stir the porridge and mushroom mixture.

Porridge for type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes mellitus is diagnosed primarily in obese people. The main therapy is proper nutrition with low-calorie foods with a low GI. This indicator should not exceed 55 Units.


Glycemic index – 55 units A real find for type 2 diabetics. It contains a large amount of protein and other elements that improve vision, help the regeneration of the pancreas, support the immune system, regulate sugar, etc. 

Pea porridge

Glycemic index – 35 units Not so long ago, scientists discovered that, thanks to proteins and dietary fiber, legumes are able to slow down the absorption of glucose, lower its level in the blood. Therefore, peas can become your irreplaceable ally. In addition, legumes are good for all people because they lower cholesterol and prevent cancer. For diabetics with constipation, pea soup can be a real salvation. Among plant foods, peas are in first place in terms of protein content. It is divided into three different varieties, each with its own characteristics in preparation: for example, sugar peas are eaten raw, soups are cooked from a shelling mill, and cereal peas are not at all suitable for this purpose. 

Oatmeal (oatmeal) groats

Glycemic index – 40 units The most useful porridge for people with diabetes is oatmeal. It should be present in the diet of every patient. Oats have a low glycemic index. It improves the functioning of the digestive system, so you will not be able to get better on oatmeal porridge. Fiber and other nutrients in oats help to repair the liver and remove excess cholesterol from the body. Due to the inulin content (a type of insulin), you can eat oatmeal porridge every day only with the permission of your doctor, as there is a risk of falling into an insulin coma. Eat rolled oats no more than 4 times a week. Oats offer a rich variety of dishes: you can use it to make pancake dough, bake cookies, pie, add to ice cream, sauce, vegetables, gravy.  

Keep in mind that recipes must not contain prohibited high glycemic index foods.

Options for cooking cereals

Before cooking, rinse the cereal, fingering with your hands to rinse off excess starch. Boil cereals in water without adding oil, sugar, spices. Most cereals should not be boiled in milk; it is better to add it to the end of cooking. Take skim milk or with a small percentage of fat. In order to sweeten the porridge, add honey or fruit to it. Another way to cook porridge is to pour boiling water over the cereal overnight. So useful substances are stored in it. Many varied and delicious dishes can be prepared with cereals. Feel free to experiment, but remember to keep your diet balanced. You can cook cereals like oats, buckwheat, pearl barley and brown rice in milk, since the glycemic index of these cereals is low. However, in this case, follow some rules:

  1. Take skim milk, add it to water 1: 1.
  2. Eat 2 times less cereal at a time than when you cook it without milk.
  3. Eat porridge with milk in the morning, warm.
  4. A pinch of salt is allowed.

One of the options for a dish with cereals is soup. Add meat or fish if desired, but these must be cooked separately. In diabetes mellitus, fatty broth is prohibited.

Cereals in the second course

  • As mentioned above, porridge should be cooked in water, without oil or spices, but you can add a little salt.
  • Serve with fish, meat (lean types), vegetables.
  • Eat no more than 200 g of cereal at a time

Pilaf with brown rice

  • Rinse the rice with your hands to wash off excess starch, cook in water in a ratio of 1: 2.
  • Chop onions, carrots, meat, add to rice (raw), then pour boiling water to cover the food, cover with a lid.
  • Simmer over low heat for 45 minutes-1 hour.
  • It is allowed to add garlic (a couple of cloves), salt, pepper.

Yogurt / kefir

Porridge with the addition of yogurt or kefir is extremely useful for diabetes. But, if you want to diversify the diet with such a dish, be careful when calculating the glycemic index: both products should be taken into account at once – cereals and additives in the form of yogurt or kefir. The glycemic index of low-fat yogurt or kefir is 35 units. Cooking options:

  1. Wash down the already cooked porridge with kefir / yogurt.
  2. Soak the groats in kefir / yogurt.

How to cook porridge according to the second option:

  1. Rinse 2 tablespoons of cereal, hand fingering to wash off excess starch.
  2. Pour in yogurt / kefir, leave to infuse for 9 hours.

Most often, kefir is added to rice, buckwheat, oats. This dish can be eaten throughout the day. Remember that you can consume no more than 7 tablespoons of dry cereals and a liter of kefir / yogurt per day.

“Stop diabetes”

This is a cereal specially designed for people with diabetes. It contains flaxseed flour, oatmeal, buckwheat and barley groats, cinnamon and other products, each of which is beneficial.

What cereals are not allowed for diabetes?

With diabetes, you should not eat cereals containing simple carbohydrates and a high glycemic index. These include:

  • semolina;
  • White rice;
  • muesli.

These foods break down quickly and dramatically increase sugar levels.

Semolina – not recommended

Semolina porridge is known to everyone since childhood, when grandmothers fed us this dish. We were all convinced of the endless benefits of this product. Semolina really contains many useful substances. However, today endocrinologists contraindicate frequent and even more daily use of semolina. It has been shown to promote weight gain. The high glycemic index of semolina negates all its beneficial properties, which, it turns out, are not enough. In addition, due to its high phosphorus content, semolina flushes calcium from the body. Gluten causes allergic reactions. All these facts indicate that semolina adversely affects all people with digestive problems and not only, and it is better to exclude it from the diet. If you are confident that you will not be able to completely abandon this product, check out the recipes from leading nutritionists in which semolina is found and discuss the use of this product with your doctor. Any product can be beneficial and harmful, so do not forget about a balanced diet.

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