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Home arrow Health arrow Diabetes arrow Are Corn Flakes Good for Diabetes? Find Out Before Taking Another Spoonful

Are Corn Flakes Good for Diabetes? Find Out Before Taking Another Spoonful

Written by Thalia Oosthuizen
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: March 22, 2023
4 min read 1353 Views 0 Comments
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A bowl of corn flakes seems fairly innocuous, but it may prove unhealthy for those with diabetes.

are corn flakes good for diabetes

For some people, a bowl of corn flakes is the only thing they need to get going in the morning. They’re a popular breakfast cereal, but you may be unsure whether they’re safe for people with diabetes.

The reality is that corn flakes are among some of the least healthy breakfast cereals despite their unassuming nature. In this article, you’ll learn all about this popular cereal, including its nutritional value, glycemic index, and effects on your blood sugar.

Are Corn Flakes Good for Diabetes?

No, corn flakes are not good for diabetes. Corn flakes are usually made with high fructose corn syrup, which will raise your glucose levels instantly, and that’s before you’ve added milk to the bowl. This, combined with their fairly low fiber and protein levels, makes consuming corn flakes a serious risk for those with diabetes.

Corn flakes are especially unhealthy when consumed daily, though they do provide a few minor health benefits. For example, corn flakes contain much less fat than other breakfast cereals, which makes them a safer option if you want to avoid developing any heart problems. However, this breakfast meal is still not ideal for those with diabetes.

They also contain thiamine (vitamin B1), which can improve your nervous system and brain function. Despite some of the benefits they provide, corn flakes are still a poor choice of breakfast cereal for people with diabetes.

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Corn Flakes Nutritional Value per 100g

Despite being somewhat healthier than some other cereals, corn flakes are still an unhealthy breakfast option for diabetes. This is mostly due to their high sugar content, which can significantly raise your blood glucose levels. Corn flakes are also high in carbohydrates and calories while low in fiber and protein.

Here is a full breakdown of the nutritional value of corn flakes for every 100 grams:

Net CarbsTotal CarbsFatsProtein
CaloriesFiberSugarsGlycemic Index

These statistics will most likely increase once you factor in milk and sugar. Suffice it to say even a single small bowl of corn flakes can seriously hinder the management of your sugar levels.

Glycemic Index of Corn Flakes

Corn flakes have a high glycemic index (GI) value of 93. That’s higher than the GI of Cocoa Puffs, which sits at 77. High GI foods raise your blood glucose levels exponentially, and corn flakes are among the highest.

Moreover, corn flakes also have a glycemic load of 23. For context, a low glycemic load value should be less than 10.

The glycemic index measures how much a certain food will affect your blood sugar. A low glycemic index is considered to be in the range of 1–55. People with diabetes should generally avoid foods with a glycemic index of 56 or higher.

The high glycemic index and load values mean that corn flakes release sugar into the blood much faster than other foods. Additionally, the high fructose content of corn flakes will also raise your sugar levels exponentially.

How Do Corn Flakes Affect Blood Sugar?

Corn flakes are a high GI food, meaning the carbohydrates they contain will negatively impact your blood glucose levels. They also contain plenty of sugar and sodium, raising your blood glucose even more.

Unfortunately, that’s not the end of it. While the effect of corn flakes on blood sugar is obvious, they also pose other health concerns. People who do not have diabetes may also want to avoid over-consuming this cereal as it increases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes due to the sugar they contain.

Can You Have Corn Flakes and Milk if You Have Diabetes?

A bowl of corn flakes with milk can greatly affect your sugar levels. Once you add milk, the health hazards become even more prominent.

Most corn flakes are sweetened to some extent, so adding more sugar will only damage your diabetes management even more. This sugar content also increases fat storage, leading to other health problems like obesity and poor heart health.

Additionally, while corn flakes have a fairly low-fat value, milk does not. You can technically circumnavigate this by using skim or low-fat milk, but even so, a bowl of this particular cereal every day is not recommended for people with diabetes.

If you enjoy a bowl of this cereal every once in a while, consider eating an unsweetened brand with some low-fat milk. Almond milk, skim milk, and unsweetened soy milk are healthier alternatives to regular milk.

To enjoy a healthy breakfast, add some fruits like berries or apples to give the flakes some sweetness while increasing the fiber and vitamins you receive. Finally, you can add some nuts to the mix for more protein.

What Are Some of the Alternatives of Corn Flakes for Diabetes?

If you can’t imagine your mornings without corn flakes, try these delicious alternatives. These can be topped up with yogurt and nuts for extra protein, and you can easily substitute whole milk for low-fat milk:

#1 Whole-grain cereal

Whole-grain cereal is probably a substitute that’s closest to corn flakes out there. It goes well with wheat flakes, fruits, and nuts for an enhanced flavor.

#2 Oatmeal

Oatmeal is a great substitute for people with diabetes, as it’s high in healthy fats and is tastier than most people give it credit for. It is best served with some fruit and nuts for toppings, enhancing the flavor and nutritiousness.

#3 Unsweetened cereal

Any unsweetened cereal is preferable to corn flakes. Make sure you get a healthy breakfast cereal if you have diabetes. Top your healthier cereal alternative with berries or fruits to enhance the flavor.

A Word From a Nutritionist

Corn flakes are essentially sugar bowls stuffed with calories. Those with diabetes should avoid eating this cereal as much as possible, though it can still be enjoyed as an occasional snack.

Instead of corn flakes, try a bowl of oatmeal or whole grains. Both pack a ton of flavor, especially if you add nuts and fruits into the mix. These two ingredients will boost both your fiber and protein intake, both of which are essential for a healthy lifestyle.


Corn flakes may seem like the perfect cereal, but even a single bowl of the stuff will severely impact your sugar levels. Moreover, the health benefits of corn flakes aren’t enough to compensate for their drawbacks.

Instead, treat yourself to something healthier, like oatmeal. While it may seem like quite a plain option, added fruits and nuts can really enhance the flavor. Whatever you do, though, don’t eat cornflakes every day.

Written by Thalia Oosthuizen
Thalia has always wanted to be a writer, starting her first local newspaper at the age of 11. She also has enjoyed a passion for health and fitness since a young age, playing many sports through her schooling career, and still enjoys biking, running, and swimming today. She studied English Language at University for 3 years, developing a passion for spelling, grammar, and research. She now has over 10 years of experience writing, proofreading, and editing, and has paired this with her love for health and fitness by writing health content.
The article was fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
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Written by Thalia Oosthuizen
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: March 22, 2023
4 min read 1353 Views 0 Comments

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