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Is Cream of Wheat Good for Diabetes? Relationship Explained
Diabetes

Is Cream of Wheat Good for Diabetes? Relationship Explained

HR_author_photo_Edibel
Written by Edibel Quintero, RD | Medically reviewed by Medically reviewed by Rosmy Barrios, MD check
Published on 2022 September 1
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5 min

Cream of Wheat is a popular breakfast brand. It is a nutritious choice with several vitamins and minerals. In this article, we look at Cream of Wheat as a breakfast option for people with diabetes by reviewing the nutritional content, glycemic index, and impact on blood sugar levels.

Is cream of wheatood for diabetes
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Cream of Wheat – is it healthy?

The American brand of farina (a hot cereal made from milled wheat) is a popular breakfast porridge mix made with wheat middlings. As a hot cereal, Cream of Wheat is the ultimate comfort food. You can enrich its goodness with your favorite toppings, like fresh fruit, nuts, and spices.

Cream of Wheat tends to be a healthier alternative to sugary cold cereals, but it is still a highly processed food. That said, it does contain lots of essential nutrients to aid your health. A healthy breakfast in the morning can help normalize blood sugar levels throughout the day.

So, can people with diabetes achieve blood sugar control with this breakfast choice? Read on to discover if Cream of Wheat causes blood sugar spikes.

Is Cream of Wheat Good for Diabetes?

Regular Cream of Wheat may be a healthy breakfast for individuals with diabetes. It is made from finely ground, whole-grain wheat and is fortified with nutrients. However, Cream of Wheat cereal is considered refined grains as it does not contain the bran and germ. It has a high amount of carbs, making it a medium glycemic index food.

Foods with a medium glycemic index can impact blood glucose if overeaten. You can lower the glycemic load by adding more fat and protein to slow blood sugar rise. You can top your hot cereal bowl with nuts and peanut butter to improve its nutritional profile.

If you prefer your cereal wheat plain, you might be better off choosing healthier alternatives, such as steel-cut oatmeal, oat bran, or cream of buckwheat. These foods have more fiber to help slow digestion and help lower blood glucose levels.

Will Cream of Wheat Raise Your Blood Sugar?

Many instant oatmeal products and processed cold cereals, such as puffed rice and bran flakes, are high GI foods that quickly raise blood sugars. Cream of Wheat is a medium GI food and therefore has a moderate impact on blood sugar levels. The instant version has a higher GI value.

If you add food rich in protein and fat, you can lower its GI value. This may help stabilize your blood glucose content. You can also add unprocessed wheat bran to boost the fiber content and further slow digestion.

Most cold cereal is high in carbs and sugar. A high-sugar cereal for breakfast will cause your blood sugar and insulin levels to rise. While you can occasionally enjoy these cereals, hot cereals tend to have fewer carbs and sugar, especially those made from whole grains.

Nutritional Value of Cream of Wheat

Cream of Wheat has many nutrients that support your overall health. It has plenty of carbs, a fair amount of protein, and a small amount of dietary fiber. It is low in fats and sugar. Calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium are among the nutrients.

Below, you can see the nutritional value of instant Cream of Wheat per 100g.

Net CarbsTotal CarbsFatsProtein
72.2g75.5g1.4g10.6g
CaloriesFiberSugarsGlycemic Index
3663.3g0.4g66

Glycemic Index of Cream of Wheat

Cream of Wheat has a glycemic index of 66 and a glycemic load of 17. On the glycemic index, 66 falls into the medium glycemic index category. The score represents how quickly a food raises blood glucose levels, with 100 being pure glucose. So, this food will have a moderate impact on your blood sugar.

If you eat Cream of Wheat in large quantities, it may cause significant blood sugar spikes. People with diabetes should opt for more low GI foods to keep blood sugar content under control. Such foods, like steel-cut oatmeal and oat bran, are healthy alternatives that produce a gradual rise in glucose rather than a sudden spike.

How to Eat Cream of Wheat for Diabetes

Cream of Wheat is a simple dish made by combining porridge mix with milk and heating in a saucepan. If you have diabetes, you should choose the original, plain version rather than the flavored varieties with added ingredients.

A bowl of this hot cereal has a subtle flavor. To make your breakfast more interesting, you can add multiple diabetes-friendly ingredients. Doing so will help reduce the glycemic load and increase your nutrient intake.

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A great option is to add safe and nutritious fruit, such as apples and berries. You can also try banana slices, as bananas are good for diabetes in moderation. Nuts are a good choice for adding healthy fat. Fats help slow the digestion of carbs, reducing the impact on insulin.

Tree nuts, in particular, such as almonds, may improve glycemic control and lower blood sugar in individuals with diabetes. Almonds support weight loss and are great for blood sugar control.

Regular nut consumption may even reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease by improving glucose and lipid metabolism.

FAQs

Is Cream of Wheat healthy?

Cream of Wheat is generally healthy. It contains a good dose of nutrients, including B vitamins, iron, magnesium, and potassium. This popular breakfast cereal can quickly become unhealthy if you add sugary toppings, such as chocolate chips, dried fruit, and sweetened milk.

Is Cream of Wheat a low glycemic food?

No, Cream of Wheat is a medium glycemic food. It has a glycemic index of 66 and a glycemic load of 17. Unlike foods with a high glycemic index, eating Cream of Wheat will not cause significant or rapid blood sugar spikes, but it may have a moderate impact. You should monitor your intake if you have diabetes.

Does Cream of Wheat have a lot of sugar?

Cream of Wheat is low in sugar, with 0.4g per 100g serving. A one-cup serving (178g) still has less than a gram of sugar. Flavored varieties may have higher sugar content. You should always check the nutrition label before purchasing instant cereal products.

A Word From Our MD

Cream of Wheat is a brand of breakfast porridge with low sugar nutrition. It has quite a few carbohydrates, a fair amount of protein, and a limited amount of fiber. As a refined grain, it may cause a rise in insulin levels. The American Diabetes Association suggests whole grains are best to lower blood sugar.

Hot cereals make a fantastic breakfast. Many people eat Cream of Wheat plain or add toppings like fresh or frozen fruit. You can sweeten hot cereals with agave syrup, maple syrup, and sugar. With diabetes, you’re better off opting for natural sweeteners such as honey and stevia.

If you prefer to eat cold cereal, stick to whole-grain cereals like unprocessed bran. You can lower your carb intake by substituting whole or skim milk with unsweetened milk alternatives, such as unsweetened almond milk or soy milk. Many types of high-protein milk are also good for weight loss.

Cream of Wheat is vegan-friendly, making it suitable for those following a plant-based diabetes diet. Due to the relatively high-carb content, the product is not a keto-friendly food. If you’re following the keto diet to manage diabetes, skip this food.

Eating a balanced breakfast can help normalize blood sugar levels and stay stable throughout the day. It can keep hunger and cravings in check, supporting a healthy weight. Skipping breakfast is associated with an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Conclusion

Can you eat Cream of Wheat if you have diabetes?

Yes, you can. However, you should remember that this cereal does not have a low glycemic index. It may raise your blood sugar levels more than healthier alternatives, such as oatmeal made with steel-cut oats. You can enjoy it in moderation, but more diabetes-friendly foods are available to match your diet.

HR_author_photo_Edibel
Written by
Edibel Quintero is a medical doctor who graduated in 2013 from the University of Zulia and has been working in her profession since then. She specializes in obesity and nutrition, physical rehabilitation, sports massage and post-operative rehabilitation. Edibel’s goal is to help people live healthier lives by educating them about food, exercise, mental wellness and other lifestyle choices that can improve their quality of life.
Medically reviewed byRosmy Barrios, MD
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