I’ve always been big on oatmeal for breakfast. Love to cook it since no stirring is necessary so I’d just leave it well alone and let cook on its own accord. In the meantime I check my sugar, make my bed, and maybe even take a quick shower while my oatmeal is happily cooking on a low heat. I’ve been doing this for years, and old habits die hard.
Now that I’m blessed with diabetes, I started reading labels and looking for the carbs. The Nutrition Panel states that serving size is half a cup or 40g dry. Then, there is ZERO sodium, ZERO cholesterol and 28g total carbs.
This term, TOTAL CARBS, is in my opinion, one of the most confusing things in the world. I’ve always disregarded the fiber content as it has no bearing on the blood sugar. Now I’ve found an ally in the about.com website. It has a definition for the Effective Carbs Count (ECC) aka Net Carbs.
ECC is defined as the amount of carbs in a food that the body is able to utilize for energy. Since fiber is a carb which “passes through” the gastrointestinal tract, it is SUBTRACTED from the total carbs count. I knew it, I knew it, I knew it.
For example, one cup of raw broccoli flowerets has a total of about 4 grams of carbs. However, 2 of those grams come from fiber. Since the body gets no calories from the fiber portion (and there is no rise in blood sugar from it), we can say that there are 2 grams ECC in the broccoli. Yep, only 2 versus 4 of the total carbs.
Back to the oats; they are not all created the same, says about.com website.
Oat kernels are processed in a variety of ways which are closely related to the impact on blood sugar. In general, the less the cooking time the oats require, the more glycemic the oats will be. I’ve never thought about it. Up to this point, all I knew was that there was an instant oatmeal and, well, regular. You live and learn.
I kept on reading with my eyes wide open. Here now, the 5 general types of oats.
– Groats. These are whole oat kernels. They require the longest cooking time, like soaking overnight, and because of this have the least impact on BG.
– Steel-Cut Oats aka coarse-cut, Irish, or Scotch oats. In steel-cut oats, the kernels are cut into 2 or 3 pieces, making them cook faster than groats which is about 10-15 min.
– Rolled Oats. This is what we usually think of as oatmeal. The whole oat kernel is steamed, rolled, steamed again and toasted. Thanks to this process, the oats are partially cooked; they cause a faster and higher blood sugar rise.
– Quick-Cooking Oats. These are similar to rolled oats but broken into smaller pieces so they’ll cook faster.
– Instant Oatmeal. These are the rolled oats that are pre-cooked and then dried; usually flavorings & sugar are added. These are best avoided by us diabetics.
I think that from now on I’ll be using Steel-Cut Oats because there is no way that I soak oats overnight. Oats, of all things. This isn’t happening. I just can’t bring myself to do that. In my understanding, oats are put into a pot, covered with water and cooked. Soak them? Thanks but no thanks.
If however my readers want to soak oats, please suit yourself.
Bottom Line: oatmeal in moderation is still my breakfast of choice.