Oatmeal: Good or bad?

You've heard it before: oatmeal reduces cholesterol. Oatmeal producers have obtained permission from the FDA to use a cholesterol-reducing claim. The American Heart Association provides a (paid) endorsement of Quaker Oats.

I've lost count of the times I've asked someone whether they ate a healthy breakfast and the answer was "Sure. I had oatmeal."

Is this true? Is oatmeal heart healthy because it reduces LDL cholesterol?

I don't think so. Try this: Have a serving of slow-cooked (e.g., steel-cut, Irish, etc.) oatmeal. Most people will consume oatmeal with skim or 1% milk and some dried or fresh fruit. Wait an hour, then check your blood sugar.

If you are not diabetic and have a fasting blood sugar in the "normal" range (<100 mg/dl), you will typically have a 1-hour blood glucose of 150-180 mg/dl--very high. If you have mildly increased fasting blood sugars between 100 and 126 mg/dl, postprandial (after-eating) blood sugars will easily exceed 180 mg/dl. If you have diabetes, hold onto your hat because, even if you take medications, blood sugar one hour after oatmeal will usually be between 200 and 300 mg/dl.

This is because oatmeal is converted rapidly to sugar, and a lot of it. Even if you were to repeat the experiment with no dried or fresh fruit, you will still witness high blood sugars in these ranges. Do like some people and pile on the raisins, dried cranberries, or brown sugar, and you will see blood sugars go even higher.

Blood sugars this high, experienced repetitively, will damage the delicate insulin-producing beta cells of your pancreas (glucose toxicity). It also glycates proteins of the eyes and vascular walls. The blood glucose effects of oatmeal really don't differ much from a large Snickers bar or bowl of jelly beans.

If you are like most people, you too will show high blood sugars after oatmeal. It's easy to find out . . . check your postprandial blood sugar.

In past, I recommended oat products, specifically oat bran, to reduce LDL, especially small LDL. I've changed my mind: I now no longer recommend any oat product due to its blood sugar-increasing effects.

Better choices: eggs, ground flaxseed as a hot cereal, cheese (the one dairy product that does not excessively trigger insulin), raw nuts, salads, leftovers from last evening's dinner.

Comments (67) -

  • Church Dude

    3/11/2010 6:12:31 PM |

    this is somewhat surprising, however, not completely shocking. Carbs are sugars, and I've known for quite some time that Oats are loaded with carbs. I never thought of the effects of the oatmeal though, I've always seen it as a positive and healthy way to start off the day...

    I guess that view has changed now.. I'll be consuming a lot less oatmeal.

  • Anonymous

    3/11/2010 6:28:20 PM |


    Does this also include whole unprocessed (cooked) oats?

    Those, along with wild rice are the only grains our cardiologist said are okay, and only so long as they remain whole, unprocessed grains.



  • sonny

    3/11/2010 6:31:42 PM |

    Oatmeal- what a pickle it's gotten itself into.
    Healthy, healthy oatmeal is all you read about until one checks their blood sugar after eating it. Mine went from 82-179 in 45 minutes.
    No honey or raisins or anything added- the same spike.
    For me, eating oatmeal is like having an IV drip of straight sugar into my blood stream.

    Oatmeal has now been relegated to  food for my mealworms who in turn are snacks for my bearded dragon.

    Darn, I like oatmeal!!

  • Marnee

    3/11/2010 6:41:19 PM |

    Are you saying that butter triggers more insulin than cheese?  Can't be.

  • MissPkm

    3/11/2010 6:54:34 PM |

    Thanks! This one has been very hard to discuss since EVERYONE thinks oatmeal is VERY healthy! Great post

  • karl

    3/11/2010 9:21:30 PM |

    ??? I eat 1/3 cup (add water) of Oatbran for breakfast everyday with berries - 1 and 2 hour blood sugars are about 100. ( or a serum level of 89)  That is a carb load of 16 for the oat-bran - add the berries and it is 20. Not a lot for the big meal of the day for a large guy.

    I'm not sure everyone has the same problem - it is a matter of amount, not 'just' the type of food.  I am much more careful to eliminate fructose containing sugars.

  • Bob Fenton

    3/11/2010 10:13:51 PM |

    Thank you!  Appreciate the information.  Now I must email my CDE and ask if she is going to insist that her charges continue to eat it.


  • Payam

    3/11/2010 10:25:28 PM |

    You lump all "oatmeal" into a single category.  Is there a difference between instant oats vs. rolled oats vs. steel cut oats?

    I sometimes cook steel cut oats overnight, and then add some whole raw milk at the end.  I eat it with walnuts and cinnamon.  I would assume that the fats and cinnamon decrease the blood sugar spike?  Is this the case?  I would appreciate your comments

  • Stephen

    3/11/2010 10:28:31 PM |

    Do butter or cream generally trigger an insulin response?

  • StephenB

    3/11/2010 10:35:21 PM |

    In addition to cheese, shouldn't heavy cream not raise blood glucose?

  • ShottleBop

    3/11/2010 11:08:36 PM |

    Re:  cheese being the one dairy product that doesn't excessively trigger insulin. Doesn't heavy (whipping) cream qualify as another?  It doesn't raise my blood sugar--even when consumed at breakfast, the time of day when I'm most carb-sensitive.

  • Anonymous

    3/11/2010 11:15:04 PM |

    Dr. Davis,

    I am not a cereal eater of any sort, and never eat oatmeal or oat bran.

    A typical breakfast for me might consist of 2 whole pastured eggs + vegetables and some coconut milk with around a 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon mixed into it. Would 1 serving of oatmeal added to something like that be as likely to trigger higher readings (relative to each of the states you mentioned)?

    NOTE: I'd try it out and test with a glucometer, but I dislike the taste of oatmeal and oat bran, so it makes that avenue a moot point.

    Roy Davis

  • Rose

    3/12/2010 12:19:09 AM |

    Cholesterol intake from egg yolk is atherogenic in fowls (1), rabbits (2), swines (an omnivore like man) (3) and monkeys (3) as you can read in the following articles:

    (1) "The pathology of experimental atherosclerosis in egg-fed fowls".


    (3) "Comparison of the Effect of Egg Yolk or Butter on the Development of Atherosclerosis in Swine".

  • Lori Miller

    3/12/2010 1:18:43 AM |

    I found that oat bran gives me acid reflux. Now I use it to exfoliate.

  • randyntona

    3/12/2010 1:24:01 AM |

    Thanks for this information, I am glad to see you are not recommending oat bran anymore.  Recently I tried 2 tablespoons of oat bran a day for 4 days for ldl cholesterol reduction.  As a result I gained 4 pounds and experienced a resurgence in my joint pain (and cravings) which had been previously greatly reduced by going grain free.  It took about 4 weeks to loose that 4 pounds.  No more 'healthy' oats for me!  Randy.

  • Anonymous

    3/12/2010 1:49:28 AM |

    Dr. Davis,

    Do buckwheat and quinoa have the same blood sugar-raising effect?

    Thank you,


  • Dr. William Davis

    3/12/2010 2:54:47 AM |

    If you are concerned about carbohydrate sensitivity, you must--MUST!--check blood sugars after a meal.

    Then you will know for a fact what your response is.

    The worst: instant oatmeal.

  • Michael Barker

    3/12/2010 4:08:32 AM |

    Eat oatmeal? I can't even look at a box of oatmeal without my blood sugar going ballistic!


  • Gene K

    3/12/2010 4:49:40 AM |

    I have been eating quick oats for breakfast every day for fifteen years, lately adding cinnamon, flaxseed meal, and blueberries. Is it enough time to make me a diabetic? I typically walk for 25 min one hour after breakfast to catch the train, so it is difficult for me to check my blood sugar during this time. Is oat meal consumption harmful even in this combination with physical activity?

  • Sweet Sensations

    3/12/2010 5:51:02 AM |

    What about cream of wheat? is it any better for you than the oatmeal?

  • Pascal

    3/12/2010 6:46:40 AM |

    I think your comment that oatmeal will raise sugars in non-diabetic people to over 150 is a little exaggerated. I had a fasting sugar of around 100 and 1 hour after one serving eating Old Fashioned Quaker Oats my blood glucose got to 126. While this is not an ideal glucose level it is nowhere near the 150 you are referring to. I had some other members (non-diabetic) of my family try the same experiment and none of them came close to 150.

    I switched to a non-wheat diet, moderate carb diet at the beginning of the year. For breakfast I stopped eating sugar-packed cereals and ate Old Fashioned Quaker Oats instead. My triglycerides dropped like a rock from almost 200 to around 60. My HDL went from 35 to about 60.

    I do agree however that people who are insulin resistant may need to avoid oatmeal as it does contain a plenty of carbs but comparing oatmeal to candy bars in the context of blood glucose response is really stretching things.

  • Peter

    3/12/2010 12:18:29 PM |

    Tons of carbs = raised blood sugar. I meet a lot of people eating oatmeal believing it is healthy. I am from Sweden and we have a long, long tradition of oatmeal.

    The grain industry has been sponsoring Swedish athletes for a very long time.

    Apparently, kids who get into sports get a brochure, from sponsored by one of the biggest grain producers in Sweden, loaded with propaganda about how athletes MUST eat a lot of carbohydrates.

    Fortunately there are more and more athletes breaking away from traditional diets. One of the main reasons being, that top athletes get sick a lot. Björn Ferry, who won a gold in Vancouver, is on a low carb diet. No oatmeal whatsoever for him.

  • Peter

    3/12/2010 12:43:49 PM |

    I've been testing my blood sugar after meals and what I find is a little steel cut oats, a little wild rice, a little beer doesn't raise my blood.  A lot of any of these, on the other hand, does. It seems more related to quantity than to which carb.

  • Jen

    3/12/2010 2:11:12 PM |

    I have heard, "...eat fats with your carbs..." to keep one's insulin livels from spiking so much.  I choose butter or cream from grass fed cows.
    Have not checked insulin levels after fat or no-fat old fashioned oatmeal to see the differences.
    It's worth testing on myself as my fasting glucose levels are in the low range.

  • zach

    3/12/2010 3:16:48 PM |

    Now they even have "organic" oat meal to make it super healthy! The madness never ends.

    My 4.5% butterfat whole, unprocessed jersey milk does not cause my blood sugar to spike, neither does butter, yogurt, cream or cheese made from it. But I am non-diabetic. Measuring blood sugar after drinking pasteurized store bought milk (~3.2% butterfat) does raise it about 10 more units (110) instead of 100. WAPF says the heating makes lactose digest quicker.

  • Haggus

    3/12/2010 3:20:06 PM |

    I didn't hear anything that oat bran can't bring down LDL, only that one has to be mindful of the BG issues concerning it.

    I'm mindful as I'm IGT, but don't seem to have issues with oat bran and my 1h ppg readings.  They've never been above 6mmol/L, and more than likely be in the mid 5s like anything else I've tested with the expection of food containing starch.

    For the record, I use water and don't load it with fruit.

  • Dr. William Davis

    3/12/2010 7:25:32 PM |


    Excellent point.

    Portion size is indeed a crucial factor: The greater the quantity of carbohydrate, the greater the impact on blood sugar.

    Therefore, many of us can get away with small quantities of oatmeal, cream of wheat, or other carbohydrate (at least from a blood sugar standpoint). Most of us cannot deal with any more than a little. Some cannot deal with any at all.

  • Myron

    3/12/2010 7:26:57 PM |

    Just recommended your Blog to my brothers.  Gave them the comparison of "low carb diet verses the whole grain inflammatory diet."    In addition to the Blood Sugar problems, grains tend to be loaded with  inflammatory oils and for some allergic, too!   Chronic inflammation and Chronic disease go hand in hand.  

    What do you think of the Curry diet, Tumeric is a COX-2 inhibitor;  thought to reduce prostate cancer in India to 10% compared to USA.

  • Tony

    3/12/2010 9:33:26 PM |

    My one hour postprandial blood glucose, tested today after eating 1/2 cup (dry) oatmeal with 2 TBS flax seed meal, 1 TBS raisins, and 1/2 tsp maple syrup: 114 mg/dl,

  • Lori Miller

    3/13/2010 3:02:01 AM |

    My diabetic mother's FBG was finally down to 126 yesterday. Then she had some peas and carrots last night, then some oatmeal and raisins this morning. Her blood sugar a few hours after eating it: over 200. Her reason for eating the oatmeal: "My nurse told me I could have a little."

  • Anonymous

    3/13/2010 4:36:28 PM |

    I found that a bowl of oatmeal, with cream and two boiled eggs was enough to shoot my blood sugar from fasting 110 to 160+.  Now, I clearly have issues since my fasting is a bit high, but my conclusion for myself was, fat and protein didn't stop the carbs.  I do fine with a small bowl of full fat strained yogurt and walnuts though.  And eggs, veggies, or a small steak...

  • Paul

    3/15/2010 3:50:31 PM |

    I've been wondering...is bacon REALLY bad for you (like most people say), or is it okay? I've been eating a relatively low-carb breakfast of poached eggs and bacon, and a small serving of fruit, but I'm concerned that the bacon is a bad choice (although I love it, and it leaves me satiated until lunch). Any insight?

  • Anonymous

    3/16/2010 5:55:15 PM |

    The effects of carbohydrates on blood sugar levels is represented by the glycemic index. The glycemic index is determined by feeding various people a certain food and measuring their blood sugar level multiple times over a period of several hours.

    Oatmeal has a fairly low glycemic index (around 50 I think), which means its effect on the blood sugar level of a regular person is low.

    The glycemic load of the whole meal containing oats can be even lowered by mixing it with some other very low GI food such as nuts.
    A half a cup of oatmeal with 1 oz of walnuts cannot be much worse than fried eggs and bacon everyday, can it?


  • mongander

    3/29/2010 4:04:22 PM |

    Okay, y'all have prodded me to check my blood sugar.  Despite being a diagnosed type 2 diabetic for over 20 years, I've relied on the A1C test and avoiding processed foods.

    Today, fasting level = 90

    After a huge bowl of old fashion slow cook oatmeal (1 cup dry uncooked), plus raisins and MCT oil, I tested 126 immediately after eating.

    20 minutes postprandial = 120 (after 15 minute walk)

    1 hr postprandial = 136

    2 hr postprandial = 71 (after another 15 min walk)

    Normally I eat oats/groats but I'm visiting my mom now, and don't have access to groats.  In my opinion, oats/groats is metabolized more slowly and is more nutritious.

    I have a lot of Scottish blood and the Scots have thrived on oats for millenia.

  • Sandip

    5/6/2010 11:37:49 PM |

    This is so ABSOLUTELY true and helpful!!!  I have been eating a big bowl of quick oats (with only water) for about a year and regularly measuring blood sugar one hour later.  The results were always confusingly amazing.  My blood sugar wold reach from 90's (fasting) to 180 easily!  I have asked two internists but no help.  This article is exactly what I have been searching for.  Great analysis!  NO MORE OATS for me.

  • Anonymous

    5/12/2010 12:39:09 PM |

    The unasked question is, what constitutes 'repetitive' consumption of oatmeal? Breakfast every day? Twice a week? Or what?

  • Raine Saunders

    6/29/2010 2:42:55 PM |

    If you were to soak the oats in an acidic medium overnight (such as kefir, yogurt, apple cider vinegar, whey, or lemon juice), and then eat it with real, raw milk and a bit of real maple syrup, it would be much healthier for you. But I wouldn't recommend eating it every day because this habit of eating grains too often, even when properly prepared can still lead to health issues. Grains that are not traditionally prepared as our ancestors did lead to many problems like obesity, heart disease, cavities,digestive disorders, candida overgrowth, Crohn's Disease, Leaky Gut, hiatal hernia, diabetes, and much more.

  • Roxanne Sukol MD

    7/22/2010 7:03:21 PM |

    Great idea to check your blood sugar after you eat.  Then either way, good or bad, you'll know.  And you'll be able to make your decision based on the facts.  Check out my take on "What's for Breakfast" at http://yourhealthisonyourplate.com  Roxanne Sukol MD

  • Joyce and Bob Schneider

    7/30/2010 7:35:30 PM |

    What a fantastic post! It's about time someone started cracking down on so-called "good carbs." My husband is a cardiologist too, has been preaching this for years and getting the very same "Huh?" reactions. The credo is our house is: CARBS & SUGAR ARE THE SAME THING, because all carbs metabolize into sugar. "Good" ones may take 30 minutes longer, but they'll still become sugar faster than your body wants it. Try to stick to just low-sugar fruits and veggies...and thank you, doctor, for helping to clear the blizzard of misinformation out there. Here's our non-profit site if you're wondering who wrote this: http://tinyurl.com/b8vjja

    P.S. Many diabetes "educators" are dreadfully behind, giving out in some cases what amounts to harmful information, especially where diabetics are concerned.

  • Jenny

    8/4/2010 4:09:10 AM |

    Yikes!  This has certainly been very surprising.  Oatmeal has always been thought of as a healthy breakfast.  Little did we know!  

    Thank you so much for sharing this.  I will forward this post to my fellow oatmeal-loving friends.

  • Anonymous

    8/16/2010 9:20:06 AM |

    This blog usually delivers scientifically sound nutritional information. This particular blog publication is the exception. It gives information without a single reference. It is daunting to write that oats will make a spike in your blood levels without any further information. Oat porridge is known to lower the glycemic response to a load of carbohydrates. You are missing important information about the fiber content. It IS a good source of fiber, both soluble (beta-glucans) and insoluble when eat as a whole. Additionally, is proven to lower serum LDL levels and increase HDL. Of course if you use a oat product full of sugars or in the wrong presentation/processing the history is quite different.
    Much more can be found if you type Oats and glycemic index at Pubmed.

  • Wilcox Angus Beef

    8/28/2010 6:03:33 AM |

    I remember when I thought eating oatmeal was good for me.  I even made granola and ate that frequently.  The only thing that happened to me was that I gained a lot of weight!  

    I have not had grains in about a year, unless I am on vacation and have no other options.  I ate steel cut oats this summer on vacation.  Yes, they were satisfying at the time but I also came home with weight gain and a viral lung infection. Not saying that was because of my grain intake, just sayin....

  • Peter

    9/4/2010 12:33:45 PM |

    I sed to eat lots of oatmeal and oat bran, and my doctor said I was anemic.  Then I read that oat bran prevents iron absorbtion, so I quit, and the anemia went away.  Maybe coincidence, maybe not...

  • Anonymous

    9/8/2010 3:59:39 PM |

    I'm extremely grateful for this information. For years I have conscientiously followed the type of diet that is widely promoted as being healthy, including whole grain oatmeal. My cholesterol numbers have been stellar, aside from the total sometimes being below the reference range. My fasting glucose has been normal. I was shocked to learn in follow-up after a severe foot infection that my peripheral arteriosclerotic situation is not so stellar. In view of the information on your blog I bought a glucose monitor. My blood sugar an hour after a large bowl of slow-cooked oatmeal with no fruit, milk, sugar, or other additions = 150!

  • grgsr

    9/27/2010 10:54:56 AM |

    Oat Bran, I have read that Oat Bran is good for you as it is high in fiber and helps to clear fats from the blood.  I am not sure about the refinement as to whether fine ground or medium ground is best?  I have read other medical materials that support using Oat Bran for cereal, muffins, or even as bread crumbs for baking.  This can be confusing as I had once believed Oat Meal was good for you and a heart healthy diet.  Does OAT BRAN fall into the same catagory as OAT MEAL?

  • Anonymous

    10/12/2010 3:39:26 PM |

    Perhaps it is the skim milk that is the culprit here?With cream or whole milk and some coconut oil perhaps it's not so bad?

    Skim milk is evil.

  • Simon

    10/27/2010 10:33:37 AM |

    You are a Great while writing in the blogs it is awesome I liked it too much good and informative thanks for the sharing.

  • blogblog

    10/31/2010 8:55:33 AM |

    The 'healthy breakfast myth'. Humans don't need any breakfast or lunch if they eat a proper diet. The body has ample fat stores to provide our energy for the day. Most hunter-gathers don't eat any breakfast and lunch is rarely anything other than a small snack. They start eating mid-afternoon and nibble away for most of the evening.

    The only reason westerners need breakfast or lunch is because they are carbohydrate addicts. If you switch to a VLC (<20g/day) diet you won't get hungry before 4pm once you adapt. In fact once adapted to a VLC diet you can effortlessly go 2-3 days without food and not have any problems.

  • buy jeans

    11/3/2010 2:20:21 PM |

    If you are like most people, you too will show high blood sugars after oatmeal. It's easy to find out . . . check your postprandial blood sugar.

  • Jack C

    11/18/2010 3:25:42 PM |

    We eat oatmeal on occasion and have no problem with high blood glucose probably because we add enough butter, cheese and cream so that the calories from dairy fat far exceeds the calories from the oatmeal. And we have no insulin problem from consuming a lot of butter.

    We are not concerned about cholesterol levels. The only reason we eat oatmeal is because it seems to help regularity.

    Jack C.

  • rhinoplasty los angeles

    11/26/2010 6:18:39 AM |

    I have oats without dried fruits or any fruit even.But I do add a little of skimmed milk and also add a little bit of sugar.I have no problem as far as sugar or heart is concerned.

  • diseño web

    12/15/2010 5:26:17 PM |

    wow im glad im reading this post thanks for the info

  • Anonymous

    12/17/2010 8:27:21 PM |

    Dr. Davis:

    What are your thoughts on brown rice? Is this beter than oats or wheat? I know white rice has high glycemic index.


  • Sara

    12/21/2010 9:22:34 PM |

    Personally, oats cause a spike up 170. My fasting is 90. Cheerios spikes as well.

  • Anonymous

    12/23/2010 1:49:42 PM |

    How does the article justify going from heart healthy benefits to affects of oatmeal for diabetics?
    Just because a food has to be eaten with caution by diabetics does not mean it is not beneficial as it has been determined.
    It is the same as with any food: Read The Label. Yes, oatmeal is a grain, and therefore has carbohydrates (an essential food). So, add protein if you have blood sugar issues or eat it less often, or in smaller quantities!
    Any whole grain will have the same issues. And why would a diabetic add sugars or fruits to a carb food??? Come on!
    For heart benefits, lowering harmful cholesterol, it is one of the whole grains that is important to have in your diet. Profiling it as a diabetic issue is just not fair.

  • revelo

    1/16/2011 2:18:25 AM |

    Just got my glucose monitor and was testing it out:

    morning fasting: 75
    immediately after salmon and salad: 78
    1 hr after salmon and salad: 92
    2 hr after salmon and salad: 81
    5 hr after salmon and salad: 88
    immediately after 2 cups dry oats mixed with cinnamon, preceded by a medium sized canteloupe (almost 200 grams of carbs): 102
    50 minutes after the carb feast: 144 !!!
    75 minutes after the carb feast: 111

    I'll do another experiment tomorrow without the canteloupe (which was on sale and I couldn't resist) and maybe only 1.5 cups of dry oats instead of 2 cups.

  • Health

    1/21/2011 12:20:27 PM |

    ive been enjoying those instant packets of oatmeal every morning, like the apple and cinnamon, banana bread, and fruit and cream flavors, but I'm not sure if they're that great for you.. even if they are only 130 calories. what are your thoughts? is healthy?

  • ccf344

    1/30/2011 6:37:51 AM |

    Hi Doctor Davis,
    Can't disagree that oatmeal does indeed contain a fair amount of (complex) carbs. However, according to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (link below), when it comes to insulin demand generated by different common foods, oatmeal ranks surprisingly low while some foods not normally associated with a high insulin response don't fare as well as we would think. http://www.ajcn.org/content/66/5/1264.full.pdf+html

  • Anonymous

    1/31/2011 12:46:21 PM |

    Dear Dr Wiliam Davis,
    Could you comment this :
    "Low-Carb Diets Linked to Atherosclerosis and Impaired Heart Vessel GrowthStudy suggests that popular diet regimen may have adverse effect on body's restorative capacy

    Date: 8/24/2009
    Now, a study led by a scientific team at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) provides some of the first data on this subject, demonstrating that mice placed on a 12-week low carbohydrate/high-protein diet showed a significant increase in atherosclerosis, a buildup of plaque in the heart’s arteries and a leading cause of heart attack and stroke. The findings also showed that the diet led to an impaired ability to form new blood vessels in tissues deprived of blood flow, as might occur during a heart attack."

  • Anonymous

    2/3/2011 2:01:31 AM |

    I like oats so when I came across this blog I was interested to read about oats being taken off the Dr.s' recommend food list
    due to spiking bloodsugar levels. I'm in this category described in the blog post - "If you are not diabetic and have a fasting blood sugar in the "normal" range (<100 mg/dl), you will typically have a 1-hour blood glucose of 150-180 mg/dl--very high."

    I decided to perform an informal blood sugar profile of my typical oats breakfast meal under the following test conditions:

    Test device: Accu-chek Integra

    50g - Quick Oats Homebrand Woolworths Australia
    125g - 1% low fat milk
    50g Mixed Frozen berries (raspberries/blackberries/blueberries/cranberries)
    Total Kcal from meal = 271

    No other food or drink during 2 hour testing period.

    Testing period: Initial measurements at morning fasting but after gym workout (T0) then every subsequent 30 minutes for 2 hours

    T0: 91.8 mg/dL
    T0+30: 136.8 mg/dL
    T0+60: 120.6 mg/dL
    T0+90: 108.0 mg/dL
    T0+180: 104.4 mg/dL

    The peak 136.8 mg/dL at the 30 minute mark is within the  acceptable range post meal and well below the 150-180 range suggested in the blog.

    I will try slow oats next time - Kcal content is the same but the oat flakes are larger which suggest slower glucose release.

    Everyone responds to food differnetly so YMMV.

  • Anonymous

    3/6/2011 1:54:34 AM |

    My husband was recently diagnosed with diabetes. Oatmeal is listed as a low glycemic index food, so we thought it would be fine for him to enjoy this once in a while. Unfortunately, his last bowl of rolled oats with no sugar and only a dash of milk caused him to have blood sugar in the mid 200's for FOUR HOURS afterward.

    We are discovering that we have to forget what the industry says and base our food choices on a case by case basis. Some foods cause him to spike, and other foods that you would think would be terrible (like potato chips) don't cause a glucose spike at all. It's certainly a learning curve.

  • Anonymous

    3/15/2011 4:15:20 PM |

    Hi i have been finding the same thing with oat meal. Im on my second day of testing. after eating 3/4 cup old fasion quaker oats, 1/4 cup raisins, 2 tbs pecans 1 1/2 tbs flax 1/8 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 cup skim milk, and 1 tbs of real maple syrup. 1st days numbers where. 110 just before eating. 189 1hr after start of eating. 100 2hr after, 78 4 hrs after. 2nd day. 102 just before eating, 172 1hr after start of eating, 84 2hr after. My question would be. Is the BS spike after eating enough to kill off the Beta Cells in the Pancreas? Also why do I sustained lower BS lvl for hrs after eating the oat meal? Only meal so far that I get the Lower numbers for hours after.

  • Physical Therapy Supplies

    4/26/2011 5:36:46 AM |

    I'm in this category described in the blog post. Now, a study led by a scientific team at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) provides some of the first data on this subject, And why would a diabetic add sugars or fruits to a carb food??? Come on!

  • Chris Tamme

    6/30/2011 2:57:45 PM |

    I eat no grains and my trigs and HDL are better then your numbers.  The benefits of grains are wiped out by the phytates.  It is a waste of calories.

  • Richard

    1/2/2012 3:48:16 PM |

    More internet BS....  Oatmeal is the last thing you want to eat if your a diabetic. I do clinical test for a doctor and oatmeal is a no, no for diabetics... Eggbeaters, bacon and coffee.  Very little rise in sugar..

  • Janice

    1/9/2012 6:07:27 AM |

    I haven't been diagnosed as diabetic, but I do have a sensitivity.  If I eat a medium or large meal that includes bread, I practically go to into a coma and must sleep for 30 to 45 minutes.  Yet, I've been eating oatmeal for breakfast for the past year and my cholesterol went from "above acceptable" to the low range of "acceptable".    All my cholesterol levels improved dramatically and are in the most perfect range they can be in.  Though I  don't check my blood sugar, I can eat a bowl of oatmeal at any time and I never have that spike that puts me to sleep.  So for me, it's been a God send.  It's one of the few "treats" I can eat without any noticeable adverse affects.

Appetite stimulants

Appetite stimulants

Ever have days when you just can't seem to get enough to eat, your stomach gnawing just a hour after a meal? We all get them, some more than others. Other days, you can be content with a few simple foods and hunger is subdued, temptation easy to control.

Why such contrasts on different days?

A major part of the reason can be the presence of appetite stimulants, factors that trigger appetite beyond rational control. The list of common appetite stimulants includes:

--Sleep deprivation--A very important factor. Lack of sleep drives tremendous appetite, and often for the wrong foods (processed carbohydrates). I personally have experienced my most shamefully indulgent days when sleep-deprived. The solution is obvious: Sleep. Another factor that is based purely on personal observation is that of waking mid-phase. In other words, waking up while you're still enjoying the deeper phases of sleep (e.g., phase 3,4, or REM). This can oddly disrupt your day and your impulse control. I usually try and time sleep to increments of 90 minutes to coincide with the average duration of the full cycle of sleep. For example, 7 1/2 hours is better than 8 hours, since the extra half hour puts your square into a deeper sleep cycle.

--Excessive caffeine--Caffeine stimulates stomach acid. This triggers the impulse to eat . . . and eat and eat.

Image courtesy Wikipedia

--Aspirin and other anti-inflammatory agents--If you take aspirin (as many of our Track Your Plaquers do), then beware of the gastritis that can develop. Like excessive caffeine, it also triggers the impulse to eat, likely a protective mechanism, since food sops up excess acid. I ask patients to take periodic breaks from aspirin, e.g., a week off every two or three months, to allow the stomach to heal. Alternatively, an occasional dose of acid-suppressing medication is a safe practice, e.g., Pepcid AC 10-20 mg; Prilosec 10-20 mg.

--Wheat-containing foods--Followers of The Heart Scan Blog know my feelings on this. Wheat is a potent appetite stimulant: Eat something containing wheat like a pretzel or whole wheat bagel, and you want more. You may want more immediately, or a little later when your blood sugar plunges after the wheat-driven insulin surge. Solution: Dump the wheat, one of the most unhealthy food groups around.

--Alcohol--Though perhaps not a direct appetite-stimulating effect, the loss of impulse-control with alcoholic drinks can lead to overindulgence, often in the worst foods. Just beware.

--Hanging around with heavy people. Remember peer pressure? It can be subliminal. People with poor eating habits provide the silent message that it's okay to yield to impulse, overeat, overindulge, and choose the wrong foods.

--Stress--Whether through cortisol stimulation or other means, stress triggers appetite in some people. If you experience this and must give in, reach for raw nuts or nuts, rather than wheat snacks or chips. The effect will be minimal, perhaps even beneficial, rather than the bloating, appetite-stimulating, fattening effect of crackers, chips, or pretzels. This may be the same phenomenon as taking prescription steroids like prednisone.

--Short dark days, long nights--In other words, winter. Though just an anecdotal observation, I am convinced that vitamin D supplementation is an effective antidote to this effect. The short, dark days just don't bother you as much, perhaps not at all, and there's no impulse for comfort foods.

How about appetite suppressants? In this list I would include 1) raw nuts--especially almonds, walnuts, pecans, and pistachios, the sort with a fibrous covering and rich in monounsaturates, 2) other sources of plentiful healthy oils, e.g, use more olive oil in your salad or add it to hummus for your veggie dip, 3) space-occupying fibers such as glucomannan, inulin (such as in Fiber Choice), and psyllium seed products. Counteracting the above appetite stimulants like sleep deprivation is, of course, important.

The coming wheat frenzy, otherwise known as the holidays, is an especially important time to be aware of these effects. Eat, drink, and be merry--but with rational impulse control not driven by subconscious appetite stimulants.

Comments (17) -

  • Nancy M.

    12/20/2007 4:16:00 PM |

    You didn't mention one of the biggest appetite stimulants ever.... insulin. They used to inject it directly into anorexics to get them to eat.  That pre-meal release of insulin where you get very, very hungry as you're about to sit down to your dinner.

    Actually, it probably isn't the insulin per se, but what the insulin does, drops your blood sugar.  This is why a low carb diet works so well on moderating appetite, insulin and blood sugar drops are much quieter.

  • Stan

    12/20/2007 6:28:00 PM |

    It is not surprising that you have listed nuts and seeds as appetite supressants.  In my experience the most powerful apetite controller (suppressants if you have eaten enough) are fats!   All fats work like that, especially butter, lard, egg yolks etc.  Typically, our digestive system produces a satiety feedback within 10-20 minutes from eating a meal containing a reasonable amount of fat (for me personally, "reasonable" means 60-80%).  It does not work for low fat high carb meals - then the only restraint is the bulk volume.

    Stan (Heretic)

  • HeartCipher

    12/20/2007 8:15:00 PM |

    Maybe I'm just imagining it but I could swear that I'm less hungry if I drink two large glasses of water as soon as I get up in the morning and then eat 2 or 3 hard boiled eggs for breakfast.

    That keeps me going through lunch as I also snack on almonds during the morning (while doing my 2 month "almond eating personal trial".

    If I manage to have a couple of more eggs for lunch then I'm good until dinner.

    Anyone else had this experience with eggs?

  • Anonymous

    12/20/2007 9:29:00 PM |

    Here's an odd one, but true: diet sodas cause tremendous hunger.  And they especially cause ravenous carb cravings before bedtime on any day a diet soda has been consumed.

  • Dr. Davis

    12/21/2007 2:41:00 AM |

    I have. The combined protein in the white and fat in the yolk are very filling.

  • Dr. Davis

    12/21/2007 2:42:00 AM |

    What an interesting observation!

    This would also be consistent with the recent study suggesting that diet sodas are no different than sugared sodas on long-term impact on weight.

  • chickadeenorth

    12/21/2007 7:09:00 AM |

    Yes I notice eggs can hold me till late aft and ground flaxseed only holds me for 2 or 3 hrs.

  • Anonymous

    12/21/2007 11:02:00 AM |

    It really is remarkable how a heart healthy diet has cut down on my appetite.  Going into it, I never thought this would happen.  I figured I'd have a feeling of starving all the time.  

    A little different question, but a topic that came up over dinner last night, some friends and I have been on a low carb diet for a few months, and have noticed that our hair that was formerly thinning has become thicker.  Have you noticed this yourself, or patients mention this before?

  • Dr. Davis

    12/21/2007 12:21:00 PM |

    Curious. No, I've never seen this effect before. I'll have to watch for it.

  • g

    12/22/2007 3:37:00 PM |

    Yes, I had a pt in his 60s (his 25(OH)D was already 60ng/ml in Nov naturally because he lives in Arizona) and after ONE-WEEK on the TYP meal plan, he reported more hair. a-m-a-z-i-n-g!
    he even smokes still 1/2-ppd.
    I think that TYP somehow magically synergizes things in the body. I wonder why? DR. Davis, you are truly like other talented artists like Emeril... you put things all in a pot *POW*  *BAM* and make them A-L-L.... HAPPY!

    BTW an interesting observation, I've been on Vit D and TYP now for 2mos and I'm getting hit on more than ever... and it aint the Victoria S Superbra *ha ha* ;)
    Keep trackin' and REVERSE-PLAQUIN,

  • MAC

    12/22/2007 10:45:00 PM |

    Re: hair growth and low carb.

    There is a statement in the "Life w/o Bread" book by Christian Allan that too much insulin interferes with human growth hormone levels. Fingernails grow faster and hair growth increases on a low carb diet. This book is about Dr. Lutz who prescribed a low carb diet to his patients for 40+ years in Austria and Germany. The low carb diet puts the body back in balance between anabolic and catabolic processes.

  • Dr. Davis

    12/23/2007 12:39:00 AM |

    Hi, MAC--
    I wasn't aware of that. Thanks.

  • chickadeenorth

    12/23/2007 9:04:00 AM |

    Yes my nails grow like crazy as does my hair and lots on Atkins board said their hair grew and thickened.

  • Anonymous

    12/25/2007 9:57:00 AM |

    Hey g,

    Vitamin D must be an elixer huh?

    Very funny!

  • Anonymous

    1/18/2010 4:33:41 PM |

    Hanging around with heavy people can be bad for your health...?

    Comments like that are very hurtful and feed into the pressures in this country to be the perfect size 2.  Also, it assumes that only fat people eat a lot.  Thanks for that.  Appreciate it.

  • buy jeans

    11/2/2010 7:41:47 PM |

    --Hanging around with heavy people. Remember peer pressure? It can be subliminal. People with poor eating habits provide the silent message that it's okay to yield to impulse, overeat, overindulge, and choose the wrong foods.

  • pammi

    11/9/2010 11:32:04 AM |

    Heart  disease is one of the most  dangerous disease which takes thousands of life every years all over the world. If we know its symptoms and Treatment for heart disease. We can prevent is to large extent.