Is There a Breakfast Cereal That Won't Skyrocket Post-Prandial Blood Sugar?

By MarkS Latest Reply 2015-04-10 16:11:30 -0500
Started 2015-03-04 09:05:07 -0600

I really enjoy eating a bowl of cereal in the morning to get my day started. Cheerios, Raisin Bran, the occasional bowl of Coco Rice Krispies (be still my heart) and I realize that the majority of carbohydrates in these cereals are fast-acting sugars that are not kind to maintaining a somewhat flat blood sugar level. I asked my diabetologist about that and his reply was "Welcome to the world of diabetes and stop eating those cereals if you don't want a BS spike." (While his reply may seem snarky to some, we have an excellent patient/doctor relationship and we pretty much are very "tell is like it is" agreement, like when I get him going about Obamacare!) But, I digress … does anyone have any recommendations on a cereal that has some decent flavor without using artificial sweeteners that won't spike one's blood sugar (as an example, I can go from a rising blood sugar of 100 mg/dL to 230 mg/dL about 30 minutes after eating the cereal and then back down to the 120's in about 2 hours). My goal is to remain less than 150 mg/dL or so after eating - is that possible to do after eating cereal? I did try shredded wheat since it had a higher percentage of protein but it had no positive effect. In advance, thanks for your replies and suggestions.

46 replies

Jaime329 2015-04-10 16:11:30 -0500 Report

I like to use this new granola with hemp that I found at Fred Myers, with some unsweetened vanilla almond milk from AlmondBreeze. The granola has 20 carbs for every 1/2 cup (so 40 carbs if I do a full cup, which I usually do) and the almond milk has only 1 carb per 1 cup ( because it's unsweetened, the sweetened almond milk has about 14-16 carbs a cup). I love this breakfast meal so much that sometimes I just can't resist having 2 full cups, which adds up to be 80 carbs, but I only have cereal on special occasions.

Chopstix 2015-03-08 16:46:52 -0500 Report

Have you tried hot cereal? Or do you only eat 'cold' cereal? I have never had any problems with shredded wheat(unfrosted), 40% bran flakes and the like. A bowl of cheese grits always makes me happy…

MarkS 2015-03-05 07:02:37 -0600 Report

Thanks haoleboy, Excellent information. Too bad one of the items on a label isn't the glycemic index and the glycemic load; those sure would be helpful. I got some good suggestions from the slides for those mornings when I want a quick bowl of cereal. Thanks again.

GabbyPA 2015-03-04 15:32:52 -0600 Report

Add a flax seed or nuts to the cereal and use whole milk. The fats in those should help with the cereal you choose. I don't eat cereal too much anymore because it's just too much hassle to eat something that just kills my numbers.

There is a Pumpkin seed, flax and granola I have eaten in the past that has a good flavor and was okay for me.

Nature's Path Organic Flax Plus, Pumpkin, Flax, Granola
3/4 cup serving
260 calories
37g carbohydrates
10g fat
6g protein
5g fiber

diabetesfree 2015-03-10 09:04:18 -0500 Report

I definitely agree on using whole milk instead of skim. Another alternative you might want to try is soymilk. Most brands of soymilk you will find in stores I wouldn't touch with a 10 ft pole, due to them containing excessive amounts of sugar and carbohydrates. If you can find it, I'd highly recommend Kikkoman Pearl unsweetened organic soymilk though. One serving (which equals 1 cup) contains 6g of carbohydrates, 8g of protein, 2g of (natural) sugars and 80 calories. It is also very high in vitamins A and D, plus contains a significant amount of calcium and potassium. The taste isn't bad and it doesn't contain a lot of artificial ingredients for smell, coloring, etc. As a bonus, it is actually one of the least expensive soymilk brands I have found. One container (4 cups) sells for around $1.30 at my local supermarket.

GabbyPA 2015-03-10 09:41:54 -0500 Report

Soy can be a good alternative, but I would suggest women avoid it. There is all manner of weirdness that soy does to our bodies, specially post menopause.

tabby9146 2015-03-06 11:00:41 -0600 Report

this is one that I like too, that I forgot to mention I try to eat a boiled egg or scrambled egg too whenever I am eating a cereal that has just a bit more carbs, but is healthy otherwise.

MarkS 2015-03-04 15:48:58 -0600 Report

Thanks Gabby. But does it taste good?

GabbyPA 2015-03-04 15:52:32 -0600 Report

I like it. It's oat based and has cinnamon in it. It is a sweetened cereal, as most of them are if you read the ingredients. I love Peanut butter Captain Crunch....but you can imagine what that would do to my levels even if I justify it with the word "peanut butter". LOL

GabbyPA 2015-03-05 14:01:30 -0600 Report

Ok, you made me get a box out, then I had to open it and then of course I had to have some. I am weird, I eat cereal as a snack and rarely do it with milk. So last night I had a serving (dry) and my glucose didn't jump up at all. In fact, It helped me drop over night, so maybe I have found another food to help me with that. More experiments need to be done.

MarkS 2015-03-05 14:45:25 -0600 Report

And I love Captain Crunch, though never had the peanut butter flavor. However, if I came home with that I wouldn't have to worry about my blood sugar because my wife would annihilate me on the spot! ;)

Mallacai 2015-03-04 13:40:28 -0600 Report

One way to determine what is healthy to eat is to look at the ingredient list. If it has more that three ingredients then is is highly processed and has lost most of the vitamins, minerals etc. They then make up by adding lots of sugar, salt, fats, preservatives, chemicals etc for taste.The first ingredient on the list is what the product contains primarily and secondly so on.Don't be fooled by 100% whole grain. Use foods that have few ingredients or are fresh.Hope this helps.

MarkS 2015-03-04 15:48:10 -0600 Report

Thanks for the information, though not sure I agree with "the more than three ingredients" means it is highly processed especially since, by law, all ingredients must be listed (even water).

Mallacai 2015-03-04 13:33:40 -0600 Report

Hi, as a rule anything that comes in a brightly colored package with defined edges is best to stay away from ( there are exceptions ). All those cereals you mentioned contains huge amounts of refined sugar ( fructose, maltose, dextrose etc )Plain old oats works best for me. I prefer to use the steel cut version as it contains more fiber. I use plain water to cook it, add wheat germ, ground flax seed (more fiber) and diced dates as a sweetener. does not have much great taste but i have learn't to enjoy it instead of having to face amputated limbs later on. At least it works for me. Hope you have a great evening.

haoleboy 2015-03-04 13:51:36 -0600 Report

by weight steel cut oats and rolled oats have the same fiber content … 4 grams per ounce.

I eat homemade muesli almost every day - rolled oats, oat bran, flaxseed meal, coconut flakes (unsweetened), dried banana chips, almonds - mixed with 6-8 oz. of yogurt, Super nutritious an only a moderate rise in BGL. I firmly believe that a high fiber diet is essential to good health.


jayabee52 2015-03-04 11:32:54 -0600 Report

Howdy Mark
Here's a slideshow from Reader's digest showing 8 high protein breakfasts. Not all are cereals (only 1 slide) nor are diabetes friendly but there are a place to start ~

I reviewed some protein cereals thinking there might be some winners there, but many of those protein cereals pack a carb count of 20 to 25 gm per serving. WAY too much for me.

I prefer eating eggs or other high protein breakfasts.

Happy hunting


MarkS 2015-03-04 12:36:34 -0600 Report

Thanks James. I will give the slides a look. Hopefully, I can figure out a few options that will adversely affect my blood glucose the way cereal does.

MarkS 2015-03-04 12:50:41 -0600 Report

So, I checked out the breakfast options with the first slide recommending cereal that is high in protein, listing Kashi as the first cereal in the group. I've had Kashi once and only once - enough said! I did like the idea of the breakfast burrito, however, it takes too long to prepare; also liked the yogurt with berries (which I do eat), the peanut butter and jelly on toast (winner, winner), and one that I hadn't thought of - a banana and cottage cheese (I love both!). So, I have a few options that I will be trying to see which one is optimal for "flat-line" control. Thanks again James for the link.

RebDee 2015-03-05 10:04:53 -0600 Report

When I read your comments above, I immediately thought of my grandmother making me a toasted peanut butter and banana sandwich. I think I will try it for a change.
I do love banana or strawberries or blueberries with my cottage cheese for lunch or low fat yogurt with berries and cashews.
Occasionally, when I go to my favorite deli, I get a breakfast burrito consisting of omelet with eggs, tomatoes, onions, mushrooms in a tortilla plus a side of refried beans. Of course I only eat half and take the rest home for a meal the next day. But it is a change, and tastes wonderful, and doesn't seem to make me spike too much so it is only a once a month treat for breakfast or lunch. BTW, if I know I am to have the breakfast burrito, I only have a protein drink for the other meal.

RebDee 2015-03-05 10:06:25 -0600 Report

oops, I forgot, the tortilla also has a quarter of an avocado slices on the top of the tortilla.

rolly123 2015-03-04 11:18:28 -0600 Report

Im learning eat breakfast i have english muffin with sausage cheese spike little but not bad i eat protein first slow down process

Richard157 2015-03-04 10:42:49 -0600 Report

I stopped eating cereal for many years, but tried some oatmeal a few days ago. My BG was 102 before breakfast, and 183 two hours later. No more oatmeal for me. There is a high fiber cereal, but I have not tried it. Maybe it would be a better choice, if the taste is good.

Jan8 2015-03-04 10:11:47 -0600 Report

I don't know of any. I eat 2 slices rye toast with PB and J. It will spike my Bg but I don't care anymore !

MarkS 2015-03-10 09:02:27 -0500 Report

Awesome suggestion. I tried the crunchy organic peanut butter (no added sugar) on cinnamon toast for breakfast and my blood sugar was "flat-line" for the entire morning. This has been repeated 3 out of 4 breakfasts (the one time my blood sugar spiked there were other issues associated with the spike). Thanks Jan8!

MarkS 2015-03-06 15:20:06 -0600 Report

So, this morning I had a piece of cinnamon toast with organic peanut butter (sugar is not added) and my blood sugar did not rise. WINNER! And it is oh so tasty! Thanks for the easy breakfast suggestion Jan8.

MarkS 2015-03-06 15:19:53 -0600 Report

So, this morning I had a piece of cinnamon toast with organic peanut butter (sugar is not added) and my blood sugar did not rise. WINNER! And it is oh so tasty! Thanks for the easy breakfast suggestion Jan8.

MarkS 2015-03-04 12:38:18 -0600 Report

I hear you Jan8. Part of the high blood glucose is that the alarm on my pump keeps going off which I don't appreciate! But I do like peanut butter and jelly! Thanks.

CaliKo 2015-03-04 09:47:22 -0600 Report

I like cereal, too, but do better having plain cheerios with milk or oatmeal for my bedtime snack. Since my blood glucose is higher in the morning, I try to take the time to make a salad with boiled egg and bacon bits over all sorts of greens and tomatoes in the morning.

MarkS 2015-03-04 12:39:41 -0600 Report

That sounds like dinner to me! I do like the boiled eggs with bacon bits. I think I may boil a half dozen eggs and have them available for breakfast. Thanks for the information CaliKo.

Pegsy 2015-03-04 09:10:02 -0600 Report

I am a type 2 diabetic so I am not sure that what works for me will work for you. I occasionally like to enjoy a bowl of cereal as well. I have found that I can get away with a 1 cup serving of Cheerios (using almond milk and sweetened with Stevia). They key is to have protein with it, such as a hard boiled egg. I have not had success with any other cereal. Even oatmeal. Just 1/4 cup of oatmeal will spike me. I am not sure why that is, but I give up. I don't know if this will help you but it is what works for me. Again, I don't do this often.

MarkS 2015-03-04 09:22:31 -0600 Report

Thanks Pegsy. I like the protein idea since that does appear to slow the rise in blood sugar. I do have a few questions: why almond milk and not cow skim milk? and why Stevia? and have you ever tried to add some berried to the cereal?

Pegsy 2015-03-04 15:53:29 -0600 Report

Because I am a type 2, trying to limit my carbs through diet, I drink very little milk and I cannot tolerate artificial sweeteners other than Stevia. Milk is very high in sugar and I am not on insulin.

Jibber Jabber
Jibber Jabber 2015-03-04 10:59:38 -0600 Report

Unsweetened almond milk only has two grams of carbs per 8 oz of which is fiber…I use it everyday in my morning breakfast shake…I would imagine that adding the additional carbs of milk onto the already high carb cereal is helping push that spike up there…If you must have cereal…and I know MANY people must…probably a good Idea to get the unsweetened kind..add a bit of stevia and maybe some nuts for protein and cover it with unsweetened almond milk…It will defiantly help..How much I don't know..cereal is banned in my home…

RebDee 2015-03-05 10:10:31 -0600 Report

I love Silk unsweetened almondmilk!! I tried Silk coconutmilk but didn't like it as well as the almondmilk.

MarkS 2015-03-04 12:43:00 -0600 Report

I like almonds but something about "almond milk" sounds wrong. I need to diversify and give it a try (my son swears by it ever since he came to "believe" that he was lactose intolerant). Thanks Jibber Jabber. The bad part is since I have a "bad taste" in my mind for almond milk, I may have a hard time getting past that to really give the stuff a chance. But, I promise I'll step outside the box and give it a try.

Jibber Jabber
Jibber Jabber 2015-03-04 17:26:22 -0600 Report

Lets face it…the milk we use on our cereal generally takes on the flavor of the cereal itself…so that should help you get over at least some of the taste issue…

GabbyPA 2015-03-04 15:36:49 -0600 Report

I make my own almond milk and can control the sweetness of it and the flavor. I love it sweetened with Truvia and Vanilla. It makes an unsweet cereal sweet. You might just like it.

RebDee 2015-03-04 11:30:19 -0600 Report

My idea of a great breakfast is low carb yogurt (even the kind with flavoring) with berries (strawberries or blueberries are my favorite) and 17 cashews. I get the sweetness, the crunch, and my taste buds love it and I don't seem to spike so much. I also drink a bottle of water before I eat my breakfast by about one half hour. Cereal has left my vocabulary.

MarkS 2015-03-04 12:45:05 -0600 Report

I do eat yogurt a lot for breakfast and it has relatively little affect on my blood glucose. However, it often still leaves me "wanting more." I never thought of throwing some cashews on it. Something to try. Thanks RebDee. I will give the cashews a try when I eat my next yogurt for breakfast.