What is the healthiest grain for a diabetic?

Amy Campbell


Actually, pretty much all grains are healthy for someone with --and without-- diabetes. The key is to choose whole grains or foods that contain whole grains, like whole-wheat bread or whole-grain pasta. A whole grain contains 100 percent of the grain, including the endosperm, the germ and the outer bran layer. Examples of whole grains are amaranth, barley, buckwheat, oats, quinoa, wheat and wild rice. Some grains contain more of a particular nutrient than others. For example, quinoa has more protein than brown rice, and barley has more fiber than oats. Eating whole grains, in general, has been shown in studies to help lower the risk of getting type 2 diabetes, reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, and assist with weight control. You can identify whole grain foods by either looking for a whole grain stamp on the package, or by reading the ingredient list. A whole grain food should list a whole grain, such as “whole wheat” or “whole oats” as the very first ingredient. For more information on whole grains, visit the Whole Grains Council website at

3 replies

Amy Campbell
Amy Campbell 2012-08-27 06:15:51 -0500 Report

No, of course portion size matters for all carbohydrate foods. The amount of a whole grain food, or any carb food that one can eat is very individualized and depends on certain factors, such as age, activity level and extent of blood glucose control. In general, however, one serving of a whole grain food ranges from 1/3 to 1/2 cup (cooked). It's helpful to meet with a dietitian to determine how much carbohydrate is best for you.

John Crowley
John Crowley 2012-08-23 11:59:20 -0500 Report

Amy, perhaps you'd like to comment on serving size as well. While it is true that whole grains are healthier than refined flours, certainly you're not trying to suggest that a diabetic can eat whole grains without regard to the impact it will have on blood sugars.

Any thoughts or recommendations about servings and serving size?