Kellogg’s All-Bran, Quaker Oatmeal, and B&G Foods Cream of Wheat are some popular breakfast cereals that are good options for people with diabetes.

Many types of breakfast cereal contain fast-digesting carbohydrates. These cereals usually have a high glycemic index (GI), which means your body breaks them down quickly, causing your blood sugar levels to rise quickly.

If you have diabetes, this may lead to hyperglycemia (high blood sugar), which could be life threatening.

But not all cereals are the same. If you have diabetes, you can enjoy some types of cereal.

We’ve listed our cereal recommendations for people with diabetes from the highest GI to the lowest.

The glycemic index (GI) is a system that measures how quickly carbohydrates raise your blood sugar levels. Foods are classified as low, medium, or high glycemic on a scale of 0–100:

  • Low: 0–55
  • Medium: 56-69
  • High: 70-100

It’s best to choose low GI cereals if you have diabetes because your body digests them slowly and they get absorbed into your bloodstream more gradually. This can help regulate insulin release and prevent spikes in your blood sugar.

Several factors, such as cooking time, acidity, and food combinations, may also influence a food’s GI.

For example, a 2018 study in Indian males found that eating breakfast cereals with milk helped lower the glycemic response because milk has a high protein-to-carbohydrate ratio.

Glycemic load (GL) is another measure of how food affects your blood sugar. It takes into account the GI of different foods as well as the portion size of carbohydrates that are consumed.

Therefore, the GL may be a better way to identify more ideal and less ideal carbohydrate choices. Some foods may have a high GI but a low GL, which would make them healthy options for people with diabetes.

A food’s GL falls into one of the following three categories:

  • Low: 0–10
  • Medium: 11–19
  • High: 20 and over

On average, cornflakes have a high GI of 79 and a GL of 20 for a 1-cup serving.

The primary ingredient is milled corn, which has a higher GI than whole grain alternatives. Milling removes the hard outer layer of the corn. This leaves behind a starchy product that has little nutritional value and lots of quickly digestible carbohydrates.

The most popular brand is Kellogg’s Corn Flakes. It’s best to buy plain cornflakes rather than the sugarcoated or honey and nut varieties. These may spike your blood sugar levels faster.

Grape-Nuts is a brand of round-kernel breakfast cereal made from whole grain wheat flour and malted barley. These cereals have a GI of 75 and a GL of 16 per 30-gram (g) serving.

Grape-Nuts cereals are a good source of:

Fiber is an important part of diabetes management because it can help you:

  • slow your digestion
  • stabilize and manage your blood sugar levels
  • maintain a healthy digestive system
  • feel full

Rice-based cereals, such as Kellogg’s Special K, may affect your blood sugar levels slightly less than Grape-Nuts. Special K cereal sold in the United States has a GI of 69 and a GL of 14 per serving of 30 g.

There are numerous varieties of Special K, which differ in their calorie content and nutritional values. These include:

  • Red Berries
  • Fruit & Yogurt
  • Multigrain
  • Oats & Honey

Cream of Wheat is a type of breakfast porridge made from farina, a finely ground whole grain wheat.

It has a smooth texture and subtle flavor. Malt-O-Meal is another popular brand of farina porridge.

A 250-g serving of regular Cream of Wheat has a GI of 66 and a GL of 17. The instant version has a higher GI of 74 and a GL of 22.

Sugar-free muesli has a GI of 57.

It consists of raw, rolled oats and other ingredients, such as dried fruits, seeds, and nuts. Reputable brands include Alpen Original Muesli, Bob’s Red Mill, and Familia Swiss Muesli Cereal.

With its base of oats, muesli is a great source of fiber.

Oatmeal is one of the healthiest cereal options, coming in at a GI of 55.

Oatmeal is made from raw oats. You can opt for specialty, organic, or popular fortified brands such as Quaker.

However, consider avoiding instant oats, as they have a GI rating of 79 and may have up to twice the GL of regular oats.

It’s also best to avoid the sweetened varieties since they contain added sugars and extra calories.

Wheat bran cereals, such as Kellogg’s All-Bran and Post 100% Bran, are winners when it comes to having the lowest GI and GL ratings.

On average, they have a GI of 45 and a GL of 10 per 1-cup serving.

A 2016 review of 64 publications found that eating whole bran breakfast cereals 2–6 times per week may help lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

The wheat bran in breakfast cereals is processed into flakes or pellets. These cereals are heavier than rice-based cereals due to their high fiber content.

Wheat bran cereal is also rich in:

Breakfast cerealGI
wheat bran cereals45
Cream of Wheat66
rice-based cereals69

There are many other breakfast foods that are good to eat if you have diabetes, including:

It’s best to be mindful when choosing beverages, especially fruit juices, as these have higher GI ratings than whole fruits.

Are Cheerios okay for diabetics?

Cheerios have a GI rating of 74, which classifies them as a high GI breakfast cereal. A person with diabetes should consider other cereal options instead, such as wheat bran cereals like Kellogg’s All-Bran and Post 100% Bran.

What kind of cereal can I eat with diabetes?

The best kinds of cereal to eat if you have diabetes are typically those with a low-to-medium GI. It’s also best to eat a cereal made from whole grains rather than refined grains.

Options may include:

  • wheat bran cereals
  • regular oatmeal (not instant)
  • muesli

Is there a diabetic breakfast cereal?

There’s no breakfast cereal specifically made for people with diabetes. However, if you have diabetes, you’ll want a breakfast cereal that:

  • has a low GI
  • is high in fiber
  • has no added sugars
  • is made from whole grains

Eating a balanced breakfast is important if you have diabetes. It can help you regulate your blood sugar and manage your hunger throughout the day.

Some breakfast cereals may be good options. It’s best to choose cereals with a low GI, since they may get absorbed more slowly into your bloodstream and are less likely to cause a rapid blood sugar spike.

It’s best to avoid cereals that are made from refined grains, contain added sugar, and are low in fiber.