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keobooks's avatar

Why does a bowl of cereal screw with your blood sugar when you are diabetic?

Asked by keobooks (14310points) August 1st, 2010

I have gestational diabetes. I’m doing fine with everything except breakfast. It’s rough. First they cut off my fruit supply and then it seems that everything remotely breakfast like is off limits—except eggs. And I’m not a huge egg fan.

I look at the carb exchanges for a serving of milk and a serving of a certain dry cereal—it fits what I’m allowed to have for breakfast. Yet if I eat cereal and milk, my blood sugar is through the roof.

I asked my dietitian what was up and she said “Oh all you pregnant ladies can’t handle your cereal. I don’t know why.”

That wasn’t quite the answer I was looking for. Anyone actually have a theory about why milk and cereal is so terrible?

The cereal in question is Special K by the way. It’s the lowest carb exchange I could find without actually being twigs.

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10 Answers

Rarebear's avatar

Your body metabolizes the carbohydrate load very quickly causing a glucose spike. Congratulations on the pregnancy, by the way!

YARNLADY's avatar

If you have any questions after you have talked to your dietitian, you should get her to explain in understandable terms exactly what is the issue. My dietitian explains each and every suggestion in full, until I feel like I’m being treated like an idiot, but I never wonder why she has made the suggestion.

Use the services you are paying for – from a professional. I have never encountered the restrictions you have discussed, but each person has different needs. My insurance provider has free classes to help us understand nutrition and exercise. Maybe you could ask your doctor if there is anything like that for you.

Buttonstc's avatar

What Rarebear said is correct.

But to elaborate further, it’s not a bowl of cereal per se. It’s the TYPE of cereal. Namely, processed cereal or other processed foods and simple carbohydrates. They are a half step away from sugar.

On the link below, it’s ex
explained more in detail. You basically want to substitute foods with a LOW Glycemic index. Typically, whole grains and minimally processed.

Off the top of my head, two examples would be oatmeal and nuts. But there are lists of High, Medium and Low GI foods.

The more that you can substitute foods from the Low category for your previous choices in the High category, the more stable will be your blood sugar levels.

To put it in simpler terms, the closer your choices mirror the food items which would have been available to your Great-Grandparents, (or Grandparents, depending upon ypur age) the less likely the problems you’ll have.

That would eliminate things like Special K which basically (because it is so heavily processed) sound a whole lot healthier than they are in reality.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

See @Buttonstc‘s answer.It’s about the glycemic index.I usually have oatmeal every morning and not processed cereals for that reason.Exercise also has a huge effect on what your blood sugar levels will be.
For example,if I eat a bowl of oatmeal and go for a bike ride,all is well.If I eat the oatmeal and sit on my butt,my sugars will be higher.If I eat Capn’ Crunch,I’ll feel lousy unless i am going to do an activity where I can burn it off quickly and do the insulin to cover it
I look at it as putting fuel in a car and that it’s better to put the right kind in for the best results…not that I’ve never snorked down a chunk of chocolate cake for b-fast,but that rarely happens because I don’t want to take the extra insulin to cover the carbs and gain weight.
Congratulations on yoiur pregnancy:)

marinelife's avatar

It is because there is not enough protein to balance the carbs. I have good luck with Nature’s Path Flax Plus Multibran cereal.

It is very low in sugar, high in fiber, and it has some protein in it.

bea2345's avatar

Congratulations on the pregnancy. Diabetes is essentially an illness whose chief symptom is an inability to process sugars properly. In digestion, most of the food is converted to sugars. Breakfast cereals tend to be high in simple carbohydrates which are easily converted to sugar. They are really not a good idea unless, 1. you eat them in moderation; and 2. you have something else with the meal, like an egg, or some milk, fish or meat – some kind of protein. —-The only cereal I have been able to eat for some years is rolled oats, and no more than an ounce at a time.—

espearite's avatar

Regular milk also contains sugar. Ask your doctor if trying unsweetened, organic almond milk is okay.

veritas's avatar

Check out his link for some examples of cereal with a lower glycemic

Also consider a whole grain such as cooked barley – you could prepare it as a vegetable barley soup that would be suitable to eat at any time…barley is nutritious and filling

Mr_Grimm's avatar

Also pay attention to the serving size. Many people look at the calories and fat etc. They think oh thats not bad… When in reality if the serving size is ¾ cup… and theres 120 calories… and you had 4 cups… then you do the math… its the same with everything on the label. Sugar, fat, etc.

Ettina's avatar

Most grains are very simple carbohydrates and easy for the body to break down, so they hit your bloodstream all at once a short while after you eat. To make it worse, many brands of cereal are sweetened, so that it’s practically like having candy for breakfast.

Do you like bacon? Meat products tend not to spike blood sugar that much.

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