The Diabetes Atlas reports estimate that in 2019, approximately 463 million people worldwide were living with diabetes. As per statistical estimates, it can rise to 578 million by 2030. Diabetes can cause severe health issues, such as heart disease, blindness, renal problems, and amputations. It is a leading cause of death and disability worldwide.
Some evidence considers muesli a healthy option for people with diabetes as it is high in fibre. In addition, it can help regulate blood sugar levels.
Muesli is a type of breakfast cereal that originated in Switzerland. It typically consists of rolled oats, nuts, dried fruit, and sometimes seeds. It is often eaten with milk or yoghurt and mixed with fresh fruit.
As per the USDA, 100 grams of Swiss-style muesli contains sugar (7.69 g) and calories (385 kcal). So, in that case, is muesli still a healthy choice for people with diabetes? Also, let’s find out if muesli has any effect on people who have type 2 diabetes.
Muesli for Diabetes – Why You Should Eat it?
Eating muesli as part of a healthy, balanced diet may benefit people with type 1 diabetes. Muesli is a cereal made from rolled oats, grains, nuts, and dried fruit. Nuts, such as almonds, walnuts, and pistachios, are a good source of heart-healthy fats and protein. They can help keep blood sugar levels stable. It may also help reduce the risk of heart disease, a common complication of diabetes.
Muesli is high in fibre and nutrients, which can help people with type 1 diabetes manage their blood sugar levels. Also, reduce their risk of specific health problems.
The fibre in muesli can help slow down the absorption of sugar in the bloodstream. As a result, it can help prevent blood sugar spikes after meals. In addition, muesli contains magnesium and zinc.
These may help improve insulin sensitivity and reduce the risk of complications associated with type 1 diabetes. First, however, it is crucial to be aware of the carbohydrate content of muesli and how it may affect blood sugar levels.
What Does Research Say?
The carbohydrate content of muesli can vary depending on the ingredients and serving size. For example, per research, a 1/2 cup serving of muesli made with rolled oats, nuts, and dried fruit may contain 20–30 grams of carbohydrates. In addition, suppose you have type 1 diabetes and are using insulin to manage your blood sugar levels. In that case, counting the carbohydrates in your meals and adjusting your insulin doses are essential.
There is limited research on the specific effect of muesli on type 2 diabetes. However, some studies show a diet high in whole grains, such as the oats and other grains found in muesli, can benefit people with diabetes. Incidentally, whole grains tend to have a lower glycemic index (GI).
One study found that consuming three servings of whole grains daily was associated with a 20% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Additionally, oats and other whole grains are good sources of dietary fibre. It can help lower blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity.
Another way, the protein and healthy fats in muesli can help increase feelings of fullness and reduce appetite. It can be helpful for people with type 2 diabetes who are trying to maintain a healthy body weight. For example, a person with type 2 diabetes typically eats sugary cereal for breakfast. Instead, it may benefit them to switch to a bowl of muesli paired with greek yoghurt. The combination will provide a slower, more sustained release of energy. It can help regulate blood sugar levels throughout the morning.
It is vital to read labels carefully and choose a muesli low in added sugars and made with whole grains and healthy ingredients. Additionally, it is also a good idea to select muesli made with whole grains, such as rolled oats, and to limit the amount of added sugar. Including protein and fat sources, such as yoghurt, nuts and seeds, in your muesli can help slow down carbohydrate absorption and improve blood sugar control.
The HealthifyMe Note
Muesli contains high-fibre and low fat from oats and nuts, and it is sweetened only with the natural sugars from the dried fruit. It can be enjoyed as a breakfast or snack and easily customised to fit your tastes and preferences. You may also pair muesli with a protein source, such as milk or yoghurt. It may help slow down the absorption of carbohydrates and further regulate blood sugar levels. Just be sure to watch your portion sizes, as it is still important to manage your carbohydrate intake when you have type 2 diabetes.
Benefits of Including Muesli in a Diabetic-friendly Diet
Muesli is a good source of nutrients and can be a healthy option for people with diabetes. In addition, it may help regulate blood sugar levels. Here are some potential benefits of muesli for people with diabetes:
Provides Sustained Energy
Muesli is high in complex carbohydrates, which are broken down slowly by the body. It provides sustained energy. As a result, it can help regulate blood sugar levels and prevent blood sugar spikes after meals.
High in Fibre
Muesli is high in dietary fibre, which can help slow down digestion and the absorption of sugar into the blood. As a result, it can help regulate blood sugar levels. Consequently, it improves insulin sensitivity.
Low in Added Sugars
Many commercial muesli products get made with minimal added sugars. Therefore, it makes them a good choice for people with diabetes who need to limit their sugar intake.
Muesli is a good source of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, like B vitamins, iron, and zinc. These nutrients are essential for overall health and can benefit people with diabetes.
Low Glycemic Index
Foods with a low glycemic index (GI) are absorbed more slowly by the body. It can help stabilise blood sugar levels. Many whole grains and nuts, common ingredients in muesli, have a low GI.
It is important to note that muesli can still contain added sugars. So choose a lower-added-sugar brand or make your muesli using unsweetened ingredients.
The HealthifyMe Tip
As with any food, it is essential to monitor portion sizes and consider how muesli fits into your overall diet because some muesli may contain added sugars. It can increase carbohydrate content and may not be suitable for people with diabetes.
It is always a good idea to choose mueslis made with whole grains, such as oats, barley, or wheat, as these are higher in fibre. Muesli helps slow the release of sugar into the bloodstream. Additionally, you can get personalised nutrition advice from a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian.
Diabetes Friendly Muesli Recipe
To make muesli a part of your diabetes management plan, add it to your breakfast routine. Please serve it with milk or yoghurt and top it with fresh fruit. You can also use it as a topping for oatmeal or yoghurt bowls. You can mix it into baked goods like muffins or cookies for an extra boost of nutrition.
For example, if you have diabetes and seek to consult a registered dietitian, one of your options can be HealthifyMe. It is a health and fitness tracking app that can help you plan healthy meals.
One way the app can help you plan healthy recipes for diabetes is by providing personalised recommendations based on your health profile and preferences. For example, if you have diabetes, the app can recommend muesli recipes that are low in sugar and rich in fibre to help manage your blood sugar levels.
Homemade muesli recipe that could be suitable for someone with type 2 diabetes:
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
- 1/2 cup chopped nuts (almonds, walnuts, or pecans)
- 1/4 cup unsweetened dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, or apricots)
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds
- 1/4 cup ground flaxseeds
- Mix the oats, coconut flakes, nuts, dried fruit, seeds, and flaxseeds in a large bowl.
- Store the muesli in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.
- To serve, mix 1/2 cup of the muesli with 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk or yoghurt. You can also add some fresh fruit if you like.
Here are a few healthy recipes that include muesli and are suitable for people with diabetes:
Muesli Breakfast Bowl
Combine 1/2 cup of muesli, 1/2 cup of unsweetened almond milk, and 1/2 cup of mixed berries in a bowl. If desired, top with chia seeds and a drizzle of honey.
Muesli Yogurt Parfait
Layer 1/2 cup of muesli, 1/2 cup of plain Greek yoghurt, and 1/2 cup of mixed berries in a jar or glass. Repeat the layers once more, then top with a sprinkle of nuts or seeds, if desired.
Muesli Breakfast Bars
Mix 1 cup of muesli, 1 cup of rolled oats, 1/2 cup of chopped nuts, and 1/2 cup of dried fruit. Press the mixture into a lined 8×8-inch baking dish and bake at 350°F for 20–25 minutes, until golden brown. Cut into bars and serve.
Combine 1/2 cup of muesli, one banana, 1/2 cup of unsweetened almond milk, and a handful of spinach in a blender. Blend until smooth, then serve.
HealthifyPRO Tip to Add Muesli to Your Diet for Diabetes
- Choose muesli made with whole grains, such as oats, barley, or quinoa. These grains provide more fibre and nutrients than refined grains.
- Look for muesli that is low in added sugars. Many commercial muesli blends contain added sugars or sweeteners. It can increase carbohydrate content and impact blood sugar levels.
- Add protein to your muesli to help balance out the carbohydrates. Nuts, seeds, and dairy products (such as yoghurt or milk) are good protein sources.
- Be mindful of portion size. Even healthy muesli can contribute to weight gain if eaten in large quantities.
- Mix up the ingredients in your muesli to add variety. Please ensure you get a range of nutrients. Try different types of nuts, seeds, and dried fruit to keep things interesting.
Muesli can be a healthy and convenient option for people with diabetes. But, it would help if you consumed it in moderation and combination with other healthy foods.
Muesli can be a nutritious addition to a diabetes-friendly diet. It is a good source of fibre. It can help slow the absorption of carbohydrates. As a result, it can improve blood sugar control. The oats in muesli are an excellent source of slow-release carbohydrates. It can help to regulate blood sugar levels. The nuts, seeds, and dried fruit in muesli also provide nutrients such as protein, healthy fats, and antioxidants. It can help improve insulin sensitivity.
It is important to note that muesli can still contain carbohydrates. Therefore, it can impact blood sugar levels. Consequently, it is a good idea for people with diabetes to monitor their portion sizes. So please choose muesli products that are lower in added sugars.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. Which muesli is best for diabetics?
A. When shopping for muesli as a person with diabetes, look for a product that is low in added sugars. Also, it should be high in fibre. Choosing a muesli made with whole grains is also a good idea. For example, oats, barley, or quinoa. These are higher in fibre and nutrients than refined grains,
Q. Is muesli high in sugar?
A. Muesli is a mixture of grains, nuts, and dried fruit. Some muesli brands may be high in sugar. It is always a good idea to check the nutrition label or ingredient list to determine the sugar content. Muesli, made with whole grains, nuts, and dried fruit without added sugars or sweeteners, is a healthier choice. It is also possible to make your muesli at home using a mixture of whole grains, nuts, and dried fruit. It allows you to control the sugar content.
Q. Can a prediabetic eat muesli?
A. Muesli can be a healthy choice for people with prediabetes. But you must consume it in moderation. Muesli is a cereal made from grains, nuts, seeds, and dried fruit. It is typically high in fibre and nutrients. As a result, it can help regulate blood sugar levels and improve overall health. It is also a good idea to pair muesli with a source of protein, such as milk or yoghurt. It can help slow the release of glucose into the bloodstream.
Q. Is muesli better than oats?
A. There is no definitive answer as to whether muesli is better than oats. Both can be part of a healthy diet and have unique nutritional profiles. Oats are a good source of fibre. It has several health benefits. These include improving blood sugar control and reducing the risk of heart disease. Muesli, made with various ingredients, can also be nutritious, depending on the specific ingredients used.
Q. Can I eat muesli if I have gestational diabetes?
A. If you have gestational diabetes, it is essential to follow a healthy eating plan. Muesli can be a part of a healthy eating plan for gestational diabetes. One must consume it in moderation and as part of a balanced diet. However, choosing a muesli low in added sugars and watching portions is crucial.
The Supporting Sources
1. 9th Edition of the IDF Diabetes Atlas, The International Diabetes Federation (IDF)
2. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
3. University of Rochester Medical Center
4. Whole Grains and diabetes, The British Diabetic Association operating as Diabetes UK
5. Chanson-Rolle A, Meynier A, Aubin F, Lappi J, Poutanen K, Vinoy S, Braesco V. Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Human Studies to Support a Quantitative Recommendation for Whole Grain Intake in Relation to Type 2 Diabetes. PLoS One. 2015 Jun 22;10(6):e0131377. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0131377. PMID: 26098118; PMCID: PMC4476805.