There are many people in the U.S. that are affected daily by having type 2 diabetes or prediabetes. These conditions can create a lot of pain, frustration, and a sense of defeat. Thankfully, there are many ways to manage these diseases and make your life easier.
For those with diabetes or prediabetes, controlling blood sugar levels is oftentimes the main focus. This can be done through lifestyle changes like diet and exercise, as well as medication. If you’re someone who is in the process of making dietary changes to help lower your blood sugar, we’ve got you covered.
We talked to a few expert dietitians to learn more about helpful eating habits for those with diabetes. And according to them, one of the best breakfast habits you can have for lowering or managing your blood sugar is focusing on foods that are rich in soluble fiber.
Why you need fiber in your breakfast
According to Rachel Fine, RDN and owner of To The Pointe Nutrition, eating enough soluble fiber can help control your blood sugar levels in the morning.
“Oatmeal and whole-grain breakfast cereals are food sources with soluble fiber. When digested, soluble fibers create a gel-like substance that travels through the digestive tract, slowing down the overall utilization of sugar in the bloodstream,” says Fine. “This results in steadier and more sustained rises in blood glucose with a subsequent steady rise in serum insulin levels, ultimately leading to more controlled blood sugar levels and less blood sugar spikes throughout your morning.”
Along with eating plenty of fiber in the morning, some dietitians also suggest adding protein to this fiber-heavy meal to balance it out. According to Justine Chan, MHSc, RD, CDE, Certified Diabetes Educator based in Toronto, protein is crucial for lowering your blood sugar.
Adding protein to your breakfast
“Pairing carb-heavy breakfast foods with a source of protein helps your blood sugar because you don’t fill up on just carbs, and the meal is more slowly digested. When digestion is delayed, sugar enters your bloodstream more gradually, causing a lower blood sugar,” says Chan.
However, it’s important to note the type of protein that you’re eating. One study from 2016 found that although plant proteins can help a person’s blood glucose, too many animal proteins had the opposite effect and led to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.
Getting enough soluble fiber in your breakfast is a crucial component in lowering your blood sugar levels and preventing blood glucose spikes if you have diabetes. On top of that, adding a healthy source of plant protein into your breakfast can help balance your nutrients and keep you feeling full longer.