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Raisin Bran and insulin resistance

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This may be a better question for my doctor, but...I usually have a bowl (1 measured cup) of Kellogg's Double Fiber Raisin Bran with a half cup skim milk for breakfast.  It has 7g fiber and 19g sugar (total 45 carbs).  I suffer from PCOS and thus I am now prediabetic.  So my question to you (if you are diabetic or have PCOS) is this:  Is this too much sugar for me to handle?   Is this a bad food for me to be eating?  What should I do instead?  Thanks!
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I'd never eat that stuff if I have diabetes. Depending on the brand, there are 2 or 3 different types of sugar added to the cereal.

Plain Oatmeal is probably a better choice because there's no added sugar, but you should ask your doctor or nutritionist.

I'm certainly not a doctor, but my stepdad is insulin resistant (not quite diabetic yet) and his nutritionist recently told him to absolutely get rid of the Raisin Bran. If you are good at portion control, maybe it would be okay.

My husband was diagnosed with Type II diabetes this past summer.  We found this out because while we were on vacation, he was very fatigued and was drinking literally gallons of water.  Then we went to a movie and he asked me if it seemed a little out of focus.  A week later his eyesight had gotten so bad he couldn't see clearly past about 6 feet.

My hubby is a BIG man (6'4", 300 pounds) and his endoncrinologist (as in MEDICAL DOCTOR, not a nutritionist) says he can have 275 grams of carbohydrates per day.  Obviously, if you suffer from diabetes, you should see a specialist to help you to determine your recommended allowance.  Of course, we try to get the best nutritional value for those allotted grams that we can.  So he doesn't eat much refined sugar, mainly going for more complex carbs, but occasionally he will have some Raisin Bran.

Go to the American Diabetes Association website (www. and read read read.  There is so much valuable information there.  Or talk to your doctor.  Do not rely solely (or perhaps at all) on what your friends or online buddies tell you, based on past experiences, their relatives, some guy they used to work with, etc.  There have been a LOT of changes in diabetes management in the past 10 years ... especially the rethinking of some old "hard and fast" rules (such as no bread, no potatoes, etc ... )

From living with a diabetic and educating ourselves, we have come to find out that WHAT he eats is probably only #3 in order of importance.  I would say PORTION CONTROL is #1, followed by exercise.

I am prediabetic too, and I steer clear of cereals in general, though I will eat something like FiberOne or GoLean as a snack - along with nuts - in the afternoon, usually after a run when I need the carbs. But first thing in the morning... no.  I suspect that Raisin Bran has added sugar, on top of the sugar in the raisins. 

I also find I cannot even eat sugar-free oatmeal! It was my fav for awhile, until I figured out that it was the culprit behind my post-run sugar shakes. And pancakes... are the absolute worst. Like heroine or crack for me!

I have better luck having some protein at breakfast. Such as eggs. Or a slice of whole wheat bread with cheese melted on top. Or one of my usuals during the week is a smoothie with nonfat, plain yogurt, blueberries, banana and flax seed. That does have natural sugar in it from the fruit, but for some reason, I can tolerate this far better than cereal, pancakes, oatmeal.
Jenmcc: can you explain that in more details? I am very curious. " until I figured out that it was the culprit behind my post-run sugar shakes. And pancakes... are the absolute worst. Like heroine or crack for me! "
Nov 30 2007 20:33
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p_fagan, I had a repeated high fasting blood glucose reading last January (180 as I recall), and my doctor diagnosed diabetes.  One of my doctor's question was "What did you do to junk up your diet?"  My first thought was breakfast, where I was eating a bowlful of Raisin Bran or Frosted MiniWheats every morning.  Probably a cup and a half portion, with 1% milk and some fruit and a tsp of sugar.  His reaction was "You'd be better off eating a slice of toast with peanut butter".  I took his advice, and also started counting calories.  Within two weeks my blood glucose readings were in the 100-120 range.

Was the cereal the main cause?  At this point I'm not sure, but it was one of the causes.  I was overeating in general and not watching carbs at all.  I've lost a lot of weight since January, and now have gone back to eating carbs I cut out, without getting high blood glucose readings.  If you're obese (BMI over 30), I think that the cereal could definitely throw you over the edge - but so could other forms of overeating.  When I cut out the cereal, I also cut out daily big lunches, junk food, and snacks at Whole Foods.

It's ironic that I too noticed that Raisin Bran is very high in fiber and loaded with vitamins.  Before the high blood sugar tests I was convinced that eating it was the healthy thing to do, because it helped me control cholesterol. 

As others have suggested, do ask a doctor or nutritionist.

Personally, I do better with oatmeal and plain yogurt than any dry or hot cereal with milk. Other combinations that work for me are an egg and toast or something like the peanut butter on toast mentioned above

Safina, back about a year ago, I would eat unsweetened oatmeal with soy milk, flax seed, and blueberries for breakfast. Then mid-morning I'd go out for a walk, usually about an hour or more. I started having problems, about 30-45 minutes into my walk, I'd start shaking uncontrollably, feel dizzy and weak and a little nauseated. I would go from feeling fine to feeling ravenously hungry and like I absolutely had to eat something NOW, or else faint.

The first few times this happened, I'd curb my walk and get home as fast as I could, and stuff my face with nuts or peanut butter. Within minutes after eating, I'd be okay again. But it kept happening, so I started carrying along an energy bar for emergencies.

I couldn't figure it out ... I thought oatmeal - the unsweetened kind - was supposed to be good - all that fiber. Plus the fiber in the flax seed too! I used to be vegetarian in my 20s and early 30s and subsisted on whole grains, which back then did seem to regulate my insulin okay (these sugar-shakes are something I've dealt with on and off since my 20s, before I cleaned up my act, diet-wise, and stopped eating refined sugary stuff and simple carbs).

As an experiment, I switched to drinking smoothies for breakfast, and this hasn't happened since. So I suspect it was the oatmeal, I could be wrong though.

As for pancakes, whenever I eat them (unless they are whole grain and loaded with nuts or served with a side of ham or bacon), within an hour my blood sugar dips and I get that shaky dizzy nauseated frantic I must EAT protein feeling!!! It's the combo of simple carbs, not enough protein, and syruuuuppppp... all on an empty tummy.

I get the same exact reaction if I eat birthday cake or cookies or other sweets on an empty tummy. I only ever eat such goodies after I've had a full meal, and then only in moderation.
jenmcc: you are describing something I have been through for about a month. I used to eat plain oatmeal and it doesn't fill me up. after two hours, I hurry to eat cookies and junk food.

despite all the sugary food I have had, my blood test came and my sugar level is a bit low ( borderline). the doctor said it is ok.

How do you make your smoothie? do you drink a cup of a cup and half? maybe I should try that. but smoothies are made of fruits and full of sugar. how come they fill you up more than the oatmeal?
I make my smoothie with one cup plain nonfat yogurt, 1/2 cup frozen unsweetened blueberries, one banana, and a TB of flax seed. No added sugar, no juice, nothing (juice is another thing I can't tolerate well). I approximate the berries - just dump them in until it looks right. And also the yogurt, to tell the truth. Sometimes the whole thing might come to two cups. Usually more like 1-1/2 cup.

I have no idea why I can tolerate this, but not the oatmeal!

I just ran an analysis:

The oatmeal brekkie is 40 g carb, 6 g fiber, 12 g protein

The smoothie is 60 g carb, 11 g fiber, and 13 g protein.

So I guess it's not the protein, although I did that analysis based on 1 cup soy milk in the oatmeal, but the truth is, it probably doesn't take a full cup to make oatmeal!

The smoothie has more fiber, that's for sure. But then again, I don't always make it with flax seed, which brings it more in line with the oatmeal.

The smoothie does have more carbs, but it also has a second serving of fruit, and the carbs come from milk lactose, not grains. I think that's the key. But I'm no expert.

It could also simply be that I got fitter. Exercise helps control insulin too. I should experiment and see what happens now, a year later.

I will say that the best breakfast of all features eggs!!! Unfortunately I am too lazy in the morning to make them, and often all I can tolerate is something drinkable. :-)
Thanks Jenmcc. I will try that and see. Maybe it will help with the hunger strikes.
Safina, a quick search turned up this: /287/16/2081

JAMA article on research study that determined there was an inverse relationship between dairy use and insulin resistance syndrome. In other words, dairy may somehow provide some protection against it.

Interesting. I guess it's really true, a carb is not just a carb... veggies, fruit, dairy are carbs but the body must handle them differently. As for me, it's definetly the starchy carbs I have trouble with. Pasta, bread, rice, etc. I used to be fine eating whole grains, but even those i seem to be somewhat sensitive to these days.

EDIT: This is really intriguing to think about. Because I never really liked or drank milk. It's only been recently that I've been striving to up my dairy intake - but for protection against osteoporosis. I still loathe milk (makes my stomach too gassy and upset), but I eat yogurt for brekkie and cheese at lunch nearly every day now.

try adding oat bran to your morning cereal, its soluble fibre which effectively lowers the glycemic index of whatever cereal you're eating.

insoluble fibre on the other hand, has no such effect.

im hypoglycemic, and have found the difference between soluble & insoluble fibre quite significant with regards to what i call my "post-meal hypoglycemia" :) ;

the reason dairy helps with insulin resistance is:

1. because its ratio of fats:carbs:proteins is PERFECT for our diets- low fat milk provides 26% cals from fat, 54 from carbs and 20 from protein- this means there's no sudden carb overload, the glucose enters your system slower, and when it does there is an adequate amount of free fatty acids and amino acids entering at the same time; hence the liver is not overwhelmed with glucose to convert to glycogen, it must balance glycogenesis with processing the FA and AA.

2. the primary sugar in milk is galactose, which has a GI of around 20 only. (galactose and glucose together make lactose)

Dec 01 2007 12:05
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Despite what you say, milk is a big carb source (glucose or galactose), as much or more than the Raisin Bran itself.  I blame liquid milk at least in part for my high blood glucose, and have stayed away from drinking much of it for the last year.  I have substituted other dairy products with reduced carbs and lower GI, such as cheese (where nearly all the carbohydrate has been removed with the whey) and unsweetened yogurt (where a good part of the carbohydrate has been converted to lactic acid).
Original Post by thhq:

Despite what you say, milk is a big carb source (glucose or galactose), as much or more than the Raisin Bran itself. 
But carbohydrates are NOT OFF LIMITS for diabetics!  Everyone has to have them to function, but people who suffer from diabetes must be more careful in their choices.  For example, the carbs in a cup of skim milk are not going to affect the blood sugar the way carbs from ... oh, Betty Crocker Ready-to-Spread frosting would.
Original Post by stellajo:

Original Post by thhq:

Despite what you say, milk is a big carb source (glucose or galactose), as much or more than the Raisin Bran itself.
But carbohydrates are NOT OFF LIMITS for diabetics! Everyone has to have them to function, but people who suffer from diabetes must be more careful in their choices. For example, the carbs in a cup of skim milk are not going to affect the blood sugar the way carbs from ... oh, Betty Crocker Ready-to-Spread frosting would.

 exactly. its WHAT carbs you choose. and there's a big difference between the carbs- glucose has a GI of 80 vs galactose of around 20. there's no comparison.

im hypoglycemic, and my dietician has repeatedly told me that low-fat dairy is one of the best foods to maintain a stable blood sugar level; it really works.

Dec 01 2007 18:09
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Good points about galactose, but milk is still 30-40 GI, mainly because of the glucose.  Unsweetened yogurt is below 20 and cheese 10 or less.  Milk's carbs are not as high GI as what you get from the cereal starch or the raisins (which are basically straight glucose, with a little fiber added), but they are a significant part of the total carbs in a bowl of cereal.  I'm only saying that if you're concerned about driving blood glucose down, there are lower GI carb sources than milk.  My low GI alternative to Raisin Bran with milk and sugar has been toast & peanut butter, plus unsweetened yogurt mixed with low GI fruit (berries or dried apricots) and a few walnuts, plus some cottage cheese or an egg.
Interesting! Question: what is the GI for oatmeal? I was eating the unsweetened kind ... it is technically "instant" ... from Erewohn. I believe it had oat bran added into it too.. not sure now, it was awhile ago since I had it last. But I remember picking it over the other brands because it had the highest amount of fiber and least number of ingredients.

Obviously the instant, overprocessed kind that is loaded with added sugar is going to be crappy. And that whole steel rolled oats made the old-fashioned way (i.e., not in the microwave) are going to have a lower GI. Just curious what GI this type I was eating might've been, compared to the yogurt?
Dec 01 2007 18:17
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Quote  |  Reply does not list oatmeal by itself.  I'd guess it's in the 50-60 range, like a lot of starchy grains.  Maybe someone else has a source for GI information.

Being that they're New Zealanders, they list it as porridge.  And of course, there is no single number, because GI varys a lot from test to test.  I see a range, from 42 to 75, depending on which oats were used. 
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