Breakfast Cereals and Diabetes

Breakfast cereals are of course processed grains and high in carbohydrate.

The highly processed forms which are mashed, have the husks or skin removed (lowers fibre) and perhaps even have added sugar are certainly best avoided in general.

Many of the less processed cereals (like shredded wheat, weetabix and oats) although they have quick conversions to blood sugar are still worth considering and are thought to have benefits to the heart.


Note GI=Glycemic Index.

Lowering your Cereals GI

Consider mixing low GI seeds or nuts and dried or fresh fruit to your cereal. Mixing low and high GI foods in a meal, produces medium GI rated meal, this can slow down the rate sugar is absorbed into the blood and is quite healthy too.

There is a lot of choice some of my present favourites are sunflower seeds, apricots and prunes. Try buying a 500g pack its a lot better value than the 50g packs!

Low Fat Cereal?

Fat is present in cereals in only small quantities, so 'virtually fat free' is a rather meaningless claim for most. you could after all also claim a bowl of table sugar is virtually fat free but it doesn't make it a healthy food!

Muesli with added nuts is the exception to this but the fat in the nuts added to muesli is mostly unsaturated fat and not unhealthy in reasonable quantities.

Skimmed/Semi Skimmed Milk

While cereals are low fat, the overall meal will have a moderate amount of saturated fat if you use whole fat milk. Recommendations are to use skimmed or semi-skimmed milk or even low fat yogurt to reduce the amount of saturated fat.

If you use low fat yoghurt. To avoid increasing the overall sugar content of the meal, choose low fat yoghurts with no more than 5% total sugar.

Breakfast Bars

Breakfast Bars or Cereal Bars are often sold as a quick breakfast alternative or anytime snack. Can be high in fat and sugar - avoid or at least check the ingredients.
Breakfast CerealSugar Absorption RateNotes
All Bran
Very high in Fibre.
Corn Flakes
Corn Flakes
Reduce or use only in small quantities as it is highly processed and very quickly converted to blood sugar.
MuesliQuick to Medium
Quite a variety of different recipes. The 'luxury' brands tend to have more sugar and also vegetable fat in the form of nuts.

Check the sugar content and avoid those with high amounts of added table sugar rather than dried fruits.

Rice CrispiesQuick
Reduce or use only in small quantities as it is highly processed and very quickly converted to blood sugar.
Porridge (Oats)
Oats are high in Soluble Fibre and can help reduce cholesterol levels.

My choice with added apricots and nuts/seeds.

Bite Sized Shredded Wheat
Shredded Wheat
Shredded Wheat have no added sugar unlike many cereals.

Fairly high in fibre and whole grain thought to help keep the heart healthy. Both bite sized and larger versions have the same ingredients.

Special KMedium 
Very similar ingredients to Shredded Wheat and thought to help keep the heart healthy.