Why should I eat whole grain foods if I have diabetes?

Jessica Crandall
Nutrition & Dietetics

Whole grains are packed with vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and fiber with helps keep you full longer! Since your blood glucose levels are dependent on the types of carbohydrates you eat, make sure that when you eat them, they count and last you a long time.

Some types of whole grains (they say whole grain as the first thing on the label) are: Bulgur, Brown Rice, Whole Rye, Whole Grain Barley, Wild Rice, Buckwheat, Millet, Quinoa and Sorghum. 

Amy Campbell
Endocrinology Diabetes & Metabolism

In addition to providing vitamins, minerals and fiber, whole grain foods are a source of carbohydrate in your eating plan. You need carbohydrate for energy. However, unlike refined grain foods, such as white bread or white pasta, whole grain foods are less likely to cause your blood glucose to "spike up" quickly after a meal. Instead, your blood glucose may rise more gradually and maybe not as much. Whole grain foods may also keep you feeling fuller, longer, so that you eat less, overall. You can find whole grain foods by reading the ingredient list: the first ingredient should be some type of whole grain, such as whole wheat, stoneground whole wheat, oats or brown rice.

It's the germ and bran of the whole grain you're after. It contains all the nutrients a grain product has to offer. When you purchase processed grains like bread made from enriched wheat flour, you don't get these. A few more of the nutrients these foods offer are magnesium, chromium, omega 3 fatty acids, and folate. Pearled barley and oatmeal are a source of fiber and potassium.

Continue Learning about Diabetes


Diabetes mellitus (MEL-ih-tus), often referred to as diabetes, is characterized by high blood glucose (sugar) levels that result from the body’s inability to produce enough insulin and/or effectively utilize the insulin. Diabetes ...

is a serious, life-long condition and the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Diabetes is a disorder of metabolism (the body's way of digesting food and converting it into energy). There are three forms of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that accounts for five- to 10-percent of all diagnosed cases of diabetes. Type 2 diabetes may account for 90- to 95-percent of all diagnosed cases. The third type of diabetes occurs in pregnancy and is referred to as gestational diabetes. Left untreated, gestational diabetes can cause health issues for pregnant women and their babies. People with diabetes can take preventive steps to control this disease and decrease the risk of further complications.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.