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The Best Breakfast Cereals for People With Diabetes

Written by Noelle

January 21, 2020

Breakfast cereals. On one hand, we love their crunch, their comfort, and the quick satisfaction they provide.

But most of them are full of sugar and processed carbs. As yummy as they are, none of these favorite cereals would be OK for someone with diabetes or prediabetes to eat regularly.

So you might think breakfast cereals are off limits for snacking and meals. But there are options, and some better than others. This article is going to cover the best ones, and why.

The quantity – how much you eat – is just as important as the brand of breakfast cereal.

Lucky Charms Vs. Trader Joe’s High Fiber Cereal Showdown

Let’s compare two cereals with roughly the same amount of net carbs (total carbs – fiber carbs), both of them coming in at roughly 14g of carbs.

14g of carbs for cereal is pretty good, because if you added 1 cup of milk at 12g, that would total 28g of net carbs for the cereal meal (or snack).

  • Trader Joe’s High Fiber Cereal (30g cereal, 23g carb, 9g fiber = 14g net carbs)
  • Lucky Charms (18g cereal, 14.7g carbs, 1.3g protein = 13.4 net carbs)
18g of Lucky Charms is a very small amount. It has 13.4g of net carbohydrate. If you add 1 cup of milk at 12g carbs you get a total of 13.4+12 = 25.4 g of carbs. 25g of carbs is a moderate amount of carbs to have at one meal and an important number to track if you are trying to prevent blood sugar spikes from any meal or snack.
18g of Lucky charms, or 13.4g net carbs, is equal to 5 tablespoons. Not very much at all. Most people eat a whole bowl of this cereal, not 5 spoonfulls.
The “normal” amount might be 4 times this amount, which would actually total 54g of net carbs. 54g of net carbs might be too much at any one meal and could cause blood sugar to rise too much*.
30g of Trader Joe’s High fiber cereal also has 14g of net carbs. It’s heavier than Lucky Charms, but takes up the same amount of volume. Note that even healthy cereals will have explosive levels of carbs if they are eaten in above the line quantities. Most bowls that people eat cereal out of are more than this 12 oz cup shown in this photo.

Now you see why it’s important to keep track of the quantity of the cereal you eat, because more cereal = more carbs

Keeping carb levels (and blood glucose levels) is a priority for most people with diabetes and pre-diabetes. So we put together a list of the best cereals.

In order to qualify for this list, the cereals had to be under 40g of net carbs including the milk.

The Best Cereals for Diabetes and Prediabetes Scored By Net Carbs

Top 5 picks for Best Cereals for Diabetes and Prediabetes -
Our Top 5 picks for Best Cereals for Diabetes and Prediabetes –
Fiber One, 1/2 cup25g carb14g** fiber11g net carb23g net carbs
All Bran, 1/2 cup23g carb10g fiber13g net carb25g net carbs w/milk
Trader Joes’ High Fiber Cereal, 2/3 cup23g carb9g fiber14g net carb26g net carbs w/milk
Kashi Go Lean, 1 cup32g carb10g fiber22g net carb34g net carbs w/milk
Nature’s Path Heritage Flakes, 1 cup31g carb7g fiber24g net carb36g net carbs w/milk

Well there you have it! 5 breakfast cereals, all under 40g of net carbs (including the milk at 12g of carbs).

Do you know of other cereals that should be on this list? Let us know in the comments.

*Opinion. Check with your doctor before making any dietary changes.

**Be careful adding fiber too fast to any diet. Most experts say it should be added gradually.

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