Steel Cut Oats and the Glycemic Index

Steel cut oats not only provide many nutrients beneficial to one’s body, there’s also another reason that they can aid in fat loss and general improvement in body composition. Enter the glycemic index.

Anyone serious about nutrition and looking their best should be aware of the glycemic index. The glycemic index is basically a ranking of carbs based on their effect on blood sugar levels. Carbs that break down quickly will have a higher GI, causing blood sugar to spike. On the flip-side, carbohydrates that break down slowly will have a lower GI, gradually entering the blood stream and avoiding that dreaded blood sugar spike.

These quick spikes in blood sugar levels lead to fat storage, obviously an unwanted byproduct. Eating steel cut oatmeal and other low GI foods will help keep blood sugar levels stable, decreasing fat storage and increasing the body’s sensitivity to insulin.

There are many other benefits to maintaining a low GI diet. Diets consisting of mostly high GI foods have been linked to heart disease, high blood pressure, strokes, diabetes and even cancer. In addition, low GI foods will help with satiety and can even improve physical endurance, especially important for athletes.

Foods under 60 on the glycemic index would be considered low GI. Steel cut oats rate 42 on the glycemic index, old fashioned rolled oats ranking in at 50. In addition to steel cut oats, whole grain breads, veggies and most fruits are relatively low on the glycemic Index.

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I think I will try to recommend this post to my friends and family, cuz it’s really helpful.

I tried steel cut oats this morning - my blood glucose was 6.2 just before eating them - at 1 hour after eating it was at 10.9 (which disappointed me as I am looking for a breakfast that won’t spike and pinhead oats are sold as Low GI), 2 hours after however I was at 5.0 - which was good.

Any ideas why it spiked instead of slowly releasing the sugars?

Thanks in advance


I am assuming that you used brown sugar, banana, table (white) sugar, or something else in your oatmeal to sweeten it up (besides non-sugar sweeteners… Splenda, Stevia, etc.) since steel-cut oats can be quite bland without anything added. Also, did you drink orange/apple or some other fruit juice with it? That could explain the elevation. Even so, the steel-cut oats would lessen the spike than pure sugar alone.

If you are diabetic or insulin resistant and concerned about your glucose spiking, I recommend you look into possible supplementation with magnesium citrate or chelate, chromium picolinate, vanadyl sulfate (vanadium), and some zinc. These minerals are all needed to manufacture sufficient insulin to utilize glucose and increase tissue sensitivity to insulin your pancreas makes. Lastly, you could try adding cinnamon to foods such as your oatmeal to reduce sugar spikes even more.

I hope this information helps.

James what do you use to check your blood sugar levels, I’m new to this….I would really like to know what my levels are…is their a machine I can by a drug store? I’m recently diagonised with Hypothyroid and I’ve been really staying on a low GI diet. Thank you, Pam

I just signed up to your blogs rss feed. Will you post more on this subject?

James! I’m glad you reccomend cinnamon to this person because most people do not know the use of cinnamon. I use it in just about everything it taste good with especially in my oatmeal.


I need the recipe to just cook the oats to have for breakfast

Hi Jeanette — there are at least several ways to cook them; depending on how soupy or grainy (for lack of a better word) you like your oats, you may like my way. I MUCH prefer to eat them grainy. It’s not like clumpy rolled oats at all — something a bit more like millett or rice. (note: “more like”, not really “like” like). And almost instant.

Night before: put 1/4 cup steel cut oats in a half cup of water into a pot and put the lid on. Soaking it over night makes it cook super fast. Put on medium heat, stir just to be sure it’s not sticking to the bottom (if the heat’s too high it will). When the water is absorbed, it’s done.

For steel cut oats a ratio of 3 to 1 water to oats works well.
I use about 1/8 teaspoon of salt (oats are pretty bland otherwise)and a healthy sprinkle of cinnamon (which is reputed to help control BG) because it tastes good (IMO). Chop up some dried apples (add a little extra water)for a real taste treat. I sometimes also use raisins either with or without the apples. Go easy on the raisins as they are farther up the GI than apples. Bring your water to a boil, add the other ingredients all at once, stir, bring to a boil again, cover, reduce heat to very low and let simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or more. You are close to done when all the water is absorbed. Remove from heat, let stand until cool enough to eat. Add milk and enjoy. Sweetener not needed in my opinion.

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