Oats: Steel cut or Rolled?


Steel cut oats healthier than rolled oats?

In terms of nutrition, they both are pretty much the same. They are whole grains, derived from oat-groats, the raw oat kernels good for heart and overall health.

Both are good sources of fibre. They have identical calories and protein for equal-size serving weights. Their biggest difference is the way in which they are processed.

The oat groats chopped into 2 to 3 pieces with a sharp blade is called the steel-cut oats (pinhead oats) or Irish oatmeal (coarse oat meal).  The traditional stone-ground oats, called Scottish oatmeal are bits and pieces of various sizes. Both have a nutty flavor & chewier in texture and low in GI.  They take about 20-30 minutes to cook and also takes longer time to digest that makes you feel fuller when compared to the same portion of rolled oats.

Rolled oats are oat groats, steamed and rolled into thin flakes that enhances the shelf life and gets cooked in 3-5 minutes.

The quick and the instant rolled oats are steamed longer and rolled into very thin flakes to cook faster, instantly. Instant flavored oatmeal can be loaded with sugar, so it is wise to read the label before adding to your cart.

If you are watching your weight, the chewier textured steel-cut or stone-ground oats smart breakfast will promote a greater sense of fullness that will sustain you until lunchtime. Eating breakfast will boost alertness and concentration and help reduce the cholesterol control.

Health benefits of Oats:

  • Boost nutrition profile of gluten-free diets
  • Increase appetite-control hormones
  • Beta-glucan in oats improve immune system
  • A powerful laxative
  • Help reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes
  • Improve insulin sensitivity
  • Help reduce blood cholesterol
  • Help control blood pressure

Oats cookie

Baked Oatmeal (Source: Mayo Clinic)

Serves 8


  1. 1 tablespoon canola oil
  2. 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  3. 1/3 cup brown sugar
  4. Egg substitute equivalent to 2 eggs, or 4 egg whites
  5. 3 cups uncooked rolled oats
  6. 2 teaspoons baking powder
  7. 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  8. 1 cup skim milk


In a good-sized bowl, stir together oil, applesauce, sugar and eggs. Add dry ingredients and milk. Mix well.

Spray a 9-by-13 baking pan generously with cooking spray. Spoon oatmeal mixture into pan. Bake uncovered at 350° F / 188° C for 30 minutes.

Nutritional analysis per serving

  • Calories 196
  • Total carbohydrate 33 g
  • Sugars 8.5 g
  • Protein 7 g
  • Total fat 4 g
  • Saturated fat 0.5 g
  • Monounsaturated fat 2 g
  • Cholesterol 0.5 mg
  • Dietary fibre 3 g
  • Sodium 105 mg

Oats a complete pre-workout food for those who hit the gym in the morning. It keeps you satiated for longer time by slowly releasing the sugar into the  blood stream. Top your oatmeal with  berries and nuts for additional nutrients to balance the energy.










An Attractive Sweetener

Many people swap honey for sugar, considering it healthier just because it is natural. Actually, it isn’t true.

Can you believe that one tablespoon of honey (21g) gives 64 calories when compared to a tablespoon of sugar (white, granulated) gives 48 calories?


Table sugar (sucrose) is composed of 50% fructose and 50% glucose. Like sugar, honey also contains glucose and fructose (fruit sugar).  Honey is composed of 39% fructose, 31% glucose when compared to sucrose. In addition it also contains water.

Honey contains trace amounts of B vitamins and minerals like, calcium, copper, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, iron and zinc. It also contains anti-oxidants and natural enzymes. Antioxidants mop up the free radicals and the enzyme speeds the rate of chemical process in the body. The enzymes in the honey help divide the glucose and fructose that are directly absorbed by the body. Fruits & vegetables, in general, are other natural and easy sources of antioxidants and enzymes.

Unlike glucose honey does not cause insulin to be released or stimulate the production of the hormone leptin that regulates energy intake and expenditure. The GI of honey is moderate 55±5  (Fructose GI -25) when compared to GI of sugar which is 68±5 (Glucose GI – 100)   that is considered higher.  A carbohydrate food with high GI causes a rapid increase in blood sugar than a low GI food.

Honey has a higher density and weight than sugar that contributes to higher amount of calories per tablespoon! For gram to gram, honey- the amazing ingredient, is more fattening than table sugar! So, use it wisely.

Honey has higher sweetening power than sugar, for it is high in fructose. This obviously means that you can use less honey than sugar to reach the desired sweetness.

While substituting honey for sugar in your recipes, use 1 part of honey for every 1¼ of part of sugar. Honey has the tendency to increase the browning of baked product. Reducing oven temperatures by 25 degree helps prevent the browning.

Honey is considered a good remedy for the physical as well as the mental fatigue. It is athlete friendly and can be turned into quick energy in the body. It provides strength and energy and instantly boost the performance and endurance in athletes.  Exercise consumes lot of sugar from the body that need to be replaced quickly. A beverage with honey can quickly replace the sugar loss.

Honey has no side effects. Instead, has a natural and gentle laxative effect!

Ultimately, whether honey could help you lose weight or not, is in your hands. Honey is counted as sugar. According to American Heart Association, women should limit added sugars to 100 calories (6 tsp) and men 150 calories (9 tsp).

Honey, an attractive sweetener!

Honey Bee

Nectar a sugar-rich liquid produced by flowers of various plants, are gathered by bees for making honey.








Wild & Precious : Low in Calorie!

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Can diabetics eat pumpkin……….?

Sure, why not?

Is pumpkin low in carbs…………..?

Yes. It is low in carbohydrate. It is one of the best plant food in the world, for the pumpkin is chock-full of nutrients!

Pumpkin offers protein, complex carbohydrates, potassium, iron and vitamin A.

This bright orange vegetable is loaded with betacarotene, the precursor to vitamin A. Beta carotene is an antioxidant that protects cells from damage caused by free radicals. Carrot, sweet potato, spinach, swiss chard, sweet bell pepper, lettuce, tomatoes, cantaloupe, mango are the other good sources of beta carotene. The principal function of vitamin A is in the visual process where it promotes good vision. It also helps form and maintain healthy skin, teeth, skeletal and soft tissue, mucus membranes and skin. Retinol is another name for vitamin A, for it produces the pigments in the retina of the eyes! The best source of vitamin A are the carotenoids from fruits and vegetables.

Pumpkin is a good source of potassium. Along with calcium, the bone mineral and magnesium, potassium plays a major role in cardiovascular health. Potassium helps the body to excrete excess sodium and at the same time helps increase the calcium retention which prevents the magnesium loss! This intimate relationship between calcium, potassium and magnesium is important for many of the vital bodily functions! Having variety of bright colored fruits and vegetables, is the key.

Is pumpkin good for diabetics? A serious question asked by many diabetic patients! Many list this beautiful orange and plump pumpkin under starchy vegetables and tend to avoid consuming it! In fact, it is one of the best foods for diabetic patients. In moderate amount along with cereals and beans, you can reap the benefits of this wonderful pumpkin. For example, Quinoa, black bean and pumpkin soup is a filling meal with a healthy and nutritious ingredients!

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Pumpkin once boiled has the highest score of GI value as 75. But total carbohydrate is only 6-8%. Surprised!  Yes, the total carbohydrate in baked pumpkin is just only 6-8% when compared to the baked potato with 17%. It is obvious that the total carbohydrate (sugars and starch) in it will not have much effect on the blood glucose levels, provided if you could take the right-portion-size. Portion Size Matters!  The lower carb value that offsets the higher GI Value! Sounds great!

Canned pumpkin is high in carbohydrate that may elevate your blood sugar. So, always grab fresh pumpkin from the market.

The iron in pumpkin is non-heme, that requires sufficient amount of vitamin C to get absorbed. So, enjoy pumpkin with vitamin C rich fruits to enhance the absorption of iron.

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Pumpkin shows up in appetizers, soups, salad, bread, dessert, and savories. It always adds texture, color, and nutrition to the dish. In fact, pumpkin is a wonderful vegetable by itself in addition to being an adaptable ingredient in all savory dishes. Pumpkin soup made with pureed pumpkin and cream & spices yields roughly 150-180 calories per cup. The calorie value shoot up when high-calorie ingredients like cheddar cheese, butter and more cream are added to the soup! Ingredients added to the recipe also matters!

How about roasted salmon and pumpkin for dinner? Sounds great!

Pumpkin seeds also supply protein, minerals such as phosphorous, magnesium, iron, manganese, zinc, copper and vitamins: A, B1, B2, and B3. Like nuts pumpkin seeds too, a good source of  mono unsaturated fats!          2-3 tablespoons of seeds or nuts/day is recommended for obtaining their special health benefits.

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Pumpkin! Good for you!

To maintain a healthy body weight, enjoy the right portion of the food and of course the right amount of exercise, min.30 minutes, everyday!






Starch: The Culprit?

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Wheat, rice, corn, and potatoes provide the carbohydrates, most of the calories, for majority of humans on earth. We modern humans consume more glucose molecules than our prehistoric ancestors did!

The shift from hunter gatherer diet of meat & wild vegetation to, one, largely of starch, represents a profound change in the composition of the human diet. Yes, humans rely on starch as a major source of calories.

Obesity and diabetes have been around since humans started relying on starch for sustenance. Harvard researchers found that women who consumed diets high in starch and low in fiber had a two and a half fold increase in the risk of developing diabetes, compared with women whose diets were high in fiber and low in starch

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When blood sugar and insulin remains elevated or cycle- up & down rapidly, the body has trouble responding and over time, this could end something called insulin resistance. The main culprit is the starch like white rice, rice flakes, potatoes, pasta, cereals, baked goods with high Glycemic Index, GI!

Foods with high GI will raise your blood sugar levels rapidly to a very high levels. Foods that have a low GI value raise your blood sugar gradually and help regulate the sugar levels. Low GI foods are digested slowly that makes you feel fuller for longer.

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A diet high in rapidly absorbed carbohydrates and low in fiber is associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. White bread, Idli (a savory cake of South India) are high in GI.

Give up High GI food completely?

Of course not! Many people get benefit from having low GI foods, but it doesn’t mean that one should completely exclude other carbohydrates.

  • Not all the carbohydrates have the same effect in your body. Some carbohydrate foods will give a quick rise in blood sugar levels and some will have a slower effect. For example, refined products, oatmeal, white rice, white bread, more cooked or processed food, more ripen fruit are generally high in GI. They break down in the body faster and quickly raise the blood sugar levels! Soft-cooked pasta, mashed potato, are high in GI. So, avoid over cooking, any food!
  • Juice has a higher GI when compared to a whole fruit. The fiber and acids in fruit tend to lower the GI. Opt for a whole fruit rather than juice/drink.
  • More acidic the food, lower the GI. Sourdough bread is low in GI when compared to other varieties of bread.
  • Dried beans & legumes, most fruits, non-starchy vegetables, some starchy vegetables like sweet potato, jicama (Mexican turnip / doushu-Mandrin / mishirkhand-Hindi), whole wheat grain breads and cereals like barley, brown rice are considered low GI foods.
  • A low GI food is usually the preferred choice but a high GI sports drink is perfect during and after intense exercise.

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We eat foods in combination with other foods. American Diabetes Association recommends combining low GI foods with a high GI food to balance your sugar levels. When you combine High GI with low GI food, the final is a medium GI, a balanced meal!  A diabetes meal plan involves choosing foods that have a low or medium GI and low in saturated / trans fats.

You just need to “Balance” the GI! 

  • A teaspoon of peanut butter is high in GI and whole meal bread is low in GI. Combining these to food will give you a medium GI!
  • Half a bowl of cornflakes is high in GI and mixing it with milk that is low in GI will get you a medium GI breakfast meal! Embellish with fruits for additional nutrient value.
  • A bowl of white rice is naturally high in GI. Reducing it to a medium GI will not only prevent the insulin spike, it also keeps you feel full for a longer time. But How?  The answer is very simple. Replace 1/2 the bowl of rice with beans/meat and vegetables. You will get a medium GI dish with a pretty decent amount of protein, too!

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Different carbohydrate have different effects on blood sugar levels!

It is obvious that food high in GI will raise the blood-sugar more than a food with a medium or low GI. For example, let us compare 50 g of available carbohydrate in peas and white bread. Carbohydrate from peas will raise blood sugar, only, 47% of that from white bread.  Sounds interesting!

It is hard to know that glycemic index does not take into account the amount of carbohydrate in a food! But gone are the days when experts classified foods as good and bad based on the glycemic index, alone. There is a more useful rating system called Glycemic Load, that represents how much typical servings of different carbohydrates raise blood sugar and insulin demands. In simple terms, it is a ranking system that measures the amount of carbohydrates in a serving of food.

  • Popcorn, air popped has a high GI (72) but low in carbohydrate 6-8g/ cup. Thus popcorn (plain with little salt) would have an overall lower impact based on the serving size.
  • If you take more than the serving size, the blood glucose rockets upward and it will take longer time to get normal.
  • Puffed millet, like popcorn, is low in calorie ( 1/2 cup / 20 g of puffed millet gives only 70 kcal) and high in GI. Adding milk, a teaspoon of honey and nuts/fruits will help to enrich the protein/vitamin. A quick, healthy, and satisfying breakfast meal!
  • The serving size is the key towards meeting the nutritional goal


For glycemic index/Load value of commonly used items click- http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsweek/Glycemic_index_and_glycemic_load_for_100_foods.htm

You will be surprised to notice that an 80g of carrot will have the GI as low as 35 when comparded to 30g of white wheat flour bread with the GI as high as 71

The glycemic load numbers reflect the typical serving sizes that raises blood sugar.

FOOD Glycemic Index(glucose =100) Serving Size (grams) Glycemic Load per serving size
White wheat flour bread 71 30 10
Carrot, average 35 80 2

Foods with GL under 10 are considered low -GL foods and have a little impact on your blood sugar.

Foods with GL between 10 and 20 is considered moderate – GL foods with moderate impact on blood-sugar.

Foods with GL above 20 is considered high-GL foods that tend to cause blood sugar spikes

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In summary, replacing high GI food with low GI food will reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. These dietary changes can be achieved by replacing refined products and starchy vegetables like potatoes with whole-grains, vegetables & fruits, beans, lean meats, low-fat dairy products and nuts

Healthy meal planning involves choosing foods that have a low or medium GI. It is not only the low calorie or GI, but also the serving size should be considered while planning a meal. Serving size has a direct impact on GI! To maintain weight, eat less calories and be more active.


  • http://www.nutritionfoundation.org.nz
  • http://ginews.blogspot.sg/
  • Matthias B Schulze, Simin Liu, Eric B Rimm, JoAnn E Manson, Walter C Willett, and Frank B Hu, Glycemic index, glycemic load, and dietary fiber intake and incidence of type 2 diabetes in younger and middle-aged women, Am J Clin Nutr 2004;80:348
  • Simin Liu, Walter C Willett, Meir J Stampfer, Frank B Hu, Mary Franz, Laura Sampson, Charles H Hennekens, and JoAnn E Manson, A prospective study of dietary glycemic load, carbohydrate intake, and risk of coronary heart disease in US women Am J Clin Nutr June 2000 71: 1455-1461
  • Walter Willett, JoAnn Manson, and Simin Liu, Glycemic index, glycemic load, and risk of type 2 diabetes, Am J Clin Nutr July 2002 76: 1 2745-2805