Can You Eat Grits If You Have Diabetes?
The question was asked in the comments section of a recent post I wrote: “What are your thoughts on can you eat grits if you have diabetes?”
Some of my readers were very interested in this topic, so I decided to write an article about it. Let’s start with some background information.
Grits are small flat breads made from flour, water and salt. They’re usually eaten with butter or margarine. Most types of grits contain wheat gluten, which makes them high in carbohydrates and calories.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), one cup of whole grain white rice contains only 40 calories while two cups of cooked oats provide nearly 100 calories per serving!
A cup of cooked white rice provides almost 100 calories per serving! White potatoes are low in carbs and fat, but they do contain gluten. One medium potato provides just over 20 calories per serving.
A single large baked sweet potato contains about 70 calories. These foods are not recommended for diabetics because they tend to provide too many nutrients at once, causing blood sugar spikes and crashes that cause complications such as weight gain and heart disease.
The other concern is the method in which grits are prepared. Grits are typically eaten for breakfast, so many people eat them with eggs and bacon. This can be a very high-calorie meal that causes blood sugar to spike and then crash, which can cause a diabetic to become very hungry again soon after eating.
The reason some people are concerned about grits is because it’s a type of grain that is not supposed to be eaten when you have diabetes. Grains contain a large amount of carbohydrates, which turn to sugar in the body and raise your blood sugar level.
Gluten-free, wheat-free, low-carb grits are not as easy to find as some other types of food. Most grocery stores carry quick grits and old-fashioned grits, but the quick variety is usually enriched with vitamins and minerals. Look for the word “enriched” on the box.
This means that the vitamins have been added after processing, so they’re not as nutritious as the old-fashioned type.
The box will also probably say “part of a heart healthy diet.” These types of grits are just as high in fat and calories as regular grits, but they do contain some B vitamins and iron. The old-fashioned kind are not enriched and do not have added vitamins and minerals.
They’re often referred to as “integrity grits.”
You can buy pre-cooked grits in a can, but they’re very high in salt. Most of the time you’ll find that pre-cooked grits are instant and already mixed with butter and cheese for flavor. These are definitely not recommended if you are watching your weight or trying to keep your blood sugar levels normal.
When you buy grits in bulk, make sure you store them properly so they don’t go bad. The grains can become contaminated easily, so be sure to buy grits from a store you trust to sell quality products. Whole grain grits will remain fresh for about one year if you store them in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.
You can prepare some types of grits in the microwave by adding one part water to one part grits. For one serving, add about a quarter cup of water to the grits and stir. If you like your grits with a little more liquid, add a little more water.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and microwave on high for about 90 seconds. Let stand for a few minutes, then stir and serve.
You can also prepare grits on the stove top. Bring four cups of water to a boil, then slowly whisk in the grits. Cook and stir until the mixture is thickened, about five minutes.
Reduce heat and let simmer for five more minutes, stirring often. Salt to taste and serve immediately.
Sources & references used in this article:
God, guns, grits, and gravy by M Huckabee – 2015 – books.google.com
Physical properties of extruded corn grits with corn fibre by CO2 injection extrusion by YY Wang, GH Ryu – Journal of Food Engineering, 2013 – Elsevier
Extrusion processing for pre-sweetened noodle grits for the preparation of ready-to-prepare kheer: Stability of added intense sweeteners by AM Bawane, RS Singhal – LWT, 2019 – Elsevier