Can You Eat Grits If You Have Diabetes?

Can You Eat Grits If You Have Diabetes?

Grits are a creamy, thick porridge made from dried, ground corn that’s cooked with hot water, milk, or broth.

They’re widely consumed in the Southern United States and typically served with breakfast.

Since grits are high in carbs, you may wonder if they’re acceptable for a diabetes-friendly diet.

This article tells you whether you can eat grits if you have diabetes.

Very high in carbs
Grits are made from corn, a starchy vegetable, and are thus high in carbs. One cup (242 grams) of cooked grits packs 24 grams of carbs (1).

During digestion, carbs break down into sugars that enter your blood.

The hormone insulin then removes these sugars so that they can be used for energy. However, people with diabetes do not produce or respond well to insulin and may experience potentially dangerous blood sugar spikes after eating lots of carbs (2Trusted Source).

As such, they’re advised to limit large portions of high-carb foods and aim for meals that balance all three macronutrients — carbs, protein, and fat.

That said, you can still eat grits if you have diabetes — but you should keep portions small and load up on other healthful foods to limit their effect on your blood sugar.

SUMMARY
Since grits are made from corn, they’re high in carbs and can raise blood sugar. However, they’re not completely off-limits for people with diabetes.

Processing methods affect blood sugar
The way that grits are processed also affects your blood sugar.

Grits products differ in their amounts of fiber, an indigestible carb that passes through your body slowly and helps lower blood sugar (3Trusted Source).

The more fibrous your grits, the healthier they are if you have diabetes.

Grits are available in several forms, including (4):

Stone-ground: made from coarsely ground kernels of whole corn
Hominy: ground from corn kernels soaked in an alkali solution to remove the outer shell
Quick, regular, or instant: ground from kernels processed to remove both the outer shell and germ, a nutrient-rich part of a corn kernel
Since the outer shell is a major source of fiber in the corn kernel, stone-ground grits tend to contain more fiber than more processed varieties, such as regular or instant (1, 4).

As a result, stone-ground grits are likely the best choice for people with diabetes, since they may not increase blood sugar as much as other types.

However, quick, regular, or instant grits are the most widely available varieties outside of the Southern United States.

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