What Are Some Low Glycemic Cold Cereals?

Granola with berries for breakfast
Creating a low-glycemic grocery list makes shopping easier. (Image: Stitchik/iStock/Getty Images)

The glycemic index, or GI, is a ranking of carbohydrate foods on a scale of 0 to 100 based on how rapidly and dramatically each food raises your blood glucose. The GI scale has a variety of uses. Someone with diabetes may use the GI for meal planning to help manage his blood sugar. You may use the GI to determine acceptable foods if you're following a low GI diet for weight loss also. When it comes to breakfast, finding a low-glycemic cold breakfast cereal is challenging, but not impossible.

Using the Glycemic Index

Foods with a low glycemic index have a minimal effect on insulin secretion, which helps keep blood sugar levels stable. High glycemic foods spike insulin levels, which can cause blood sugar to rise sharply and then drop abruptly. Those wanting stable blood sugar levels commonly stick to foods low to moderate on the GI scale. When it comes to cold cereals, the large majority are moderate to high on the glycemic scale. Low glycemic foods have a GI of 55 or less.

Natural Muesli

You can find a wide variety muesli brands on the market. This cereal is made primarily of rolled oats and typically contains seeds, nuts and some dried fruits. Because it is made of oats, which are low-glycemic, muesli is a good low-glycemic cold breakfast cereal option. The glycemic index of muesli is about 40, according to the University of Sydney. Look for natural brands of muesli free of added sugar. Muesli containing added sugar is not low-glycemic

All-Bran Original

All-Bran is a high-fiber cereal made from wheat bran and manufactured by Kellogg's. The original variety contains roughly 6 grams of sugar per one-half-cup serving, according to the manufacturer's website. Because wheat bran is low-glycemic, cereals made from wheat bran such as bran flakes are typically low-glycemic as long as they contain minimal sugar. All-Bran has a glycemic index of 42, according to the University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics.

Special K Original

Special K original is another low-glycemic cereal manufactured by Kellogg's. It's comprised of lightly toasted flakes and made from wheat and rice. The ingredients include rice, wheat gluten, sugar and wheat germ, according to the nutrition label. Special K squeezes into the low-glycemic category with a GI of 54, according to the University of Wisconsin Health. The original variety contains about 4 grams of sugar per 1-cup serving. Other varieties of Special K may have a higher GI since they contain ingredients such as fruit and a bit more sugar.

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