Is oats smoothie good for diabetes?

Oats are a nutritious whole grain that contain fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and more. Oats have a low glycemic index, meaning they do not spike blood sugar levels as much as many other grains. For this reason, oats are often recommended as a healthy food choice for people with diabetes. Oats smoothies made with unsweetened dairy or non-dairy milk, minimal added sweeteners, and other diabetic-friendly ingredients can be a great option for managing blood sugar levels. However, not all oats smoothies are created equal – some can contain added sugars and other ingredients that make them less ideal for diabetes. This article provides a detailed look at the benefits of oats and oats smoothies for diabetes, along with tips for making a diabetes-friendly oats smoothie.

Benefits of Oats for Diabetes

Here are some of the main reasons why oats are considered a smart choice for people with diabetes:

  • Low glycemic index – Steel cut and rolled oats have a glycemic index of 55 or less, which is considered low. This means they do not cause large spikes in blood sugar compared to many other grains.
  • High in soluble fiber – The type of fiber found in oats can help slow digestion and absorption of sugars, preventing blood sugar spikes.
  • May reduce insulin resistance – Eating oats regularly has been linked to reduced insulin resistance in people with type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome in some studies.
  • Provides steady energy – The complex carbs in oats break down more slowly, providing a steady source of energy rather than quick burning sugar from simple carbs.
  • Contains magnesium and chromium – These minerals play key roles in blood sugar control and insulin function.
  • Satisfying – Oats help control appetite and prevent overeating thanks to their fiber content.

The benefits of oats are strongest when they are consumed in minimally processed forms like steel cut oats or rolled oats. Instant oats tend to have a higher glycemic index.

Oats Smoothie Ingredients for Diabetes

When making an oats smoothie for diabetes, the specific ingredients matter. Here are some good options:

  • Unsweetened dairy or non-dairy milk – Low-fat milk, unsweetened almond milk, soy milk, or coconut milk work well as the liquid base.
  • Rolled or steel cut oats – Use 1/2 cup dry oats per smoothie.
  • Nuts – Add a tablespoon of nuts like almonds, walnuts, or pecans to increase protein and healthy fats.
  • Seeds – Chia seeds and flaxseeds add fiber, protein, and omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Berries – Use around 1/2 cup fresh or frozen berries like strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries to add antioxidants and fiber.
  • Banana – A half banana can provide potassium and fiber without excess sugar.
  • Peanut or almond butter – Adds protein, fiber, and healthy fats in moderation (1-2 tablespoons).
  • Cinnamon – Helps balance blood sugar and adds flavor without sugar.
  • Vanilla extract – Enhances flavor without carbohydrates.

Ingredients to Limit or Avoid

On the other hand, some ingredients commonly added to smoothies can spike blood sugar. It’s best to limit or avoid:

  • Fruit juice – Packed with simple sugars and lacks fiber.
  • Added sugars – Brown sugar, honey, maple syrup, etc.
  • Sweetened yogurts – Loaded with added sugar.
  • Sweetened milk alternatives – Many contain sugar.
  • Candy or chocolate – Chocolate chips, syrups, etc. add lots of sugar.
  • Large amounts of fruit – Berries are lower sugar, but limit other higher sugar fruits like mango.

Making a Diabetes-Friendly Oats Smoothie

Follow these tips to make an oats smoothie that won’t spike your blood sugar:

  • Use rolled or steel cut oats, not instant oats.
  • Choose unsweetened dairy or non-dairy milk.
  • Add nuts, seeds, peanut butter, and berries for extra nutrition.
  • Flavor with cinnamon, vanilla, ginger, cocoa powder, etc. instead of sugar.
  • Use minimal amounts of banana or other fruits.
  • Avoid fruit juices, sweetened yogurts, chocolate, etc.
  • Blend all ingredients together until smooth.
  • Drink shortly after making for best texture and flavor.

Sample Oats Smoothie Recipe for Diabetes

Here is a nutritious oats smoothie recipe optimized for blood sugar control:


  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup blueberries
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup ice


  1. Add all ingredients to a blender.
  2. Blend until smooth and creamy.
  3. Pour into a glass and enjoy!

This smoothie contains heart-healthy fats, fiber, protein and antioxidants to help manage blood sugar. The small amount of banana and blueberries provide potassium and flavor without spiking blood glucose levels.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving
Calories: 350
Total Carbs: 51g
Fiber: 8g
Sugars: 16g
Protein: 11g
Fat: 16g

Potential Benefits of Oats Smoothies for Diabetes

Research suggests oats smoothies could offer several advantages for people with diabetes when made properly:

  • Better post-meal blood sugar – Oats digest slowly, resulting in a lower and steadier rise in blood sugar after drinking an oats smoothie compared to other smoothies.
  • Increased satiety – The fiber in oats smoothies helps you feel fuller for longer, preventing overeating and unstable blood sugar levels.
  • Reduced cholesterol – The soluble fiber beta-glucan in oats has been shown to lower LDL and total cholesterol in many studies.
  • Lower blood pressure – Some evidence indicates oats can reduce high blood pressure, likely due to their fiber content.
  • More antioxidants – Berries and nuts provide antioxidants that can reduce inflammation and oxidative stress associated with diabetes complications.
  • Improved insulin sensitivity – Compounds in oats may reduce insulin resistance and help the body respond better to its own insulin over time.

More research is still needed on the direct effects of oats smoothies on diabetes management. But their low glycemic impact combined with their nutrition make them a smart choice.

Tips for Adding Oats Smoothies Into Your Diabetes Diet

Here are some tips for successfully incorporating oats smoothies into your meal plan:

  • Have an oats smoothie for breakfast – They provide steady energy to start your day off right.
  • Use it as a snack – An afternoon oats smoothie can tide you over before dinner.
  • Drink after exercise – The carbs help replenish glycogen stores post-workout.
  • Pair with protein – Add nuts, peanut butter, Greek yogurt, etc. to help you stay full.
  • Watch portion sizes – Stick to 1 cup or less to keep calories and carbs in check.
  • Monitor blood sugar – Check your levels 1-2 hours after drinking to see the impact.
  • Consider your insulin – You may need to adjust your insulin dose for the extra carbs.
  • Don’t skip meals – Have it in addition to meals, not instead of them.

It may take some experimentation to find the right oats smoothie recipe, portions, and timing that work for you. Checking your blood sugar levels is important to understand the effects.

Potential Drawbacks of Oats Smoothies for Diabetes

While oats smoothies have many benefits, there are also some potential drawbacks to keep in mind:

  • High in carbs – The oats and fruit content means an oats smoothie is high in carbohydrates.
  • Blood sugar spikes – The blender breaks down the oats and fruit, releasing their sugars very quickly compared to eating intact oats and whole fruits.
  • Easy to over-consume – Drinking calories means it’s easier to consume excess without feeling as full.
  • High in calories – Blended oats and add-ins like nut butter can pack a lot of calories into one smoothie.
  • Not as filling – Smoothies don’t tend to be as satiating as solid food with the same nutrients.
  • Fiber content – Some of the fiber in oats can get broken down by blending, reducing its benefits.

To avoid these issues, portion control is key. Keep smoothies as part of a balanced diabetic diet, not a meal replacement. And monitor your blood sugar response.

Who Should Avoid Oats Smoothies?

While oats smoothies can be a healthy option for many people with diabetes, they are not recommended for everyone. Here are some individuals who may want to avoid oats smoothies:

  • People with celiac disease or gluten intolerance – Oats contain gluten and are not safe for anyone with celiac or gluten sensitivity.
  • Those monitoring carbohydrates – If you are counting carbs closely, the high carbohydrate content may not fit your diet.
  • Anyone with poor blood sugar control – Oats smoothies can spike blood sugar in some cases, especially if you add other ingredients like fruit juices.
  • Pregnant women with gestational diabetes – Their carbohydrate needs are different and smoothies may not be optimal.
  • People using insulin – The rapid carb absorption of smoothies can increase risk of low blood sugar when paired with insulin.
  • Those with diabetes complications – If you have kidney disease, retinopathy or other complications, check with your doctor before adding oats smoothies.

Speak to your doctor or dietitian to see if oats smoothies are appropriate for your individual diabetes management needs.

Sample Menu With Oats Smoothie for Diabetes

Here is a sample one day menu including an oats smoothie that would be suitable for someone with diabetes:


  • Oats smoothie: 1/2 cup oats, 1 cup unsweetened almond milk, 1/2 banana, 1 tbsp peanut butter, 1/4 cup berries, 1 tsp cinnamon. Have with 1 hard boiled egg.


  • Turkey and avocado sandwich on 2 slices whole grain bread, 1 cup vegetable soup, side salad with balsamic vinegar.

Afternoon Snack:

  • 1 medium apple with 1 stick string cheese.


  • 3 oz baked salmon, 1/2 cup brown rice, 1 cup roasted brussels sprouts.

Evening Snack:

  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt with 1/4 cup mixed berries.

This provides a balanced mix of protein, healthy fats, fiber-rich fruits and vegetables, and some whole grains. The oats smoothie offers controlled carb intake to start the day while the other meals help spread carbs evenly.


When prepared properly using diabetic-friendly ingredients, oats smoothies can be a nutritious addition to a balanced diet for managing diabetes. The soluble fiber and low glycemic impact of oats helps control blood sugar spikes. However, portion control is important given the high calorie and carbohydrate content in smoothies. Avoid ingredients like fruit juices and added sugars. Check your blood sugar levels to understand how oats smoothies affect you. Overall, oats smoothies can be a tasty way to increase intake of vegetables, healthy fats, and antioxidants that provide benefits beyond just blood sugar control for people with diabetes.

Leave a Comment