It’s still junk food: Experts warn that milk and cereal can negatively affect the blood sugar of individuals with diabetes
04/23/2019 // Michelle Simmons // Views

Eating cereals with milk for breakfast is common because it is quick and easy to prepare. However, health experts suggest that these foods are not healthy, especially for people with Type 2 diabetes.

One study published in the Journal of Dairy Science has suggested people with Type 2 diabetes to add cow's milk to their cereal for better blood sugar control. However, when experts evaluated the findings of the study, they found that eating cereal with milk is actually dangerous for people with Type 2 diabetes.

Carried out by a team of researchers from the University of Guelph in Canada, in collaboration with the University of Toronto, the study looked at the effects of a breakfast containing 'high-protein' milk with cereal compared to a breakfast containing normal cow's milk. The high-protein milk product contained extra whey protein powder to lower blood sugar levels during the hours after the meal. The research team concluded that the additional protein in the milk significantly maintained blood sugar levels in a healthier range. In addition, they reported that it was more satiating than the regular cow's milk.

However, experts contacted by say otherwise: consuming high-protein milk with cereal for breakfast is actually "dangerous, manipulative, and blatantly disingenuous." Dr. Kelly Schmidt told that dairy products contain high amounts of leucine, which is an amino acid that is the most insulinogenic or insulin-demanding of all the amino acids as it is absorbed into the bloodstream very rapidly.


"These research and public relations efforts around this data are an injustice to the uninformed consumer who is trying to improve their diabetes by learning from public information and research," said Schmidt.

In addition, Schmidt said that the study was carried out as an effort to increase dairy and cereal sales. (Related: Dairy industry ridiculously claims milk prevents type 2 diabetes based on distorted study (opinion).)

Cereal makes controlling blood sugar more difficult

With or without high-protein milk, cereal is a food that makes it hard to regulate blood sugar levels after it is digested. In fact, it can even cause blood sugar spikes. This is because cereal of all kinds contains high amounts of carbohydrates, which increases blood sugar levels. In addition, most cereals being sold in the market contain high amounts of highly processed carbohydrates and added sugar -- both are digested quickly and thus blood sugar levels increase rapidly.

What to eat for breakfast when you have diabetes?

Instead of eating cereals with milk for breakfast, health experts recommend eating whole, real foods that are rich in protein and healthy fats. Here are some tips to help you decide what should you eat for breakfast:

  • Watch your portion sizes.
  • Consider using the 'plate method,' or filling half your plate with nonstarchy vegetables, one quarter with protein, and one quarter with a grain or starch. Then, add a serving of low glycemic-index fruit, such as apples, berries, oranges, or peaches.
  • For foods rich in healthy fats, choose foods like avocado, eggs, flax, olive oil, nuts, and seeds.
  • For protein sources, choose lean meats.
  • Avoid beverages that are high in fat and sugar.

Visit to learn more about the foods that help in blood sugar control.

Sources include:

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