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Home » Oatmeal And Weight Loss: Can It Help You Shed Pounds?

Oatmeal And Weight Loss: Can It Help You Shed Pounds?

Oatmeal And Weight Loss

Oatmeal is a staple breakfast choice as it may provide a suitable amount of fiber and carbohydrates, which may keep you satisfied and energetic throughout the day.

If you’re trying to lose weight, adding oatmeal to your diet could be a good idea as it’s quick to make and might help speed up your metabolism.

This article explains how oatmeal might help you lose weight, what good nutritional content it has in it, and ways to consume it.

What Is An Oatmeal Diet?

Oatmeal, made from oats, is a whole-grain food packed with nutrients such as minerals, fiber, protein, and vitamins. It includes consuming oatmeal for one or more meals each day, often as a replacement for less healthy breakfast or snack options.

Oatmeal can be prepared with water, milk, or plant-based alternatives while pairing up with fruits, nuts, seeds, or spices to enhance flavor and nutrition.

The soluble fiber in oats, specifically beta-glucan, may promote satiety, regulate blood sugar levels, improve gut health, and assist in weight management.

An oatmeal diet offers macronutrients and essential micronutrients. You might achieve sustained energy levels, improved digestion, and potential weight loss support by focusing on whole grains like oats.

Oatmeal And Weight Loss

Nutrition Values Of An Oatmeal

The oatmeal contains essential nutrients, including carbohydrates, fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidant compounds. Here is a nutritional profile of Oats as per 100g from the USDA:

Nutrient Amount per Serving (per 100g oats)
Carbohydrates 67.7 grams
Protein 13.15 grams
Fat 6.52 grams
Fiber 10.1 grams
Calcium 52mg
Iron 4.25mg
Manganese 138mg

Types of Oats

Oats may have different forms, depending on their processing technique. Groats may require more time to digest, which might indicate that they have a low GI or glycemic index value.

  • Whole Oat Groats: These are the whole, unbroken grains of oats with only the outer hull removed. They have a chewy texture and need longer cooking duration compared to other forms of oats.
  • Steel-Cut Oats (Irish Oats): Steel-cut oats are oat groats that have been cut into portions with the help of steel blades. They are hearty in texture and require more time to cook, which gives them a nutty flavor and chewy consistency.
  • Rolled Oats (Old-Fashioned Oats): Rolled oats are oat groats that have been rolled into flakes after steaming. They cook faster than steel-cut oats and possess a softer texture when prepared.
  • Quick Oats: Quick oats are similar to rolled oats but are steamed for a longer period and rolled thinner. They tend to cook more quickly than rolled oats and have a softer texture.
  • Instant Oats: Instant oats are pre-cooked, dried, and rolled thinner than quick oats. They cook very quickly, usually by adding hot water or microwaving, and have a softer texture compared to other types of oats.

How Oatmeal Helps For Weight Loss?

Oatmeal may keep you feeling full as it has a type of fiber called beta-glucan. This fiber might slow down how quickly your stomach empties, so you feel full for a longer time after eating oatmeal. Oatmeal might help you eat fewer calories throughout the day, potentially helping with weight loss.

Beta-glucan could also trigger the release of a hormone called peptide YY (PYY) in your gut, which makes you feel satisfied. Studies show that higher levels of PYY may lead to eating less food, which might help with managing weight and lowering the risk of becoming overweight.

Oatmeal Benefits For Weight Loss

  1. It Contains Soluble Fiber

    The soluble fiber in oatmeal absorbs fluid and forms a gel-like texture in the gut, which may slow digestion and keep you feeling full longer, reducing your overall calorie intake. It could help curb your appetite and decrease the tendency to snack between meals by promoting a sense of fullness.

    The soluble fiber in oatmeal can delay the absorption of sugar in the bloodstream, possibly preventing rapid rises and drops in your blood sugar levels. It may also help control cravings and reduce overeating, potentially helping you manage weight.

    It could also support the growth of beneficial gut bacteria, promoting overall digestive health and more efficient waste elimination, which is beneficial for weight management.

  2. It Could Relieve Constipation

    Studies indicate that oat bran, particularly the fiber-rich outer layer of the grain, could help reduce constipation symptoms, which may potentially improve your weight loss efforts.

    Oat bran’s soluble fiber content may assist better digestion and decrease gastrointestinal discomfort, which could make it hard for you to stay consistent in your workout sessions.

    The soluble fiber in oatmeal may add bulk to stools and promote regular bowel movements, improving digestion and promoting a sense of prolonged fullness after each meal, which might help with weight loss.

  3. It May Regulate Blood Sugar Level

    Oats, being low on the glycemic index, could help prevent rapid spikes in your blood sugar levels after meals, which might help control your appetite and reduce cravings for unhealthy foods.

    The beta-glucan fiber found in oats may help slow the digestion process, leading to a more gradual increase in blood sugar levels. The delay in glucose absorption could help to maintain steady blood sugar levels, preventing the rapid rises and falls that might trigger hunger pangs and lead to overeating.

    You can consume oatmeal to maintain consistent blood sugar levels, which may boost your energy levels and reduce feelings of fatigue. When you feel energized, you’re more likely to stay active and burn more calories, which is beneficial for weight loss.

  4. Oatmeal May reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases

    Oatmeal’s polyphenols act as antioxidants, preventing the oxidation of LDL cholesterol that could lead to plaque buildup in arteries. Including oatmeal in your routine may support your weight loss efforts by promoting better heart function and reduced fatigue. Oatmeal may support your heart health, promoting better blood circulation and oxygen to vital organs and muscles, making your workouts more effective.

  5. It Might Enhance Mood And Reduce Fatigue

    Eating oatmeal may help manage your mood swings and energy levels – two factors that are critical when you’re trying to lose weight. When you’re in a good mood and have enough energy, you’re more likely to make healthier food choices and engage in physical activities. Oatmeal could support your weight loss goals by helping you maintain a consistent energy level throughout the day and prevent irritability or mid-morning energy crashes. You may experience reduced fatigue during intense exercise sessions while lifting weights by including oatmeal in your pre-workout breakfast.

  6. Oatmeal May Support Steady Energy

    Oatmeal contains complex carbohydrates that may help sustain a stable and sustained release of energy, allowing you to stay more focused and energized during your workout sessions. It might help you engage your overall body muscles during exercise by providing you with elevated energy levels. Having good energy may make you less tired and distracted from your weight management goals.

  7. Oatmeal May Promote A Healthy Gut Bacteria

    Research indicates that the beta-glucan content in oatmeal may support the growth of good gut bacteria. Having a healthy gut may promote better nutrient absorption in the body, allowing your body to receive vital nutrition required during your weight loss journey. Oatmeal may enhance the growth of good gut bacteria, allowing better breakdown and utilization of the food you consume.

  8. It Might Reduce Inflammation

    Avenanthramides are antioxidants in whole oats that may help fight harmful free radicals in your body, which could harm cells and cause oxidative stress. Oatmeal may help you hinder the harmful effects of chronic inflammation on the metabolic processes by reducing oxidative and free radical damage. Including oats in your diet regularly could support your body’s natural defenses against harmful cellular processes, allowing you to work on your weight loss goals more efficiently.

  9. It Could Support Immune Function

    Beta-glucan in oatmeal may help stimulate immune cells, including macrophages, natural killer cells, and neutrophils. These cells could help defend the body against infections by identifying and destroying pathogens. Having a strong immune system may keep you healthy and allow your body to use the food you eat for better energy. Thus, better immune function may help you stay active and burn more calories, possibly effective for weight loss.

Things To Avoid Adding To Oatmeal

  • High-Fat Creamers Or Whole-Fat Milk: Whole-fat milk or creamers might add unnecessary saturated fat and calories. A suitable option could be using low-fat or plant-based milk like almond or coconut milk.
  • Avoid Adding Sugar: To maintain the nutritional value of oatmeal for weight loss purposes, you must refrain from adding sugar or sweetened toppings that could compromise the health benefits of your oatmeal. Flavored or sugar-added oats may not be a suitable option for weight management as they could lead to a rapid rise in your sugar levels due to the added sugar content.
  • Check the Oatmeal Portion Size: Oats are rich in fiber, like beta-glucan, which may promote feelings of fullness and can reduce hunger throughout the day. However, an excessive intake of fiber may leave you feeling overly satiated, potentially hindering your ability to meet your daily caloric needs. Try eating smaller serving sizes that could help you avoid potential digestive discomforts such as gas and bloating, especially if you are prone to stomach issues.
  • Processed and Sugary Toppings: Avoid toppings like sweetened granola, candy, and chocolate chips. Opt for nuts, seeds, or fresh fruit instead.
  • Butter: Adding butter could increase the saturated fat content. You may add a small amount of almond butter along with sprinkling some cinnamon to enhance its flavor.
  • Fruit-Flavored Yogurts: These can contain a lot of added sugars. If you want to add yogurt, use plain, unsweetened yogurt and mix in your fresh fruit.

Also See:

Side Effects Of Oatmeal Diet

While oatmeal is generally considered safe and nutritious, there are potential side effects to consider when following an oatmeal diet:

  • Digestive Issues: Eating large amounts of oats, especially if not cooked or soaked properly, could cause digestive distress, such as bloating, diarrhea, or gas. It often happens due to the high fiber content in oats.
  • Gluten Sensitivity: Although oats are naturally gluten-free, they may sometimes be cross-contaminated with gluten-containing grains during processing. If you have gluten sensitivity, you should choose certified gluten-free oats to avoid adverse reactions.
  • Nutrient Imbalance: Relying too heavily on oatmeal for multiple meals each day may result in a lack of variety in your diet. It could lead to deficiencies in certain nutrients that are not adequately provided by oats alone, such as vitamin B12, vitamin D, and essential fatty acids.
  • Blood Sugar Spikes: Instant or flavored oatmeal packets often contain added sugars or artificial components that may cause rapid spikes and drops in blood sugar levels.
  • Weight Loss Plateau: While oatmeal could support weight reduction due to its high fiber content and ability to promote fullness, relying solely on oatmeal may contribute to a plateau in weight management or inadequate nutrition if not balanced with other healthy foods.
  • Allergic Reactions: Although rare, some people may be allergic to oats. Allergic reactions could vary from mild symptoms like itching to severe reactions such as anaphylaxis. Thus, it’s essential to monitor for any signs of allergy when introducing oats into your diet, especially if you have a history of food allergies.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is it better to eat instant oatmeal or traditional rolled oats for weight loss?
    Traditional rolled oats are generally a better option for weight loss, as instant oatmeal often contains added sugars and flavorings, which could increase your calorie intake. Meanwhile, traditional rolled oats are minimally processed and retain more of their natural nutrients.
  • Are There Any Negative Effects of Following an Oatmeal Diet?
    Following an oatmeal-centric diet without variety may lead to nutrient deficiencies. Overconsumption of oatmeal could cause excessive carb intake, impacting blood sugar levels. Moderation and a balanced diet plan are essential to avoid the possible adverse effects of an oatmeal-heavy eating plan.
  • Should I Avoid Any Specific Ingredients While on an Oatmeal Diet?
    When following an oatmeal diet, consider avoiding high-calorie, processed toppings like sugary syrups, excessive honey, or unhealthy fats. Instead, opt for natural sweeteners, fresh fruits, nuts, seeds, and low-fat dairy to enhance nutrition and support weight management.

Conclusion

Oatmeal could be a suitable meal option for you during your weight loss journey. It may help you overcome your unhealthy cravings while providing a satisfying experience to your taste buds.

Having oats in the breakfast may promote enhanced energy levels and satiety, allowing you to stay productive without getting distracted by persistent hunger.

There are various oatmeal recipes available that you can alter according to your preference and schedule.

You could try oats simply with water or the regular milk of your choice. Oatmeal smoothies and overnight oats could also be simpler ways to add oats to your daily routine.

Disclaimer
  • The details in this article are for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice.
  • It is not recommended to disregard/delay seeking professional medical advice or treatment because of what you read or accessed through this article.
  • The results may vary from individual to individual.
  • It is recommended to consult your doctor for any underlying medical conditions or if you are on any prescribed medicines before trying any tips.
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This project was supported in part by NSF Grant IIS-03-25867 (ITR: An Electronic Field Guide: Plant Exploration and Discovery in the 21st Century) and by the Washington Biologists' Field Club.
Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official views, opinions, or policy of the National Science Foundation (NSF).