How Much Oatmeal Should I Eat To Lose Weight


How Much Oatmeal Should I Eat To Lose Weight? Making a delicious, hearty and healthy breakfast is an important part of losing weight. One of the most common nutrient-rich foods that can help you achieve this is oatmeal. Oats are available in different forms and have an amazing taste. Eating a bowl of delicious warm oatmeal in the morning can work wonders to improve your weight loss efforts.

How to eat oatmeal for weight loss 

Though oatmeal has several health benefits, people should be mindful of the potential drawbacks, Ross says. Here’s what to avoid or stay mindful of when incorporating oatmeal into your diet:

Don’t add too much sugar and mix-ins: It may be tempting to add some sweetness and fat to oatmeal, which by itself is generally very bland. But calories from brown sugar, butter, and syrup add up quickly, Ross says. Instead, opt for fruit. “Throwing a couple of blueberries on it is a great idea,” he says. “Throwing sugar on it, not a great idea.” 

Pay attention to portion size: While the recommended portion size of half a cup of dry oats is healthy, oatmeal can be very caloric and too carb-heavy in high amounts, Ross says. That could interfere with weight-loss goals. However, depending on your age, height, weight and physical activity level one cup or more of oats may be ok. 

Stay away from instant or flavored oats: Although the calories, fat, carbohydrates, and protein content in various oats are similar, their effects on blood sugar are not. Because instant oats are more highly processed, they have less fiber and therefore a higher glycemic index.

A well-balanced, low-fat, healthy diet should include more minimally processed foods, such as whole grains, which have low-GI values. Similarly, flavored oats should also be avoided, as they are frequently full of processed sugar that the fiber doesn’t offset. 

Avoid eating too much too soon: “When I recommend fiber, I tell people to start slow, ease into it,” Ross says. Otherwise, your body may have a hard time processing all the fiber, which can cause bloating, constipation, and stomach pain.

People should start with oatmeal two to four times a week and work their way up to daily servings, he says. It may be beneficial to have a large glass of water with oatmeal to help move the fiber through the GI tract to reduce bloating and stomach pain.

Weight loss benefits of oatmeal 

Oatmeal contains a healthy mixture of fiber, complex carbohydrates, and plant-based protein that makes it beneficial for weight loss. A half-cup of dry Old Fashioned Quaker Oats contains 150 calories, three grams of fat, 27 grams of carbohydrates, five grams of protein, and one gram of naturally occurring sugar. It contains four grams of dietary fiber with two grams of soluble fiber. 

Here are some health and weight loss-related benefits of this nutritious meal:

Oatmeal keeps you feeling full and helps regulate bowel movements: Dietary fiber, particularly soluble fiber, softens stool, making it easier to pass. It also regulates hunger by creating a feeling of fullness. “Oats have soluble fiber, which forms a gel-like formula that can leave people feeling full,” Ross says.

Oatmeal helps to keep blood sugar from spiking: Another perk of eating oatmeal is that the rolled oats version qualifies as a  low glycemic index food. The glycemic index (GI) is a ranking of foods based on how much they raise blood sugar. Therefore, a low GI means that oatmeal keeps your blood sugar from spiking too high during and after meals, which may help fend off hunger longer, Ross says. Spikes in blood sugar can also cause fatigue and headaches.

Keeping your blood sugar in a healthy range, particularly for people with diabetes, may prevent long-term health complications such as heart disease. The GI of rolled oats is about 55, which, for comparison, is about 25 points lower than whole wheat bread.

Oatmeal helps control insulin: As blood sugar levels rise, the pancreas produces insulin, a hormone that helps cells absorb glucose, aka blood sugar. Foods with a low glycemic index, like oats, are digested more slowly which causes a more gradual rise in blood sugar. Because insulin allows cells to absorb blood sugar which the body converts to fat if there is too much of it, low insulin levels are associated with weight loss.  

Oatmeal may help boost the immune system: One type of soluble fiber, beta-glucan, is found in oats and helps activate your infection-fighting blood cells. Staying healthy means you can be active, keep a regular exercise schedule, and either lose or maintain weight.

Oats For Weight Loss

The basic principle behind the oatmeal diet is to replace major meals with oats. This diet plan has three phases:

Phase 1

In this phase, you will have oatmeal three times a day (whole oats, not instant oats). For the other three meals, including fresh fruits and fruit juices, veggies, and a good source of protein.

Phase 2

This phase includes eating whole oats two-three times a day, along with half a cup of fruits or vegetables with each meal. You can also start practicing stretching exercises, yoga, or walking.

Phase 3

This is the phase in which you come back to your normal eating routine. However, be sure to eat healthily and include oats at least for one meal per day.

Phase 1 (Day 1 & Day 2)

Day 1

BreakfastOatmeal with milk and berries
Before LunchOrange juice or apple juice
LunchOatmeal with vegetables
Post-Lunch1 apple
Evening SnacksGreen tea and 1 multigrain biscuit
DinnerBaked fish with oats and veggies

Vegetarian Alternative: For dinner, you can have a bowl of baked beans or a bowl of sprout salad.

Recipe – Oatmeal With Vegetables

  • ½ cup oatmeal
  • 4 cauliflower florets
  • 4 broccoli florets
  • ½ medium-sized carrot
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Water
How To Prepare
  1. Boil the oatmeal until it is soft.
  2. Dice the veggies and sauté in a frying pan.
  3. Add the boiled oatmeal, a little water, salt, and pepper.
  4. Mix well.

Day 2 

BreakfastOatmeal with apple and cinnamon
Before LunchAny whole fruit
LunchCabbage soup with whole rolled oats
Post-LunchCucumber slices with a dash of lime and salt
Evening SnacksBlack tea with 1 multigrain biscuit
DinnerOatmeal with lentils and chicken cubes

Vegetarian Alternative: For dinner, instead of chicken cubes, you can add mushrooms or soy cubes or use mixed lentils.

Recipe – Oatmeal With Lentils And Chicken Cubes

  • ½ cup oatmeal
  • ¼ cup yellow/red lentils
  • 1 chicken breast cut into cubes
  • ½ chopped onion
  • 1 chopped green chili
  • 2 chopped cloves of garlic
  • 1 chopped tomato
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Chopped coriander leaves
  • Salt and pepper
How To Prepare
  1. Boil the oatmeal and lentils separately. Do not throw away the excess water.
  2. Sauté the garlic, onion, tomato, and green chili.
  3. Add the chicken right after you add the chili.
  4. Add the oatmeal and lentils and let it cook until the chicken is soft.
  5. Add a pinch of salt and pepper and garnish with chopped coriander leaves.

Phase 2 (Day 3 & Day 4)

Day 3

BreakfastFresh fruit juice or smoothie (avoid banana)
Before Lunch4 almonds
LunchOats pita bread wrap with eggs and veggies
Post-Lunch1 Kiwi or 1 grapefruit
Evening Snacks1 cup green tea
DinnerOatmeal salmon cake with mashed sweet potato

Vegetarian Alternative: For dinner, instead of salmon, use kidney beans.

Recipe – Oats Pita Bread Wrap With Eggs And Veggies

  • 1 oats pita bread (available in supermarkets)
  • 1 whole egg
  • ½ chopped green bell pepper
  • ¼ chopped onion
  • 1 lettuce leaf
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • Salt and pepper
How To Prepare
  1. Sauté the chopped onion and green bell pepper.
  2. Crack open the egg and add it to the sautéed veggies.
  3. Lay the lettuce leaf on top of the oats pita bread.
  4. Transfer the fried egg on top of the lettuce leaf.
  5. Add a little Dijon mustard and sprinkle salt and pepper for taste.
  6. Wrap the pita bread and take a generous bite!

 Day 4

BreakfastGreen tea and oats with banana and milk
Before Lunch1 medium sized carrot
LunchLight Italian-style sandwich
Post-LunchSoy milk
Evening SnacksFresh fruit juice
DinnerOatmeal balls in Asian-style gravy (vegetarian)

Recipe – Oatmeal Balls In Asian-Style Gravy

  • 1 cup boiled oatmeal
  • 1/5 thinly sliced cabbage
  • ½ thinly sliced carrot
  • ½ thinly sliced green bell pepper
  • 1 thinly sliced red chili
  • 3 cloves chopped garlic
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • Salt and pepper
  • Sesame seeds
  • Water
How To Prepare 
  1. Mix the oatmeal, cabbage, carrot, green bell pepper, flour, and half a tablespoon of oil and make round, medium-sized balls.
  2. Brush a little oil on the balls and bake them in a preheated oven at 200°C for 20 minutes until they turn golden brown.
  3. Heat three tablespoons of oil in a Chinese frying pan and add garlic and red chili to it. Cook for 1 minute.
  4. Add the fish sauce, soy sauce, and a pinch of salt and pepper, and cook for 30 seconds.
  5. Add the baked oatmeal balls.
  6. Garnish with a sprinkle of sesame seeds.

Phase 3 (Day 5 – Day 7)

Day 5

BreakfastOats and berries smoothie with a dash of melted dark chocolate
Before Lunch1 apple
LunchZoodles with shrimps or spinach
Post-LunchOrange juice
Evening SnacksGreen tea
DinnerOatmeal Rava dosa (oats semolina pancake)

Recipe – Oatmeal Rava Dosa

  • 1 cup ground oatmeal
  • ¼ cup rice flour
  • ¼ cup rava (semolina)
  • ½ chopped onion
  • ½ chopped green chili
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • Salt
  • Water
  • Readymade coconut chutney (available in Indian grocery stores)
How To Prepare
  1. Mix the ground oatmeal, rice flour, rava, chopped onion, green chili and cumin seeds with water. The consistency should be the same as that of regular pancake batter.
  2. Heat the pan and spread the batter to make thin, crispy pancakes.
  3. Serve hot with coconut chutney.

 Day 6

BreakfastOatmeal with milk and honey
Before Lunch4 almonds
LunchChicken clear soup
Post-Lunch1 cup fat-free yogurt
Evening SnacksGreen tea
DinnerTuna-oatmeal lettuce boats

Vegetarian Alternative: For lunch, instead of chicken clear soup, you can have baked veggies or vegetable clear soup.

For dinner, instead of tuna, use soy cubes or soybeans.

Recipe – Tuna-Oatmeal Lettuce Boats

  • ½ cup ground oatmeal
  • ½ cup canned tuna
  • 1 lettuce leaf
  • 1 thinly sliced tomato
  • ½ julienned cucumber
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon fat-free yogurt
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon rice bran oil
  • Lime juice
  • Salt and pepper
How To Prepare
  1. Add a pinch of salt and pepper to the ground oatmeal.
  2. On a baking tray, coat the tuna with the oatmeal, brush a little oil, and bake in a preheated oven at 200°C for 15 minutes.
  3. Lay the lettuce leaf and put the tomatoes.
  4. Add the crispy baked tuna on top of the tomato slices.
  5. Add the cucumbers next.
  6. Add a dash of lime and top it with Dijon mustard, fat-free yogurt, and cayenne pepper.

Day 7

BreakfastKale and pomegranate detox drink
Before Lunch1 small bowl of papaya
LunchIndian-style oatmeal kofta
Post-Lunch1 glass buttermilk
Evening SnacksGreen tea
DinnerMexican-style oatmeal with fried egg

Vegetarian Alternative: Instead of eggs, use button mushrooms or kidney bean chili.

Recipe – Mexican-Style Oatmeal With Fried Egg

  • ½ cup oatmeal
  • ¼ avocado
  • ¼ chopped onion
  • Pickled jalapeno
  • ½ chopped tomato
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • Cilantro
  • Lime juice
  • Salt and pepper
How To Prepare
  1. Sauté the chopped onion and tomato in a frying pan.
  2. Cook the oatmeal until soft.
  3. Cut the avocado into medium-sized cubes.
  4. Add the sautéed onion and tomato to the oatmeal.
  5. Add a pinch of salt and pepper, cook for 30 seconds and turn off the flame.
  6. Meanwhile, fry an egg.
  7. Transfer the oatmeal to a bowl and top it with avocado.
  8. Add a few pieces of pickled jalapeno, a dash of lime, and Dijon mustard.
  9. Place the fried egg on top of the avocado cubes.
  10. Add a little salt and pepper.
  11. Garnish with cilantro.

It is important to know which type of oatmeal should be used for delicious weight loss recipes and result in optimum weight loss.

3 Types of Oats and Their Serving Sizes

When eating oatmeal for breakfast on your weight-loss plan, make sure to stick to appropriate serving sizes, which differ based on the type of oats:

Rolled Oats

  • Serving size:​ 1/2 cup dry
  • Calories:​ 150
  • Fiber:​ 4 grams

Rolled oats are arguably the easiest to find and the most versatile. With only 150 calories and a good amount of fiber, these are a great choice for breakfast or a snack.

To make oatmeal from rolled oats, simply add in 1 cup of hot water or milk (water being the lower-calorie option).

The toppings are where you might get into trouble. Be careful how many sweeteners (honey, maple syrup, brown sugar) you add in, or you might reach the added sugar amount in some cereals. Stick with dried fruits and nuts if you can, which will keep your calories in check and offer more nutritional benefits.

Steel-Cut Oats

  • Serving size:​ 1/4 cup dry
  • Calories:​ 170
  • Fiber:​ 4 grams

Also known as pinhead oats or Irish oats, steel-cut oats are the same oats used to make porridge. Steel-cut oats are still whole-grain oats but processed in a different way that ups their fiber content, which makes them slightly better for weight loss. They are toasted and cut using a steel blade, whereas rolled oats are steamed and flattened.

To make steel-cut oatmeal, add 3/4 cup hot water or milk to 1/4 cup dry oats. They take a little bit longer to cook than rolled oats, but that makes them the perfect choice for overnight oats or slow-cooker oats.

Quick-Cooking Oats

  • Serving size:​ 1/2 cup dry
  • Calories:​ 150
  • Fiber:​ 4 grams

These are the types of oats you will see in packets, or you can buy a big container of quick-cooking oats on their own. You can make quick-cooking oatmeal the same way as old-fashioned oats — by mixing a half cup with 1 cup of hot water or milk — but the cooking time is decreased significantly, to approximately 1 minute.

If you’re minding your calories, opt for plain quick-cooking oats rather than the flavored kind to avoid adding unnecessary calories and sugar to your breakfast.

Cheat Sheet for Cooking Oatmeal

Rolled OatsSteel-Cut OatsQuick Oats
Serving size1/2 cup1/4 cup1/2 cup
Water or Milk1 cup3/4 cup1 cup
Microwave DirectionsAdd water or milk and oats to a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high for 2.5 to 3 minutes.For microwave cooking, increase oats to 1/2 cup and water to 2 cups. Put in a large, 2-quart dish (because it will bubble up) and microwave for 5 minutes covered and 5 minutes uncovered.Add water or milk and oats to a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high or 90 seconds to 2 minutes.
Stovetop DirectionsBring water or milk to a boil, stir in oats, turn heat down to medium and cook oats for 5 minutes.Bring water or milk to a boil, stir in oats, turn heat to medium and cook oats for 15-20 minutes.Bring water or milk to a boil, stir in oats, turn heat to medium and cook oats for 1 minute.

Why Are Oats So Good for Your Metabolism?

Regardless of the type of oats you choose, they are all good for your health. They all contain roughly the same amount of fiber, protein and B vitamins, all of which carry health benefits for your weight-loss diet. Much of your decision might depend on how much time you have to cook your oats.

1. Fiber Is Beneficial for Weight Control

Oats are a good source of fiber, especially a type of fiber called beta-glucan, which is not digested in your body. Translation: The food moves more slowly through your digestive tract, helping you feel full longer and controlling your appetite, according to a January 2015 study in the ​Annals of Nutrition & Metabolism​.

Higher fiber intake in general has also been shown to help with weight loss. According to an October 2019 study in the ​Journal of Nutrition​, fiber, more than anything else, was able to help participants lose weight and maintain their diet.

Aim for the recommended daily amount of fiber — 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

2. Protein Keeps You Feeling Full

Adding protein to your meals can help you stay full, and this can manage your hunger throughout the day (read: keep you out of the snack cabinet).

In fact, people who add protein to their first meal tend to eat less during the day, feel less hungry and better maintain their weight, according to a September 2015 study in ​Obesity​.

Oats have 5 grams of protein per serving, according to the USDA. If you choose low-fat milk instead of water when cooking your oats, you can add another 6 to 8 grams of protein, per the USDA.

The recommended daily amount of protein is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight, according to Harvard Health Publishing. But if you’re restricting calories to lose weight or actively building muscle through exercise, you should be getting more — closer to 1.3 grams per kilogram.

3. Oats Have B Vitamins

One serving of quick oats is going to give you 18 percent of your daily value of thiamin (vitamin B1), per the USDA. Whole grains in general are a good source of thiamin, which is essential for your metabolism to work properly, according to the National Institutes of Health.

There aren’t any studies that can link thiamin to weight loss, but there are correlational studies to show that people who have obesity are also deficient in thiamin, according to a March 2015 article in ​Advances in Nutrition​.

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