Is Oatmeal Good For Weight Loss

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Oatmeal For Weight Loss

Oatmeal for weight loss has been used for a long time by dieters. In fact, it is recommended that if you are on a diet, you should be eating oatmeal as opposed to other foods. While there are many advantages of taking oatmeal for weight loss, many people also wonder how effective it actually is as well as what kind of benefits they could get by taking it. In this article, I will give you all the information you need to know about oatmeal and its effectiveness in helping with weight loss. I will also discuss some great recipes containing oatmeal that you can make in your kitchen

If you’re looking to lose weight while still eating foods that are both healthy and delicious, then try making oatmeal for weight loss. Oatmeal doesn’t have to be boring. It can taste great and be a staple part of your diet.

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What are oats and oatmeal?

Oats are a whole grain food, known scientifically as Avena sativa.

Oat groats, the most intact and whole form of oats, take a long time to cook. For this reason, most people prefer rolled, crushed, or steel-cut oats.

Instant (quick) oats are the most highly processed variety. While they take the shortest time to cook, the texture may be mushy.

Oats are commonly eaten for breakfast as oatmeal, which is made by boiling oats in water or milk. Oatmeal is often referred to as porridge.

They’re also often included in muffins, granola bars, cookies, and other baked goods.

SUMMARY

Oats are a whole grain that is commonly eaten for breakfast as oatmeal (porridge).

1. Oats are incredibly nutritious

The nutrient composition of oats is well-balanced. They are a good source of carbs and fiber, including the powerful fiber beta-glucan (1Trusted Source).

They are also a good source of high quality protein, with a good balance of essential amino acids (2Trusted Source).

Oats are loaded with important vitamins, minerals, and antioxidant plant compounds. Half a cup (78 grams) of dry oats contains (3Trusted Source):

  • Manganese: 63.91% of the daily value (DV)
  • Phosphorus: 13.3% of the DV
  • Magnesium: 13.3% of the DV
  • Copper: 17.6% of the DV
  • Iron: 9.4% of the DV
  • Zinc: 13.4% of the DV
  • Folate: 3.24% of the DV
  • Vitamin B1 (thiamin): 15.5% of the DV
  • Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid): 9.07% of the DV
  • smaller amounts of calcium, potassium, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), and vitamin B3 (niacin)

Oats have 51 grams of carbs, 13 grams of protein, 5 grams of fat, and 8 grams of fiber in 1 cup. This same serving has only 303 calories.

This means that oats are among the most nutrient-dense foods you can eat.

SUMMARY

Oats are rich in carbs and fiber, but also higher in protein and fat than most other grains. They are very high in many vitamins and minerals.

2. Whole oats are rich in antioxidants, including avenanthramides

Whole oats are high in antioxidants and beneficial plant compounds called polyphenols. Most notable is a unique group of antioxidants called avenanthramides, which are almost solely found in oats (4Trusted Source).

Both old and newer research has found that avenanthramides may help lower blood pressure levels by increasing the production of nitric oxide. This gas molecule helps dilate (widen) blood vessels and leads to better blood flow (5Trusted Source, 6Trusted Source, 7Trusted Source, 8).

In addition, avenanthramides have anti-inflammatory and anti-itching effects (7Trusted Source, 9Trusted Source, 10Trusted Source).

SUMMARY

Oats contain many powerful antioxidants, including avenanthramides. These compounds may help reduce blood pressure and provide other benefits.

3. Oats contain a powerful soluble fiber called beta-glucan

Oats contain large amounts of beta-glucan, a type of soluble fiber. Beta-glucan partially dissolves in water and forms a thick, gel-like solution in your gut.

The health benefits of beta-glucan fiber include:

  • reduced LDL and total cholesterol levels (11Trusted Source)
  • reduced blood sugar and insulin response (12Trusted Source)
  • increased feeling of fullness (13Trusted Source)
  • increased growth of good bacteria in the digestive tract (14Trusted Source)

SUMMARY

Oats are high in the soluble fiber beta-glucan, which has numerous benefits. It helps reduce cholesterol and blood sugar levels, promotes healthy gut bacteria, and increases feelings of fullness.

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4. They can lower cholesterol levels and protect LDL cholesterol from damage

Heart disease is the leading cause of death globally. One major risk factor is high blood cholesterol.

Many studies have shown that the beta-glucan fiber in oats is effective at reducing both total and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels (15Trusted Source).

Beta-glucan may increase the release of cholesterol-rich bile, which reduces the circulating levels of cholesterol in your blood.

Oats may also protect LDL (bad) cholesterol from oxidation.

Oxidation of LDL (bad) cholesterol occurs when it reacts with free radicals. This is another crucial step in the progression of heart disease. It produces inflammation in arteries, damages tissues, and can raise the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

SUMMARY

Oats may lower the risk of heart disease by reducing both total and LDL (bad) cholesterol, as well as by protecting LDL from oxidation.

5. Oats can improve blood sugar control

Type 2 diabetes is a common health condition, characterized by significantly elevated blood sugars. It usually results from decreased sensitivity to the hormone insulin.

Oats may help lower blood sugar levels, especially in people with overweight or who have type 2 diabetes. The beta-glucan in both oats and barley may also improve insulin sensitivity (16Trusted Source, 17Trusted Source).

However, a randomized clinical trial in 2016 saw no improvement in insulin sensitivity, so further research is needed (18Trusted Source).

These effects are mainly attributed to beta-glucan’s ability to form a thick gel that delays the emptying of the stomach and absorption of glucose into the blood (16Trusted Source).

SUMMARY

Due to the soluble fiber beta-glucan, oats may improve insulin sensitivity and help lower blood sugar levels.

6. Oatmeal is very filling and may help you lose weight

Not only is oatmeal (porridge) a delicious breakfast food, it’s also very filling (13Trusted Source).

Eating filling foods may help you eat fewer calories and lose weight.

By delaying the time it takes your stomach to empty of food, the beta-glucan in oatmeal may increase your feeling of fullness (19Trusted Source).

Beta-glucan may also promote the release of peptide YY (PYY), a hormone produced in the gut in response to eating. This satiety hormone has been shown to lead to reduced calorie intake and may decrease your risk of obesity (20Trusted Source, 21).

SUMMARY

Oatmeal may help you lose weight by making you feel more full. It does this by slowing down the emptying of the stomach and increasing the production of the satiety hormone PYY.

7. Finely ground oats may help with skin care

It’s no coincidence that oats can be found in numerous skin care products. Makers of these products often label finely ground oats as “colloidal oatmeal.”

The FDA approved colloidal oatmeal as a skin-protective substance back in 2003. But in fact, oats have a long history of use in the treatment of itch and irritation in various skin conditions (22Trusted Source).

For example, oat-based skin products may improve uncomfortable symptoms of eczema (23).

Note that skin care benefits pertain only to oats applied to the skin, not those that are eaten.

SUMMARY

Colloidal oatmeal (finely ground oats) has long been used to help treat dry and itchy skin. It may help relieve symptoms of various skin conditions, including eczema.

8. They may decrease the risk of childhood asthma

Asthma is the most common chronic condition in kids (24Trusted Source).

It’s an inflammatory disorder of the airways — the tubes that carry air to and from a person’s lungs.

Although not all children have the same symptoms, many experience recurrent coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath.

Older research indicates that early introduction of oats, for example, may actually protect children from developing asthma (25Trusted Source, 26Trusted Source).

One study reports that feeding oats to infants before they are 6 months old is associated with a decreased risk of childhood asthma (27Trusted Source)

SUMMARY

Some research suggests that oats may help prevent asthma in children when fed to young infants.

9. Oats may help relieve constipation

People of all ages and populations experience constipation. This refers to infrequent, irregular bowel movements that are difficult to pass.

Constipation affects nearly 16 out of 100 adults and about 33 out of 100 adults who are ages 60 and over (28Trusted Source).

Studies indicate that oat bran, the fiber-rich outer layer of the grain, may help relieve constipation in older adults (29Trusted Source, 30Trusted Source).

One trial found that well-being improved for 30 older adults who consumed a soup or dessert containing oat bran daily for 12 weeks (31Trusted Source).

What’s more, 59% of those people were able to stop using laxatives after the 3-month study, while overall laxative use increased by 8% in the control group.

Oat bran was also shown to decrease gastrointestinal symptoms and aid digestion in people living with ulcerative colitis (32).

However, while the soluble fiber in oats is generally effective against constipation, it has been found to be less effective against opioid-induced constipation, since it doesn’t affect the movement of the colon that the drugs may suppress (33).

SUMMARY

Studies indicate that oat bran can help reduce constipation in older adults, significantly reducing the need to use laxatives.

How to incorporate oats into your diet

You can enjoy oats in several ways. The most popular way is to simply eat oatmeal (porridge) for breakfast.

Here is what you need to make oatmeal:

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup (250 ml) water or milk
  • A pinch of salt

Combine ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook the oats, stirring occasionally, until soft.

To make oatmeal tastier and even more nutritious, you can add cinnamon, fruits, nuts, seeds, and Greek yogurt.

Oats are often also included in baked goods, muesli, granola, and bread.

Although oats are naturally gluten-free, they are sometimes contaminated with gluten. That’s because they may be harvested and processed using the same equipment as other grains that contain gluten (33).

If you have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, choose oat products that are certified as gluten-free.

SUMMARY

Oats can be a great addition to a healthy diet. They can be eaten as oatmeal (porridge) for breakfast, added to baked goods, and more.

Oats are incredibly good for you

Oats are an incredibly nutritious food packed with important vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. In addition, they’re higher in fiber and protein compared to other grains.

Oats contain some unique components — in particular, the soluble fiber beta-glucan and antioxidants called avenanthramides.

Benefits include lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels, protection against skin irritation, and reduced constipation.

In addition, they are very filling and have many properties that should make them a food helpful for weight loss.

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.

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.

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