By Amy Gorin, MS, RDN
They're big questions: Are oats good for weight loss? What are the best oats to eat? Find out if oatmeal is good for weight loss, plus answers to your other burning questions. Also get a delicious recipe for a microwave cherry oatmeal bowl.
Do you eat oatmeal on the regular? Do you eat an oatmeal breakfast for weight loss, or the flip side are you a little afraid of the carb count of oats? Whether you're an oatmeal lover or not, I'm about to share really exciting research on oatmeal with you.
And don't forget to scroll to the bottom, where I'm sharing a super easy quick oatmeal recipe for a microwave oatmeal bowl.
If you love cooking with oats as much as I do, then this post is for you. One of my favorite breakfasts is oatmeal. I often eat the microwaveable, instant kind and add banana slices just after cooking so that the fruit slightly cooks. Then I swirl in peanut butter so it gets all melty and delicious.
Are oats good for weight loss? The answer is "yes!" Absolutely, oatmeal for weight loss is a real thing.
You’ve probably heard that a fiber-filled breakfast like oatmeal helps you to feel full and may decrease hunger. Read on to find more about the oatmeal weight loss connection.
Eating Oats for Weight Loss
Are oats healthy? Absolutely. There's lots of research about how oats can help weight loss and health, and I'm going to share a few of them with you here. First up is a small study in Nutrition Journal.
In the study, 45 people ate the following breakfasts on three different mornings:
- 1.4 ounces instant oatmeal, mixed with 8 ounces boiling water, plus 6.5 ounces fat-free milk
- 1.4 ounces old-fashioned oatmeal, microwaved with 8 ounces water, plus 6.5 ounces fat-free milk
- 1.3 ounces Honey Nut Cheerios served with 6.5 ounces cold milk, plus 8.5 ounces water
Both types of oatmeal were more filling and satiating than the cold cereal: People eating the instant oatmeal breakfast reported being less hungry, more satiated, and less interested in eating for the following four hours.
Results were similar for people eating the old-fashioned oatmeal, although volunteers
eating that breakfast didn’t report less hunger or more fullness. So what are the best oats for weight loss? Sounds like it's instant oatmeal, in this case a great weight-control oatmeal,
for the win!
Why? When it comes to oats and weight loss, the study authors think the thinly cut flakes of instant oatmeal were able to plump up more than those of the old-fashioned oatmeal, making them more voluminous.
Another possible reason: Both hot oatmeal breakfasts were higher in fiber (4 grams) than
the cold cereal breakfast (2.7 grams) and contained more beta-glucan, a type of fiber found in certain grains like oats and barley.
Of course, eating any type of breakfast with whole grains and/or fiber may help you feel more satisfied. When shopping for a cold cereal, look for ones with amped-up fiber, like Kashi Cinnamon Harvest (7 grams) All-Bran Original (10 grams per serving), or Fiber One (14 grams).
Plus, when you lose weight, that can help health benefits like reduced blood pressure and lowered risk of heart disease!
Does Oatmeal Make You Hungry?
It's quite the opposite, actually. Next up: I'm sharing how eating oatmeal can help keep your appetite at bay. A study in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition shows a bowl of oatmeal helps control appetite and decrease lunchtime calories. So this is another study that showcases oat benefits.
In the study, 48 adults ate a 363-calorie breakfast of either oatmeal (Quaker Oats Instant Oatmeal Flakes) or an oat-based breakfast cereal (Honey Nut Cheerios), each served with lactose-free, fat-free milk.
Guess what? People eating the oatmeal breakfast felt fuller and more satiated. They also ate 85 less calories at lunch, which was served four hours after breakfast.
The study authors think that the oatmeal's beta-glucan helped increase fullness. The oatmeal formed a thick and sticky mixture, likely because the beta-glucan in the oats was hydrated and became more voluminous. So oats and weight loss meet again!
How Oatmeal Helps People with Diabetes
Now, I'm sharing more research about the benefits of oats. Here's a study that talks about how oatmeal can help people with type 2 diabetes—it may lower blood sugar levels and decrease hunger.
A review study in the British Journal of Nutrition shows it may help people with diabetes control their blood sugar levels, important since potential complications of diabetes such as blindness and even limb amputation are less common and less severe in people who manage their blood sugar concentrations.
The study found that oats significantly lowered the level of fasting insulin (the hormone that controls blood sugar)
in volunteers with type 2 diabetes—potentially because the beta-glucan in oatmeal can help slow your digestion of oatmeal and keep you feel fuller for longer. So this all has to do with the
nutrition in oats.
Of course, oatmeal is a nutritious choice for all of us: It’s a good source of satiating fiber, and eating whole grains such as oats has been connected with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
When you're eating oatmeal, you can of course sweeten with maple and brown sugar. But I recommend adding a dash of cinnamon or nutmeg, or even a drizzle of almond extract, to cut down on the need for any added sugar or artificial flavors.
Oatmeal Recipes for Weight Loss
Now that you've read about some oatmeal research, what are your thoughts: Are oats good for weight loss? They absolutely can be, if they're part of a healthy eating plan. Want a meal plan template for weight loss?
If you're looking for more oats, give these recipes a try:
And oatmeal isn't just for breakfast! Get 49 oatmeal recipes for any time of day. Now, onto that cherry breakfast bowl recipe (made with delish frozen cherries) I promised you! It takes just minutes to make. Don't forget your spoon!
Helpful Kitchen Tools
This post was updated in December 2020. A version of this post originally appeared on WeightWatchers.com.
Let me know if you make this microwave cherry oatmeal bowl! Do you eat oatmeal in your diet? What are your thoughts on eating oatmeal? Do you prefer quick oats or steel cut oats or slow cooker oats?
Are oats good for weight loss? I'd love to hear if your opinion on the "is oatmeal good for weight loss?" debate has changed!
Microwave Cherry Oatmeal Bowl
Sat. Fat (grams)2
Did you make this recipe?
- The Role of Meal Viscosity and Oat Beta-Glucan Characteristics in Human Appetite Control: a Randomized Crossover Trial, Nutrition Journal
- Instant Oatmeal Increases Satiety and Reduces Energy Compared to a Ready-to-Eat Oat-Based Breakfast Cereal: a Randomized Crossover Trial, Journal of the American College of Nutrition
- Effect of Oat Intake on Glycaemic Control and Insulin Sensitivity: a Meta-Analysis of Randomised Controlled Trials, British Journal of Nutrition
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