They're big questions: Are oats good for weight loss? What are the best oats to eat? Here are answers to your burning questions, plus a delicious recipe for a microwave cherry oatmeal bowl.
Do you eat oatmeal on the regular? Or 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 recipe for a microwave cherry oatmeal bowl.
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!" You’ve probably heard that a fiber-filled breakfast like oatmeal helps you to feel full and may decrease hunger.
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.
Why? 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).
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.
In the study, 48 adults ate a 363-calorie breakfast of either oatmeal (Quaker 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.
Now, I'm sharing research 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.
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.
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.
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 oatmeal bowl recipe I promised you!
This post was updated in May 2019. A version of this post originally appeared on WeightWatchers.com.
This cherry oatmeal bowl takes just minutes to make!
Helpful kitchen tools:
Dash pumpkin pie spice
In a small bowl, microwave cherries for about 2 minutes. Set aside. Microwave oatmeal with water as desired for about 2-3 minutes; remove from microwave. Combine oatmeal with cherries. Top with almonds, flaxseeds, and chia seeds. Sprinkle with pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon. Enjoy! Serves 1.
Nutritional information per serving: Cal: 420 Fat: 19 g Sat fat: 2 g Pro: 13 g Carbs: 54 g Sugar: 15 g Fiber: 11 g Chol: 0 g Sod: 10 g
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Let me know if you make this microwave cherry oatmeal bowl! And tell me: What are your thoughts on eating oatmeal? Are oats good for weight loss? Tag @amydgorin on Instagram and Pinterest and @amygorin on Twitter and Facebook.