The health benefits of Oatmeal

For many people, eating breakfast is an “if I have time” thing, or an “well I’m not hungry in the morning.” What if I told you that breakfast can help lead to weight loss, and oatmeal can be a key food?

When referring to oatmeal in this post, I am referring to instant oats or whole oats. None of the Quaker maple brown sugar packages. Those pack a very different nutrient profile. A recent study published in the Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism revealed that oatmeal can play a major role in blood sugar and satiety (Geliebter, 2015). This study looked at 36 individuals, half of which were classified as overweight, the other half classified as normal weight. The subjects were assigned to one of three different breakfast options on a randomized sequence on different days. The three options were oatmeal, isocaloric corn flakes, or water. Blood tests were taken post meal to determine the effect on blood sugar and gastric emptying. In addition hunger and appetite ratings were taken concurrently with the blood tests.

The results of this study were very interesting. What this study showed was that appetite was lowest and satiety was highest after consuming oatmeal compared to the corn flakes and water. Blood sugar was also the lowest in the corn flakes, indicating a mid morning “crash.” The study also concluded that gastric emptying was slower with oatmeal compared to corn flakes and water.

So what does this all mean? Well essentially that eating oatmeal for breakfast will keep you fuller for longer, maintain a steadier blood sugar level, and maybe help you eat less for lunch. So in terms of weight loss, a steadier blood sugar level combined with eating less calories for lunch can help. Which makes sense, less calories consumed means more weight lost.

What’s the secret behind oatmeal? Fiber. Oatmeal contains 4 grams of fiber per one cup. Since the average American only consumes about 15 grams per day, 4 grams of fiber in one serving is pretty good. Fiber has many health benefits including lowering cholesterol, stabilizing insulin response and blood sugar levels,  reducing the risk of obesity, and digestive health. For women, aim to consume at least 21-25 grams per day, and 30 to 38 grams per day for men.

For more information on other high fiber foods, check out this great page from the Mayo clinic.

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/high-fiber-foods/art-20050948

So to wrap up, oatmeal can be a great tool when looking to build a healthy eating plan and weight loss routine. Not only can it help regulate blood sugar, but it can also lead to fewer calories consumed during the day and increased feelings of satiety. So load up on those oats!

 

Geliebter, A., Grillot, C. L., Aviram-Friedman, R., Haq, S., Yahav, E., & Hashim, S. A. (2015). Effects of oatmeal and corn flakes cereal breakfasts on satiety, gastric emptying, glucose, and appetite-related hormones. Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism, 66(2-3), 93-103.

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