While plenty of food brands cater to our sweet tooth, others opt for healthier habits and pride themselves on how nutritious their products are. One such example is oatmeal, which has been shown to provide several health advantages.
It has long been a stand-by food for children, who often regard it as a dessert or breakfast food. However, this perception is slowly changing, and many grown-ups are now seeing it as a useful tool in their weight loss regimen.
To shed some light on this phenomenon, let’s take a closer look at the role that oatmeal can play in your quest for weight loss.
The Facts About Oatmeal
First off, we need to establish some factual information about oatmeal. While we often think of the grain in relation to its porridge form, oatmeal can vary in shape and size quite a bit, from the tiny, freshly made quinoa or buckwheat variety to the enormous, steel-cut oats that are served in large quantities in Britain.
Regardless of its size, oatmeal is rich in nutrients and has plenty of fiber, making it an excellent source of carbohydrates, protein, and fats. In addition, oatmeal contains vitamins B, C, and E, and antioxidants, which make it a good idea for your health in general.
For those seeking a convenient and healthier option for their morning meal, oatmeal is an appealing choice. In fact, according to the American Institute of Stress, oatmeal is one of the most effective natural remedies for anxiety and depression.
How Oatmeal Can Help With Weight Loss
Now that we know what oatmeal is and the health advantages it provides, it’s time to explore its role in helping with weight loss. While the answer is not straightforward, oatmeal can play a key role in your ongoing quest to shed those unwanted pounds.
The American Institute of Stress suggests that eating hearty breakfasts like oatmeal can help to establish a healthy metabolism, potentially leading to weight loss. To support this claim, the organization cites a study that was conducted at the University of Minnesota. The study compared the effects of eating a healthy breakfast versus a conventional meal, such as a doughnut, on food cravings and subsequent food intake throughout the day. The results of the study showed that participants who ate the morning meal reported less food cravings and consumed fewer calories than those who skipped breakfast or had a conventional meal.
In addition to lessening food cravings and resulting in weight loss, oatmeal can also help to keep your appetite in check. In a study published in the journal Appetite, overweight and obese individuals were asked to consume either oatmeal or a sugar-coffee drink daily for three weeks. After three weeks, the researchers found that the participants who ate oatmeal experienced a 25 percent drop in their appetite, while the coffee group experienced a 17 percent increase in their appetite. The study authors attributed this to the fact that the fiber in oatmeal works to take up a large amount of space in the stomach, effectively increasing the feeling of fullness.
What’s more is that oatmeal can help to regulate the hormones that are associated with appetite. In one study, participants were asked to consume either oatmeal or milk for seven days. After seven days, the participants who ate oatmeal showed a significant increase in the level of serotonin, a hormone which plays a role in regulating appetite. The researchers concluded that eating oatmeal can help provide a better mental state, resulting in lessened appetite and subsequent weight loss.
Along with regulating appetite and encouraging weight loss, oatmeal can also help to speed up digestion and absorption of nutrients and calories. In one clinical trial, participants were asked to ingest either oatmeal or an inactive substance (maltodextrin) daily for three weeks. After three weeks, the participants who ate oatmeal showed significant improvement in blood glucose levels and insulin sensitivity, as well as a 26 percent decrease in their body weight.
These are just some of the benefits that oatmeal can provide in relation to weight loss. While the above research points to the fact that oatmeal can help with weight loss, the answer is most definitely not simple. What’s more is that there are various ways in which oatmeal can hinder your weight loss efforts.
The Dangers Of Oatmeal
Now that you know the many advantages that oatmeal can provide for your health, it’s time to take a closer look at some of its drawbacks. For starters, if you want to shed some pounds, avoiding oatmeal is certainly an option, as discussed above.
In general, oatmeal is a relatively nutritious and filling food, which most individuals should be able to eat without risk of harming their health. However, there are some specific groups of people for whom eating oatmeal can be a bad idea. The most notable of these are:
- Those who are on gluten-free diet
- Those who are sensitive to wheat products
- Those with coeliac disease
- Women who are or who are about to become pregnant
- And the list goes on
For individuals with one of the above disorders, consuming gluten-free foods, wheat products, dairy, or eggs can be dangerous. When these foods are consumed, the body is unable to function normally, resulting in harm to the individual in question. In the case of gluten-free diets, this means that they may exhibit various symptoms, including muscle weakness, weight gain, and digestive problems. Similarly, those who are sensitive to wheat products may experience gastrointestinal distress, among other things.
Fortunately, there are measures that you can take to reduce the risks of oatmeal. First off, you can look for gluten-free and wheat-free options when shopping for food, as well as opt for freshly made oatmeal instead of the pre-baked or instant variety. In addition, if you think that you or a loved one may be at risk of developing one of the disorders listed above, a doctor may be able to help. Some of the doctors specialized in this area are dietitians, who may be able to advise you on how to eat safely and how to reduce your risks of developing the above disorders.
In summary, while oatmeal can be an excellent food to help you lose weight, it’s not exactly a diet food. If you or a loved one is at risk of developing one of the disorders listed above, avoid eating oatmeal, as it may pose a threat to your health. In most other cases, including when consumed by those who are not at risk, oatmeal can be considered a safe and useful food, providing various advantages to your health.
If you want to try out oatmeal as a tool in your weight loss regimen, go for the freshly made, healthier options. In addition, be sure to eat breakfast regularly, as skipping meals can result in a number of health problems, including weight gain. Last but not least, don’t expect too much from oatmeal. It’s a simple dietary ingredient, which, in most cases, provides several advantages to your health.
In the end, the choice is completely up to you. If you or a loved one are not at risk of developing one of the disorders listed above, you can opt for healthier dietary options and try out oatmeal as a tool for weight loss. In most other cases, including when eaten by those who are not at risk, oatmeal can be considered a safe food, providing various advantages to your health.