Does Oatmeal Make You Fat? (Or Can it be Used as a Diet Food?)

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A big resounding “No” would be the answer. Oatmeal is not fattening at all, in fact it’s about the best breakfast cereal you can ever eat for good health.

Of course we are talking about plain oats here and not the flavored, sugar laced, brands of instant oatmeal; neither are we talking about oatmeal cookies high in butter and sugar.

Oatmeal – the cholesterol lowering cereal

The best thing about oatmeal which makes it a great “fat burning” food is the presence of insoluble and soluble fiber.

Any food rich in soluble fiber will aid in fat reduction because of its tendency to bind, and discard, the cholesterol producing substances in the stomach.

If you have been adjudged to have high blood cholesterol, after your routine body check up, it’s time for you to move on to a healthier breakfast option, namely oatmeal.

Here are benefits you will reap from eating this excellent cereal:

  • The insoluble fiber, beta glucan, present in oatmeal will help relieve any constipation issues you suffer from, clean up your colon and free up energy which the body can then use for removing toxins.
  • The soluble fiber, which converts to a viscous gel in your digestive tract, reduces the LDL (bad cholesterol) in your body by biding with substances related to high cholesterol. It does not impact the HDL (good cholesterol) production.
  • Oatmeal has a lower Glycemic Index (GI), in other words the carbohydrate is slow to be absorbed into the blood stream. It slows down the sugar absorption from any starchy food you might eat after the oatmeal and thus helps in regulating blood sugar levels. No wonder oatmeal is recommended as miracle food for diabetic patients.

So even if you eat cholesterol rich food after an oatmeal breakfast, you will be saved from any adverse effects thanks to the cholesterol fighting properties of oatmeal.

How to eat oatmeal?

Oatmeal is not fattening but if you buy the flavored instant oatmeal concoctions being sold in the market today, you are likely to ingest a lot of fattening ingredients especially the “refined sugar”.

It is tempting to go in for apple or cinnamon flavor, sweetened oatmeal, but it’s not in the best interest of your health.

You are best off buying simple rolled oats, from brands such as Quaker oats or any other brand. Rolled oats are easy to prepare and can be eaten with relish with fruits like blueberries, raisins and honey.

All you need to do is boil the rolled oats for 15 minutes or so until it obtains a viscous consistency. If you are a “no fuss” eater, this simple gruel is the most healthy breakfast to take in. But if you are fussy about taste you can add some honey and flavored protein powder to the oatmeal. You can also add some dry fruits like dates or raisins to the oatmeal porridge.

Some people like to eat their oatmeal with milk, but this is a slightly fattening option.

Though oatmeal has a bland taste, its best eaten plain with water. Avoid adding butter or refined sugar to the oatmeal if you are looking to go low on fat.

Does oatmeal contain fat?

One cup of oatmeal, close to 80g, will generate approximately 300 calories in the body. 8% of the calories will be obtained in the form of fat. But the good news is that the fat present in oatmeal is the “good fat”, or rather the monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats which are good for the body per se. You are not going to gain “fat” by eating oatmeal.

The best thing about oatmeal is that it’s a whole food laced with nutrition in the form of Vitamin E, zinc, selenium, copper, iron, manganese and magnesium. The carbohydrate from cereal is released slowly into the blood stream and so it makes for an excellent breakfast before a workout or exercise session.

In conclusion, oatmeal is not fattening but is highly nutritious and provides for excellent wholesome health benefits. So tuck into a bowl of boiled oatmeal, with some fruits and raisins, and enjoy a healthy day.

Image Source: Micah

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  • Mila

    @Juan, lovely oatmeal recipe Juan, going to try that out today, thanks. 🙂

  • Lena

    I love oatmeal & I am currently taking instant oatmeal mixed with thick Milo as a meal. At times I will add in some nuts into it. Is that okay or does the ‘thick Milo’ actually add fats in it?

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  • Juan

    I do like the oatmeal with Milk. I cannot pass it just in boil in water. This is how I like to make it:

    1.) Make it with Milk. Pour it in hot milk with artificial sweetener and mix with a hand electric blender to make it fine and foamy. And finish in microwave for a few minutes (checking all the time when it boiled).

    2.) Pour it in a container with a small spoon of raisins (Publix small individual packets).

    3.) In one side of the container put a spoon of peanut butter (crunchy or not and no sugar added).

    4.) In the other side of the container put a spoon of preserve (sugar free).

    5.) Let it cool in different containers and use it as breakfast, lunch or desserts.

    Other variations is to mix the Peanut butter when it is hot (but I notice that I have to put more than one spoon to get same rich peanut taste) or use different fruit preserves in different times of the day.

  • Martha

    Please, do other cereals like golden morn and cornflakes have fat? Is it good for a healthy breakfast?

  • Jasmine

    I eat oats with berries, almonds and honey. Is that fine?

    • MarkJ

      I do the same Jasmine and I think it is a very healthy combination cause all these foods do not contain fat. And the best part is that I feel really energetic and full for a long time after eating.

  • Anonymous

    Oatmeal + dried cranberries + skim milk + a pinch of skim milk = nirvana

    I’m eating oats twice a day (breakfast and lunch) and loving the results. Feeling good and losing weight, and my cholesterol is super awesome!

  • Gumbo

    Can someone please tell me what the difference is between ‘Quaker rolled oats’ and ‘President’s Choice Old Fashioned Steel Cut Oats?’ And, of course, which is the better for you? Thanks so much, this site is awesome! Very, very helpful. (I stumbled across it when I asked Jeeves if grapes are fattening)

  • Dex

    I love oats, the only thing is I can’t have it without milk.

  • Naga.

    Does eating masala oats from the Quaker oats brand unhealthy?

  • John

    A couple of my favorite oat meal recipes are
    1.) Oatmeal with almonds and raisins.
    2.) Oatmeal with dried prunes and walnuts.
    3.) Oat meal with an egg stirred in while cooking. Add flax seed or quinoa. Top off with whole milk or cream.

    I love oat meal!

  • Anonymous

    Oats, sultanas and coconut taste really good together!

  • Ohsonija

    I don’t like how oatmeal tastes but I eat it anyway!

  • Tim(author)

    Josh – it does, and it’s also makes it more nutritious because flax seeds are a great source of essential fatty acids

  • Josh

    Does adding flax seed make the taste better?

  • Tuna Can

    I like to put a couple tablespoons of frozen blueberries in my oatmeal after it is cooked. By the time I get my coffee, the blueberries have thawed nicely and have a wonderful Al Dente texture to them. Also, I like to use a tablespoon or two of the oily Laura Scudders type peanut butter and some raisins. Oatmeal tastes like a peanut butter raisin cookie. I also put apple sauce and cinnamon powder other times.

    I got a letter after a recent physical exam saying congratulations about my cholesterol being excellent. I eat rib eye steaks and hamburgers throughout each month but I also eat oatmeal, salads, stir fry veggies every day. Oatmeal is awesome for you.

  • Phyllis Landis

    I find that I need to follow the Food Combining rules to prevent excessive gas formation. Eating greens with poultry or meats is easy. They advise eating fruit separately so that eliminates adding fruits, dried or fresh to oatmeal. Is it okay to add fruits to protein powders, such as pea protein or egg protein. Suggestions appreciated.

    • Tim(Author)

      Phyllis, sure, you can add protein powder to fruit smoothies. I am presently mix whey protein with my fruit smoothies, which I take after my morning workout. However you will need to check if this combination creates any digestive issues for you, every body has a unique make-up and some food combinations may not work too well for some people. I usually mix some raisins with my oatmeal and the combo works out well for me.