Oatmeal is one of the first food items that come to mind when we talk about healthy eating and dieting
That isn’t entirely wrong. In fact, it’s for a good reason.
Oatmeal is a food item made from dry oats, and they are quite well-known for a variety of health benefits.
This whole-grain snack has been a staple breakfast food. Fruits and sweeteners are typical toppings to enhance the flavor of oatmeal.
The oatmeal diet has been around for quite some time already. And, this diet has been recommended as a weight loss plan. However, is there truth to this, or is it just another fad? Can you achieve your target weight with this diet? Let’s find out.
The Oatmeal Diet: an overview
Because of the richness of oat in nutritional value, various diets have claimed to be effective in weight loss. Now, we will talk about the oatmeal diet. Based on the name, this diet revolves around eating mainly oatmeal. With this diet, you should eat oatmeal as your main course for one to two meals daily.
Additionally, the oatmeal diet involves two phases. For the first phase of the diet, you need to eat oatmeal three times. This corresponds to your three main meals, and you need to do this for your first week on the oatmeal diet. The first phase involves eating only whole oats, not instant oatmeal, with fruits and oatmeal as snacks.
Your second phase on this diet involves eating oatmeal for only one or two meals a day. It would be best if you paired this with other low-fat meals. On the second phase, now on your second week on oatmeal diet, you need to eat more fruits and vegetables. Also, instant oatmeal can be one of the options.
For the oatmeal diet, you eat oatmeal three times a day for one whole week, then eat them once or twice for days after the first week. Recommended additional low-fat options to take along with this diet would be fruit, milk, and yogurt.
Aside from this two-phase diet, the oatmeal diet also has another option. You can do a six-day meal plan where you eat oatmeal as two of your daily meals. On this diet option, it is basically like skipping phase one mentioned earlier. You directly do the second phase on this method.
What are the benefits of the Oatmeal Diet?
The main benefit of the oatmeal diet, especially for weight loss, would be its nutritional content. Half a cup of oats can give you 2 grams of dietary fiber, 1.5 grams of fat, and 3 grams of protein. This is in addition to lots of fibers that you can take in. All this good stuff and with no sugar content!
Moreover, this serving of oats can give you 2% of your needed calcium amount per day. Also, this serving can give you 6% of the iron amount you need.
Oats sounds like a promising meal, given all these nutrients that you get from it. The health benefit of oatmeal would include decreased risk for heart disease and colorectal cancer. Lower blood pressure and better digestion can be provided to you by whole grain oats. Oatmeal is undoubtedly a healthy meal.
Studies have also shown the effect of oats as therapy for diabetic patients. Although short-term, this still could have room for more research in the future.
Oatmeal and weight loss
With all this knowledge on oatmeal, it isn’t surprising to see that some companies choose to market them as mainly weight-loss food. To understand why they do so, you should know how oatmeal and its composition made those claims.
Oatmeal is claimed to be a weight-loss food because it contains lots of beta-glucans. Beta-glucans are the fiber content on oats and even barley. Literature states that oat beta-glucans or OBGs do not spike up your blood sugar levels after eating.
When you eat, especially if you consume lots of carbohydrates, your blood sugar levels suddenly rise. Do not worry because this is only temporary. Your body reacts to this by releasing insulin and, your brain translates the sudden decrease in the blood sugar as hunger. Therefore, you have the urge to eat again. As you eat more, it is expected that you would gain more weight. This is where OBG’s come to play. Since they do not spike up your blood sugars, you do not feel as hungry as often as you usually would.
This is how oats work. They give you a full feeling, preventing you from eating more occasionally, hence a reasonable weight-loss strategy.
Oatmeal and cholesterol
Oats are an all-around healthy food. The beta-glucan content of oats can lower your cholesterol levels. However, this benefit can only manifest slowly over a couple of weeks of continuously eating oatmeal.
A study has shown that eating more than 3 grams of oats per day can decrease your bad cholesterol levels. This is very healthy for you because a very high bad cholesterol level indicates possible heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and even hypertension.
Oatmeal is a low-cost meal that can work as a weight loss meal plan. As long as you stick to a low-calorie and low-fat oatmeal diet with enough exercise, you can effectively lose weight. Incorporating daily exercise is essential because you get to burn more calories and prevent loss of muscle mass.
As explained earlier, oatmeal can make you feel less hungry. So, you have less urge to eat. Also, your digestion can benefit from the massive fiber content of oatmeal. Furthermore, oatmeal can be good for your overall health.
Now that you are considering some form of a weight loss diet, always know that there is no single perfect diet for all people. Even more, an extreme diet is dangerous rather than effective for weight loss.
Weight loss is multifactorial. You need to eat the right food at the right time with appropriate exercise. It would be best to have a healthcare professional guide you in your weight loss journey.