Oats For Slimmers – How Do They Shape Up As A Weight Loss Food?

Are you looking to lose a few pounds – or just maybe more than a few? If you’ve decided to embark in earnest upon a weight-loss diet, then it’s more than likely that you’ve developed a new-found interest in the subject of the health and nutrition properties of various foodstuffs.


If you’re thinking about adding (or reducing) the amount of grains in your diet, you’ve probably included the subject of oats or oatmeal in your considerations. What’s the skinny on the subject of oats for dieters? If we’re just having a look at the raw data, then a quick skim through the Nutritiondata site entry for a 234 gram portion of oatmeal made with water gives such useful nuggets as its containing 6 grams of protein, 32 grams of carbohydrate, 4 grams of fat and 4 grams of fiber. Also notable is its strong content of iron and manganese.[1]


But how to interpret this information? What does it really mean? Do oats qualify as a high fiber food, for instance? According to Lauzon and Hales in 'An Invitation to Health',[4] a fiber content of 5 grams per portion qualifies a food as being a 'high-fiber foodstuff'. Certainly oats are heavily endowed with soluble fiber, a type of fiber that has been credited in the past as being beneficial to certain heart problems.[3] But what about its benefits for slimmers? As fiber passes straight through the body without resulting in the ingestion of calories, and produces a feeling of fullness upon eating, it seems like a pretty good bet. (Indeed it has been made the basis of many dieting fads and crazes, such as the F-Plan diet way back in the mists of time.)


Is the fat content of oats too high for it to qualify as a suitable food for those looking to lose weight via the utilisation of a low-fat diet? The criteria for a food being low-fat has been described as a portion with no more than three grams of fat. At 4 grams per 234 gram portion of cooked oatmeal (prepared with water), in fact it does not, perhaps, technically qualify as a low-fat food: but I would consider that a pretty big serving! Maybe you could cut down a bit on the portion size so you can gorge away on your oatmeal guilt-free!

Of course the slimming – or otherwise – properties of oats depend vastly, as with any other staple, upon how they are prepared and what other ingredients they are prepared with. A bowl of simple cooked oatmeal, made with semi-skimmed milk, is a vastly different prospect for a slimmer to that of a fat and sugar laden flapjack, say, or a large bowl of muesli with added sugar and full-fat milk. Certainly many commercially produced oat bars have hair-raising levels of both fat and sugar (and often surprising quantities of additives) if you come to look at the ingredients list.

So if you're thinking of making oats a cornerstone of your new slimming regime, take care how you prepare them – and don't forget to enjoy them!


References.

1 Nutritiondata. 'Cereals, oats, regular and quick and instant, unenriched, cooked with water (includes boiling and microwaving), without salt [oatmeal, cooked]'. Nutritiondata website. 2011.Available at <http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/breakfast-cereals/1598/2> Accessed on 06/03/2011.

2 Klein, D.A.. 'The 200 SuperFoods That Will Save Your Life: A Complete Program to Live.' USA; The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.: 2010.

3 Lammert, A., Kratzsch, P. Selhorst, J., Humpert, P.M., Bierhaus, A., Birck, R., Kusterer, K., Hammes, H.-P. 'Clinical Benefit of a Short Term Dietary Oatmeal Intervention in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes and Severe Insulin Resistance: A Pilot Study' (Short Communication) Exp. Clin. Endocrinol. Diabetes. 2008; 116(2): pp. 132-134

4 Hales, D.R., Lauzon, L. 'An Invitation to Health.' Toronto: Nelson Education Ltd., 2010.

5 Wiley.  'Kirk-Othmer food and feed technology, Volume 1.' Hoboken; John Wiley & Sons, Inc.: 2008.

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