Oatmeal is a popular breakfast option and is recommended in many different types of diet plans, but is oatmeal healthy? The answer is, it depends.
Is Oatmeal Healthy? Benefits of Oatmeal/Oats
Oatmeal certainly has weight loss benefits including the following.
- Oatmeal is a food that is high in fiber
- The medical community describes oatmeal as heart healthy and recommends it for people who are concerned about reducing their cholesterol
- Oats are complex carbs and even contain melatonin, which helps you to sleep well
- Oatmeal provides loads of energy and keeps the person full for an extended period of time, which means the dieter does not get hungry as quickly
- Workouts are also easier because of the extra energy you get from it
- Oatmeal helps the digestive system move properly because it is filled with fiber
Which Types of Oats Should You Buy?
You should avoid quick-cook or instant oats as they are highly processed and often contain other additives.
Many people are most familiar with rolled oats, but oat groats or steel cut (also called Irish) oats are recommended over rolled oats as they are the least processed.
With oat groats, only the outermost hull that is inedible is removed. Steel cut oats are simply oat groats cut up into smaller pieces.
Oat groats or steel cut oats are digested slower than rolled oats, and have a lower glycemic index, which means the conversion to sugar is slower, giving you a more even level of sustained energy.
Also make sure to avoid any oats that have any other ingredients in them, such as sugar, artificial additives, and especially partially hydrogenated oils.
Oats and Gluten
Although oats in their natural form are gluten-free, they often get contaminated with gluten during its processing stage, ending up with gluten. For this reason, you should watch your reaction to oats that you purchase. If the oats are contaminated with gluten, depending on your gluten sensitivity, oats may not be ideal for your health or weight loss efforts.
Is Oatmeal Healthy? Conclusion
Oatmeal can be a healthy addition to your diet, if you buy the right types of oatmeal that are minimally processed without sugar or additives, and particularly if you purchase those that are gluten-free. Make sure to watch your body’s reaction after consumption.