Starting a cozy autumn morning with a warm bowl of oatmeal not only embraces the season’s coziness but also ushers in a host of nutritional benefits. Packed with dietary fiber as well as essential vitamins and minerals like manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, and iron, oatmeal has numerous benefits, which is why it’s often touted by many as a powerful tool in the pursuit of a healthy diet—but can the same be said for weight loss?
We spoke with Amy Goodson, MS, RD, CSSD, LD, a registered dietitian and certified specialist in sports dietetics who sits on our Medical Expert Board, who answers the question of whether eating oatmeal can help you lose weight.
Whether you top off your oats with almonds, shredded coconut, farm-fresh honey, or assorted berries, here’s the answer to whether your oatmeal habit can help you on your weight loss journey. Read on, and for more, don’t miss 6 ‘Bad’ Carbs That Are Actually Good For Weight Loss.
Can eating oatmeal help you lose weight?
Let’s be honest: When you’re on a weight loss journey, it’s crucial to learn every possible thing that can help or hinder your progress. There are some foods that are your friends and some that you need to cut out of your circle. As far as oatmeal is concerned, it can now be your very best of friends for breakfast, a savory lunch, or a snack.
Now, let’s get into this bowl of goodness. “Oatmeal [is] heart healthy because it is rich in soluble fiber, particularly beta-glucans, which can help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels in the blood. This can reduce the risk of heart disease and improve overall cardiovascular health,” Goodson explains. “The soluble fiber in oatmeal can also help regulate blood sugar levels by slowing down the absorption of sugar in the bloodstream. Plus, oatmeal’s fiber content promotes healthy digestion by preventing constipation and supporting a well-functioning gastrointestinal system. It is also an important source of many nutrients like manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, and iron.”
If you didn’t already know, getting a sufficient fill of fiber is a crucial part of successful weight loss. And as Goodson points out, oatmeal is chock-full of it. So if it’s not on your meal rotation quite yet, you may want to add it to your shopping list!
Here are five ways oatmeal can help you lose weight.
Now that we’ve established oatmeal can be an excellent addition to your diet, let’s get into five ways oatmeal can help you lose weight, according to Goodson.
1. Oatmeal can help you feel full.
Eating a hearty bowl of oats for breakfast is a surefire way to feel full and satisfied, as oatmeal offers plenty of fiber. Fiber can aid in weight management by lowering the total amount of calories you consume. “Fiber helps you feel full faster and stay full longer, which can also help curb unhealthy snacking between meals,” Goodson tells us.
2. It’s an excellent source of complex carbs.
Fear not, because not all carbs are bad. In fact, complex carbs can aid in your weight loss efforts. “Oatmeal is a good source of complex carbohydrates, providing a steady release of energy because it digests slower,” Goodson explains. “It can help you stay energized throughout the day and maintain stable blood sugar levels. This can help you fight off cravings and excessive snacking between meals that often leads to weight gain over time.”
3. It’s packed with protein.
In addition to fiber, protein is another golden piece of the weight loss pie you should be sure to get enough of. “With just about five grams of protein in a half-cup of oats (measured dry), it can help you feel full faster and stay full longer after meals,” says Goodson. “Plus, oats are a great base for other high-protein foods like nuts and nut butters, seeds, milk, and protein powder. All of these additions can be used to amp up a bowl of oatmeal into a protein powerhouse!”
4. It doesn’t come with a high-calorie count.
When you have a goal of losing weight, you’re likely searching for low-calorie foods that actually taste good. After all, weight loss is all about establishing a calorie deficit each day. Oatmeal fits the bill.
“Oats are low in calories,” Goodson points out. “With only 150 calories for a half-cup serving (measured dry), they boast of nutrients like fiber and protein that help you stay full longer than if you were eating 150 calories from a pastry or breakfast baked good. This can help create a stable blood sugar first thing in the morning so that you can then proactively eat balanced throughout the day.”
5. It’s versatile.
One of the most helpful and effective tips when it comes to weight loss is choosing foods that can seamlessly be added to different meals and snacks. The versatility of oats can’t be denied.
“Oats can be used in a variety of recipes, from traditional breakfast oatmeal to smoothies, muffins, and energy bites, as well as incorporated into savory dishes like using them as the base of risotto instead of rice or a topping instead of breadcrumbs,” Goodson explains.
Your diet doesn’t have to be boring; it can be creative and fun!