For a nutritious breakfast, we are firmly Team Oatmeal. It’s hard to imagine a better meal than oats to start the day with lots of fiber, slow-digesting complex carbohydrates, and even some protein.
Not only are oats a tasty whole grain that you can mix and match almost anything with – from banana slices to matcha powder to blackberry jam – its nutritional profile can give you a weight loss boost.
What Are The Best Oats For Weight Loss?
Any type of oat is an excellent choice for weight loss.
Here are the deets.
A small study showed that diets high in whole grains are linked to lower body weight, and all types of oats contain vegetable protein and fiber that curb hunger.
In fact, oats contain a special type of fiber called beta-glucan, which was particularly promising for weight loss in a 2012 research report.
“All oats contain beta-glucan,” says Frances Largeman-Roth, RDN, PR nutritionist at Quaker Oats. “It is this soluble fiber in unflavoured oatmeal that research has shown can aid in healthy weight management.”
Oats and blood sugar
The researchers are studying the effects of oats on blood sugar – especially in people with diabetes. One study found that people with type 2 diabetes who ate more oats for a year had lower blood sugar levels and weight.
“Steel oats are probably the least likely to have the lowest blood sugar impact, followed by old-fashioned oats and quick oats,” notes Largeman-Roth.
Ultimately, the type of oats that brings the number down on the scale is the type you will actually eat – especially if you crunch for time. Note: Because of this, instant oats can offer a distinct weight loss benefit.
We’ll dive into each oat option and let you choose which one is best for your lifestyle.
Instantly … rolled … steel cut … and, hold the phone, grits? (Is that a real word at all?) When you stare at a wall of oats in the grocery store, you’re probably wondering what the hell the difference is between the different varieties on display.
All types of oats begin just like oats – the grain crops that grow in cool, temperate climates around the world. After harvest, there are several ways to store shelves.
According to the Whole Grains Council, oat kernels can be made into oat groats, steel oats, Scottish oatmeal, rolled oats, and quick oats. (Oat bran and oatmeal are also made from oats, of course, but they’re not exactly great for making oatmeal.)
Here is a quick snapshot of what makes each oat unique.
Since groats are just the kernel of the oat plant (with the inedible outer shell removed), they’re the least processed version of oats that you can eat. On the other hand, it also means that it will take the longest to cook. Wait 30 to 60 minutes before the grits soften into oatmeal on the stove.
Steel cut oats
Steel cut oats, also known as Irish oatmeal, may have an aura of the imagination (especially since they can be more expensive than other types of oats), but their main quality is their smaller size.
Slicing (yes, with a steel blade) allows liquid to penetrate more surface area, meaning these oats cook faster than grits.
In addition to Irish oatmeal, Scottish oatmeal was also created across the pond. Unlike the uniform cuts of Irish oats, Scottish oats are milled in different sizes. The complaint? A rather mushy consistency.
Call us old fashioned – wait, we mean call them old fashioned. Rolled and old-fashioned are two names for the same product.
When you think of oats, these are probably the ones that come to mind. Their oval flakes are made by steaming and then rolling grits. You can make a medium oatmeal within 10 minutes on the stove.
On those mornings when you just can’t, quick (also known as “instant” or “minute”) oatmeal is here to save your bacon. Made by steaming and rolling oatmeal extra long, these smaller pieces have a lighter texture suitable for quick prep like microwaving.
Because all types of oats are made from the same original ingredient, their nutritional content does not vary significantly.
“All [types of oats] They are made from 100 percent whole grains and ounce per ounce. They all contain similar amounts of fiber, vitamins and minerals, including vitamin B1, phosphorus and magnesium, ”says Largeman-Roth.
Toppings and add-ins, on the other hand, are not all created equal. So don’t expect the same amount of nutrients from oatmeal loaded with chocolate chips and peanut butter as you would get from a bowl dusted with cinnamon and stevia, for example.
Another key differentiator between oat diets? Your portion sizes.
Servings of oats are measured by both weight (such as grams) and volume (such as cups). While portion sizes of oats are similar across the board in terms of weight – around 40 grams – their dry volume ranges from 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup per serving.
Depending on how much you prepare, it may mean using more or less nutrients.
Oats are essentially a blank canvas for all kinds of foodie masterpieces – not just for breakfast, but for other meals and snacks too! Think outside the bowl with these weight loss supplements.
Did someone say zero cooking? We are on. With endless customizability and no need to cook, the oat trend deserves to keep going strong overnight. Try these five creations with minimal ingredients.
Oatmeal casseroles, casseroles and bars
Baked goods, casseroles and bars, oh my god! Bring new life to your breakfast by using oats in 20 non-bowl oatmeal recipes.
Try incorporating filling, nutrient-dense oatmeal into your sweet treats rather than abandoning desserts entirely on your weight loss journey. We’re drooling over healthy strawberry and oatmeal bars from Well Plated by Erin and healthy apple chips from Ambitious Kitchen.
High fiber filler
What do meatloaf, bean burger and smoothies have in common? They all provide the perfect hiding place for high fiber whole grain oats.
Shake a hearty 3/4 cup oat in these easy meatloaf from The Seasoned Mom. Or use our blueberry pancake and berry oat hazelnut smoothies as a delicious backdrop for extra oats.
Oatmeal with simple add-ins
When time counts, the right toppings can turn a boring bowl of oatmeal into a convenient (and indeed delicious) breakfast. Fresh fruits, seeds, nuts and spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg or cloves are first-class add-ins for weight loss.
Or take your morning bowl in a tasty direction: “I love to coat steel-cut oats with a fried egg and some kimchi – satisfying and full of flavor!” Says Largeman-Roth.
Avoid toppings for weight loss
- Chocolate chips
- high amounts of sweetener like maple syrup or brown sugar
- large portions of nut butter
- sweetened frozen fruits
- Coconut flakes
As much as we’d like to crown a particular type of oat for weight loss, the truth is that all types of oats keep you full, stabilize your blood sugar, and load you up with fiber and nutrients.
Whether you go for Scottish, Steel-Cut, Rolled, Instant, or Groats, you really can’t go wrong.
Note one caveat to help you make the best choice. “When you buy oatmeal or steel oats or quick oats, look for options that only have one ingredient listed on the label: oats,” says Largeman-Roth.