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Can Oatmeal Help You Lose Weight?

Posted by Joan Salge Blake  December 9, 2013 01:22 PM

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Photo Source: Ellie Krieger
If the drop in temperature outside causes you to switch from a cold breakfast cereal to a hot one, you may end up a little thinner for the change.

In a study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, researchers at Louisiana State University (LSU) fed 46 adults either oatmeal or a ready-to-eat, sweetened oat cereal that contained the same amount of calories.  They then switched their breakfasts on another day.   The hot oatmeal breakfast, which was higher in fiber and lower in sugar than the cereal, was shown to significantly increase the feeling of fullness among the adults compared to when they consumed the cold breakfast.   The results also showed that when the individuals ate the hot oatmeal there was a greater reduction in both their hunger and desire to eat hours later as compared to the cold cereal.  In other words, the oatmeal had better staying power, which could potentially help minimize mid-morning hunger and snacking and/or overeating at lunch.

According to Frank L. Greenway, MD, one of the authors of the study, both the form of the fiber and how it was prepared may play a role in the increased feeling of fullness, also known as satiety, that was observed among the individuals when they consumed the hot oatmeal.  Oats are rich in a bulky, viscous type of soluble fiber, called ß-Glucan.  When heated, this type of soluble fiber dissolves more readily in fluid, increasing its bulking properties and viscosity.  The bulking causes the stomach to distend or enlarge and its increased viscosity slows down both the fiber’s departure from the stomach and movement through the gastrointestinal tract. All of these factors can help you feel fuller longer.  Also, the ready-to-eat cereal has been processed so the size of the ß-Glucan is smaller, which reduces its viscosity compared to the oatmeal, according to Dr. Greenway.

While more studies are currently being done at LSU to confirm these results, oatmeal in the morning is a healthy, affordable, and warm way to start your day.  Here are 3 ways to enjoy oatmeal in the morning:

  1. Cook your oats in the microwave and top with nonfat Greek yogurt for a high fiber, calcium-rich, protein–packed breakfast for less than 250 calories.
  2. Add a chopped apple and cinnamon to the oats for a hot morning cereal that tastes like apple crisp on a crisp, brisk morning. 
  3. By adding a dash of vanilla extract, nutmeg and raisins, you will enjoy rising and dining with this Vanilla Spice Oatmeal created by Food Network TV star, Ellie Krieger and author of Weeknight Wonders.
Be well, Joan

If you have topic you would like me to cover on my blog, please email me at: salge@bu.edu

                                        Follow Joan on Twitter at:  joansalgeblake


Originally published on the blog Nutrition and You!.
This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About the author

Joan Salge Blake, MS, RD, LDN, is a clinical associate professor and registered dietitian at Boston University in the Nutrition Program. Joan is the author of Nutrition &You, 2nd Edition, More »

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