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Oats have had a reputation as a healthy breakfast food for ages. And, if you want to lose weight, it only makes sense to turn to a healthy food like oats to help you reach your goals.
But, despite all of its health benefits, is oats good for weight loss?
You may have a number of questions on using oats for weight loss, such as:
In this article we will explain everything you need to know about oats and how to include them in your weight loss diet plan.
Oats are among the healthiest grains available. They’re a gluten-free whole grain and a great source of important vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants.
One small cup of oats (32 grams) has the following:
For comparison, a medium size chapati has 113 calories and a similar nutritional profile.
Because of the liquid content in cooked oats, you will find that 32 grams of oats is more filling than 1 medium sized chapati. This is helpful and shows that oats are a good source for carbs, protein and fiber. Let’s consider what other nutrients it contains.
It is important to recognise that every food contains a lot more than just calories. And the same is true for oats also. Oats contain the following nutrients:
Oats also contain many antioxidants and may help reduce blood pressure, blood sugar and improve gut bacteria.
Oats are widely considered as one of the most nutrient-dense foods in the world.
This makes oats a great food to include in your diet, both for weight loss and general health.
Yes. Oats can be helpful as part of your weight loss diet.
The main reason for this is that oats are very filling and you will not feel hungry for a while after eating it.
This is because of the high fiber in oats which takes time for our stomach to digest. This means you have fewer urges to snack and lesser sugar cravings. As a result, you end up eating less and this directly helps with weight loss.
Oats also have many other health benefits.
Oats contain large amounts of a type of soluble fiber called beta-glucan. Beta-glucan fiber has many health benefits, such as:
As you can see, there are many benefits from including oats as part of a diet for weight loss and to improve health.
But remember that oats is basically a grain like rice and wheat. So you should not overeat it. Overeating grains leads to a very high-carb diet. In India it is such a high-carb diet which is a leading cause of excess weight, obesity and diseases like diabetes and PCOS.
Use oats as part of a balanced diet where you balance lower carbs with enough vegetables and protein foods.
If you would like to see how you can use oats as part of a balanced diet based on Indian food, see our article on low-carb Indian food. We have included oats as part of a 7-day diet chart for weight loss in many forms, including oats smoothie, overnight oats and a broccoli paneer oats tikki.
You will find that there are many types of oats available – plain and flavored/masala oats. So which is the best oats for weight loss?
The plain oats is better as you avoid the added sugars, salt, oils and other ingredients.
Even in the plain ones you will find that there are rolled oats and instant oats. It is important to understand which is better and one factor that plays an important role in this is glycemic index (GI).
GI is a ranking of carbohydrates on a scale from 1 to 100 according to the extent to which they raise blood sugar (glucose) levels after eating.
Foods with a high GI (≥ 70) are those which are rapidly digested, absorbed and metabolized and result in marked fluctuations in blood sugar (glucose) levels. Low GI (≤ 55) carbohydrates are ones that produce smaller fluctuations in your blood glucose.
Foods high in refined carbs and sugar (like biscuits) are digested more quickly and often have a high GI. Foods high in protein, fat, or fiber (like most vegetables) typically have a low GI.
The glycemic index of oats depends on how it has been processed.
The process of milling grains, such as oats, removes some of their fiber content, which accelerates digestion and raises the food’s GI.
Rolled oats has a GI of 59 (medium-GI), whereas instant oats is at 76 (high-GI).
If you want to reduce the GI of your oats, avoid the instant varieties and try coarser, minimally processed oats. You can choose the plain rolled oats from brands like Quaker, Saffola, Kellogg. Nowadays, we also get options such as old-fashioned oats, steel cut oats etc which are also less processed versions than instant oats (but have different textures/ thickness). Nutritionally they have similar profiles but you may prefer one over the other depending on the recipe.
If you are gluten intolerant, you do need to be careful when buying oats.
Although oats are naturally gluten-free, they are sometimes contaminated with gluten. That’s because they may be harvested and processed using the same equipment as other grains that contain gluten. So when you buy them read the labels at the back carefully.
For example, there are oats being sold online that are marketed as gluten-free. But when you read the label at the back it contains allergen information that says that the oats are packed in a facility that also handles cereals containing gluten.
You can enjoy oats in several ways. Here are some of our favorite oats recipes for weight loss.
The most popular way to eat oats is to simply eat oatmeal (porridge) for breakfast. To make oatmeal tastier and even more nutritious, you can add cinnamon, fruits and Greek yogurt.
Oats with banana & chia seeds
Overnight oats is an easy and nutritious way to enjoy oats. All you need to do to make overnight oats is let them soak in the refrigerator in water, milk or curd. This allows them to absorb the liquid, making them easily digestible in the morning.
You can add your favorite fruits like banana or mango for flavor and a sweet taste.
This is a healthy twist on the traditional khichdi by using oats instead of rice. Making this khichdi using rolled oats (not instant) is a better choice than buying ready-made masala oats. They contain added oils, sugar and salt and usually use instant oats.
You can use oats to make a filling smoothie as it adds bulk. Add water, milk or curd and your favorite fruit to make it. A banana oats smoothie is filling and tasty too. You can prepare it the previous day and keep it in the fridge overnight if you prefer it cold. You could also have it in parts during the day as a snack option.
Banana and oats smoothie
Bircher muesli is the creation of Maximilian Bircher-Benner, a Swiss doctor and nutritionist, who developed it for patients at his Zurich sanatorium at the turn of the last century as a way of adding more raw fruit into their diets.Bircher-Benner’s original recipe used rolled oats, which remain the standard base to this day.
All you need in addition is milk or curd, apple, lemon juice. You can make it the previous day and store it overnight. It is really delicious when eaten cold.
Oats Upma is healthier than the typical Upma made from Rava. Oats Upma is easy-to-make and tastes delicious. You can add colorful veggies to enhance the taste and nutritional value of the oats upma.
Oats chilla is an alternative where you use oats instead of besan (gram flour). Add vegetables like grated carrots to make it an even healthier meal.]
Broccoli paneer tikki is a simple but creative and healthy snack. Oats are mixed with herbs, spices, broccoli and paneer to form a dough-like mixture. This is then cooked on a tava with a minimal amount of oil.
It is important to use oats correctly and avoid some common mistakes.
Here are some common mistakes you should avoid when using oats as part of your diet. We have used the example of oats porridge but the same points apply to other oats dishes also.
While oats in itself is a healthy food, a common mistake is to sweeten it with added sugar. This could be white sugar, brown sugar, jaggery or honey. All of these are essentially sugar and no matter which one you choose, high sugar intake does not help with weight loss.
Instead, use fruits like bananas or apples to sweeten your oats porridge.
A small amount of topping is ok for weight loss but a common mistake is loading too many topping on oats. Topping like nuts and seeds are healthy but they are also calorie dense and will not help with weight loss when consumed in excessive amounts.
Limit topping to a very small amount for some crunch, e.g. a teaspoon of seeds.
Oats are a common ingredient in muesli. While muesli is marketed as a healthy food, the reality is that most options have added sugars, oils, nuts, seeds, candied fruit and other such ingredients which are high-calorie. These are avoidable and will not help you with weight loss.
Plain oats, either savory or sweetened only with fresh fruit, is a much healthier and weight-loss friendly option.
Oat-based dishes like oats porridge are a popular breakfast food in many countries around the world. And for good reason. Oats are helpful for weight loss due to a healthy mix of fiber, carbs and protein. Oats are also rich in nutrients like magnesium, zinc, and fiber, which can help lower cholesterol, aid in weight loss, and lead to better gut health.
Include oats in your weight loss diet and use the ideas discussed in this article.
An important part of any weight loss plan is to understand that no single food has the power to make you gain or lose weight.
The balance of what you eat throughout the day, along with how active you are and how you sleep, will have the greatest impact on your weight loss, especially in the long term.
We’ve worked with thousands of Indian men and women and understand the unique challenges they face when trying to lose weight or find a weight loss diet plan. You can see some of our success stories here. The Daily9 system is proven to work as an effective weight loss diet plan. The expert coaches at Daily9 have developed practical ideas and strategies that work in real life and improve the weight loss that you can achieve with Daily9. This helps with weight loss and also many health conditions that Indian men and women face like digestive issues, diabetes, PCOS, thyroid, fatty liver and joint problems from excess weight.
While there are many calorie counters out there, we believe that a focus on quality & nutrition (and not just calories) is critical for any weight loss diet plan. Instead of tracking calories, we believe in tracking healthy habits at Daily9.
Most importantly, the Daily9 approach to weight loss is practical and suits an Indian family environment. This will set you up for success with weight loss and also weight maintenance in the long run.
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