It feels like everyone is singing the praises of oatmeal lately. It can do wonders for your body, can help you live longer, and overall tastes delicious—especially when you make this peanut butter overnight oat recipe. But are all of the side effects of eating oatmeal actually positive? Are there negative side effects we should know about?
We turned to a few registered dietitians and doctors to learn the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to oatmeal. And no surprise—the side effects of eating oatmeal is mostly good. Here’s what our experts had to say, and for more healthy eating tips, be sure to check out our list of The 7 Healthiest Foods to Eat Right Now.
It’s a great source of fiber.
“Oatmeal is one of the healthiest breakfast choices you can make, namely because oats are a great source of fiber,” says Brenda Braslow, MS, RD for MyNetDiary. “One cup of cooked old-fashioned oats offers 10 grams fiber and it’s mainly soluble fiber, which is the type of fiber that has been shown to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and blood sugar. Old-fashioned oatmeal helps keep your digestive system functioning well and fiber is also great for keeping you satisfied longer and can therefore help with weight management and loss.”
What’s the Difference Between Soluble and Insoluble Fiber? We Have the Answer.
“Oats also offer a decent amount of protein with just one cup of cooked old-fashioned oats containing approximately 10 grams of protein,” says Braslow. “Protein, along with fiber, can keep you full longer. Oatmeal is a nutrient-dense food, offering other vitamins and minerals, such as iron, calcium, and magnesium.”
Here are 7 Amazing Benefits of Eating Oatmeal.
It may cause some belly bloat.
“If you are new to oats, they may cause bloating so it’s best to start with a small portion,” says Lisa Young, PhD, RDN and author of Finally Full, Finally Slim.
“Whole grains such as wheat and oats contain high fiber, glucose, and starch,” says Shannon Henry, RD for EZCare Clinic. “All of them are consumed by bacteria in the gut or large intestine which leads to gas and bloating in a few people. To lessen the side effects, start with a small quantity and increase gradually to the chosen amount. When you will start eating oat bran, the harmful outcomes from your body will probably disappear.”
Here are 24 Ways to Get Rid of Bloating in Less Than 24 Hours.
It can cause weight gain if you’re not careful.
“Finally, eating a jumbo serving of oatmeal can lead to weight gain,” says Young. “And watch the toppings—a tablespoon or two of crushed walnuts or flaxseeds is great but too much butter or sugar isn’t.”
“People typically want their oatmeal to be sweeter so as not to eat a boring meal,” says Dr. Gan Eng Cern. “They achieve this by adding sugar, chocolate chips, and other sweet food items which ultimately decreases oatmeal’s overall nutritional value as these additions throw in extra calories, fat, sugar, carbs.”
Here are 6 Oatmeal Mistakes Making You Fat.
But it can also help you lose weight—if prepared properly!
“Oatmeal’s fiber and nutrients have also been connected with weight loss. These characteristics keep the consumer feeling full which can prevent overeating on calories throughout the day,” says Trista Best, MPH, RD, LD a registered dietitian at Balance One Supplements. “It is easy to add antioxidant-rich ingredients into your diet when you eat oatmeal regularly. Dried fruit, nuts and seeds, and nut butters are rich in micronutrients that support most health and wellness goals.”
It can help you to feel full.
“Oatmeal is a whole grain that is high in fiber, especially soluble fiber,” says Emily Danckers, MS, RD. “When you eat soluble fiber, your digestion is slowed down which can also increase feelings of fullness.”
“Consistently eating a high fiber breakfast food like oatmeal, especially when pairing it with a protein and/or fat like some nuts, often keeps people full for hours,” says Rachel Paul, PhD, RD, CDN. “They can then concentrate on their work and other items, before thinking about the next meal. Having a go-to, filling breakfast option like oatmeal creates consistency in one’s life.”
It can decrease your LDL “bad” cholesterol.
“By eating oatmeal every day, you can lower your total cholesterol level, reduce the ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol, and increase your ‘good’ HDL cholesterol levels,” says Megan Byrd, RD. Byrd recommends even adding oatmeal into your treats, like her favored Oatmeal Protein Cookies recipe.
It can help you in the bathroom.
“Oatmeal’s fiber content contributes to positive gastrointestinal health, including having regular bowel movements,” says Amy Goodson, MS, RD, CSSD, LD, and author of The Sports Nutrition Playbook. “It’s important to increase your fluid intake as you increase your daily fiber intake.”
It can control your blood sugar levels.
“Eating oatmeal every day can also help control your blood sugar because it’s so high in that fiber,” says Byrd. “It helps to slow down the speed at which the carbohydrates in your diet reach your bloodstream, making your blood sugar levels more even during the day. Oatmeal really is a superfood, and one that definitely can be eaten every day!”
Did you know Controlling This Hormone May Help Lower Blood Sugar?
It’s great for your heart health.
“Oats are an ingredient that has been in the heart-health spotlight for a while,” says Mackenzie Burgess, registered dietitian nutritionist and recipe developer at Cheerful Choices. “Research continues to show cholesterol-lowering effects from regularly consuming this fiber-rich food. More specifically, the soluble fiber in oatmeal may help reduce our LDL-cholesterol. Try mixing up your typical oats routine and soak them overnight with different flavor additions or combine them into easy energy bites.”
Or try one of these 50 Healthy Overnight Oats Recipes.
It provides your body with numerous nutrients.
“Oats are popular grains loved for their nutritional and medicinal value,” says Edie Reads, RD and chief editor at healthadvise.org. “Despite the normal fear for carbs, oatmeal is good for you. Unlike ordinary cereals, oats are not only filled with carbs and fiber but multiple vitamins and minerals, too.”
It can help improve skin conditions.
Now that we’ve utterly convinced you how healthy it is to have oatmeal in your diet, here are 11 Healthy Oatmeal Toppings That Help You Lose Weight.