Oatmeal is made from dry oats. Oats are considered to be a whole grain with a number of nutritional benefits. Oatmeal is a favorite breakfast for many people, especially during the winter season. Its flavor and nutrient content can be increased by adding fruit or other items.
Given these facts, it’s not surprising that there’s been a diet created around oatmeal. But is the oatmeal diet healthy, and does it give you real weight loss results?
Let’s take a closer look at what the oatmeal diet is and if it’s something you’ll want to try in order to reach your weight loss goals.
What is the oatmeal diet?
The oatmeal diet centers around oatmeal, as the name suggests. But there’s more to it than just eating oatmeal. The basic concept is to eat oatmeal as your main course for one or two meals each day.
There’s also the oatmeal diet plan that includes two phases. These are:
- Phase 1: Eat oatmeal for three meals each day for the first week. During this time, you should be eating only whole oats and not instant oatmeal. You can have some fruit with the oatmeal and for snacks.
- Phase 2: After the first week or phase, you’ll eat oatmeal for one to two meals a day with a healthy and low-fat option for the other meals. More fruit and vegetables are added at this phase and you are allowed to eat instant oatmeal.
The other option is a six-day meal plan that includes oatmeal for two of the daily meals. This is similar to phase two of the two-phase option. You would just skip the full seven days of oatmeal for every meal.
What do you eat on the oatmeal diet?
When making your oatmeal, the recommended serving size is 1/2 cup. For breakfast and lunch, oatmeal is your main entrée. It does allow for a small amount of skim milk and some fruit to be added or eaten on the side, as well as low-fat yogurt. Cinnamon is also a great addition for flavor.
You’ll have a morning snack, which is usually fresh fruit, and an afternoon snack of raw vegetables or nuts.
For dinner, the plan includes some type of grilled chicken, fish, a small lean steak, or even a turkey burger with zucchini fries. And, for a treat, it allows for a low-calorie dessert after dinner.
What are the health benefits of eating the oatmeal diet?
As mentioned, oats are whole grains and can be part of a healthy diet. They also provide fiber. One-half cup of rolled oats that have been cooked in water contains the following nutrients:
- 2 grams of dietary fiber
- 3 grams of protein
- 0 grams of sugars
Oats also contain 2 percent of the recommended daily amount of calcium and 6 percent of iron. They are low in calories and have only 1.5 grams of fat.
The benefits of eating oatmeal include lowering your risk of heart disease and colorectal cancer. Whole grains like oats can also help reduce blood pressure and aid in digestion. Oatmeal can definitely be part of a healthy diet.
Risks of the oatmeal diet
Oats and oatmeal offer a number of benefits for your overall health. But there are some risks to be aware of when eating the oatmeal diet.
As always, you should consult your doctor before starting any diet plan. This includes a diet plan that consists of foods that are considered healthy, like oatmeal. Let your doctor know about your medical history and any medical conditions you may have.
The oatmeal diet is a very low-calorie diet, and some doctors may consider the calorie count to be too low to maintain a healthy diet. Therefore, you may need to boost the calorie intake each day by adding more than the foods listed in the oatmeal diet plan.
The oatmeal diet is restrictive. The monotony of eating oatmeal for one or two meals each day can make it hard to stick with. This can make it more difficult for you to lose weight.
The risks of eating the oatmeal diet can be lowered by adjusting the meal plan. Besides raising the calorie count to an amount that’s recommended by your doctor, you can also add more variety by using additional vegetables and other healthy sides, including different fruits. This strategy may help with the monotony of such a restrictive diet.
Will the oatmeal diet help you lose weight?
If followed properly, the oatmeal diet can help you in your overall weight loss plan. The meal plans are low-calorie and low-fat and include healthy food choices.
Oatmeal itself can help you lose weight because it will help you feel full longer than other foods. The fiber content of oatmeal can also aid the digestive system.
Oatmeal is a low-cost option, which will make it easier to stick with than a weight loss system that costs money to participate in or requires expensive special meals.
As with any healthy lifestyle or diet plan, it’s recommended that you incorporate some form of exercise on a daily basis. This will increase the number of calories you burn each day, as well as keep your body fit and reduce the potential of muscle mass loss.
Oatmeal is a good choice to incorporate into any healthy diet. It will improve your heart health and overall health. If done properly, the oatmeal diet can be an effective way to lose weight.
Are restrictive diets (such as the oatmeal diet) considered dangerous for your health?
Yes, extreme diets that glorify one food while excluding other healthful foods can be dangerous for your health. This is due to changes to metabolism, body composition, gut bacteria, and nutrient intake. Extreme dieting also promotes a negative relationship with food and often doesn’t address underlying reasons for eating behaviors. Phase 1 of the oatmeal diet is extreme and isn’t recommended. Phase 2 is more balanced and less restrictive. It therefore carries less risk. However, it’s unlikely that most people would be able to sustain this diet long term, which may result in weight regain once the diet is over.Natalie Butler, RD, LDAnswers represent the opinions of our medical experts. All content is strictly informational and should not be considered medical advice.