Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
17 Aug

Are Oats Healthy?

groatsYou know how we say that grains exist on a spectrum of suitability, from “really bad” wheat to “not so terrible” rice? Well, what about the rest of ‘em? They may be the most commonly consumed (and thus encountered) grains, but wheat and rice aren’t the only grains on the spectrum. Since I get a lot of email about oats, I figured they were a good choice for this post. Besides – though I was (and still mostly am) content to toss the lot of them on the “do not eat” pile, I think we’re better served by more nuanced positions regarding grains. Hence, my rice post. Hence, my post on traditionally prepared grains. And hence, today’s post on oats. Not everyone can avoid all grains at all times, and not everyone wants to avoid all grains at all times. For those situations, it makes sense to have a game plan, a way to “rank” foods.

Today, we’ll go over the various incarnations of the oat, along with any potential nutritional upsides or downsides. But first, what is an oat?

The common oat is a cereal grain, the seed of a species of grass called Avena sativa. Its ancient ancestor, Avena sterilis, was native to the Fertile Crescent in the Near East, but domesticated oats do best in cool, moist climates like regions of Europe and the United States. They first appeared in Swiss caves dated to the Bronze Age, and they remain a staple food crop in Scotland. The “whole grain” form of an oat is called a groat (the picture up above depicts whole oat groats) and is rarely sold as-is, except maybe as horse feed. Instead, they’re sold either as steel-cut, rolled, or instant oats.

Picture7 4Steel-cut oats are whole groats chopped into several pieces. Some of the bran flakes off, but some is retained. Steel-cut oats take longer to cook, contain the most nutrients (and antinutrients like phytic acid), and taste nuttier than conventional oats.

Rolled oats are steamed groats that have literally been rolled out and flattened, with the bran discarded. When most people think of “oats,” they’re thinking of rolled oats.

Instant oats are rolled, steamed, and precooked oats. They’re essentially the same as rolled oats, only often accompanied by sugary flavorings and rendered immediately edible by the addition of hot liquid.

The main problems with oats are the phytic acid and the avenin, a protein in the prolamine family (along with gluten from wheat, rye, and barley, and zein, from corn). As far as phytic acid (or phytate) goes, oats contain less than corn and brown rice but about the same amount as wheat. As you know from previous posts, phytate has the tendency to bind minerals and prevent their absorption. So, even if a grain is rich in minerals, the presence of phytate prevents their full absorption. Ingestion is not absorption, remember. As I understand it, you can, however, reduce or eliminate phytate by lactic fermentation. I’m not sure the degree to which phytate can be deactivated, but one study does show that consuming oats that underwent lactic fermentation resulted in increased iron absorption rather than reduced. Another source claims that simple soaking isn’t enough, since oats contain no phytase, which breaks down phytate. Instead, you’d have to incorporate a phytase-containing flour to do the work; a couple tablespoons of buckwheat appear to be an effective choice for that. Combining both lactic acid bacteria (whey, kefir, or yogurt), companion flour (buckwheat), water, and a warm room should take care of most of the phytate… but that’s a lot of work!

Avenin appears to have some of the same problems as gluten in certain sensitive individuals, although it doesn’t appear as if the problem is widespread or as serious. Kids with celiac disease produced oat avenin antibodies at a higher rate than kids without celiac, but neither group was on a gluten-free diet. When you put celiacs on a gluten-free diet, they don’t appear to show higher levels of avenin antibodies. It looks like once you remove gluten, other, potentially damaging proteins become far less dangerous. One study did find that some celiacs “failed” an oats challenge. Celiac patients ate certified gluten-free oats (quick note: oats are often cross-contaminated with gluten, so if you’re going to experiment with oats, make sure they’re certified gluten-free), and several showed signs of intestinal permeability, with one patient suffering all-out villous atrophy, or breakdown of the intestinal villi. A few out of nineteen patients doesn’t sound too bad, but it shows that there’s a potential for cross-reactivity.

Why do oats get so much praise from health organizations, particularly from the American Heart Association (whose coat of arms boxes of Quaker Oats proudly display)?

Well, oats contain a specific type of soluble fiber called beta-glucan that increases bile acid excretion. As bile acid is excreted, so too is any serum cholesterol that’s bound up in the bile. The effect is a significant reduction in serum cholesterol. In rats with a genetic defect in the LDL receptor gene – their ability to clear LDL from the blood is severely hampered – there’s some evidence that oat bran is protective against atherosclerosis. Of course, the very same type of LDL-receptor-defective mice get similar protection from a diet high in yellow and green vegetables, so it’s not as if oat bran is a magical substance. Like other prebiotic fibers, oat bran also increases butyrate production (in pigs, at least), which is a beneficial short-chain fatty acid produced by fermentation of fibers by gut flora with a host of nice effects. Overall, I think these studies show that soluble fiber that comes in food form is a good thing to have, but I’m not sure they show that said fiber needs to come from oats.

Oats also appear to have a decent nutrient profile, although one wonders how bioavailable those minerals are without proper processing. A 100 gram serving of oats contains:

  • 389 calories
  • 16.9 grams protein
  • 66 grams carbohydrate
  • 10.6 grams fiber (with just under half soluble)
  • 7 grams fat (about half PUFA and half MUFA)
  • 4.72 mg iron
  • 177 mg magnesium
  • 3.97 mg zinc
  • 0.6 mg copper
  • 4.9 mg manganese

Oatmeal is a perfect example of the essentially tasteless, but oddly comforting food that’s difficult to give up (judging from all the emails I get). It’s tough to explain, because it’s not like oatmeal is particularly delicious. It’s bland, unless you really dress it up. No, I suspect it’s more than taste. I myself have fond childhood memories of big warm bowls of oat porridge steaming on the breakfast table. I’d add brown sugar, dig in, and head out to adventure through blustery New England mornings with a brick of pulverized oats in my happy belly. The nostalgia persists today, even though I don’t eat the stuff and have no real desire to do so. Heck, seeing Wilfred Brimley’s diabetes awareness TV spots still makes me think of those bowls of oatmeal and all the playing they fueled. Maybe it’s a combination of nostalgia and physical satiation?

Still, since I had some steel-cut oats laying around the house from a past houseguest who absolutely needed his oats, I decided to give them a shot. To self-experiment. To – gasp! – willingly and deliberately eat some whole grains. McCann’s Irish oats, they were. Raw, not steamed, and of presumably high quality. I’d been researching this post, and I came across an interesting thread on Paleohacks in which a recipe for baked oatmeal was described. Go ahead and check it out. I followed it exactly, soaking the oats in an acidic medium (Greek yogurt) and adding the buckwheat flour, which I made a special trip to the store for. When it was done cooking, I added a bunch of blueberries and some grass-fed butter, a touch of salt and a few shakes of cinnamon, and the Paleohacks poster was right: it did make the kitchen smell great. I sat down to eat my bowl. I’d been on a long hike that morning and I had done some heavy lifting as it baked, so I felt like I was as ready as I’d ever be.

It was… okay. The liberal amount of butter I added quickly disappeared without a trace, and I had to stop myself from adding more because that would have been the rest of the stick. The berries and cinnamon looked and smelled great, but they were swallowed by the blandness. I even added a tablespoon of honey but couldn’t taste it. It was satisfying in the sense that it provided bulk in my stomach. A half hour after, I felt kinda off. It’s hard to describe. A spacey, detached feeling? Slightly drugged? However you want to describe it, it didn’t feel right. Only lasted half an hour or so, though. My digestion was fine (hat tip to Jack Kronk and his Paleohacks recipe for getting that part right), and I never felt bloated besides the initial “brick in the stomach” feeling.

That’s my take on oats. Better than wheat, worse (and more work to improve) than rice. I won’t be eating them because I frankly don’t enjoy them, there are numerous other food options that are superior to oats, and I don’t dig the weird headspace they gave me, but I’ll admit that they aren’t as bad as wheat. If I want starch, I’ll go for some sweet potatoes.

What about you folks? Do you eat oats? Would you be willing to soak, ferment, and cook them? Let me know how it works, or worked, out for you!

Photo credit: deedoucette Flickr Photo

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. I have been knocking my weight down with Paloe, but my LDL is way up, and the Doc wants it down. (Threatening Lipitor). Will oats help lower my LDL without threatening the other positive results of Paleo? Thanks John R.

    John wrote on July 5th, 2012
  2. I also grew up in Germany and we, as a family, NEVER ate oatmeal, just rye bread with wurst (and yes, we ate liver and I love it to this day. As an adult, thinking I was doing a good thing, I started to eat oatmeal. Wow, did I ever get sick, I started to get nauseated, started to have tremours, muscle weakness and started to sweat like crazy. I would have to lie down and wouldnt feel good for hrs afterward. Not knowing what was wrong (I never suspected oatmeal), I ran from doctor to doctor and no one could figure out why I was having these symptoms. All I knew was that if I ate something real quick, the symptoms would slowly subside. So, like an idiot, each time I had those symptoms (daily), I would eat like food was going out of syle. Years later and 25 pounds later I finally figured out that it was the oatmeal :( Never again will I ever eat oatmeal. Same happens when I eat bananas or walnuts, hmmmm…now how do I get rid of those extra 25 pounds? Whomever lost them…I found them…and you can have them back ;(

    Eva wrote on August 21st, 2012
  3. Eeek, reading all this has me so confused. I finished the whole30 a week ago and have kept up at about 90% (i eat chia seeds in my kombucha again, and do not stress about how the chicken at the potluck was cooked/is there sugar in that bacon, etc.). I am loving the paleo lifestyle but need to, 1.figure out how to do it cheaper, and 2.figure out how to continue the goal of eating with my family (partner and 2.5 year old) without preparing two meals- my partner is slowly adding more meat to her diet but has no intention of decreasing dairy and is showing only moderate interest in adjusting grains. I decided to re-introduce oats about five minutes ago… They are cheap and i can make oat cakes, quickly, on the george foreman, and everyone likes them. I soak the thick cut rolled oats, add an egg, chia, slivered almonds, flax, raisins, add molasses to my kids, and top with almond butter and banana or apple. I am really new to this, does this sound horrendous? I have done oats for years, love congee, and had hoped this could be my first compromise. My overall goals are general health and good modeling for my kid.

    Anj wrote on September 27th, 2012
  4. Hi. Well after analizing and thinking a lot about all this topic, i realized that ppl that feel bad on grains ( i was on that side some time ago) was because they have an candida overgrowth. I think one of the main reasons candida get overgrowth is due to much fiber in the diet. Well it can also because of almonds, wallnuts, peanut, all thouse seed that have fungus. It do not need to be candida, there are tons of fungus that can live inside your gut and turns any carb into sugar very easily. Sprouts can do that too. Well lots of things can cause fungus overgrowth in your gi. Wath i have been doing is taking a probiotic supplemented with vitamins and minerals, and, believe it or not, drinking black tea and olive oil. Both have very powerfull antifungal properties. Also remove fiber for the diet for a while to ensure the fungus do not have something to eat. Fiber is one of the most appealing things for thouse fungus, ofcourse sugar must be out of the plate (but, i think, almost everyone now do not take it). Cheese can also give you more fungus issues. Well milk, specially the UHT one is very very bad for the body, it build up mucus on the lumbs, at least that was what i feel and as soon i remove it my symptoms were gone, maybe i am allergic to that thing XD i do no know.

    Nicolás DIaz G wrote on October 15th, 2012
  5. The contention that whole grains, including wheat and oats, raise blood sugar is false. Whole grains are the type of carbohydrate that any reputable nutritionist or medical professional recommends. Dr. David Jacobs indicated that a seventeen year study of 27,000 women showed that eating whole grains, including oats, lowered the risk of heart disease and diabetes. If Mr. Mark had to “lie down after eating a bowl of oatmeal”, it definitely wasn’t the oatmeal that spiked his blood sugar. I eat oatmeal for breakfast and walk 1.5 miles to work every day! The only ingredient I add to the oatmeal is a few raisins and raw cranberries on occasion. I am 54 years old.

    keith decker wrote on November 1st, 2012
  6. I’m not ready to give up on oats just yet. I’m a Paleo 2.0 mutant that can handle potatoes, dairy, and full-fatted meats, liver, bone broths, etc. I’ve just discovered that I do not get the ‘head space’ feeling from sprouted oats.

    http://www.culturesforhealth.com/sprouted-organic-oats-rolled.html

    I’ve yet to try the overnight fermentation recipe (with buckwheat flour) posted on Paleo hacks (jack kronk’s post) to knock down the phytate, but I suspect that it will work with sprouted oats, and that this will eliminate the ‘heavy stomach’ feeling from this particular phytate rich food.

    http://paleohacks.com/questions/1046/oatmeal-why-not#axzz2B7rahWEb

    James Nelson wrote on December 3rd, 2012
    • This is a follow up post. It turns out that the heavy stomach feeling that I had was coming from the A1 Casein in the cows milk that I cooked the oats in. I am happy to report that I have no issues (digestive or otherwise) with goat milk (A2 casein), and can now add sprouted oatmeal to my list of allowed foods within a Paleo/Primal/Ancestral way of eating.

      James Nelson wrote on November 16th, 2013
  7. A lot of people talk in this column about the effect of oats on blood sugar, insulin, or whatever. What no one cites are actual large scale, double blind studies that show a causal link between oats and anything at all. Moreover,the primal diet, lacking such large scale studies over time, is simply an idea, and some people are fanatical about it because of its intellectual simplicity, even though life expectancy has gone up a lot since the times when people ate that way. Correlations are cited, but correlations are not evidence of cause and effect and are notoriously unreliable compared to double blind studies. I’m a vegan because I hate hurting animals and subjecting them to wretched conditions. I eat lots of fruits and nuts, and I have a big bowl of oatmeal with both in the morning. From a health point of view it’s not clear it makes a big difference in the long run. Plus there’s good reason to think people’s physiology varies greatly precisely because evolution found that making people react differently to different foods gave the greatest chance for species survival. So maybe everyone is truly different in how they react. I say only trust long term,large scale, double blind studies and not people’s theories.

    Andy Ferguson wrote on December 22nd, 2012
  8. And one more thing. So what if paleo humans ate meat and veggies only? All they had to do was survive until child bearing and rearing age for this diet to be successful from an evolutionary point of view. So if consuming meat tends to kill you when you reach 50 or so, then it wouldn’t have figured into the success of the survival of paleo folks. Also, books like the China study, which is based on large scale studies, show that it is when animal protein exceeds 15% of the diet that big adverse health consequences occur. Just eating meat because its paleo food is absurd. The whole thing strikes me as ridiculous.

    Andy Ferguson wrote on December 22nd, 2012
  9. All of you complaining about oats giving an insulin-spike, well of course it does if you eat it with milk and marmelade both of which contain a large amount of sugar. Balance the carbs out with butter and protein and I think you’ll be fine

    Kerrigan wrote on January 15th, 2013
  10. A little off-topic here, but I just wanted to say how much I enjoy your writing style, Mark. This was a great – and very entertaining – post.

    Paula wrote on January 15th, 2013
  11. My mom, a type two diabetic with terribly high blood sugar (also on insulin), started eating oatmeal, and now her blood sugar is down to the 70-80 range before breakfast and without insulin… She eats the ultra sugared instant, two at a time…
    So I think oatmeal is good.
    Also, she lost 20 pounds (she was eating mostly oatmeal) after 2 weeks. But she’s like 390 pounds, so I guess it’s expected to drop like a stone.

    Darian wrote on February 1st, 2013
  12. i just put around 50g in a vanilla protien shake for breakfast, so i’m not stuffing myself full of carbs but i’m still able to benefit from the health aspects of eating oats, it’s more filling than just a protien shake and less boring than just plain oats and the two actually go pretty well together lol

    Bec wrote on February 12th, 2013
  13. As a famished vegan I used to eat a big bowl of steel-cut oatmeal before exercising. By the time I got to the gym at lunch I was STARVING and could barely finish the workout. Grain makes for a horrible breakfast. Now, I have some organic dried meat, raw milk cheese or biodynamic egg and feel much, much better.

    Tom Kaye wrote on February 17th, 2013
  14. no problem with insulin spikes eating 70 grams of oat bran with ground almonds,yogurt,cocnut oil and cocoa powder follwed by coffee and cream

    chris wrote on February 22nd, 2013
  15. I haven’t eaten oats in a really long time and live a mostly paleo lifestyle. One day my personal trainer says we’ve written up a new diet for you and decides to add oats… So I question why she’d do that and she replies ” they’re water soluble, not very high in calories and you need some starch to help build muscle and burn fat”.
    So I decide if I’m going to try them I’m going to get the best quality steel cut oats I can find. I thought about soaking them in yogurt but decided not to just because the take long enough to make as it is. Ultimately like the rest of the gang I didn’t really care for them I could go the rest of my life and never think about them, and my side affects lasted 3-4 days. I get horrible bumps on my tongue and intestinal pain. I’m just wondering if anyone else gets these bazaar tongue bumps when they eat gluten as well?

    Tee wrote on February 25th, 2013
    • I would check the yogurt first. Almost all the dairy in the US comes from Holstein (black and white) cows that produce the problematic mutated a1 casein. The bumps on the tongue may be an autoimmune response that has gone haywire and the a1 casein can cause intestinal distress that is easy to confuse with lactose intolerance.

      James N. wrote on June 19th, 2014
  16. I stopped eating breakfast for 2 years ago and I’ve never felt better.

    Never ever breakfast again for me.

    I drink one cup of quality coffee mixed with 80gram of grassfed butter and 2 tbsp MCT Oil, that gives me plenty of energy until 12.

    I usually don’t eat between 19:00 and 12:00, intermittent fasting for 18 hours.

    Stop eat and live longer and prosperous.

    Janus Knudsen wrote on February 25th, 2013
  17. Have you ever considered about including a little bit more than just your articles?
    I mean, what you say is fundamental and everything.
    However just imagine if you added some great images or video clips
    to give your posts more, “pop”! Your content is excellent but with images and videos, this website could undeniably be one of the greatest in its niche.

    Superb blog!

    Claudia wrote on May 23rd, 2013
  18. Oats /Oatmeal and cereals are sprayed more with pesticides than many other crops to keep the meal moths away while in storage. I love Oatmeal and finally realized why my gut felt bloated and ached. Have switched to organic oatmeal and it is back to being a healthy food again. Still concerned about clean water issues but the food we eat has tons more fluoride in it than the water. Fluoride is a Gas on the elemental chemistry chart and it love to attach to many other elements, when it does it makes a more powerful chemical . Do some research and live happier. There is no way to be fluoride free because it is so abudant every where. Boron along with calcium/magnesuim is the best answer to detox and repair your body. Good luck to you
    See:
    http://poisonfluoride.com/pfpc/html/kellogg_1.html
    (At the same time, use of fluoride pesticides on cereal crops increased. Of particular benefit were the effects of fluorides on moths, same being known as the worst enemy of cereals in storage. Many patents were issued at the time attesting to fluoride’s benefits as moth ‘repellant’.)

    Jane wrote on June 5th, 2013
  19. Hi Mark, thank you for this post, I did the same thing this morning. I made the kids oatmeal with steel cut oats and ate about half a cup with some raisins and almond milk. I felt off after 30 minutes – spacey – just like you described but no gut issues either. They were organic and the headache wasn’t as bad as the one I got from eating a burger with buns at a Fathers day outing with family a couple of weeks ago. Self experimenting is very interesting. I’m glad to know you had the same experience as I did, but I don’t know what caused the headache – do you?

    Hannah wrote on June 25th, 2013
  20. You added a stick of butter, berries, cinnamon, honey, and then got a spacey feeling you blamed on the oatmeal?

    Blaze wrote on July 2nd, 2013
  21. I’m new to paleo. Haven’t really given up my Bobs red mill steel cut yet. I mix 1/4 oats with handful of crushed walnuts and cinnamon. Keeps me full but I wanted to really ‘do paleo’ and cut it out. To be honest, I just pretend I’m visiting another tribe for breakfast. :) Mostly I steer towards egg dishes or paleo pancakes.
    As far as oats I was wondering what the difference was between fermenting and adding lactic acid was, somehow in my brain, I think my body temp and the transit throughout would create the environment needed. If I eat after working out can’t I lend that acid somehow? And let my body do the chem lab stuff?

    Jennifer wrote on July 9th, 2013
  22. I’m going with sweet potatoes too, they just win on so many metrics for me

    Tried oats, including steel cut ones, def not for me

    eater wrote on July 18th, 2013
  23. I’m going to be another voice in the choir here, but after the switch to a paleo style diet, oats really hurt my stomach now- severe bloating & upset stomach feeling, followed by gas, etc. Whether they’re ‘good’ for me or not, i just know that they really don’t feel good anymore.

    Max wrote on September 16th, 2013
  24. the thing i don’t get is how does it spike your sugar levels? bit confused anyone care to explain

    clara wrote on September 22nd, 2013
  25. To address the “how do you like ‘em” question:
    I soak oat groats (have only found them at Whole Foods) overnight. Just in water, but I think apple cider vinegar is beneficial. I just always forget.
    In the morning, I drain and then cook with fresh water and add chopped apples. I add a small amount of date paste (homemade) and some almond milk (also homemade). Delicious and does not spike my blood sugar, from what I can tell (I’ve never tested it). I’m admittedly a grain fanatic, so this helps satisfy that without resorting to greedily consuming a large loaf of bread while hiding in the recesses of a dark closet.

    Roady wrote on October 6th, 2013
  26. I find this blog interesting and agree with the general ideas of Paleo–eating organic, non gmo foods, and foods that are nutrient dense. I have a lot of questions regarding the scientific veracity of the claims made regarding grains. I haven’t come across any solid research to back up the claims made in the blog. I have done research regarding what nutritionists and even biochemists suggest, and haven’t found much support for Paleo. I’m not against adopting a full Paleo diet, however I’d like to see more solid research by experts in the field before I adopt the lifestyle. I think it is a little dangerous to advocate changing one’s diet before a lot of solid research has been conducted, and by this I mean a Paleo vs. non Paleo diet, and a longitudinal study, not just short term.

    Shannon wrote on October 12th, 2013
  27. I have just read with bemusment all these comments regarding the percieved benifits/non benifits of oats.
    I do not know how long you guys have been living and expereminting on your diets, however, I am a 32 year old male, who has never had a sickness other than the cold or flu. Absolutly no blood sugar problems/heart problems/blood pressure problems. in fact no medical condition at all with me or my 6 younger siblings. somthing so commen in this day and age, yet its a high statistic that no one in my family have any issue.
    We were brought up by a natropath. This meant no vaccinations, or drugs of any kind. Also no flouridated water. Our diet consisted of everything 100% organic and natural. Non of this diet supplements people are so fond of these days, and no vitamin supplements. Everything came from a natural unfrefined diet.
    Given the difficulty of finding organic produce over 30 years ago, most meat products were out. With great difficulty we obtained unpasturised goats milk yoghurt and cheese as well as eggs. Our food was mainly wholegrains, (Including oats, rice, buckwheat, and millet) vegies, salt(natural sea salt which is still grey, the refined stuff is a poison) and oil (also natural unrifened cold pressed).
    I still live this diet, and am always complemented on my immunity to most things that go around, as well as my youthfulness, most people think I am 24.
    when I meet people who have been brought up on a similar diet, its always noticable their health and youthfulness.
    Given that my father is a natropath, I have had the priveledge of seeing him treat people, and let me tell you, its no short of astounding what a good natropath can do. It is big business these days, so you have so many crappy ones, but when you can meet a guy that can have you piss all your gallstones out in 24 hours, or can get the likes of those competitors on the biggest loser to lose their weight faster, without excersise, and with no trouble, well then you know what your talking about.
    Hence I get back to the bemused part. A lot of you are making statments contrary to most established views on healthy eating, and wholegrains in general, and contrary to my own experience. To be honest, those getting the spikes eating oats, or whole grains, have a good long look at the rest of your diet. You are either doing somthing wrong, or are buying the wrong product.

    james wrote on October 19th, 2013
  28. Once a week, an post is devoted to recent news and research. Also, often, links are sprinkled through out the post that takes you to the source. There are multiple studies where researchers have studied tribes of people out other cultures that follow a paleo type diet and other studies that document when some groups have adapted a more SAD-like diet. Diets and behaviors are undergone daily with out scientific research to back it up. However I find this environment, while there is a basic starting template that is believed to be generally good for everyone, to encourage experimenting and looking for what works best personally.

    Ashley wrote on October 19th, 2013
  29. Oatmeal also played a big part in my decision to go primal. Feeling great after breakfast has always plagued me. I didn’t want cereal. Fruit wasn’t enough but didn’t feel right. Toast, bagels, cereals always triggered a huge acid reflux response. Finally I went to steel cut oatlmeal thinking this was the healthiest option according to ads, campaigns, the internet, etc. (the snipped in here about increase in bile production is an interesting correlation-I mean I never questioned before, but why the heck did that happen?) Anyway, when steel cut oatmeal made with fruit, butter and/or cinammon (no sugar, no dairy) gave me the same response as all of the bread products, I officially gave up on convenational “wisdom”. Now I eat any protein I have on hand (uncured, nitrate free pasture raised bacon/ham/sausage/leftover chicken, pulled pork or roast) which I re/heat with a handful of any greens I have on hand and I feel amazing after. Totally satiated and content with no digestion backlash of any kind.

    PRISCILL wrote on November 21st, 2013
  30. ready brek (instant oats) have less of an acidic effect after digestion than weetabix for instance, or any wheat but maybe that’s just my personal gut reaction. rolled oats especially the thick ones are very hard to digest. i’m sure your mainly paleo followers here but for those who just reduce grains significantly instant oats maybe more beneficial than wheat and rolled oats. replacing some wheat with oats works for me rather than going oats only.

    michael solomon wrote on January 21st, 2014
  31. You don’t suppose Wilfred Brimley is doing Diabetes commercials on account of all that “healthy oatmeal” he ate?

    zebonaut wrote on January 25th, 2014
  32. It seems like nearly every post is anti-oatmeal, but I love it for breakfast. I make rolled oats for both my son and myself about twice a week and put some fruit, brown sugar, and a dash of whole milk in it.

    I don’t notice any blood sugar spike, but I don’t think I’m sensitive to them anyway. I love it because it fills me up and keeps me rolling for several hours. Some people call it brick in the stomach, but I feel fueled up and ready to go with no crash later on.

    John Noel wrote on January 29th, 2014
    • Also, oatmeal cookies the best and you can mix in tons of good things (nuts, berries, etc.)! They’re way better than store-bought power bars or snack bars.

      John Noel wrote on January 29th, 2014
  33. For those confused about the difference between Glycemic Index (GI) and Glycemic Load (GL). Plain oatmeal has a low glycemic load!

    Oatmeal 58 GI (1/2 cup) 6.4 GL
    Cola, Carbonated 63 GI (12oz can) 25.2 GL

    http://www.alsearsmd.com/glycemic-index/

    The GI tells you how fast foods spike your blood sugar. But the GI won’t tell you how much carbohydrate per serving you’re getting. That’s where the Glycemic Load is a great help. It measures the amount of carbohydrate in each service of food. Foods with a glycemic load under 10 are good choices—these foods should be your first choice for carbs. Foods that fall between 10 and 20 on the glycemic load scale have a moderate affect on your blood sugar. Foods with a glycemic load above 20 will cause blood sugar and insulin spikes. Try to eat those foods sparingly.

    LovesOats wrote on February 2nd, 2014
  34. Why do you think Wilfred Brimley is doing Diabetes ads? Too much oatmeal? Spiking glucose in the blood, causing diabetes, creating insulin spikes, fat deposition; feeding cancer, causing arterial inflammation.

    “Heart healthy” MY ASS. Thats just Quaker PR

    zebonaut wrote on February 21st, 2014
  35. Could someone suggest a good paleo breakfast without eggs? I’ve been loosely following paleo diet for years but have just recently given up dairy to reduce inflammation. Having a hard time finding breakfast foods after always eating Greek yogurt or Kefir for breakfast. Even went back to gluten free oatmeal for a bit which is why I’m on this thread, but don’t want to eat it often. I can’t eat chicken either, have been eating Applegate turkey bacon. Thanks for any suggestions

    AnnieJ wrote on April 1st, 2014
  36. I think the point is everyone is different. Oats do NOT agree with me. I used to eat them thinking they were healthy, but seriously diffuse abdominal pain, and bloating follows (my stomach goes from normal to looking like I’m about to give birth). when i used to eat oats I’d be coming back for food a few hours later. Just a point of interest the harvard Glycemic Index seems to give different ratings than the Australian index. You guys must have different food (well I guessed that, we don’t thankfully have half the rubbish you guys do on the shelves, but we are slowly having more of your kind of foods like spray on cheese crap and oreos). We must not confuse glycemic load with glycemic index. Anyway, the thing is this. If you can eat them, great, if you can’t don’t. That’s not hard. I know one thing for sure, when I did used to eat them, I’d shaking like a leaf two hours later. I avoid them now. No need to prove anything to anyone, just do what is right for you. If you can get hold of a blood testing kit, do your own tests. Mabye mixing the oats with fat will reduce the GI. Also, point to note, the GI is a little bit of crap in that the testing is done by eating ONE food only, and nothing else with two hours either side. We don’t eat like that. So don’t put too much on what is essentially, like the heart foundation, a manufactured tool to make money and be a marketing bullshit thing. You can reduce the GI of any carb food by adding fat, that’s why a nut chocolate bar is lower than something healthy.

    Michelle wrote on May 3rd, 2014
  37. Well, I don’t know if Mark or most of you guys have PhDs in medical sciences, but here’s a link from the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center showing why oats are safe in a gluten free diet.

    http://www.cureceliacdisease.org/archives/faq/do-oats-contain-gluten

    I think this is a pretty respectable source, don’t you think?

    Take care.

    Juan wrote on May 13th, 2014
  38. As an athlete and budget conscious guy, I have to say its difficult to give up oats.
    After a fast run at 8AM, I come home and simply cannot eat anything else.

    If I eat regular cereal or just protein/fat, I will be hungry still.
    I need carbs but dont feel like eating rice, I prefer to only eat rice for dinner.
    Same with potatoes.

    Oats really fill me up until lunch. Its just useful.

    The problem is there is no real easy alternative unless you can propose me one apart from rice for carbs.

    And regular cereals are horrendous…Will be hungry 1 hour later max.

    Nick wrote on June 5th, 2014
  39. It took me a while to figure it out, but apparently stirring oatmeal while cooking appears to release Avenin into the liquid medium (water, goat milk, dairy free liquid of choice, etc.). The way around this problem is to not stir the oatmeal while it is cooking. This results in a light and fluffy oatmeal that is easy to digest and doesn’t cause any spacy brain fog (at least for myself anyway). What does oatmeal have that is difficult to get in other foods? The answer is resistant starch and it appears to be an essential carbohydrate for the gut bugs in the large intestine. And that appears to be the main advantage of light and flaky oatmeal over gooey gloppy sticky oatmeal. The digestion of light and flaky oatmeal is passed down to large intestine instead of the small intestine, which can be a blessing for those of us who have guts that have been ravaged by gluten and a1 casein.

    James N. wrote on June 19th, 2014
  40. I just had a similar reaction to oats this last week. I don’t eat them often and probably won’t eat them anymore. They left my head feeling “spacy”, I was having a hard time focusing and I just felt weird.

    Wendy wrote on June 22nd, 2014

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