Is Oatmeal Good for You? It Depends.

bowl of oatmealA lot of foods exist on a spectrum of suitability, from “really bad” wheat to “not so terrible” rice. Well, what about the rest of them? Since I get a lot of email asking whether oats and oatmeal are good for you, I figured I would dig into that question for this post.

Though I was (and still mostly am) content to toss grains on the “do not eat” pile, I think we’re better served by more nuanced positions regarding grains. 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 forms of oats and oatmeal, along with any potential nutritional upsides or downsides.


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.

Forms of Oats

There are seven forms of oats that are typically available for purchase:

  • Whole Oat Groats. The “whole grain” form of an oat is called a groat and is rarely sold as-is, except maybe as horse feed or in bird seed mixes. Instead, they’re sold either as steel-cut, rolled, or instant oats.
  • Scottish Oats. These are stone ground, which are thought to make a creamier oatmeal than steel cut.
  • Steel Cut, or Irish Oats. Steel cut oats are, as the name suggests, cut into a few pieces per grain with a steel blade. These retain the most nutrients (and antinutrients like phytic acid) and taste nuttier and chewier than old-fashioned oats, quick oats, or instant oats.
  • Old-fashioned Oats, or Rolled Oats. Rolled oats are steamed and then rolled into flat flakes.
  • Quick Oats. Quick oats are rolled thinner than old-fashioned oats for quicker cooking.
  • Instant Oats. Instant oats are rolled even thinner than quick oats, so they can be cooked with only hot water.
  • Oat flour. Oat flour starts with the whole oat groat and is ground into a fine powder.

Why Are Oats Bad for You?

Oats aren’t bad for everyone, but people avoid them for a few reasons. The main problems with oats are the phytic acid, which has the tendency to bind minerals and prevent their absorption. Another concern is the avenin content, which is a protein in the prolamine family that some people cannot tolerate.

As far as phytic acid (or phytate) goes, oats contain less than corn and brown rice but about the same amount as wheat.

Recipe to try: Noatmeal with Blueberries and Collagen

How to Reduce Antinutrients in Oats

Some say soaking is sufficient for removing a portion of the antinutrients in oats. Others say you need lactic acid fermentation to neutralize the antinutrients.


Soaking involves soaking the oats overnight in water with a tablespoon or so of acid, either from lemon juice or from apple cider vinegar.

Lactic Acid Fermentation

As I understand it, you can further reduce antinutrients by lactic acid 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.

Other sources claim 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 in Oats

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, 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.

Do Oats Contain Gluten?

Oats are often cross-contaminated with gluten because they often grow close to one another in the fields, and seeds don’t always stay where you put them. Certified gluten-free oats are not processed in the same facility as gluten grains, and they are grown far away from wheat fields.

So, if you have celiac disease and you are going to experiment with oats, make sure they’re certified gluten-free.

Why do oats get so much praise from health organizations, like the American Heart Association?

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. (That’s the idea behind the bean protocol, which we covered earlier.) The effect is a potential 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.

Nutritional Profile of Oats and Oatmeal

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 with dried fruits, sweet syrups, and other blood-sugar spiking ingredients that Primal, paleo, and keto folks would rather avoid.

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.

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. They were McCann’s Irish oats. Raw, not steamed, and of presumably high quality.

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, and I never felt bloated besides the initial “brick in the stomach” feeling.

That’s my experience with oatmeal. Yours may be different.

My opinion of oats as a food? 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!

About the Author

Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.

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482 thoughts on “Is Oatmeal Good for You? It Depends.”

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  1. One of the major problems with oatmeal for most people is that it shoots your blood sugar sky high.

    That is no way to start the day as you will have a sugar crash within two hours and you will be hungry as hell.

    If you are addicted to oats, get a glucose meter to see if you are one of the few that can withstand the blood sugar load.

        1. Agreed on the glucose response to oatmeal! Mine goes sky high. I don’t really care for the stuff, anyway, so I don’t miss it.

          My example is really n=1, but if I recall, there is a good discussion of cereal products, glycemic index, and blood glucose response bundled into a neat package in the movie, Fat Head.

          1. If I eat an orange or apple (which I stopped doing a long time ago), I would get sleepy within a half hour. Ditto with pasta.

            But, if I eat STEEL CUT oatmeal in the AM – made with water and some milk, and have it with blueberries and/or strawberries, it literally keeps me going all day WITHOUT a sugar crash.
            A good brand of steel cut oatmeal is not bland tasting at all and tastes good even plain.

            Note; I do not use added sugar in any form, I try to minimize carbs as much as I can.

            Why I easily crash by having hi carb foods, but not with steel cut oatmeal is a mystery to me.

          2. Hi, I’m looking at giving the primal diet a try after a friend recommended it. My problem is that alot of recipes call for sweet potato and amonds. The nutritional Therapist we have seen has said that these (along with spinach, raspberries and chocolate) should not be consumed due to the high levels of oxalate that they contain. My family are also big consumers of oats (hence reading the post above). What foods can you recommend that could be substituted for the traditional ‘fillers’? Many thanks.

      1. He’s absolutely right, I’ve checked it myself on several occasions. I’ve since stopped eating oatmeal (and all grains or carb-heavy food) – yummy but the blood glucose spike is ridiculous.

      2. I’ve never read it but I have definitely felt that sugar rush and crash when eating oatmeal (even the “healthy” steel cut no added ingredients variety). Perhaps, though, it is dependent upon each individual’s sensitivity to sugar/carbs/glucose/etc?

        1. Hmmm…back when I used to eat a bowl of oatmeal each day for breakfast, I’d need to lie down shortly afterwards before heading off to work. I couldn’t describe it, but I just felt off, kind of spacey and not-quite-but-almost nauseated. I wonder if it was my blood sugar surging upward too quickly? When I got to the point when I had to factor in lying down time into my morning routine, I realized something was not so healthy about oats, and I gave them up!

      3. Primal Toad: When I had gestational diabetes with my second pregnancy, oatmeal made my blood sugar level climb to over 150 at a hour past meal time, and that was still with my activity level as normal, taking care of a kids, doing dishes etc. Cheerios were less of a blood sugar spike that my steal cut oats!

        Oats, wheat, rice, etc just cause way to much of a blood sugar spike for me to play around with them more than just once in a great while!

        1. Joanne, isn’t it amazing that diabetics are always told to rely on oatmeal as their go to breakfast?
          I know my mother was told that. Oh, and make sure to obviously eat your grains every 3 hrs…but still keep your blood sugar down somehow.

      4. Dr William Davis on the Heart Scan Blog did a blog post about this. Google Heart Scan Blog, and then search “oatmeal” on his site.

      5. Sorry. Not use to my iPad just yet but with the link I provided I was going to say I tested my self after eating oats and got the similar results to the people in that link. Blood sugar spiking in that manner is not good for anyone.

      6. Since no one seems to want to answer your question, Oatmeal has the same glycemic index as coca cola:

        It converts to glucose your bloodstream pretty quickly compared to how not sweet it tastes. Make it with milk, which also has a disproportionately high glycemic index to the amount of sugar in it, and you’ve got a great way to start the day! It just won’t be started for very long.

      7. I am on a diabetes list, and at least seventy five percent of us have noticed that our glucose shoots way up after eating oatmeal. Mine goes from 120 to over 200 within a half hour, and STAYS HIGH FOR SIX TO EIGHT HOURS even if I eat protein for my next meal. it comes down slowly over the course of the day til 24 hours later it’s nearly down to what it was before I eat the oatmeal. it would still be 138 or somewhere in that range.

        My hubby finds oatmeal keeps him satiated til lunch. guess he has a better metabolism than I do.

      8. Well, that’s probably the case with what Mark was experiencing after eating the oats. No doubt, that was the insulin spike that he was feeling, particularly since he’s not even a moderate carb eater. And of course, with the myriad of confirming posts that have been written, it seems to make sense.

    1. I have this experience with oats. Also, they want to exit the body about three hours after being consumed.

    2. I used to have oatmeal nearly every morning and this has definitely been my experience, even with dense steel cut oats with little to no sweetener. I would wonder why I was so hungry and had symptoms of low blood sugar only 2 hours after eating it.

      1. Me too. In fact oatmeal was the thing that convinced me to switch from Weston Price to primal – I used to have eggs, yogurt and a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast pretty much every day and could never understand why I was hungry two hours later. Exact same breakfast minus the oatmeal, and I was fine until lunch.

    3. I do sometimes have a bowl of gluten-free oats, but I must say it’s one of the only carby things that doesn’t send my blood-sugar rocketing. It is SO much better than any other common breakfast cereal (for me at least), and this I think is largely explained by its low GI rating.

      I think it’s an option for those looking for a gentle transition to the Primal way of eating. Bit of carb in the first meal of the day, then nothing other than vegetables for carb intake for the rest of the day.

      1. I agree with you here. It was my favourite thing to wake up to in the morning (aside from a big mug of delicious black coffee), and the thing i missed most after going GF. Having that first bowl made me feel sufficiently grained for the rest of the day when i ate my Primal filling.

        However, now that i have been experimenting with primal/GF for a few months now, trying to eat oats destroys my stomach, giving me full body pain, gas, bloating, you name it! i don’t know how i coped before.

        Oats do make me incredibly happy though. big mood lifter for me. 😀

        1. I understand that once you’ve gone grain free for a while it takes a few weeks or so to get used to eating grain again.

        2. I actually have the opposite problem! I went “grain-free” for two years and recently started to reintroduce GF oats into my diet. I’ve actually noticed that I’m more regular and feel better (digestion wise) after eating, and I’ve never felt foggy afterward like some describe…actually quite the opposite…nor am I hungry later…quite the opposite there too. I limit them to consuming only after a workout, but I’m no longer um…backed up! And yes, I eat a lot of fiberous fruits and vegetables! And I would even take a fiber supplement at times. Still nothing helps with this more than oats for me. I’m allergic to Wheat and Rice and Corn which is why I intially went primal. I’m now just trying to find a balance.

          1. I been eating steel cut oats since I was married in 1965 .
            As my kids have now my grand kids and pretty soon there kids will be starting on oats .but now you can start with a insta pot it’s a dream compared to the clunker I had ,in fifteen min, I have enough in the pot ,to put in the fridge and last me a week or more ,, 3 cups of oats 9cupsof water 1 1/2 tea spoon of salt , 15 min on high in cooker
            Natural release , for 15 min

          2. My husband has problems if he is too low carb. He has a foggy brain, weird digestion, and doesn’t feel “well.” I do great on a paleo/low-carb diet, but he needs more carbs than that.

      2. Oats are a great source of complex carbs look at Tom Venuto compared to Mark Sisson and you can figure the rest out. Low carb will eventually have a metabolic slow up because of the fact you never have insulin shuttling in protein and glycogen for new growth. People instead of clinging to everything like religious dogma do some research on and compare peoples physiques that eat plus 200 carbs a day to the pictures you see on the average avatar here that sit in there house 24/7 and blog about eating like a caveman who is extinct now because he was phazed out. Gotta go back to work. Peace Yall

        Btw. For those of you ready to talk uninformed smack about me personally I am 5’11” 175 with 6% bodyfat. 30 yrs old (former chubby kid growing up)

        1. OMG, you’ve got to be joking, who would want to look like Tom Venuto – no thanks!

        2. This was my thought exactly. The best physiques I’ve ever seen are carb fueled.

      3. A bowl of uncooked oats and milk with just a pinch of sugar in the morning has been a staple of mine for years. Yum. Have now cut the amount back as a small amount of weight has to go and muscle needs to go on.
        A cup of rolled oats will off hunger until lunchtime with no problem – low GI? – however I’ve noticed if I’ve ever had cooked oats, I’m hungry by 10:30am, always.
        Likewise on the vegetables carbs (and some fruit) for for the rest of the day.

    4. I thought the fact that oatmeal was pretty highly insulinogenic was well known and was a major reason why it wasn’t a good food choice – aside from it being a grain, of course.

    5. Is this just for plain rolled/steel cut oats? Or are you talking about the instant type with the added sugar? I’ve heard from several places that on-instant oats keep your blood sugar at a steady level.

      1. I found this to be true with regular oats, but I never had the chance to try steel cut oats before I got diabetes.

    6. Yup. Husband and I ate oatmeal every day for a long time after he was first diagnosed with high cholesterol many years ago, and we refused to have him take statins.

      I would eat a small bowl for breakfast (which I don’t even like to eat and now do not eat until after noon), and have a light-headed feeling and crash by mid-morning. I thought the trick was to have protein with it, so I would have some yogurt or an egg.

      I thought we were being so smart! CW, CW, CW!!!

    7. Did you add anything to your oatmeal??? Oats are actually known to help stabalize the blood sugar, but if you added any amount of sugar, honey or other sweetener this could have been the effect you were noticing.

      But hey, if you don’t really enjoy them, don’t eat them! 🙂

      1. Also, if you follow a strict paleo diet with excessively low carb/ starch intake it is possible to have had such a reaction to the oats…. any high carb food would cause a similar reaction. Those who stick to a more balanced diet find the benefits of stabalization.

        1. True Miranda moderation and balance is key but folks don’t want to hear that, they would rather have a easy fix like cut out all grains and gobble down fat.

      2. Oats aren’t known to stabilize the blood sugar except in biased and irrelevant monsanto and or big pharma funded “studies”. I’m a type 1 who has normal friends and family test their blood sugar to prove points to them.

    8. For me, fruit sends me much higher than whole grains. Try eating less at one sitting. My limit is 1 ounce (dry weight) per person. We slow cook the whole groat overnight at 225 degrees. Postprandial blood glucose is about 111 1 hour after eating. Fruit will usually send me much higher. Also note, first meal of the day produces higher blood glucose response (after any fast). Never eat grains first or alone. Always eat them after you’ve had your eggs and sausage!

    9. This not only confirms what I’ve heard from other “learned” sources about oats but it confirms a very shifty (as in shift in consciousness)idea that our body/mind does not have a watch and a bowl of oat meal or for me a bow tie noodle can trigger a sweet memory and that memory has teeth/feelings of it’s own. Looking at a clock or a watch helps bring me back to now. Thanks Mark…thanks for this great site.

    10. Jake, in addition to the blood sugar issue that grain/cereals can create (way to much glucose entering the blood stream) it would be very interesting to see people’s reaction in regards to seeing what occurs with their body temperature and pulse rate, i think those two markers can also provide a very good insight on how well or badly a person is reacting to grains/cereals, mainly oats in this case.

    11. I had that problem with oatmeal my blood sugar would spike ( checked it) and then later I was hungry and felt sluggish! I do not like oatmeal!

    12. As for oatmeal negatively impacting your blood sugar, that really depends on the type of oatmeal you eat.

      I have a question for Mark – Did you know that nuts have more phytic acid than grains and legumes? I am wanting to begin a stricter paleo diet, but plan on working grains into the regimen. Should I avoid nuts? They seem by all accounts fairly healthy and an important part of paleo diets so I was disheartened to find out about their phytic acid content

    13. That^s not true.The fibre allows for a slow release of blood sugar.Your blood sugar rising is good if your active & need energy.If your lazy or sit in a desk all day,then perhaps there might be a concern.Problem is with this primal stuff is A lot of paleo people drink wine,use vinegar,have coffee,use table sugar etc.This has nothing to do with paleo.Do you think the paleo man from thousands of years ago would eat bread,apple pie,ice cream if he found it growing on tree—-you bet your sweet ass he would.Its called survival

    14. That is true for me.
      I used to eat oatmeal porridge for breakfast because I enjoyed it, and because it’s “healthy” … But even if I made it from 100 grams of oats I would still be really hungry within two hours. All the fiber didn’t do me any good either …

    15. Oats have a glycemic index generally 70 of 100 according to the Harvard medical institute (link at bottom). That is not good, and is unnaturally high. High blood sugar causes a spike in insulin which in turn causes excessive cardiovascular stress that raises cholesterol to ‘repair the damage’, now this applies only to people who eat sugary foods like orange juice and grains on a daily basis. We’ve had the wool pulled over our eyes into thinking these kinds of foods were healthy, but they were a big profit maker for people who are growing them. If you read the ‘Lipid Study’ which original hypothesis was that high fat, high cholesterol foods made people fat and raised cholesterol, you will find that it was not only biased, but it was inconclusive and dead wrong. your body regulated cholesterol VERY well and what you need to worry about is not how high it is but how bad cholesterol is becoming oxidized and sticking. There’s always an UNDERLYING CAUSE as to why your cholesterol is bad but its not related to how much you eat, and oatmeal has NEVER been proven to lower it yet its labeled as ‘may lower’. Theres a show on Netflix called ‘FAT HEAD’ that shows examples, and with interviews with the former scientists who worked on the lipid study (saying how they could not prove anything because fat was not making people fat). Also why were our European cousins having lower rates of heart disease yet they had a high fat high cholesterol diet? This was the linchpin that destroyed the lipid hypothesis. The real underlying problem not talked about was stress.

      1. Davey –

        Actually your information about oats isn’t entirely correct and as much as I liked Fathead it sometimes suffers from misleading people as much as some who support the lipid hypothesis have done.

        There currently is no valid scientific proof that a high fat diet, or the pale diet for that matter, is viable healthy alternative. Do people lose weight on these diets, yes. Does there seem to be some anecdotal evidence that high fat and protein diets are healthy, yes – Still, there is no peer-reviewed scientific proof to support such diets. All we really have is evidence that the lipid hypothesis is bad science. These are the facts at this point.

        And, regarding your information about oats, I thought I would clear some things up. First, people should probably have a good idea about the difference between the glycemic index and the insulin index – but we can save that for another time.

        Suffice it to say oats – the whole grain kind and especially steel cut oats are not that high on the GI scale: “Foods under 60 on the glycemic index would be considered low GI. Steel cut oats rate 42 on the glycemic index, old fashioned rolled oats ranking in at 50. In addition to steel cut oats, whole grain breads, veggies and most fruits are relatively low on the glycemic Index.”

    16. How can Oats give a sugar rush if its GI value is around 50. Its a staple for the fitness industry as a low GI, slow digesting carb. Wonder if its your opinion or a fact. Prove it, please.

    17. I have the opposite experience. I’m trying to go Paleo but finding after even a big breakfast of eggs and bacon with veggies I still get hungry a couple of hours later. Whereas when I was vegan I could eat a cup of rolled oats soaked in soy milk with some raisins and cinnamon (not cooked, just soaked overnight) and that kept me satisfied so long that I often wouldn’t eat lunch until 3pm! I hate being hungry at mid-morning now — I’m debating adding my oats back just for breakfast and doing Paleo for the rest of the day because of this.

      1. this is similar to my experience, when i go super low carbs (under 100%) for days, i get an insatiable hunger that only seems to settle down after adding 50-100grams of extra carbs. Cooked oats cut with butter, greek yogurt and few blueberries, seems to work well for me. One serving plus some almonds and a cheese and I feel the most satiated I have in days.

    18. I eat mostly veggies with protein and fruit in moderation. I don’t have much of an appetite and can not meet the calorie need each day. I had to add some foods that packed a calorie punch. I don’t eat oatmeal; however, I do eat oat groats. I rinse them well then mix with flaxseed, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, 5 almonds chopped, a small handful of blueberries, raisens or other fruit with some spices: cinnamon and nutmeg. Soaked in coconut milk overnight. I saw a similar recipe online and decided to try it. It was pretty good, in my opinion. I have never had any issues with geeling crashed afterwards though I don’t eat a large portion probably about the size of a 6oz yogurt — perhaps slightly more.

    19. if you cook it it will shoots your blood sugar high for sure.
      Although oatmeal is not paleo nor primal, if someone wants it, just keep them raw. It will keep blood sugar level normal.

    20. If your blood sugar gets too high eating oats then you’ve got too much fat in your system. Diabetes and high blood sugar are caused by excess fat, not sugars. The sugars become stuck in the bloodstream and can’t make it into the cells that need the glucose. Cut your fat and fell better. It’s simple really.
      Not to be a nag but humans were designed for fruits and vegetables, not meat and dairy. It’s only common sense that these things would have a negative effect upon our bodies. Oats aren’t an ideal food for us either, but they are waaay better than any animal product for health and longevity.

      1. I will have to wholeheartedly disagree with your entire statement (and yes you sound naggy)

        My mother is diabetic and when she was diagnosed with diabetes she was eating meat once a week. She was eating fruits and veggies for the most part. Also no excess fat.

        So to say diabetes is caused by fat is pretty irresponsible. Lately she has had to stop eating oats due to it spiking her sugar level. When she eats her eggs and sausage…huh that’s funny no spike.

        And yes you can be healthy and have diabetes because *gasp it can be hereditary.

        Humans are designed to be omnivores, if we weren’t supposed to eat meat don’t you think that we would have never done so?

        1. Your understanding of human physiology is incomplete to say the least. All omnivores have claws (not finger nails), they have a protruding jaw, fangs that hang over their lips (both upper and lower), and they have short intestinal tracts similar to carnivores. Humans have long, pouched intestinal tracts. We are the most perfect vegetarians on the planet and function well into our seventies, eighties and beyond by living as that which our physiology demands. I am continually amazed at how people rationalize their positions without actually getting back to the first principals of that discussed (truth).

    21. I am diabetic and learned to portion control. I love oatmeal particularly steel cut oats. I discovered them in Aldi store and tried them out. Also I like quick cooking grits. It provides my essential amount of carbs per single serving. I do make sure that I take my insulin 10 minutes before eating. However at mid morning my sugar drops like a rock. I have had readings as low as 45 which I am shaking by then. I usually eat my breakfast around 5 am. So its ok to have a second breakfast to compensate for the sugar drop. I have 6 small meals a day and no longer go through the yoyo’s I once experienced. Portion control is good and I can have a tiny desert to fix my sweet cravings. I also learned that artificial sweeteners are extremely bad for you. Splenda being the worst on the market. I tried Stevia and no longer get sugar spikes like Splenda gave me or the others like sweet and low, trivia, equal. They are contributors to other medical conditions and are not safe to use. I rarely use white refined sugar but not any worse than artificial sweeteners. I do use in limitation honey, brown sugar, and Agave or fructose. I like fresh berries for my sweeteners. I am allergic to orange, so I use unsweetened applesauce instead. Everyone is different. You just have to find the best that is right for your own consumption. Living and learning about healthy foods is to me still an experiment. But I am getting there.

    22. Seems like maybe most people on this site but not in the world…Study after study indicates it is good for people with diabetes 2 and lowers cholesterol in most people.

    23. I have diabetes. As an indian (north indian; India has different staples across regions), whole wheat in the form of flour and broken wheat is part of my diet. I have noticed whole wheat doesn’t need as much insulin from me (in the form of roti) as 1/4 cup of oats require. I had thought of adding them to fruit smoothie to increase satiety. Well, that experiment failed. Oats are not part of our regular diet, anyway.

      However, why is wheat bad? Beyond the intolerance, I mean. We don’t have as much issue with the intolerance in our country.

    24. I feel the same when I eat oats. Feels like my sugar goes to high. I will test it to see but for now I think I will avoid them for a while.

  2. This seems like way to much of a process just to eat some bland oats. Not really worth the time to prepare, I’ll stick with my eggs or Banana, Almond butter pancakes yum!

    1. Banana, almond butter pancakes?? Can you please post the recipe or a link to it? These sound great!

      1. I don’t have Mike’s pancake recipe, but here’s mine!

        The ratio is 1 large banana : 2 eggs. Spoonful of almond butter obtional. Add a shake or two of cinnamon.

        Blend to a purée / “batter”, and cook your pancakes in butter or coconut oil.

        Top with a handful of frozen blueberries (and a spoonful of coconut cream, if you feel really decadent.)

        1. Mine is about the same, although I add dessicated coconut to it, and put the blueberries inside the mix. Then I eat with cream or bacon. Sounds weird, but tastes delicious!

    2. Almond butter has phytates and bananas are extremely sweet and high in net carbohydrates. I love bananas, I love almonds, but I find it laughable to hear that the breakfast higher in sugar, calories and phytic acid is way better for you.

  3. I am not Primal, but am thinking of it, or at least incorporating some principals. However, I currently eat steel cut oats quite often for breakfast. One serving cooked on the stovetop with 3/4 cup 1% milk. I add a splenda packet, cinnamon, and some cocoa powder, chia seeds, ground flax and frozen raspberries. I then top it with 1 T natural PB for some protein. Ate at 6:45am and I am just now ready for lunch at 11:15. However of course this isn’t primal at all! I don’t see me stopping oats though.

      1. True – and it isn’t always as filling, but I then add protein at my other meals of course. Right now I’m stuck in “conventional wisdom” and doing WW but not really sticking with it as I am also starting a weight lifting program and need more protein and it’s hard to get that with my “points.”

        1. I agree with Toad… you will ‘soak up Primal via osmosis’ if you hang out around it for a while… The two main things that I picked out of your post are “stuck in conventional wisdom”, and “not really sticking with it”.

        2. Helen: As a Lifetime Member of Weight Watchers…I have to tell you that I have had way more success long term being Primal!! I highly encourage you to give it a real go!! That oat meal is spiking your blood sugar behind your back!! Check out Gary Taubes book “Why We get Fat and What to Do about it?” Talks about the whole insulin making you fat…not fat making you fat!

          Hope you stick around MDA!! Lots a great people and support around here!

        3. Interesting. I am also not primal and am on WW right now. I also eat oats for breakfast. My oats are 1/3 c rolled oats, 1 banana, 1/2 c milk, 1 Tbsp chia seed, 1/3 c yogurt, cinnamon. Let sit in fridge overnight, then mix in 1 Tbsp sunflower seed butter.

          It works for me, and I get enough protein with the milk/yogurt/seed butter.

          I am, however, incorporating more primal meals into my meal plans. My snacks are always primal, and most days I have a large salad for one of my meals, with veggies, nuts, avocado, and meat. It makes it easier to stay in my points if I eliminate carbs for an entire meal.

      2. Not enough protein? How much protein do you need in ONE meal?! She is easily consuming between 18-24 grams, if it’s a full cup of cooked oats as well has healthy fats and protein from the chia and flax (I don’t consider dairy “healthy”).

        1. Personally, i find that fermented dairy is not something that should necessarily be avoided. It is a great tool when looking to add muscle, its nutrient density is not something to overlook either. But milk is a no-no either way, regardless of grass-fed or not, it creates too much fluctuation in insulin levels and has autoimmune properties. I like me my fermented dairy!

    1. I’m only about 2 weeks into paleo. My “go to breakfast” so far has been chicken sausages because they’re easy to microwave before work and contain a decent amount of fat. I usually have 5 of them at 6am, which adds up to between 110-200 calories (depending on the brand) and I’m not hungry again until lunch at 11am, or sometimes even until noon. The fat seems to make a huge difference for me.

      Before going paleo I would have a banana and a 16oz cup filled with gluten-free cereal and almond or coconut milk. When I’d eat that, I’d be pretty hungry by 11am.

      1. Check into NOT microwaving things. Even before my Primal quest, we stopped using the thing. Except for heating up water or zapping coffee. The microwave KILLS everything good in food. Google it.

        1. My friend had a horrible accident zapping coffee. The cup broke as she took it out of the microwave and she badly burned her hand. Please be careful.

        2. @ Paula – That is because the microwave can superheat water, taking water way past the 212F boiling point

      2. My go-to breakfast prior to going primal a year ago was oats with raspberries and cottage cheese, sometimes with egg added. I thought I’d never be able to give it up. A couple of months in when I realized I was using all of the 20% on breakfast, meaning I needed to be crazy strict the rest of the time, I just stopped. Replaced it with eggs, bacon, and veggies. I’ve tasted oatmeal once since then and it’s just so blah! Just my way of saying never say never 🙂

    2. Interesting – I’d be hungry in about 1/2 hour if I had that for breakfast. I always needed to eat 3-4 bowls (big bowls at that) to ever feel full after eating oatmeal.

    3. Do you really like oats?

      Eggs are good protein, and allowed on WW. So is greek yogurt, with fruit. You gotta have the protein. If you have to have some oats, better to sprinkle a tbsp of granola on your yogurt – at least you are getting some fat and protein with your carbs.

      I like eggs for breakfast, or left over meat (any kind). In my experience, you will feel better if you can break the “breakfast food” mentality and just eat regular food in the morning. (Of course, I have had the experience of eating a cobb salad at au bon pain for breakfast, and being looked at like a complete nut, so take that with a grain of salt!)

      1. Right on. It’s a mental thing most people can’t handle. I was cutting back on grains but still doing a few (corn grits, rice, oatmeal) in smaller quants but ususally felt the “feeling”

        I felt kinda off. It’s hard to describe. A spacey, detached feeling? Slightly drugged?

        Couldn’t deny it any more. Cut out the grains for two weeks with no symtoms, then two days went back and felt like crap both times. Ditch the weeds!

      2. Kate, very interesting post, in many cases people will not feel generally good having eggs in the morning (this has been my case too) the egg protein gets synthesized very fast and can make your blood sugar drop very fast. Unless i have the eggs with fruit and a good fat, and that fruit always has to exceed 50 grms of carbs total.

    4. If you want to keep your oats, might I recommend some tweaks to your recipe?
      First, to prevent blood sugar spike, I cut my oats (pun intended) with 1/3 unsweetened coconut.
      It cooks up great this way and adds flavor.
      Next, if you plan to improve your diet anyway, do not use splenda. (for anything) It is not food, it is not worth it. I recommend a bit up maple syrup (the real thing)
      Next, use whole milk or cream, not 1%. Skim milk does spike your blood sugar and often times contains some powdered milk in it to give it more body. Powdered milk has oxidized cholesterol which is the most deadly form. Try to avoid powdered milk in everything. they seem to be hiding it everywhere these days.
      Use raw cocoa powder because it is loaded with antioxidants. Do not use flax for too many reasons to mention. Add good butter. If it has a higher fat profile, it will not spike your sugar, even with some maple. This will probably taste better, too. Enjoy 🙂

      1. Now I regret drinking bucketloads of powdered milk a few months back. I went through so much of it trying to gain weight (or at least keep weight on) and get some nutrition. I wonder if powdered milk contributed to the death of Bruce Lee. His autopsy results, at least from what I know, were inconclusive. It was speculated he had an adverse reaction to medication. Apparently he drank a lot of powdered milk though.

    5. Yeegadds!!!!! You’ll need to quit that splenda business tout suite honey, regardless of whether you go primal, paleo or SAD!!!

  4. They look like little maggots, but probably maggots would be healthier. 😉

    Oats totally destroy my digestion. They make me instantly gassy and hypoglycemic – not that you really wanted to know that…

    1. My daughter went on a mission trip to Thailand and ate a roasted cricket. They sell roasted insects there by the bag for snacks.

      1. Crickets and cicadas are not too bad — they’re crunchy, usually (especially if you pan fry or roast them.) Just pretend they’re peanuts with the shells still on.

        I wouldn’t eat them again for enjoyment, but it was an interesting experiment.

        If you plan to try cicadas, I’d say pull the wings off first…

      2. The other day I let my dog out in the morning and there was a big green grasshopper on the doorframe outside. I’d been curious about trying grasshoppers for a while so I grabbed it, cut off its head, and put in a frying pan with olive oil. Turns out headless grasshoppers, when placed on a hot surface, can still jump! It jumped out of the frying pan so I had to put it back once the oil was heated a bit, and then it sizzled and turned brown really fast. I tried to get it crispy because I figured the rawer it was the grosser it would taste, but I also tried not to over-cook it. It tasted kind of like a slightly burnt potato chip and, like cat treats, was crunchy on the outside and somewhat soft on the inside. Overall a decent food I think but not something I’d want to eat a lot of alone. I think grasshoppers would be excellent in a stirfry though. Later in the day I caught another one and ate it too. When I cut off that one’s head a leg also came off, so I cooked it with the rest of the body but chewed it by itself, and it tasted good, even though it felt kind of creepy eating an insect’s leg. I guess you could say I was buggin’ out, but it was an experience I’m glad of.

    2. i agree! i end up with a sore belly twice the normal size for days. it’s like the inside of me has been scraped out with pins…which is pretty accurate really!

    3. Me too! They used to be my go-to “safety” grain when I started weaning myself off a strict candida-free diet years ago. Oats, and brown rice. Now indulging in oats ends the same way it ends with wheat….explosively.

  5. Not worth the trouble, not when there’s bacon and fresh eggs in the fridge. So many better options available.

  6. Steel cuts oats are still a popular dietary choice at our paleo-friendly Crossfit gym, so I appreciate this post. And your willingness to be a guinea pig for the sake of your readers!

    1. “And your willingness to be a guinea pig for the sake of your readers!”

      Maybe he is turning into the “Primal Tim Ferriss” ?!

      1. This is my only concern with taking some classes. I have this stupid fear but it may not be stupid overall. I am certain that I will not get injured by doing bodyweight exercises on my own. Even by adding a weight vest or swinging kettlebells. i am getting pretty damn strong too!

        Can I get stronger with crossfit? Maybe. Is it worth it the risk? Not sure. I don’t think so. I am all about play!

        1. Primal Toad – I started CrossFit about a month ago (very overweight and out of shape) and I would say that the key is finding a good trainer and gym/box. A typical hour is a 5-15 min warm up, a stregth training session and then a workout of the day (which may include stength building) and a short cool-down/stretching. To avoid injury, it’s very important to listen to your body and not get too caught up in some form of competition for reps/weight. A good trainer will ensure correct form and scale exercises to your level.

      2. Of course, the emphasis is on quantity first, quality…..well not so much. Also, way too much put into met-con workouts and not strength as the primary pillar to work from.

  7. Our kids love their oatmeal (boiled in milk with apricots and cranberries added in). We are trying to wean them off of it but it has been tough. They only eat it once a week but they sure love it when they eat it!

    1. We have the same problem. Gluten Free oats, brown rice, and popcorn have been the toughest challenge to switching the children to a completely primal diet. Like you we are trying to limit it to once or twice a week per serving. Instead of feeling guilty about it I try to just push more veggies, protein, and healthy fats to offset the grains. I know eventually we will get there with them though!

      1. We’re trying to wean one son of bran flakes cereal (plain with milk) and two sons from sprouted grain bread. I can’t bring myself to force the change. Someone might call child protective services on me for feeding my kids lard and eggs and being so cruel as to refuse them generic bran flakes.

        1. My kids & I had a tough time quitting cereal. Frankly, I thougth I would never be able to give it up. We transitioned gradually to replacing the oat-based granola we had switched to with a nut-based one (there’s a recipe for one on this site). One of our favorites now is sliced almonds with a drizzle of honey & shredded coconut – satisfies my cereal craving every time!

    2. Have you read “Everyday Paleo” by Sarah Fragoso?? This is exactly the right book for getting the kids eating more Primal/Paleo

    3. And just remember as tough as it is your are the Parent!! You buy the food that is in your house. Its good to teach them about meeting those foods outside of the house, but in my house we just don’t have those things ever! No cereal, no waffles….they get over it, cause they get hungry! There are lots of great “breakfast” foods out there that have been made Primal, like pancakes! Almond and Coconut flour have been a life saver in our house!! We can even make muffins with those!

    4. Why would you deprive you’re children of eating oatmeal? If they like it let them have it for goodness sake! Look it all the processed crap that passes for food these days and you think oats are a bad thing give me a freakin break! I have been eating a BIG bowl of steal cut oats everyday for the past 12 or 13 years now & have never had any problems at all & I feel satisfied until my next meal.

  8. McCann’s are decent. At least I’m eating “good” steel-cut oats. One of the best things about them is that they are dirt cheap. Perhaps it’s my 20%.

  9. I have a terrible reaction to oats – 1-3 days of severe bloat, constant wind (passing wind every few minutes), stomach pain and flu like feeling.

    I haven’t always had this reaction, but it started about 3-4 years ago. It took me a while to figure out the culprit. But I won’t go back to eating them.

    Accidentally ate some a few months ago without realising. As soon as I got the symptoms, phoned my friend and asked if she’d put oats in anything – turned out they were in the cheesecake base – not only almond as she’d said!

  10. Thanks again for a broadminded post that will attract people to Primal. I would far rather see a billion people doing >80% Primal than a hundred thousand doing it perfectly. Actually, I would rather see both, of course.

  11. I usually pour fish oil into my oats, some ground up flax seed, and a few coffee beans. It gives it a much better consistency and taste (granted, I’m crazy about fish and coffee). But I usually just eat eggs with some cumin for breakfast.

  12. Hmmmm fermented oats… I wonder what that would taste like.

    1. If you fermented them in a large volume of water, the resulting liquid would probably taste something like beer.

  13. Mashing and cooking a banana (and cinnamon) with oats gives them a wonderful flavor without adding sugar or other sweetener. (Think: Banana bread-esque) I don’t eat oats often, but when I do, they need a lot of additional flavoring, usually in the form of sweetener. Some people add pumpkin or pumpkin/banana to oats for flavoring, too. I like several drops of vanilla stevia extract… and brown sugar. heh :p

    Also, cooking them in milk instead of water makes a world of difference, too.

  14. I try to eat primal for the most part but have oats on occasion. They don’t make me feel bad. Trader Joes has steel cut oats that cook in 5 min. I hate them sweet with all the sugar and cinnamon. I do the salty version. Pinch of salt, butter and a slice of good cheese melted over the top. I don’t each too much at one time and it actually keeps me full for long. Especially good for pre-work out. I figured there are plenty of other much worse things I could be eating. Eating primal is good and all, but I don’t think that people are getting sick and fat from oats.

  15. Thanks for the great article. I don’t eat wheat or oats. But I do rice and tortillas. As I understand, the lime that is used in the masa preparation removes some of the phytic aid, right. How bad in the grain scale are tortillas?

  16. Oats tend to make me feel almost light headed (sort of like you described). Would that be a hypoglycemic feeling from the spike of insulin? And whenever I would run after eating oats I would get a massive energy crash for the first 20 minutes of my run. I hated it so I stopped eating them.

  17. McCann’s Steel-Cut Irish Oats
    A little butter
    Cinnamon (or just salt, my wife’s preference)

    If you require your oatmeal sweet or buttery, you will HATE this. If you don’t, it’s awesome. I do try to follow up a big bowl with some straight protein, just to try to blunt the blood-sugar rush and crash. When I remember, I feel great all morning. When I forget, I wish for death about 90 minutes later. I would avoid them completely, but my toddler LOVES them and is s till something of a hard sell on more obviously healthy/paleo options. I prefer to fight that battle AFTER breakfast, not before or during!

  18. I really don’t like oats (unless they’re in haggis or black pudding) – porridge is sticky and slimy and nasty, I much prefer potatoes – they are my main carb ‘vice’, preferably baked in their jackets, with lots and lots of butter 😀

  19. I eat oats with protein powder, two scoops of powder per bowl of oatmeal, as a post-exercise meal.

    1. That’s exactly what I do!
      To start the day:
      I mix chocolate protein powder with water, almond milk and add 2 3 tablespoons of steel cut and it keeps me alert and full until around noon.

  20. “Heck, seeing Wilfred Brimley’s diabetes awareness TV spots”

    I think you mean…


  21. I can sense that this post is going to be one of your top 10 hits Mark!

    Not sure how many remember but back when I was going primal, last year in April, I was all about wondering if Oatmeal was ok. I loved oatmeal and seemed to have felt good after eating a serving or 2. I have no idea how well I would do today since I have literally not had a bite of oatmeal since I went primal 16 months ago.

    I may try them again. Not sure. I guess I just prefer eggs, bacon, grass fed hot dogs, salads, smoothies, pirmeals and more for breakfast.

    I am not sure if I will go through the extra work or if I will just buy the Quaker Oats Oatmeal (not instant). I may never enjoy them again.

    I am in Chicago now and LOVE Julies Meinl. I always go for the egg bake and local sausage. It’s awesome every time. They have oatmeal too. Should I “treat” myself to some oatmeal next time? Not sure. I won’t be a fan of the milk unless they have almond or coconut milk which I doubt.

    The carb content might be high but I truly do not care anymore about macronutrients. I eat whole food. I ate white rice the other day. It had no effect on me.

    I am becoming more and more open minded as time goes on but when you really think about it… why eat oatmeal or other “not so bad grains” in place of all the other awesome primal foods?

    I think I’d rather enjoy a banana then a small serving of oatmeal to be honest.

    This post makes me think about possibly enjoying a bowl of oatmeal down the road. I think that while I am traveling around the world and I find a place that makes kick ass oatmeal then I may give it a try. I don’t see myself buying any or eating crap oatmeal somewhere else.

    It has to really kick ass for me to give it a go.

    Thanks for the post Mark!

    1. I used to eat oatmeal for breakfast nearly every single day. Mixed in walnuts, cinnamon (the spice, not the sugar), & berries. The thing that makes them less appealing to me is the effort required to make them nutritious. At least with potatoes and fruit and white rice they’re forms of carbohydrate that don’t contain the phytic acid.

      Now I eat eggs for breakfast with green veggies (spinach, broccoli) that provide the same fiber benefit…without needing any extra work to make the nutrients bioavailable.

      1. Fiber benefit?
        Fiber has no benefit other than bulking up your stools, causing intestinal obstructions that lets liquid flush by (diarrhea) or dries up to the point of passing bricks (constipation, hard stools).
        If you need fiber to move things along you have intestinal damage, nerve damage and a stretched out colon.

        Stop the fiber menace!

        1. According to a link in the article Mark posted yellow and green veggies have the same impact on bile acids as far as reducing LDL cholesterol. I’m not a cholesterol phobe, I eat eggs for breakfast and usually have a rib eye steak as my post workout meal. There’s also a theory that our gut flora thrive on the fiber from veggies. So I have no problem eating vegetables along with my fat and protein.

  22. I don’t think oats are completely tasteless at all. They have a lovely nutty flavor, at least the ones I used to buy, and I did enjoy them plain and with added fruit etc. I gave them up because the blood sugar crash later wasn’t worth it.

    Not gonna lie–this post has me dreaming of a big, steaming bowl of oatmeal, dotted with blueberries. *sigh*

    1. I agree with your first part – they are not bland to me either. If I add 1/2 cup blueberries and some cinnamon then I can thoroughly enjoy oats. I won’t prepare it myself but if I find a place with must have oatmeal then I may give it a try.

      1. count me in the “oats are not bland” camp…. 🙂 i find them an excellent vehicle for coconut oil, which can be off-putting by itself. also use a LOT of cinnamon in it, not just a sprinkle.

  23. mark, your site is great, love the book, love the lifestyle.

    with those caveats out of the way… if we’re eating oats now, what on earth is this whole thing about? primal & paleo have such loose, un-scientific definitions to begin with. i mean, there’s no compelling reason why nuts should be okay & other legumes aren’t, or why half the folks on here don’t consider green beans legumes. easy come easy go, i say.

    but oats? that’s gotta be out of bounds by even the most liberal definitions of either paleo or primal.

    sometimes i think it would be easier to call what i’m into “low carb, whole foods,” and skip the whole “paleo/primal/ancestral” fantasy. particularly when i read stuff like this. oats are sooooo neolithic, it’s not even a close call.

    i stick to low carb, whole foods, which oats are not.

    rant concluded, thanks for listening!

    1. Mark is on a mission to change 10 million lives. He is well on his way. Writing posts like these helps. A LOT.

      He wants to be as inclusive as possible while making a positive difference. This post does that.

      1. It’s all very nice and good, but the world cannot live and eat paleo. Our oceans would be completely fished out, there is not enough land with the billions existing on our planet to grow and kill all the animals we all devour. It kinda makes me sick how self righteous and oh so concerned you all about your selves and your precious oh I don’t eat this and that crap.
        All whole natural food is good so get over it and stop over analyzing ever morsel of food you encounter.
        Look around at the less fortunate than you and see what one sometimes has to eat out of would love a bowl of rice if you were truly hungry and it sure in the hell would not harm you

        1. Eating grain is certainly preferable to starvation, if the goal is to survive. But most of us are fortunately not faced with such a choice, and can instead choose to thrive instead of merely survive. And there’s more than enough food in the world for everyone — real food, even. If the problems of food distribution were addressed (NOT production) few if any people would have to make that choice.

        2. “but the world cannot live and eat paleo”

          Simple question: Why do you believe this?

          I disagree with you 100%. Either way, I surely hope we both find out in our lifetime.

        3. I buy non ethanol fuel whenever possible. Did you know corn use for fuel has outstripped corn as food?

    2. “if we’re eating oats now”

      Who says we’re eating oats now? I specifically stated that I won’t be and listed the reasons why I won’t. Additionally, skipping the whole paleo/primal/ancestral fantasy, as you say, would be an argument for taking a critical look at oats.

      In any case, if it wasn’t clear from the post, I do not consider oats to be Primal.

      1. i got a reply directly from mark! go me! glad to hear it, and thanks for the clarification.

        -humbled jakey

    3. I agree with you 100%

      Posts like these (I would imagine) are to try and give some variety to people or information on how to prepare oats for people who miss them now that they are primal. For me, I’m with you, I’m just sticking with no grains, breads etc.

      1. Articles like these is what brings people to primal that are still on a SAD diet and looking for “healthy” foods.
        This is how I got here. I had digestive distress my entire life and was googling whole grains (thinking it was beneficial) and stumbled upon MDA’s Definitive Guide to Grains…haven’t looked back since 🙂

    4. He tried them and said not worth the effort and he didn’t like the effect. He’s not advocating eating them. Did you even read the post?

    5. In fact oats and rice make me feel sick and i have always hated their taste. When i was a child i had awful food allergy (including gluten allergy)and now i realise that all the foods that made me sick were ful of carbohydrates like wheat, rice, corn,potato… And all the doctors were doing was to replace one of them with another instead just eliminating them.
      Now i tried eating primal and have a really good result.I have no more stomachache or joint pain.
      I only eat some potato on occasion but no more than 100-200 grams. It seems that only no grains at all works with me.

  24. Oats is one grain I have no regret of leaving behind. I grew up with a huge variety of porriges coming from Eastern Europe, and oats was never my favorite. If I am to eat a grain, it gotta be buckwheat or millet. I like barley more as well. And rice. And quinoia. Anything better than oats, really. Oats just don’t have any flavour and the texture… yuk!

  25. 100 grams has 16 grams of protein, thats pretty good for a grain. But 66 grams of carbs, hooah, I think that doesn’t work for the day.

    1. These figures are for 100 grams…serving size is 1/2 cup (40 grams) so you need to adjust protein and carb figures accordingly.

      A second source sets serving size at 1 ounce 28 grams which would be even lower protein and carbs.

  26. Mark,

    the issues with oats you raise seem to be around absorbtion and some sensitivity issues some people have to it (as the comments above validate!). If one doesn’t need to worry about either of these issue though, what’s the beef with oats? I don’t see any harm… and they are, relatively, low GI?



      1. Mark,

        let’s say you are a 40 year old male who has sub 5% body fat and is in excellent shape, exercises, eats well (conventionally understood), and then has a son who is a coeliac.

        After some research you discover palaeo diet and you follow it. Obviously attracted because of your son’s experience with gluten but after some time you realise there is no difference in your own strength, fitness, body etc.

        Then you notice that most of the people that follow paleo already have existing issues, such as intolerance to various grains, or a weight issue etc.etc.

        So then you start asking more direct questions such as, maybe the paleo diet is good for people who need to manage other issues that, thank God, I don’t seem to have? Something similar to salt tolerance… seems to be a problem if yuo are sensitive but increasingly research seems to show doesnt really seem to make any notable difference to everyone else?

        So I come back to the point which is, for people unconcerned about food that might stop them absorbing as much when their diet is already more than enough, and who dont have a sensitivity issue with grains, what’s the problem?

        Serious, Im not trying to be annoying. Im patient, I am still living paleo now which is easy as my son’s diet has to be gluten free anyway but I am starting to wonder why really.

        The post on oats just said it reduces absorbtion somewhat and if you are intolerant to it, its not very nice for you. If both of these issues are irrelevant to you personally, then logically, why is it not fine to eat oats?

        1. For me it has more to do with the crazy insulin/blood sugar spikes we all get from eating super high carbs like oats! Its just not good for your body in general, even if you are “healthy” your insides might not be! Insulin is a crazy little hormone!! Read more about that too! Gary Taubes has some good books about that stuff! Mark has some great articles about Insulin!

        2. Jonathan, it is perfectly fine to eat oats if that’s what you want to do, and you don’t need anyone’s permission on here to do so. Personally I eat steel cut oats every morning along with a spinach omelet and it keeps hunger at bay and my energy up until lunch. Oats are the only grain I eat and I only eat them in the morning because that’s what works for me. What works for you and others may be different.

    1. How do you know they are not doing you any harm? Can you see inside your gut?

      1. No I cannot see inside my gut. But I have not read anything that tells me that oats have the same effects on your gut as, say, wheat or what exactly the harm is, how material is it? That is what I am asking I guess… what is the actual problem with oats, what damage is it supposed to be doing. I am not sold on the insulin issue as the way I eat it the GI will be low plus I doubt I have insulin sensitivity issues that need mitigating.

        I am reminded of something I read when reading about benefits of vitamin D via sunlight not supplements recently. Someone noted that you have increased risk of skin cancer if you sunbathe a little but you also have an increased risk of cancers if you dont from the lower vitamin D levels you’ll have. There are negatives and thus risk trade offs with nearly every decision we make. I am sure there are negatives of the paleo diet too but I don’t see any ever being mentioned? A diet so heavy in meat for an animal that is clearly not a carnivore (look at our teeth) and whose gut is nothing like a carnivores makes me wonder. We are omnivores, and a few veggies here and there in the paleo diet make up a tiny proportion of the calorie intake… is that really wise?
        Luckily for us (paleo crowd) we have generations of empirical evidence to look at to see the life long effects of people eating various grains. Obviously the tendency is to focus on the negatives and it does seem that an extreme reliance on various sugars and grains is unwise. If you eat sensibly and exercise however, and are lucky enough not to have any medical problem with grains, I doubt going paleo makes any difference.
        IN terms of what a lifetime of living paleo does for you, what data do we have. The bones of some robust ancestors tens of thousands of years ago? I suspect a guy living on my pre paleo diet living in those times would have been pretty robust too in that environment. No Lazy boys, tv, nintendo, coke etc.
        My point is that it is unreasonable to compare a 30,000 ancestor to an overweight 20th century European and blame it on the grains/milk etc in the diet.
        The test would be to compare a paleo diet person today with an equally health conscious ‘modern’ diet today.

        I am reminded of Arthur de Vany. He is in great shape and lives a paleo way but I think people mistake his condition as a direct result of the unusual nature of his diet and exercise. I would suggest that anyone who worked out on a regular basis and spent so much time focussing on what they eat but didnt worry about excluding grains, milk etc would be in equivalent shape. I am.

  27. Being born and raised in Germany I grew up on oats. If it wasn’t oats, it was rye bread.
    By the time I hit the age of 14 about 8 of my teeth had cavities.
    People that consume oats usually also eat other forms of starch, cook with vegetable oil and don’t eat enough fish or liver.
    This diet combination is very disastrous to childrens health.
    At least, if you’re one of those parents that feeds their children some form of grains every day, make sure they also get plenty of grassfed butter, raw milk and eat liver 2x a week to counter the cavity forming effects of oats.

    I am an excellent example of what a diet of oatmeal, vegetable oils, iodine cooking salt, ultra-heated, homogenized milk and table sugar does to a growing childs health.

    We had no candy, no sweets other than fruit, honey and milk chocolate for snacks. We regularly ate pork, vegetables, potatoes and lettuce. So you see, even though the main meals were somewhat healthy, the fats they were cooked in, the spices they were flavored in and the effects of the snacks and breakfast oats and dinner rye bread still trampled over ANY ‘healthy meal’ given to us.

    Make oats your cheat meal whenever you must fall off the wagon…but get back on it the very next day.

      1. With Bacon and eggs baby, yeahhh! 🙂
        Soaking liver in milk for 30 mins gets rid of the livery taste.
        Frying up onions, bacon and a couple egg yolks to mix in with liver.
        Also Braunschweiger is a popular way to make kids eat liver in europe.
        I order mine from US Wellness Meats.

        1. I grew up in Germany and the common way in our area to serve liver was with fried onions and apples as a topping and a side of mashed potatoes. What’s not to love on that?
          I always did as a small kid and now, demanding to have it more often then the usual once per month schedule those times!
          Liver wurst (Braunschweiger and other types) was available for everyday use on rye bread.
          But we never ever ate oats! Must have been a family thing (and I include here my aunts/uncles and cousins) because I know some school friends ate them. For me they’re just gross, the oats I mean, the friends not so much. 😉
          This was ~30 years ago mind you.

        2. I can attest to that. I’m able to sneak liver into my boyfriend’s meals after soaking it in milk without him ever noticing. He’s one of those guys who’s been forced-fed liver when he was a child, and even a wift of it causes gag reflex in him:)

  28. I used to eat oats but not frequently. I switched to GF when I found out I had a gluten allergy (these are EXPENSIVE). I always soaked them then cooked them with tons of butter and/or coconut oil. Sweeten with maple syrup and voila!! It was good but didn’t keep me full for very long. Then I found out just soaking oats is not enough to get rid of phytates – you have to add something like freshly ground buckwheat, too. That almost made me give up. I finally went on GAPS and gave them up. I don’t really miss them… eggs and sausage are more up my alley!

  29. Being Scottish I grew up with porridge (a special treat – my mum used to soak the oats overnight in milk) and loved oatcakes too.

    I used to have a bowl of oats, full fat milk and golden syrup every morning. Sometimes when I was a student I would even eat them for dinner. Healthy, I thought! And cheap! And yet I was still full by 12 despite scarfing down 300cals worth…wonder why that would be?

    Then I switched to 2 scrambled eggs with butter. So much better. I don’t miss them.

    I get that oats are a ‘whole food’ and better than ‘breakfast muffins’, toast and jam, sugary cereals, white bagels, pancakes and syrup and other horrible breakfast choices but they are still neolithic and IMO have no place on in primal diet.

    1. I agree I love my scrambled eggs with butter every morning.
      I don’t miss the oatmeal I used to have as a kid. Topped with sugar and raisins and eaten with a cold glass of whole milk. Mmm! it was yummy then but I don’t miss it.

      1. What about oats in bread? Does it produce lightheadedness too?

  30. Free range eggs and bacon cooked in grass-fed butter takes much less time to prepare than even conventional oats. Besides, oats always give me a stomach-ache followed by hunger an hour and half later. Still, it’s good to know as much as possible about junk-food.

    Thanks, Mark, for doing the crap work so we don’t have to.

  31. I am a T2 Diabetic. I an free of all meds and insulin because I stopped eating oats, grains and sugar. I think you are a fool if you eat them. The only way to make them taste like something edible is to add something to them. Most people add milk butter nad sugar…Kinda defeats the healthy grain BS when you do that LOL

    I don’t miss them or any carbs for that matter. I really enjoy not being on an insulin pump and taking meds. I also don’t miss the 160 pounds I have lost either. Could not have done that without wising up to a no grain nutrition plan…

  32. Thanks Mark; ive been pondering the same oats question, and of of course its innate resonance as warm & cozy.

    Question to anyone-

    1. do you notice a difference if the oats are baked with eggs?

    2. quinoa flakes?

    best, Destin

  33. Yes nuked chicken sausages are healthier than oats. And not dressednup at all. Again you guys take select animal parts drain off the disgusting stuff, cook it to kill the parasites and amoebas and diss oats you maybe put a few raisins in? Get fresh oats and steam them or vitamix briefly to steel cut them then put in a rice cooker. Add some steamed green veggies or some berries and voila. Taste great and you actually have taste buds for it, not like dead animal.

    1. Wow! And here I thought I’d be the only one eatin’ them oats. I have steel cut oats each and every morning. I started eating them when I wanted to lose weight and get fit BTW. Lost 40 pounds and getting fitter by the hour. Even won a contest for havin’ the best abs – only took 62 years to discover I even had them! Oh well, some of you guys just seem wacked to me. I eat plenty of eggs as well but they are usually not cooked but raw in my shakes. Not really interested in slingin’ any mud here.

      1. You may look healthy my friend, and you may even be healthy, there always seems to be a few folks out there that can eat higher carb meals like that, but for the most of us, those grains cause too many issues with insulin, and insulin can have all kind of bad affects we can’t see, including fat storage and inflammatory responses! Not good for the heart! or you body!

  34. I haven’t quite managed to go primal yet, but I’m working on it. One weakness is oatmeal with Justin’s chocolate almond butter mixed in. Tastes like a no-bake cookie only without quite as much sugar. I’ve weaned myself off it lately because I ran out and have to order it from amazon, but maybe it’s not *quite* so bad… oats and almonds… 🙂

  35. My husband can’t give up his oats, especially before a training or race day. what has helped him is adding in an egg or two to add protein and fat as well as nuts and berries. He loves it. I miss the oats in my primal cookies. oh well……

  36. I used to force oats down me daily because “they’re good for you” according to Tosca Reno. I have now ditched her books and picked up yours…I have lost a lot of weight and feel great…something I never did or felt on the “Eat-Clean” diet.

  37. When I started eating bodybuilder style (real foods, low carb, rough nutrient timing), I ate oatmeal and fruit every morning with a fried egg or two. It was kind of blah at first, but then I discovered the best oatmeal recipe.

    Quick oats (not instant, but 2-5 min cook) + cold milk (obviously whole is tastiest) + slivered almonds + dried cranberries. Let soak for a couple minutes. I actually found the oatmeal tasted better uncooked, and the milk imparted enough sweetness to make the whole thing delicious. Kind of reminiscent of a good low-sugar breakfast cereal.

    I did quite well on this diet, and never noticed a problem with the oatmeal. I eventually cut grains entirely the more I learned about paleo/primal, and now I prefer the convenience and satiation of an even higher protein/fat/calorie approach so that I can eat only two meals a day (breakfast + dinner).

  38. I personally eat Instant oatmeal every morning. I eat about a spoonful with some milk and a scoop of protein powder. This not only adds some sugar and flavor to the meal but also gets me a good serving of protein (about 26 G)

  39. If you want to have “anxiety inducing hunger” in 1-2 hours eat plain boiled “healthy” whole grains.

  40. Oatmeal for breakfast was one of the last CW foods I gave up before truly embarking on PB. I was eating the steel cut yuppie stuff, mind you. Within a week I had less hunger and could skip lunch entirely. I have found that I’m better off without oatmeal. I rarely eat breakfast at all anymore, and just have a normal-sized lunch and a huge dinner. Do what works for you!

  41. Oatmeal was breakfast most winter mornings before school while I was growing up. I have always loved oatmeal and, about 2 years ago, switched to steel-cut oats. Since cutting out grains, all grain gives me “tummy trouble.” I can’t eat them at all. And I don’t really even miss them most of the time. There are so many tastier things to eat for breakfast, like bacon. I used to avoid eggs and bacon because of the fat, now that’s become my go-to breakfast.

  42. What a timely article! Both my kids have celiac and when the recent FDA study came out about the limits of gluten that people w/ celiac can tolerate (about 0.5 ppm) we realized that they were probably still getting too much gluten in their diet, since ELISA tests can only reliably measure down to 20 ppm, which is therefore the threshold limit for foods to be labeled “gluten free” at the moment. Just before learning about the primal lifestyle we had stocked up with a bulk order of Bob’s Red Mill Rolled Oats, Tinkyada brown rice pasta, and Ener-G Flax/Rice bread… grrr. Each of these items are processed in dedicated GF facilities by companies with years of allergen experience, so I feel a bit more confident with them than the non-specialized “gluten free” products cropping up everywhere by conventional companies *but* the more I read the more I’m concerned about the prolamines found in all grains, not just the gluten in wheat. We’ve decided to just use a tiny bit of this stuff at a time, so it’s helpful to know how to mitigate some of the effects, but when it’s gone we’re not ordering more. This “window” of very low-grain is allowing me time to experiment and find recipes to replace the kids’ favorites (spaghetti, jam & toast, oatmeal, etc) that they were ready to mutiny over when I suggested going cold-turkey on the grains. So for now we’re occasional tiny-portion GF oatmeal & pasta eaters. 🙂

  43. I’m very new to the paleo diet…in fact, I’m about a week into it. I almost always had a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast. I’d add half an apple, walnuts, dried cranberries and raisins. Top it off with 2% milk. Loved it! But it was annoying that I’d always feel ravenous a couple of hours later. I haven’t had any problem switching to eggs in the morning. I haven’t eaten meat for about 10 years now but I’m seriously considering going back to my old meat-eating ways. It’s just too difficult to keep fish interesting and if I can’t eat pasta (whaaaa, I’ll really miss that!), or legumes (argh!), well, there isn’t a whole lot left.

  44. I make “super” oats sometimes-with chia, cinnamon and unsweetened coconut sprinkled on top, and sweetened with agave nectar. That said, it’s only a treat, and I always have to have a protein with it. I keep oats, however, in my emergency stockpile just in case TSHTF, and only eat them to keep them rotated.

  45. Has Mark made posts about the “psuedo” grains that aren’t really grains — like buckwheat, quinoa, tapioca and amaranth? If so please someone point me to the links, if not, hey Mark, please consider doing a post about them soon! I’m very curious about these four. I’ve read some things that concern me about tapioca and quinoa, but a friend of mine grows buckwheat & amaranth in her yard, and I’ve been interested in doing the same to grind and mix with almond flour, use in primal pancakes occasionally, etc. What’s the skinny on these?

  46. I have been enjoying traditional Swiss muesli which I was introduced to while working at a German Restaurant. Soaked rolled grains over night in yogurt and milk. I substitute coconut or almond milk as I do not have access to raw milk. I will be switching out the wheat and adding buckwheat from now on and will keep you posted on the results. My kids and I have never had digestion problems from out muesli so far and add fresh fruit before eating.

  47. Here’s a testament to the power of CW.

    About six years ago… I started to notice that whenever I ate oatmeal, instant, quick-oats, or the steel-cut kind (I never tried the rest) my mouth would tingle and go a little numb. The conversation in my head sounded like this.

    “Wow, my mouth goes numb whenever I eat this. That doesn’t seem good.”
    “But it’s oatmeal, and oatmeal is good for me!”
    “But… that’s like an allergic reaction. Those can kill you!”
    “So can fat! Pass the oats!”

    I kept eating them, though not every day, and kept feeling that tingly/numb feeling and thinking “It’s ok. They’re healthy.” It’s been a while since I had any, and I don’t miss the tingling at all.

  48. This article reminds me of yesterday.
    A new granola/gluten-free oat vendor showed up at the local health food store taking a survey.
    I was the first person to enter the store in the morning.
    She tried to advertise her granola oatmeal crap to me and I let her talk for about 10 minutes. Finally I said :” You’re probably talking to the wring person, I’m on a primal diet.”
    She gave me a weird look. The owner in the background started smiling, he knows about my eating habits. He is getting me some rare organ meats this fall from a local farmer.
    The lady then asked, what’s wrong with oats? I wanted to reply:” It makes me shit bricks.”
    Instead, I just said :” I don’t eat granola because of my braces.”
    I wonder what excuse I can come up with once my braces are removed…without getting into a 2 hour discussion.

  49. My roommate was all about the oats and they looked so good to me. I tried them one day and it was completely anti climactic. Bland, weird texture, not filling, not cool. Guess it’s good I don’t like them. I’ll stick to my eggs and their way better nutritional stats.

  50. I’m just curious — is buckwheat the best source for adding phytase to grains/legumes/nuts/seeds during soaking? Is there another source that offers better results to mitigate the phytic acid?

  51. I very, very occasionally eat completely unrefined oat groats. Soak them overnight in the fridge and cook them like normal porridge the next day. Pretty good, lovely and nutty, flavoursome – but for me, still the blood sugar crash and starving hungry a couple of hours later. I get totally get what Mark’s talking about with the spaced out feeling…to many carbs from grains make me feel high, not in a nice way!

  52. I don’t eat oatMEAL (porridge) but I have used the occasional tablespoon or two of oatBRAN mixed into a portion of yoghurt. It seems to get things moving if the gut is a little sluggish – all that indigestible insoluble fiber I guess.

  53. Here is my N=1 story about oat bran.

    A few years back, I was on a statin drug that I wanted to get off of. Yes, I could have stopped myself, but I have a good relationship with my doctor and didn’t want to lose that.

    So here’s what I did. I dressed the oat bran up with some flavouring (chocolate/vanilla whey powder) and ate around 400g of the stuff per day for over a few months.

    At the end of those few months my LDL went from 193mg/dl to 38mg/dl thereby forcing my doctor to release me from the statin and feeling great. Success! Sort of…

    A few weeks later, I went to my regular blood donation and found that my hemoglobin was low. So low in fact, that I was deferred for 18 month (I’m live in Canada) to figure out the problem. I was poked every way, violated one particular way, and to this day, the official line is THEY still don’t know why. Well, I did when I found out about phytates and googled it.

    These days, my hemoglobin is perfect and am back donating blood every 56 days. I’m also still statin free as my LDL sits around 46 (though I care less and less what it is these days.) That said, I haven’t totally given up on oat bran, as I really do like the taste, but I only indulge once in a while.

    One last thing. I’m IGT. So I had blood sugar issues. Even though I had such a high carb intake with oat bran, my a1c only went from 4.5% to 4.6%. Sadly, my blood sugars are not that good when I eat sweet potatoes.

  54. Pre-PB, I always thought oats were soooo good for me, but I never could figure out why they made me feel like crap a couple hours later. First came the “weird headspace.” Then came the shakes, followed by a hollow feeling in the tummy, like I hadn’t eaten in DAYS. Suddenly I was a raving lunatic, just miserable. I kept eating them though. Now I know better!

  55. My family loves oatmeal for breakfast. I go through all the steps once or twice per week, to neutralize the phytic acid. I combine 4 cups of steel-cut oats in filtered water, with 1/2 cup of barley flakes and 1/2 cup of whey (from making raw milk greek yogurt). I soak overnight. In the morning I strain and cook in four cups of milk, 2 cups of apple sauce, 1 tsp of cinnamon and 1 tsp of vanilla. I add the apple sauce last, since it can curdle the milk if boiled together. the Oatmeal lasts 3-4 days in the fridge.

  56. I used to eat porridge made out of oatmeal a proteinshake and some frozen berries witg cinnamon for breakfast back in the days. The result? I was hungry as hell 2-3 hours after eating and followed up with some pasta and chicken etc and if it got more than three hours beteween meals i became insane with hunger and bloodsugardips.

    Nowdays i eat primal and i’m totallt saticfied with 1-4 meals per day and can go without food for up to 20 hours with out any problems. Carbs that i eat are just from veggies, fruits and berries and i’ve never felt better. I’ve cut down my cardiosessions a lot and i have even cut down my weight lifting.

    Looking and feeling better then ever.
    A tip to you all is to combine Intermittent Fasting with primal, unprocessed foods! 🙂

    Cheers from Sweden

  57. Completely off the subject but this must get out to everyone who takes nutritional supplements.
    The FDA has mounted an onerous and illegal offensive against nutritional supplements, and unless we stop it by October 1, 2011, we stand to lose resveratrol, curcumin, GABA, ubiquinol, and many other products that millions of Americans depend on to improve their health.

    Here’s the background. In October 1994, Congress passed the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA). This law garnered tremendous public support.
    It stated that “the Federal Government should not take any actions to impose unreasonable regulatory barriers limiting or slowing the flow of safe products and accurate information to consumers.”

    Now, 17 years later, the FDA is doing just that by proposing burdensome new regulations that will purge some of our most valuable nutritional supplements from the shelves. Furthermore, the agency expects comments within 90 days of the publication of their “draft guidance,” which was released on July 1! This means that anyone with any interest in nutritional supplements—not just manufacturers and retailers but everybody who takes supplements—must work together, make some noise, and stop this tyranny right now.

    Ban Supplements, Undo 17 Years of Innovation

    Under this proposed bureaucratic mandate, all supplement ingredients introduced or modified since October 15, 1994, when DSHEA became law, would be considered “new dietary ingredients” (NDIs). And in order to remain on the market, every NDI would have to undergo extensive safety testing and an approval process similar to that required for new drugs.

    It doesn’t matter if the ingredient in question is a naturally occurring nutrient present in food that has been on the market for 17 years. It could no longer be sold without going through this expensive and cumbersome process. This has nothing to do with safety or efficacy. The intention is clear: to destroy the entire nutritional supplement industry. And guess who’s waiting in the wings? That’s right, Big Pharma.

    Since DSHEA was passed in 1994, the pharmaceutical industry has been lobbying the FDA to hamper the manufacture and sale of nutritional supplements, which many of us use in place of prescription drugs. These guys have the billions of dollars required to conduct safety studies and clinical trials, and they would just love to take over nutritional supplements and sell them as if they were drugs at prices far higher than you now pay at your health food store. That, my friends, is what this is really all about.

    You Can’t Make Safe Safer

    Expect to hear more and more about the “dangers” of nutritional supplements in the next couple of months as Big Pharma and Big Government proponents make their case. But ask yourself this question: If supplements are so dangerous, where are the bodies? Show me the evidence that any nutritional supplement currently on the market is causing serious harm. Now, consider the hundreds of thousands of deaths and millions of adverse effects definitively linked to prescription drugs every year. There’s just no comparison.

    Folks, these regulations are not designed to “protect the consumer.” Protect you from what? You cannot make something that is inherently harmless any safer. As stated in DSHEA—US law—“dietary supplements are safe within a broad range of intake, and safety problems with the supplements are relatively rare.” All this ridiculous interference will do is shut down the nutritional supplement industry and deliver you and your family into the clutches of Big Pharma.

    Let’s Band Together…

    This is the most significant threat we’ve faced since 1976, when the FDA tried to turn high-potency vitamins and minerals into prescription drugs. The same nefarious forces are now at work to ban all supplements launched since 1994. Let’s band together again and put a stop to it, hopefully for the last time!

    The Alliance for Natural Health USA (ANH-USA), an organization dedicated to health freedom, is spearheading lobbying efforts and filing lawsuits to challenge the FDA’s proposed guidelines as inconsistent with both the letter and spirit of DSHEA, arbitrary and capricious under the Administrative Procedures Act (which governs the way federal bureaucracies establish regulations), and illegal because the extensive rulemaking process required for such regulations was skipped. In short, it is despotic.

    Several US senators and representatives are onboard and legislation is being drafted to prohibit the FDA from appropriating federal funds to enforce these regulations and to place the burden of safety on the industry where it belongs, rather than allowing the FDA to arbitrarily dictate without burden of proof.

    …And Protect Our Supplements

    You can help by mobilizing grassroots support. We need to get this message out to every American who uses nutritional supplements and/or values freedom and is concerned about the overreach of government. Donations are also needed. Lawyers, mailings, Internet campaigns: All this costs money.
    This illegal end run will not go away without a fight, but I am convinced that because enough of us care about this very important issue, we will prevail. No government agency can be allowed to thumb its nose at the law. And make no mistake, if these needless regulations are adopted, they will have behind them the full force of a burgeoning, biased bureaucracy intent on regulating us into submission.

    How You Can Help

    * Mail, fax, or email your letter of protest to your US senators, members of congress, and the FDA—ASAP. Comments must be received before October 1, 2011. Visit Alliance for Natural Health’s website,, for additional information, as well as phone numbers and an easy means of sending emails to your members of congress.

    * Mark September 8, 2011, on your calendars and call your senators and representatives. If you get a busy signal, keep trying. The goal is to tie up the phone lines and get their attention.

    * Any and all financial support is appreciated. Send your donations to the Alliance for Natural Health, 1350 Connecticut Ave NW, 5th Floor, Washington, DC 20036 or visit

    Do your part and take action today!

  58. I grew up in the Basque Country where oats or hot cereals are not eaten. When I came to the U.S., I kept hearing about how “healthy” and “good for you” oats are, so I kept trying to eat them. They tasted like construction material, and felt like cement in my stomach. Within an hour of eating a bowl of oatmeal, I was starving.
    Now I stick to scrambled eggs, grilled asparagus, and a few slices of avocado (or bacon) for breakfast. A lot more delicious than bland oatmeal!

  59. Mark it was in my quest to figure out WHY my stomach would bloat and turn into a cement block every time I ate Oatmeal that brought me to your site….:) And how I discovered a Paleo lifestyle…:) Now it just cringe when I hear the word Oatmeal. Just to mention I love your site..and thanks for the wealth of information you have given me.:)

  60. Frankly, I don’t know if this comment is already on here, since I got a little tired of reading them all, but, our pediatrician gave us a way to make our porridge heartier. At the last minute of cooking, crack an egg or two into the porridge, stir it like “egg-drop” soup. You can add some cinnamon and nutmeg and it tastes like a yummy cake. 🙂

    1. “Heartiness” is not the issue with oats. Why not just serve tasty eggs to your children?

  61. I like the Oat Bran pancake found in the Dukan diet – I adapted it slightly and use one whole egg, one “egg-beater” egg, 2T oat bran, 2T greek yogurt. After mixing together – cook like a pancake about 4 minutes a side. I find that as a daily snack it keeps my system moving, doesn’t give me bloat, and is a decent source of both fiber and protein. I use Hodgson Mill Oat Bran. You can sprinkle cinn and Stevia on top if you like it sweeter.

  62. Oats is one of my biggest enemy. I remember as a child how my mom forced me to eat it, it just always tasted so nasty to me. When I got older(and wasn’t paleo) yet, I got into the bandwagon of eating whole grains so I tried eating oats and they made me bloated, along w/ a host of very bad GI symptoms. I will not touch oats now, whether it’s been soaked/sprouted. Never again. I want to hurl when I see stuff made from oats, I think it’s my body’s way of telling me that I can’t have it.

    1. weirdos and their abnormal reactions to bland tasting, easy to digest food items.
      something wrong with your body, not oats.

  63. Completely done with oatmeal or any other cereal – but = I do cling to a yummy meat loaf recipe that has 1/2 C rolled oats.

  64. you’re right….I loved oats but I had to have something with them…plain??? yuck!

  65. Im not a mouse..or a rat..or a pig…And therefore do not agree with tests done on those animals..I am my own “test steak”, the human kind.I test on me. And I for one have given up ALL grains for over 2 years now. I don’t find a need for them at all..even rice..forget it. I have a friend who is an Orthopedic Surgeon who has been an Oatmeal addict for years..I convinced her to lay off for a month..she did. After the one month she ate some and had what she referred to as “the worst morning ever”..her head didn’t want to function and all she wanted to do was go sleep them off. “Good for your heart” and “May reduce the risk of heart disease” in a world where we know that the cholesterol “myth” is being challenged every day…from a HUGE CEREAL GRAIN BUSINESS Company…does not induce me to induce them into me at all.
    GRAINS..Like my friend Mark here…I can live without them all>>>

  66. I ate some oatmeal the other day and felt like I was going to die.

    I repented with sausage and eggs.

  67. Oats are bad for you? No ..seriously there is too much science and not enough eating!
    Plenty people eat oats and are healthy than most people who don’t eat oats.
    The problem is all the other stuff people need to add into it. If you don’t like the taste then don’t eat it, I just eat it plain with water.
    Have a bowl today you wont get sick or die.

  68. Reminds me of how I ate before I knew about this whole paleo business. In an effort to be healthy, I had taught myself how to like oats. I even taught myself how to enjoy them without sugar (lots of cinnamon, bunch of chopped apples). I also only bought steel-cut oats. So when I heard about the paleo diet, my very first reaction was “WHAT!? NO OATS!?” Thankfully, oats were easier to unlike than they were to like.

  69. I don’t eat oatmeal often, but when I do I usually put a medium scoop of vanilla whey protein powder in it, couple pinches of sea salt, some white sugar (i know..), some brown sugar. I love the taste of that combo, the vanilla protein powder makes it taste completely different and I’m usually eating a bowl of this for something more than just a daily breakfast.

  70. I ate oatmeal religiously for over a year. I thought I was being “healthy,” and that it would fill me up. And yet, I found myself stopping off at the bakery for a muffin on my way to work, truly (I thought) feeling hungry just an hour or so later. The first three days of being on the PB diet I thought I was starving, but then I realized it was carb craving, and soon it went away. I do better with fruit and nuts for breakfast now, and sometimes I’m not even hungry for breakfast — unheard of before.

  71. I am Primal in every way, except, I eat oats for breakfast.
    Not the normal way. I eat unstabilised rolled oats without milk or water, i eat them dry. I add blueberries, banana or some other fruit. I find this much more invigorating than bland soft mushy porridge. The guys on here who dont like the feeling of “the brick” after eating, you should try them dry with some fruit. I even add walnuts sometimes. Let saliva do its job!

  72. I always liked oats,i read that the initial glucose spike was followed by a long even glucose level,also something about beta glucans being good for you(life extention magazine?)also i read where butter was known to release something in oats that helped them be better for you.I like oats(old fashioned style) with butter and brown sugar,they also taste better boiled in milk than in water.

  73. Learning that oats aren’t Primal was the happiest day of my life. I spent years trying to develop a taste for them. Nasty stuff that turns into sludge as it gets cold. Then I would be starving an hour later.

  74. Here is my question, how about Oat Bran? I haven’t read through all the posts so I apologize if this has been asked about before. But I was curious about Oat Bran and how it would stack up in a Primal world – for instance, I’d only be taking two tablespoons of it a day? Has anyone tried this or have knowledge on only the bran?

    1. Fiber Menace by Konstantin Monastyrsky.

      His web site is if you’re interested in keeping your colon healthy.
      Most don’t even realize they’re heading straight toward colon cancer before it’s too late.

  75. Very informative post. I never enjoyed oatmeal that much and feel like it needs a lot of heavy cream and brown sugar to make it interesting, so I have been skipping it.

    My biggest weakness in breaking away from grains is the need for the great texture balance that well-done wholegrain toast provides with eggs. That satisfying crunchiness is hard to replace.

  76. I make oats for my husband who is a professional triathlete. Its his main carb consumption. But stil, I use raw oats or oatbran just 1/4 cup then a nice heaping spoonful of chia seed and almond milk to make it into a chia pudding. Add fresh coconut and cinnamon and your golden!

    1. Almond milk from the store is garbage, it’s a waste product. It’s the ‘dish water’ left over after nuts get peeled and washed.
      The ‘milk’ is the water they boil the peel in.

      And it’s exactly THIS ‘milk’ that carries most of the phytic acid.

      1. Wow – who knew? We all love almond milk in our home and would really like to read/learn more about this. Could you please post your source for this info so we can read up on it?

  77. Ok, first time onsite. Had to. Used to eat my ‘purple porridge’ almost every morning, thinking I was doing myself the world of good. Felt deprived if I missed out. I’d fix it up with blueberries, cinnamon, walnuts & maple syrup. Yum! Run off to work & sure enough ’empty out’ within about an hour, figuring this was acceptable as that mandated BM a day. After trying Paleo, quitting oatmeal & listening to my body’s responses to foods, I tried it again: ugh, not a wonderful feeling. It doesn’t just empty me out, it leaves like an unwanted & irritable guest, causing nothing but discomfort & some embarrassment. Never again. Bacon/meat & eggs with veg’s, smoothies, leftovers / whatever’s at hand are my choices now. Since giving up most grains, my IBS symptoms have pretty much disappeared, helped along by adequate consumption of cruciferous veggies. I still enjoy rice without problems,as my cheat, but do NOT miss oatmeal / wheat. Haven’t tried quinoa since, but maybe someday. Curious: How does it rate on the grain scale?

  78. I don’t know if anyone has mentioned this study already, but certainly check out Ludwig et al., “High Glycemic Index Foods, Overeating, and Obesity”, published in 1999 in the journal Pediatrics. They performed a study in which they fed 2 groups of obese adolescent boys equal-calorie breakfasts of either oatmeal or an omelet. Then they gave the boys free run of a buffet for lunch. The ones who ate oatmeal hit the lunch buffet sooner, and consumed more calories, than the ones who had the omelet for breakfast. This study actually studied both instant and steel-cut oats, and the instant oats came out worse. But the omelet reigned supreme. And to think I could never figure out why I was starving for lunch after a big bowl of steel-cut oats! I wasn’t *supposed* to be hungry, oats are supposed to be so healthy and filling!

  79. I always heard people say ..’oh yeah porridge..makes you feel full for so long..’ & i kept persitently eating it so..

    but i never felt this way..oats always gave me the same feeling of emptinnes & craving for some more food!

    so i dont miss them at all!

  80. I’ve been eating oatmeal for sometime adding cinnamon, blue berries, ground flaxseed, banana, Quinoa (another grain) and whey protein powder. In the last 3 days I stopped the oatmeal and went with Chia seed and Hemp seed instead with the other added items. Tomorrow I will drop the Quinoa. We’ll see how I feel after as I did get that spaced out feeling as well.

  81. We eat this for breakfast sometimes. Cook it with salt instead of adding it afterward, and add plenty of unsalted butter. I also add walnuts, blueberries, some form of milk (I like homemade cultured buttermilk best–it really perfects the dish) and just a touch of maple syrup. I think it delicious. But it really is too much carb for one meal for me. Since I don’t want to cook two different things for breakfast, I just alternate with eggs (eating a really low carb bf makes me feel odd, too, so it seems I really can’t do a one dish bf but I fill up so quickly that it’s hard to do a mix). Anyway, when I make it, it lasts for three breakfasts for my son and me, so it really feels like an easy choice to me, rather than a lot of work.

  82. I would love to see a ranked list of non-primal foods. Do it Mark, do it!

  83. Totally feel Mark on that “off” feeling regarding oatmeal. I used to use oatmeal as a vehicle for trail mixes with dried fruit…but since leaving the nut train for real whole food a year ago, I haven’t touched oatmeal.

  84. When I eat oats or anything with oats in it, I cannot breathe through my nose. It swells shut. I also get a headache and a blood sugar spike. Even with adding 2 scoops of protein or eggs. I even ate oats with only a little salt on them because CW kept telling me I needed them.I gave my steel cut oats away and my rolled oats away. Was that wrong? I worry about poisoning someone else.

  85. For those that love their porridge, try it with rice instead. I put roughly equal quantities of cooked (leftover) sushi rice and coconut milk in a saucepan and simmer for 5-10 minutes until very thick. Sometimes I’ll stir through a small egg (you have to be careful not to scramble it at this point) to make it more substantial. Topped with any or all of the following – banana, berries, toasted coconut flakes, almond flakes, cinnamon – it’s delicious and just as satisfying as oats in my opinion. I don’t even use any sweetener due to the natural sweetness of the coconut milk and toppings.

  86. Thanks for exposing this over-rated and too often touted grain for what it really is – gut fodder.

    Also, I hear you on the weird “headspace” feeling…it has the same effect on me.

  87. I’ll never go back to oatmeal for breakfast.

    I love my eggs, bacon and kale smoothies

  88. No oats for me. I prefer low carb real food and steer clear of grains. Some of these oat concoctions I see in the blogosphere are easily 100g of carbs….skim milk, craisens, granola (yes granola on top of the oats), crumbled cookies and muffins too.

  89. So phytic acid binds iron in the gut and keeps the body from absorbing it. For those of us of Celtic descent (oat eaters) who either have or are carriers for hereditary hemachroamtosis, this is a good thing because our gut adapted to pick up too much iron and we need more grains and less red meat or we get iron overload.

  90. After eating a bowl of oatmeal, within the hour I feel like I’m ready to lay down and take a nap. The closest thing to tasty I’ve ever been able to make it while reducing its sleepy effect is to dissolve some of the starch with an initial soak in boiling water, dump the water, then rinse them some more, throw them back in the pot and keep cooking a while longer, add vanilla whey, splenda, and whatever else sounds good then stop cooking while they are still intact.

  91. If you really need to have a hot “cereal” type breakfast, then use quinoa instead of oats. You can add the same things to the cooked quinoa as you added to the oats. You’ll never know the difference except that the quinoa is more separated (like rice) instead of looking/tasting like Elmer’s Glue. And quinoa has been discussed on MDA so if you question whether it’s Primal or not, search for it here on MDA and decide for yourself.

    I used to eat the steel cut variety of oats but after some contemplation, decided that what I really liked was the cream, cinnamon and brown sugar I was adding. The oats were only a vehicle to get my brown sugar/rich cream fix. Same with other hot cereals I used to eat like Cream of Wheat and Malt O’ Meal – it was the stuff I added to it not the cereal itself.

    So why not just eat all the additions in a bowl by themselves and skip the oats? Or as suggested above, try quinoa if it fits into your Primal food choices.

  92. I hate oats with a passion. Every morning growing up I had a big ol’ steaming bowl of rolled oatmeal. Then I spent the rest of the day farting (or trying not to after a 4th grade teacher told me my gas “made him want to gag” and I should find a restroom — which meant that I’d spend the entire day in the toilet so I decided to just hold it in). More than any other food, oats tear up my internals like nobody’s business. The thought of oatmeal makes me want to cry. When I went Primal and cut out the oats (among other things of course), the gas was the first thing to go. Hooray for me (and everyone else around)! Although…my husband has a Famous Fart story about the time I let one slip around him accidentally when we had just met and we probably wouldn’t be married were it not for the oats so in that case they can be praised.

    1. My husband and I connected over a fart too! I was a champion darter prior to adopting a primal lifestyle.

  93. I really tried to like oats at one point in my life. But like many point out it takes way to much work then far too much “doctoring” to make them palatable. I always have preferred the incredible edible egg.

  94. I am a Paleo eater and have been for going on 3 years. However, when I am in Thailand, and doing LOTS of aerobic work, I daily eat rice, noodles, and oatmeal. (here in the US, I eat Paleo & do Crossfit)- I found the morning oatmeal to work fine for myself- it got me thru the 2.5 hour morning workout- of course still lots of meat & veggies, but I learned the oatmeal worked for me, (in the context of heavy aerobic days.

  95. I have eaten a serving of oatmeal almost everyday for years. Rolled oats with no flavor, add ground up flax seed and some chia seed. Then dump a good amount of frozen blueberries on top, then cut up a banana to mix with all of it. That with a glass of un-sweetened almond milk and a slice of (no grain) almond bread, w/ butter is perfect to start the day with.

  96. If you prepare it with a little less water, it seals holes in your roof pretty well……..

  97. Far out I found myself off the primal track and have been eating oats for breakfast for the last few weeks – like many mention before me – thinking that I am doing ok eating this. I feel hungry and up a few kg’s, struggling to get them off and now I read this and think OMG NO MORE OATS!!! Eggs tomorrow, back to protein and fat… sucked in by OATS…

    1. During the “old days”, I used to experience the same – porrige at 9.00, hunger at 11.00.

  98. I have some organic rolled oats. I made a half-cup batch the other day, added raisins, cinnamon, splenda and pecans and grass fed butter. I liked the raisins, cinnamon, splenda, pecans and butter. I will use the rest of the oatmeal to make breakfast cookies, only one cookie a day, mind you.

  99. Porridge is what my parents live on but it got to the point where I would have to sleep after a bowl of the stuff. I am suprised few other people get like this? Maybe this is taking primal to the extreme but gammon steak really sets me up for the day 🙂

  100. Interesting post as ever. Personally I love oats soaked overnight (in goats milk) and left in the fridge to serve cold topped with liberal amounts of raw nuts (pecans are a favourite), berries and the odd banana.

    As will be obvious from this I’m not and never will be a full on primal/paleo type of eater but your writings have certainly influenced me in terms of eating less carb heavy foods and grains, and encouraged me to implement IF and other such primal strategies to make extremely positive changes without having to cut anything out that I enjoy. I work toward and agree wholeheartedly with the 80/20 rule as I think too many people tend to lean towards being complete zealots over this stuff.

    Keep up the great work. The site is always one of my first stops for fitness/nutrition information.

  101. The traditional way to eat oats here is oats porrige (cooked using milk) DROWNED in butter, sprinkled with some instant cocoa.

    Why butter? Well, maybe my ancestors knew and did not forget something Weston Price discovered during his travel, that oats are stongly cariogenic. Seems like you need animal fats and lots of calcium to counteract that. People he found at some Scottish islands ate oats with cod liver and cod heads.

    I stopped eating all grains, oats including.


  102. What about oat bran? Does the bran contain phytic acid and isn’t it supposed to be good for digestion? I have been putting it in my smoothies but maybe I should stop.

  103. I like to put some organic oats into my egg+vegetable+coconut oil breakfast stir fry, every morning before a weight lifting workout which is about 3 times per week.

    I haven’t had any problems with them, but then again I’m not insulin resistant and generally healthy.

    For people that have a lot of weight to lose or are insulin resistant, I wouldn’t recommend to eat oats.

    But I think for the general population, oats are fine.

  104. It took me years to figure out the cause and effect between oats/cereals (that are supposed to be good for me due to the whole grains) and the headache, lethargy, short of breath, awful feeling. Now I actually feel energized after breakfast.

  105. I checked to see if anyone had said this, but I couldn’t find it. Buckwheat flour is only good if it’s freshly ground. The phytase in grains degrades after a few hours. If you buy buckwheat flour at the store, then you’re SOL. You’re better off using Stephan’s rice ferment procedure to degrade oat phytates. It works pretty well for millet, too.

  106. I agree with others,I can eat rice just fine but a bowl of oatmeal will leave me shaky and weak after physical exertion.

  107. I have to admit, it is interesting to me that Westong Price researched people who’s staple meal was mainly oats and fish, primarily Islanders, and who were remarkably healthy.
    I presume a lot of it had to do with such a high supplemention of diet with fish, but still, pretty remarkable.

  108. yeah but most of us raised on industrial kibble have compromised gut integrity,unlike our grain eating ancestors.

  109. Mark,

    I have to give you so much credit. Even though you advocate against certain food items you still discuss them and present them in a respectful and unbiased manner. I cannot stand all the paleo-nazis out there. You are the reason I got into health and nutrition. Through this site in December of 2009, and this is the site I keep coming back to. Never a disappointment. Primal for Life! Thank you.

    – Dave

  110. meh…i guess it just depends on what you prefer to ‘cheat’ with. me, i’ll occassionally indulge in the warm oatmeal cookie with some some ice cream but more often than not i prefer rice and beans. especially with nachos! i mean have you tried putting oatmeal on nachos!? not very bueno my amigo.

    also on the replies regarding the reactive hypoglycemic responses to eating this stuff? that is not a normal healthy systemic reaction to a change in blood sugar homeostasis. there may be some lingering metabolic derragement and/or impared glucose/insulin signaling that should probably be addressed if the carby goodness is going to occassionally make its way into the rotation. i noticed a significant reduction / elimination in this once I got my bodyfat down under 8%, that was my solution but there is a variety of fixes for this that should be explored by folks.

  111. soured oatmeal is a breakfast staple in our home: fermented for 36 hours before cooking; and eaten with liberal amounts of butter or cream and a spoonful of raw honey, dashes of celtic sea salt and cinnamon, and a handful of blueberries or raisins.
    that said, our porridge is consumed along side bowls full of sauteed veggies and fried eggs; and every breakfast begins with fermented beet kvassa and concludes with cod liver oil. relatively cheap, highly nutritious, easily digestible, and fast.

  112. If you’re trying to give up Oats, buy Marks 2nd cookbook “Quick and Easy Primal Blueprint recipes” and try the nut cereal. IMO it tastes better then oats and you can mix up the type of nuts to change the flavor.

    btw- that cookbook is awesome.. we have found a TON of good recipes in that book….especially page 111. 🙂

    I’m probably going to buy a food dehydrator soon so I can properly prepare the nuts and make that cereal even healthier. My wife loves it.. as for me, I usually go with pastured eggs cooked in grass fed butter and pastured pork cooked in coconut oil.

    i’m pretty close to Primal.. just need to add organ meats a little more often and I finally need to breakdown and make my own broth.

  113. Hmm… I eat oat bread, as it’s very low G.I… usually as toast with almond butter, and the odd tuna salad sandwich…

    Grain-wise, I eat quinoa, and spelt pasta.

    I use a combination of oat flour, whey protein powder and spelt flour to make protein/snack bars (along with a blend/filling of almond and peanut butters, and blackcurrant or apricot sugar-free jam )

    Oaty-wise and grain-wise,, this all works for me and I’m sticking to it! ;o)

  114. I’m puzzled by the blood sugar spikes that some people report – all the research I can find shows oatmeal as a relatively low GI food, and significantly better than other grains..

    my usual breakfast is steel-cut oatmeal made with 2% milk, dried fruit and a handful of nuts. That gives me everything (protein, fats) necessary, from actual food.

    I can’t afford to eat Primal..
    The biggest problem I have with switching to Primal is that cheap meats and chicken are produced by wicked cruelty to animals. There’s an ethical cost to cheap protein that we have not yet begun to pay. See for example,9171,1917726,00.html

    In 2008, California’s proposition 2 was to allow farmed animals
    “to lie down, stand up, fully extend their limbs and turn around freely.”
    Astonishingly enough, there was strong opposition to allowing farmed animals the freedom to stand up and lie down. It passed in California: but the other 47 states still allow farmed animals to be penned immobilized in darkness their whole lives; while being force-fed antibiotics, hormones, steroids, and ground-up animal byproducts (we have made cannibal cows).

  115. This seems terribly complicated to me, all the things we do to make birdseed palatable and marginally more nutritious.

    I used to eat whopping bowls of oatmeal as a main course. It would fill me up, sure, but that’s different than being nourished — a distinction I only learned once I learned to eat real human food, the kind that sustained our ancestors.

    Apart from the initial discomfort of breaking the habit, I’ve never felt better since leaving grains behind. Rather than try to fortify grains and mitigate their ill effects, I suggest just dropping them all for a month or two. You can always go back if you’re not satisfied, but you just might find yourself a lot happier that way, and you won’t know unless you try.

  116. Does the same go with Oat Bran?
    I mix quinoa and oat bran once a week for breakfast..which I usually skip.

  117. Ha! I was reading this article and was diggin it, then saw the comments about the preparations for oatmeal and I was like.. Hey! He’s describing it kinda like how do it. Then I clicked on the link and saw that Mark was using my recipe! That’s awesome!

    Funny. We’ve only made this like twice since I posted this in March. We’re about ready to make it again. It’s just an every now and then treat but certainly not something to eat daily in my opinion. We just look at it as an almost pure starch after they are fermented and broken down. By themselves, oats are super bland so really this is just a vehicle for the other goodies that you’ll want to add to it, just as Mark says.

    I don’t get any headaches from it at all. In fact, I don’t notice anything weird about it, but I’ll pay close attention next time just to see.

    Thanks for the great article on oats Mark!

  118. I have never been a big fan of oats either. They need some serious dressing up to taste “nice”.

    But seeing as I am trying to start off my days healthy, I switched from oats to millet and buckwheat.

    Still not the greatest taste but some of the healthiest grains available.

  119. I never understood the appeal of oatmeal. It’s tasteless, and always made me queasy (just the smell of it). I used to eat it on occasion, about once a month, so it won’t be hard to turn my back on it. Thanks, Mark, for all the wonderful posts! You make it easy to be Primal.

  120. My sis starts with a fasting BG around 130(diabetic?She says under control) and has a serving of instant every morning with fruit and yoghurt. Where do you think her BG goes then? Not really sure since she doesn’t check after the gruel. I gave up the gruel when I started Primal 11 months ago. Don’t really miss it. Interesting entry on gruel on Wikipedia. Mostly for the economically challenged, I’ll say. I can afford better, ATT. So many people can really afford to eat better than they do but always go for the cheapest. Sick. Eat meat, not wheat! No, I won’t try the gruel again!

  121. From the write-up it would appear that oats are better w/o the bran than with, and things like oat or wheat bran as an additive to the breakfast cereal are a no-no. Would that be a logical conclusion?

  122. This is my favorite (perhaps only remaining) oats recipe: baked steel cut oats –

    It has six eggs, walnuts, berries, plus of course milk, cinnamon and is served with raw milk yogurt. It smells wonderful and is full of protein, flavor and nutrition. Alton Brown’s steel cut oats with buttermilk is tasty. Beyond those two dishes, I don’t miss them.


    1. Oh and the nourished kitchen recipe also has 1/4-1/3 cup coconut oil. It’s a pretty complete meal.

  123. Try them with honey and any combination of raisins, craisins, or dried cherries.

  124. I have to say that I made “healthy gluten free” oatmeal cookies…sorry I REALLY wanted a cookie 🙂
    But I won’t eat oats again. I agree with Mark about the weird fuzzy head feeling. I felt it yesterday when I tasted my first one, then tried it again today just to make sure that is what it was. Bingo, I feel completely strange. Granted it is probably partly due to the sugar overload, but I am off oats (and cookies) for good now.

  125. I’ve had serious reactive hipoglycaemia for about 5 years now.
    A low carb / high protein / high fat diet has been the salvation of my well-being, but until I learned all that I had to suffer through all the misinformation too. Thank goodness for Cordain and Taubes.
    I remember one morning, while on a snowboarding holiday, having a bowl of oatmeal with a few slices of banana in it thinking “this should get me through the morning!… if this doesn’t, I don’t know what will!” I was still in denial due to ignorance and wasn’t aware that sugar loading could cause sugar lows.
    Needless to say, half an hour later I had such a sugar crash I was emotionally ready to rip someone’s head off and drink their warm blood right there on the mountain track. It was ugly.
    The only other occasion when I had such hiper/hipoglycaemic discomfort was when I did an oral glucose tolerance test with 75g of pure glucose while fasting. The shakes, the sweat, the heart thumping, the blurry vision, the shaky legs, the fowl mood, it’s quite a ride.
    So yes, I can definitely confirm that oatmeal’s glycaemic load is rivalled by none other. Please be careful with that stuff.

    1. Correction: what I had was porridge, not oatmeal! (Sorry, non-native speaker here)
      But all that I mixed in was a couple slices of banana and kiwi, nothing higher in GI than that.

      1. In fact, the problem is not so much the GI (glycaemic index) but the GL (glycaemic load): oats carries a whopping amount of energy and it delivers it relatively fast when boiled.

  126. You ate oats which is mostly starch (read sugars stuck together), added berries (sugar), brown sugar (sugar), honey (sugar), and some butter. Did you really not expect to get an insulin spike? The way to eat oats is in small enough amounts that you don’t get too much carbohydrate at once and add protein. You want some taste with your oats? How about bacon grease instead of butter. Everyone wants to add sweet stuff because they think of it as breakfast food. Stop thinking of it that way and mix your carbs, fats, and proteins as usual. A little oats with your meat paleo man?

    1. That’s what I was thinking. I’m fine with oats, but I combine it with fats and proteins. I’m not sure its reputation as a high GI food is fair.

  127. I’ve been primal now for 6 months. I hav about 200gms rolled oats with drie fruit, coconut, walnuts n almonds. I have lost 11kg, I am looking great and feeling strong! Best I can ever remember!
    I don’t have an issue with the rolled oats or the rest of my primal diet!
    All in moderation!!!

  128. Thank you Mark for this wonderful post. I wrote in one of my earlier comments, that since giving up grains I started to loose a lot of muscle. I began to add oatmeal to my daily breakfasts and before my workouts. My muscle started to come back and I felt more energetic during my workouts.

    The way I cook them is very interesting because I’ve never seen anyone else cook them this way. Two ways: I place them raw ( not boiled ) into a frying pan with a dash of organic butter on low heat, to brown them up a bit. Then I add 2 eggs and mix. I just love it this way.

    Another way I discovered of making oats, is just boiling them for 3 minutes instead of recommended 5 to 10, then I would add Almond Milk and protein Whey Isolate protein powder, salt and a bit of organic butter.

    Thank you again for this post, I am glad you tried oats :).

  129. The funny thing about oats for me is that it was the first grain that I started having a weird response to way before I discovered I had a problem with gluten and grains in general. I equate oats with poison to my body. Despite the fact that, like Mark, I have fond memories of eating them as a child, they are able to make me sicker than even wheat now. I have no explanation for this. When I told my doctor that I was having what seemed like an allergic reaction to oats, she laughed and told me it was not the oats but ‘must be’ something else. I’ve had the reaction too many times for it to be anything else, so for me, I am with Mark on this. Oatmeal is not worth the sick feeling. I choose to Grok on with meat and veggies and if i need some starch, I’ll grill some yams! Thanks for this insightful piece Mark, I think I have a better understanding of what oats were doing to me and why I was getting sick on them! You rock, errr, I mean you grok! 😉

  130. I can’t tell you how much I love the taste of organic rolled oats done in the rice cooker, served with cream and brown sugar. I haven’t had it in years. I get the same reaction from oats that I do to wheat and its cronies, unfortunately.

    This goes in the, “I knew I was really Primal when…” department:

    I knew I was really Primal when… I tried steamed millet, and found it way, way, WAY too starchy. Trying quinoa next, but, just so I can decide whether or not to allow it when eating out.

  131. No oats no wheat no grains here! I will never switch back the few time I have eaten grains I have felt nasty side effects- belly ache, constipation, and brain fog, I also break out on my arms! yikes! So not worth all the trouble just for a piece of cake or a bagel!

  132. I’ve always eaten oatmeal and never had it spike my sugar. I make it with almond milk and eat it with an egg or two, nuts, cinnamon, and an orange. That holds me until lunch, 4 hours later. I usually go for a workout after breakfast and am fine. No gastro upsets either.

    It sounds like Davis is assuming that most people are eating their oatmeal plain or with a ton of other carbs, in which case, yes, your sugar is going to skyrocket and you’ll be hungry in no time.

  133. Not technically an “oats” reply but a “grain” reply. I am mostly lc paleo except for the occassional grass fed raw cheese or plain kefir, but recently I’ve gotten a craving for nightly popped on the stove popcorn. I use organic. Still its corn. Give me some convincing info on getting away from it as my brain needs to take over this new craving. I do notice an inflammatory kind of response the next morning as my face is “puffy”. Also the fact that its a “craving” tells me enough is enough. That may be reason enough to stop. btw any good ideas for replacing that crunch that doesn’t involve porkrinds or crickets? Nuts just aren’t the same. Thanks, Terry

    1. Terry, I also did Paleo for over a year and was unable to keep it up due to cravings.
      In the end, adding the animal fat makes it a much more stable and satisfactory diet.
      Go full Primal! 🙂
      There’s nothing better than an English breakfast (eggs and bacon) with green salad to get you pumping happily and steadily for hours and hours.

  134. I am just reading The Primal Blueprint. I used to low-carb years ago and found it good but a lot of work. I also didn’t really lose much weight. This year I’ve been doing the food diary/calorie counting thing, along with a varied exercise program, and I’m in the best shape of my life. But now that I’m where I want to be I want to start eating for health rather than weight loss…

    Anyway, I eat oatmeal every morning. I soak the oats overnight, then cook them up and add flaxseed meal, chia seeds, egg whites, protein powder, cinnamon, cloves, ginger and nutmeg. Then I serve them with blueberries. It tastes amazing, and it’s the only one of my meals that seems to keep me going for a few hours (my other meals tend to be salads, soups, stir-fries etc – pretty primal, actually). It also has the added advantage that I can make it in advance, then microwave it at work. I’m a sucker for a hot breakfast at work (I start at 6am, so it’s too early to eat at home before I leave). Anyway, if I am expected to give up my oatmeal does anyone have any suggestions as to a primal hot breakfast that can be reheated at work? It’s not really realistic to try to cook up eggs and bacon…

  135. I’ve never liked porridge, but it’s something I have always tried to force myself to like. Every so often, I’d make a bowl, but then have to give up because it’s gloopy and bland. I’d try to make myself like it because of it is supposedly a high-energy, heart-healthy superfuel.
    Now I just have bacon and eggs ^^

  136. As one of those who have been “mislead” by Mark into losing weight, putting on lean muscle, and feeling better than I have in 20 years, I look forward to more of Mark’s “bullshit.”

    Tell you what, Gaud, why don’t you post a comment where you (1) explain why Mark’s article spouts “BS,”, and, (2) cite to the research that supports it, rather than hurl a few vacuous insults.

  137. When I was an power lifting enthusiast, I performed many “heavy lifts” fueled by oats and such.
    That was years ago.
    Now, I’ve been paleo/primal for close to 4 months and I only use boiled cassava (yuca) for pre-workout meals.
    The portion size varies depending on how much intensity I plan on putting out that workout.
    Usually though, the portion is about the size of two large eggs.
    Then I add butter (or ghee), salt to taste, and olive oil.
    I chase it down with some cold water with a dash of coconut milk and I can kettle bell, crawl, tree push up, deadlift my butt off for quite some time.

    Thats my 2 cents.

  138. I eat rolled oats dry mixed with fresh fruit, ones that are tasty and not too sweet thus I do not get the feeling of high sugar and its effect,I feel comfortable.I am sure that if you adulterate the oats with this and that then I am sure the result will not be as good, so KISS (the oats) and feel good.

  139. XD I loved this article. I can’t stand oatmeal, I think it’s really gross. Not only is it bland, but the texture is usually enough to make me gag. >.>

  140. I’ve noticed the one commonality that everyone has talked about was about having oats for breakfast, which has traditionally been a sugar soaked carbfest. No one’s mentioned about having a savory, not sweet, version of them.

    I don’t eat oats much at all, but I, maybe every few months, make what I call a ris-oat-o, basically a rice dish using steel cut oats instead of rice. Its just chicken stock, onions, some milk and whatever other fixins you want to add (vegetables, meat or cheese-if you’re not too strictly primal).

    Turning it into a savory dish, for those that still want to eat oats every once in a while, takes a lot of edge off of the negative effects, especially when its part of a meal. If oats bother you, definitely don’t eat them!

  141. Wow, i never knew grains were so bad. I’m Asian and take rice on a daily basis and have been eating Quacker oats as a snack thinking it was healthy

  142. Oats are a dietary staple around the world. I eat 1 bowl every morning before I head out to work at 7am and I’m satiated until well after 12 noon. This absurd notion that they spike your blood sugar and cause diabetes made me LOL. I find myself despising Mark Sissy and his sissy syncophants more and more all the time. It seems there is no level you will stop at.

    1. Not every food works for every person. There are people for whom a raw vegan diet helps them thrive and people who eat oatmeal for breakfast and thrive. If oats work for you and don’t bother you, eat them. A lot of us who have turned to eliminating grains and dairy have digestive upset when we eat them, or are insulin resistant to some degree and so we can’t process the added blood sugar from the surge in carbohydrates.

      I’ve eliminated oats for close to a year and I’m planning to reintroduce them to see if they bother me. If they don’t, then I will eat them and enjoy them. If they do, then I’ll eliminate them again. That’s called using one’s brain to make an educated and suitable decision for themselves.

      If you can’t accept that there are other people for whom this dietary intervention works, and you so obviously don’t need it, then stop reading the blog. Being insulting does you no good here.

  143. WOW… I thought Steel Cut Oats were different in that they took much longer to raise blood sugar so as to not spike it so much. Good to know that this is not good since I am prediabetic.

  144. I’ve been doing primal for about a month but I’m soon to try tips from because I would like to start power lifting (female, 39 y.o.) and he insists that your post workout meals have little fat, starch and protein. I bought some McCann’s oatmeal for this purpose alone but now I’m not sure if I should replace the oats and if so…with what?? Potatoes?

    I’m confuzzled for sure because 2 years ago I lost 30lbs, ate mostly primal but I did eat 1/2 a cup of unsweetened oatmeal fairly consistently and experienced no problems.

    Suggestions for the post work-out if starch is required?

    1. And by “he” I refer to Martin Berkhan. Sorry for that omission.

    2. Listen to your instructor. There is a great deal about the Paleo diet that isn’t completely grounded in irrefutable science. Oats are bad or good depending on who you talk to. There are studies that suggest it improves heart health and decreases inflammation so I say keep doing what you’re doing if its working for you. Paleo is good, but don’t make it a religion 🙂

  145. Paelo has many lessons but an obsessive focus on the negatives-only of any food or lifestyle choice that is not 100pc Paleo is unbalanced. Imagine for argument’s sake an anti-paleo guy looking at the neagtives-only of Paleo foods and lifestyle choices. A decision based on an unbalanced analysis of the evidence is vulnerable to easy attack.

  146. Will this go thro’ to Davey, wrt his comment dd 4th June? Well, Davey, if it does, do be advised that it’s not correct that “…your cholesterol is bad but its not related to how much you eat..”. Both the literature and my personal experience indicate that about a third of all of us (with me in that third unfortunately), WILL show higher levels of chol based on what we eat. My personal experience is giving up egg yolk to get my chol down, re-starting once I did get it down, and finding it higher than ever after being on ONE masly egg daily for a year. As you might hv guessed, I’m an egg-lover, but don’t ever think that diet will not affect chol levels. It just has to be tried out and monitored by the individual.

  147. Yeah I soak them for 24 hours and have them in a shake pre-workout with protein powder…

  148. 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.

  149. 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 ;(

  150. 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.

  151. 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.

  152. 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.

  153. 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.

    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.

    1. 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.

  154. 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.

  155. 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.

  156. 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

  157. 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.

  158. 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.

  159. 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

  160. 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.

  161. 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

  162. 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?

    1. 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.

  163. 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.

  164. 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!

  165. 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
    (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’.)

  166. 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?

  167. You added a stick of butter, berries, cinnamon, honey, and then got a spacey feeling you blamed on the oatmeal?

  168. 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?

  169. 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

  170. 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.

  171. the thing i don’t get is how does it spike your sugar levels? bit confused anyone care to explain

  172. 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.

  173. 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.

  174. 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.

  175. 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.

  176. 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.

  177. 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.

  178. You don’t suppose Wilfred Brimley is doing Diabetes commercials on account of all that “healthy oatmeal” he ate?

  179. 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.

    1. 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.

  180. 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

    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.

  181. 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

  182. 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

  183. 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.

  184. 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.

  185. 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.

  186. 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.

  187. I eat oatmeal every morning. I eat I cup of oats with 2T of grassfed butter and 2T 100% maple syrup. I also add raisins or crasins and walnuts or al almonds or pecans. I eat it every day. It keeps me regular (tmi) and I’m not hungry until usually dinner time. I’m not giving them up.

  188. Hi,
    I love oats, but when I eat oats I afterwards experience hectic joint pains.

    So, ive stopped using oats for years. I have tried on occasions afterwards, but had the same experience of joint pain.

    I spoke to two older people that have very bad artheritus and they too confirmed that they eat oats daily and that their pain is intense.

    Please enlighten me on this mather.

    God bless

  189. I am from India. I never Recommend Oats>Once it is given to Cattles. when there was a huge production of Oats ,MNC’s started it marketing saying OATS are Healthy this is what many say. but not the Truth. it is a Myth and lies spread by the Multinational Companies who sell Oats. What one eats today is Refined Oats. But still taking Oats daily will put on weight.

    Ayurveda and Siddha Doctors in India do not recommend Oats. I do not Belive that oats is full of Minerals,Zinc and other vitamins and i always against people eating Oats. Oatmeal is much more bad for health.

  190. You really just need to soak them for 24 hours using pure water and your good. You don’t need yogurt or try to ferment them.

    Years ago from what I have heard is that soaking them was on the instructions on the box, but with the advent of cereals like corn flakes etc they took it off as not to lose customers who did not want to take the time.

  191. Late to the party so I don’t know if anyone will get to this or not.

    What’s the verdict on gluten-free oatmeal? I don’t eat it all the time but I have a box at the office in case I’m in a rush that day and didn’t pack a meal from home. Seems it would be another step up from oatmeal…perhaps as Mark likes to say about white rice, a “neutral carb”?

  192. My acupuncturist suggested a slow/long cooked rice porridge for breakfast each morning. Chinese medicine suggests a gentle warm start to the digestive system. She wanted us to cook dried apricots in it (I believe for the iron) and absolutely insisted that a good amount of full fat butter be added specifically for the purpose of reducing a blood sugar spike.

    My guess is that the addition of fat to oatmeal would slow the blood sugar spike.

  193. I eat oat about three times a week. I find they give me energy. Especially if I add them to a fruit smoothie (along with protein powder). I do come from Scottish ancestry though, so I’m figuring that could have something to do it.


    so i read this ran to the health food store bought bob’s big red mill gf oats
    i also purchased the Trader Joe’s McCann’s Canister
    soaked both of them

    first tried the gf ones from (Bob’s Big Red Mill)
    feel the same foggy horribleness i always felt eating oats (which i always loved eating)
    the ones u all are sharing about here
    many years ago on the zone diet a small amount of oats with ham worked i think
    one of u made a comment about eating a balanced diet and overtime
    the sensitivity to the blood sugar in oats would normalize
    did i hear that right?

    so discouraged afraid to try the other version (McCann’s)
    even though supposedly “raw” is the thing according to this link about
    groats killing candida

    i was primal diet eater until i started with making sourdough bread
    dreaming i could eat bread
    obviously i cant


    this young man claims he had detox reactions to eating the McCann’s Groats from Trader Joes
    hearing it i ran right out and thought id try it
    however im thinking maybe he just feels like crap like i do now
    and always did when i though i could eat loads of oats and not have to make a meal

    should i just keep at primal or go back to zone?
    i had issues with both over time
    wishing i knew what is going to just simply leave me full and happy and content
    meal done now on with enjoying life
    that was always my goal
    i feel miserably far from it

    i’ve been eating the raw potato starch for a few weeks now
    at first i had gas and i felt it was a healing reaction and now i have really none that i can think of
    thank u community of protein builders who are interested in getting a Life from taking the time to find out what truely works verses incorrect info
    i want to be in the know

  195. Hi there im a whole foods advocate and I’m undecided on oats because my heritage is scottish. Way back in the begining this was one of the only foods available in Scotland along side fresh caught fish. The scots of that time had the best dental health and also had the best build strong upper body etc etc. The problem as you said above does lie in the preperation like you said above most are too lazy to do this. Although the spike In blood sugar I never seem to get but then I’m dairy free I have my oats with coconut milk and coconut oil along side a touch of maple and quite a lot of cinnamon. Cylon cinnamon is good for stopping the blood sugar spike and so is coconut oil is it not?? It’s not a food I’d eat very often but now and again as a treat it’s not too bad

  196. I love oatmeal cooked with lots of raisins, almonds and sweetened with maple syrup. The experience of eating it is comforting and wonderful. But the aftermath sucks. I get spacey and begin craving more carbs within an hour. I don’t eat it anymore. 🙁

  197. So, just curious, but why go to all the trouble of preparing your grains with lactic fermentation when you can just consume fermented and cultured foods and let your digestive tract do the work of “preparing” your grains? Also, wouldn’t soaking and rinsing your grains remove the wonderful fiber that is one of oats’ finer points? I’m just playing devils advocate because we prepare our grains before eating, and limit consumption, but this post got me thinking… Also, we don’t notice any blood sugar spikes when we consume carbs with plenty of protein and keep up our active lifestyle of chasing after four kids ?

  198. I’m curious about the amount of phytic acid which is necessary for preventing mineral absorption. For example,if I consume 100 mg of phytic acid with a glass of milk, how much calcium (in terms of miligrams) will pass unabsorbed?

  199. Thanks for the interesting read. I think you’ve lost it a bit. Oats with nothing but a pinch of salt and barely a teaspoon of sugar is certainly not bland. Do you have taste buds? My daughter (a small toddler) eats things which taste good to her – chocolate, cake, etc. Give her a pizza or hamburger, and she gets excited, but hardly eats it. Give her broccoli, peas, tomato, rice and home cooked chicken or other meat, and she munches it up. Give her oats – loves it. Give her Frozen breakfast flake things – YAY, but she doesn’t like it. Simple flavours and proper old-fashioned cooking tastes best. And oats certainly fall into that category.

    Coincidentally, the movie Ratatouille has a great example of what I’m talking about in Anton Ego.

    “To – gasp! – willingly and deliberately eat some whole grains.” Oh please!

  200. Tripe. Words and numbers that’s all this is. Instead of regurgitation try an experiment with raw soaked oat groats and hemp seed with fruit everyday for a month. If you don’t see incredible increases in strength and 6 hours of being completely sated I will be intrigued. It is not work to soak something over night. It is work to farm feed for and raise livestock, kill it, cut it up, ship it all over the place and then try to digest it. I encourage all to try raw oats if you want to see ridiculous results. To make them tasty blend up with a banana, and a bunch of berries of different sorts and maybe some raw cocoa powder and if you are one who worries about protein garden of life raw sprouted vanilla protein is delicious. Don’t forget your hemp seeds 🙂

  201. I eat oats every day. It gets to lunch time and that whole spike in BSL doesn’t happen to me. Never had a sugar crash. I combine oats with bran, Nutri-Grain and sultanas. I am barely hungry by lunch. I fill the bowl half-full. I certainly don’t need a morning or afternoon snack and lunch is very light on. I certainly do not find them making me sluggish either. I work as a nurse so I am on my feet all day so you’d think it would happen but it doesn’t.

  202. I am just now exploring the Primal eating plan — very intrigued by what I read in Mark’s book – I LOVE oatmeal though I must say….most mornings that’s what I eat a bowl of Organic Bob’s Red Mill thick cut oatmeal with walnuts and frozen berries and almond milk…keeps me feeling satisfied all morning….I am going to try egg and sausage type breakfast and see how that works…oatmeal is going to be hard to give up!

  203. You should update yourself on the benefits of phytates, especially relative to cancer, rather than putting so much emphasis on studied done on non-humans over 70 years ago when the myth on phytrates started…
    However, I suspect someone so interested on banning wheat does not really wish to look further…

  204. Instead of putting whole grains on the do not eat pile you should place meat, fish, eggs, and dairy while doing your health a favor…

  205. Wholexoat frosts are my go-to grain. When I chew them, I experience a feeling not unlike when you exercise lightly, like on a rebounder, and all the feel-good brain chemicals kick in (dopamine, epinephrine, endorphins)
    Best oats are truly raw. Most oats are steamed to guard against rancidity, and are not sproutable

    I will steel cut whole oats in a grain mill to ensure freshness

    While I enjoy their taste on their own, I will dress them up to greatly enhance taste with:
    Date paste
    Babnana puree
    Chopped nits
    Nut or seed butter
    Coconut palm sugar and/or Stevie
    Freshly ground cinnamon
    Real vanilla

      1. Some typos on line one
        Groats not frosts stupid auto correct thinks it knows what I’m typing

  206. I recently got creative with my oats, and it’s helping me manage my blood sugar levels in the morning. After skipping breakfast alot, I decided to take a different approach.

    1 cup oats
    2-3 teaspoons of flaxseed meal (ground flaxseed)
    2 teaspoons of chia seeds
    1/2 teaspoon dark chocolate cacao
    Mix it up with hot water, and then splash in some almond milk if needed for taste and texture.
    Got this idea from Alpha M. on youtube, in his video about meal prep.

  207. Not for me it’s not. Oatmeal actually CRIPPLES me!! A day after eating all of my joints become intolerably painful, and my brain’s function is severely compromised. I hate oats!!

  208. I have eaten oat bran mixed with flax seed meal for breakfast every day for at least the past 15 years. Besides helping build Bob’s Red Mill empire, I suspect and hope it is helping me stay healthy. I pour it in a big bowl, pour enough water to cover it by a couple inches, and nuke it for about 3-4 minutes. I usually add walnuts and either blueberries or bananas. On a long, lazy weekend morning, I might add quinoa. To do this, I just precook the quinoa for about 5 minutes before adding the oat bran. With a cup of coffee, this breakfast sustains me for at least 3-5 hours. Please tell me I haven’t wasted the last 15 years of my life!

  209. My wife and I will consume about 1/2 cup of mixed oats and flax seed and dried fruit maybe twice a week. These are bulk products bought at Whole Foods and are marked as being Organic. We put Almond milk in the bowl and enjoy with a dash of cinnamon and Strevia.

  210. I was researching lectin and this came up. It’s an old post and lectin is hitting the hoards anxiety triggers. No mention of it here. More reason to avoid oats? I recently had been enjoying the simplicity of “refrigerator overnivht oats. Just warm up in the microwave in the morning. Seems the lectin would remain mostly intact this way?

  211. This is the first time I’ve seen where someone else has experienced the weird head thing after eating oats! Even before cleaning up my diet over ten years ago, oats have always been troublesome to me. Causing dizziness and a general I’ll feeling. Recently I properly prepared oats for the kiddos and fried some the next day in butter for myself and one of my boys. I ate more than usual as the amount was meant for another boy who left early in the morning. Boy I felt like crap after eating that. Terrible brain fog, brick belly and a blah feeling that has eventually passed. Thanks for the post, I’ll be passing on oats from now on!

  212. From personal experience my blood sugar rose but stayed within limits. In trying to improve my gut flora I started with oatmeal. It improved to the point where I don’t remember when I was sick last. I also stopped getting precancerous polyps. So for anyone out there who wants advise, listen to your body first, and try different things until your satisfied with the way you feel.

  213. Oats are a very nutritious cereal, which contains calcium, iron, proteins, vitamins (especially from group B and E), carbohydrates and fiber. … Oats contribute to improve the proper functioning of the organism and are advisable as a preventive for many diseases and for the maintenance of the health of various organs of the body.

  214. From my own experience, if I eat only the fruit, I quickly hit a little bit right afterwards, when I add oats, I am satiated for longer, like less, and this helps with weight loss .. it’s 25 kg off in 4 months. But I agree, that there is no miracle food, everything is balance. Even excess water is bad.

    1. I agree with this. Everyone processes things differently. Tired of hearing different foods get demonized as ‘bad’. They’re all just different – what works well with one person’s physiology, might not with someone else’s! Congrats on the weight loss!

  215. Every time I eat oats (even oatmilk) and yogurt I feel my heart beats faster or my pressure goes up. Has someone had this experience? Everytime I google for something I find exactly the contrary, i.e. that oats and yogurt should lower blood pressure.

  216. Great article and pretty much all the reasons that I dislike oats. I am allergic to wheat which causes an asthmatic affect on me. A friend recently asked me if I could have oats instead and I immediately said no, because I do not like them (Sam I Am). I am not diabetic, but the last time I ate about 1/2c of steel cut oats with some egg whites, I had that woozy spacey feeling that made me feel bad. With the increasing headache that I was getting, my husband took my blood sugar level, at one hour after eating them and it read 150. Wow, I’m normally 88-95. I didn’t take another BS at 2 hrs to see what it was at that point. Needless to say, I won’t eat oats again. Who ever said that oats digest slowly, I don’t believe them.

  217. I’m diabetic and oatmeal spikes me. But I used to water it down, sweeten it, and use it for a stomach soothing hot drink. Tea or coffee make me sick with no food, But I don’t like to eat in a.m. Now when I get up I eat lunch/dinner with coffee and just add a late snack. Oatmeal, as you noted, is morning food.

  218. It is much easier for me to feel hungry in a short period of time if I take oats rather than rice.

  219. I always appreciated oatmeal as a warm porridge, like a simple breakfast stew, but it’s bland flavor has always made it kind of pointless as a stand-alone food. As a culinary tool, it was always just a vehicle for other items; similar to how grits, white potatoes, celeriac, pasta, etc. function primarily to deliver the more exciting flavors of cheese, gravy, tomatoes, etc.

    I don’t really miss it, and it’s fun to come up with alternatives if I want a dish to have the same texture.

  220. Wow, a post from a ways back!
    I was raised on “mush” – what we called oatmeal. Hot, raisins on the bottom, then mush, then milk and a whole lot of brown sugar. When I became an adult it was pretty clear that my body no longer would tolerate the oats, huge pain in my gut within a half hour. Quit cold turkey after figuring out it was the oats. Still have that reaction some 40 years later if I have something with oats in it.
    My dad, has “lived on” oatmeal. He’s now in his nineties and found he’s full of cancer that he decided he’d cure. We told him that the high carb diet is feeding his cancer (he’s too skinny as it is) so he’ll need to eat some good fat and lots of animal proteins. He quit eating oatmeal and other high carb foods and switched to nearly a carnivore diet. With in a few months his numbers were down and not as much “cancer” lit up in his bone scan. Plus, his huge amount of pain was dulled to the point he can now find a bit of comfort with OTC drugs instead of heavy narcotics. The low fat/high carb was killing him but he’s doing very well for his age now.

  221. I only have oatmeal on my heavy carb day; 1/3 cup dry Whole Foods Steel Cut Oats, tblspn of almond butter, berries, and some maple syrup.

    I definitely get the brick-in-stomach feeling but that carb load sure helps the squats and deadlifts afterwards.

  222. My son eats oatmeal probably 360 days out of 365. He loves it and can go all day on it. I, on the other hand, never eat the stuff if I can help it. To me it’s like eating wallpaper paste.
    I’ve never liked sweetened cereal, so the times I’ve had to eat oatmeal I’ve just poured a little heavy cream on it with some fresh fruit and nuts. It was passable that way, but not great, and certainly not something I’d want to eat more than once in a blue moon.

  223. I was curious to see what you found out about this. I actually love oatmeal but as a Celiac I tried GF oats a few times and I can’t do it! I get a similar inflammatory response from both. Sigh.

  224. Another Monday with no success story. Are those not a thing anymore?

  225. When I was young breakfast consisted of a bowl of oatmeal much of the time. If I ate all my oatmeal my mother would let me have a little bit of coffee in my milk. I swore that if I ever got old enough to have coffee without eating oatmeal I would never eat oatmeal again. I did, and I made good on my promise.

  226. In my pre primal years whenever I had oats for breakfast before heading to the office, I would always be very hungry by 10 am…so at coffee break I would then have a ‘ healthy ‘ bran muffin…then more carbs for lunch and by 2 pm I was ready for a nap! I now realize I was on a vicious cycle of carb dependence bordering on addiction!
    I am sooo much happier and healthier now without all those carbs!! And no more ‘hangriness’!!!!?

    1. I work with someone who does a LOT of carbs, she always feels nap-ish at about 10 and 2, eats more carbs to help here get through that. To offset the weigh gain she also runs a lot, in the morning before work and sometimes after work. I, on the other had don’t get sleepy until night time but, of course, I don’t eat carbs all day either.

  227. There was a lab study where rats were fed oatmeal, and other rats were fed the cardboard box the oatmeal came in. The rats that ate the box lived longer.

  228. I’m a celiac who can’t eat oats at all. I’ve bought purity protocol oats several times to test the theory, but it always makes me sick in exactly the same way as gluten. I don’t feel a need to get endoscopy to prove that. Let the scientists figure it out. It seems unethical to ask people who react to oats to feel sick for the sake of science.

    But because of this perfectly normal reticence of most people to being sick for the sake of science, people who want to push the benefits of oats, or grains in general, will make excuses to push unwelcome foods on those who haven’t had enough experience to be able to say, “Yes, that definitely bothers my system.” And that is also unethical.

    People should eat what makes them feel best. Cream of buckwheat when made into porridge has a lot of similarity to oatmeal. I have mine with a teaspoon of whole flax cooked with it. It satisfies the need for some extra fiber without triggering any reactions. Ragi pudding is another delicious alternative, ragi is an almost wild relative of millet.

    And we should also recognize that some people really can’t fix everything with diet. Despite the gluten free diet, people with Celiac will still get another autoimmune disease sometime in their life, most likely. You can’t stop that by eating perfectly. It’s a disease, not a lifestyle.

  229. Informative. Have you done any tests for glyphosate and other contaminants?

  230. Very occasionally I have done a savory version of Steele cut oats – adding a poached egg (a little cheese) and some sea salt and pepper – but do not often!

  231. I love oats. I need small amounts of carbs to keep serotonin and mood steady and even. I think that is why people like plain/bland carbs and why they’re comforting. I eat some after my plate of scrambled egg in the morning and no blood sugar spike – full for hours and happy. Porridge stays scalding hot and you need hot food in British winters. Sometimes eat small portion in evening if I can’t sleep – straight to zzz.
    They are good in an old Irish recipe – savoury Leek & Oatmeal soup.

  232. Oats are very convenient for camping/backpacking! I think they taste great with some maple syrup and crushed walnuts. But unless I’m being pretty physically active for the day they also leave me feeling mentally sluggish, compared to having eggs and veggies or something.

  233. I’ll take steel cut oats over rice any day of the week. Better nutrient profile, non binding and unless you a slave to dressed up foods, I find them hearty and satisfying. They can be incorporated into a healthy diet very easily without the burden of adding lots of sugars (or anything for that matter) to them. Add a few nuts, maybe some blueberries – makes a great meal.

  234. HI Mark,
    Just a thought to go with your oatmeal discussion: There is now mounting concern regarding some (not all) farmers’ practice of using Roundup herbicide to “push” the field oats into harvestable product (apparently speeding maturation and resultant drying effects).
    If the jurys of late are correct in their assessment of Roundup’s nasty effects, I’d say that’s more than enough to say NO to oatmeal. If the manufacturers can prove they’re clean, I’d reconsider, but news stories talk about Roundup residues being found in many name brand oat products. Just a thought.

  235. On its own, its tasteless. Its the same with pasta. People tell me they cant give up pasta, they ‘love their pasta’. No, you love the stuff you put on pasta. Pasta is nothing on its own.

    Both leave me bloated and lethargic so I avoid

    1. Semolina flour does have a flavor, and although I almost never eat pasta (maybe 1-2x a year at most), I miss it. In my carby days I was known to cook up some pasta and eat it straight with nothing more than a bit of butter or olive oil, a little salt and maybe a light sprinkle of parmesan or garlic powder. Oatmeal, on the other hand, is irredeemable to my personal palate! Of course, everyone is different.

  236. I have cold oats 3× a week, I soak them overnight. Add some dark organic cacao powder,blueberries, chia seeds,hemp seeds,honey,and 3 dates. There the best and I never feel sluggish or bloated,I’m mexican dont know if that matters,but maybe I tolerate them better due to an ancestral diet. Keeps me full from 7am when I have them till 12pm when its lunch.

    1. Juan, I believe that cold oats are resistant starch (prebiotic fiber) and don’t get digested as carbs. That’s probably why you don’t feel sluggish or bloated.

  237. If you eat your cooked oatmeal COLD (like overnight oats), my understanding is that it is completely resistant starch (prebiotic fiber), right? It is not digested as carbs but goes on to feed the bacteria in your gut. So I would think there would be no glucose spike in that case. Same with potatoes…raw or cold makes them resistant starch.

  238. I stopped eating oats over a decade ago when I went on the paleo diet. About two years ago I re-introduced steel cut oats in the morning and I’ve only noticed positive changes. My blood markers substantially improved, my energy was super high for workouts, and my digestion became more regular. Even paleo-ish advocates such as Rhonda Patrick have started eating oats because of their beta glucan content.

  239. I intermittent fast until around 2pm. At that time, I usually eat 1/4 c organic oats with 1/2 c whole organic milk. After cooking I add 1 heaping tsp organic coconut oil, 1/4 tsp organic cinnamon, 1 Tbsp organic flaxseed and a scoop of plain collagen protein powder. I never feel tired or hungry afterwards. It’s extremely satisfying and delicious!

  240. Sprouted and cooked, wheat is great for me, sometimes. Sprouted just a bit, 1/8”-1/4” or so. Cook in water with a bit of salt and herbs. Excellent for my body integrity, along with animal products, fruit, greens, and beer,… and water too.
    Barley, Rye, Buckwheat,…. same thing. Excellent, mixed.
    And you can even blend them up fresh-sprouted, such as in a blender, then ferment the mix for a day, make into a relatively flat bread abvout 1/2” high, bake at 300F about a 45minutes. Damn good as a fundamental grain food.
    Whole grain sprouts are milder, the blended grains made into bread are quicker to get into the blood, so to speak.
    So as to which is best for you, depends on the circumstances, and both are good.
    Oatmeal? It’s survival food,… better fermented to vitalize the starch a bit.
    Sprouting vitalizes the starch in grain, so that the starch is not gunky in the body in normal consumptions, whereas the starch in non-sprouted grains is gunky in the body, such as gunking the lymph, joints, etc…..

  241. As a Type 1 diabetic and a primal disciple I can say without a doubt oats are no bueno. #1 they spike the shat out of your Blood sugars. #2 the are loaded with gut hating phytates that cause all kinds of
    Problems especially for those of us with gut permeability. And #3 they absolutely cause brain fog, especially in those of us who are fat adapted and highly sensitive to garbage carbs that aren’t fruit and veggie based.

  242. What about oat fiber? Lately I’m seeing it quite often in keto/low carb recipes for betaking in association with other dried ingredients to improve texture and volume, but I also read opposed opinions and it seems to be a controverted addition in a LCHF diet.

  243. Hi Mark,
    I eat rolled oat meal just about every day for breakfast with a little honey and handful of walnuts. I can’t remember why I started this, but it has been for several years now. One effect was that my cholesterol dropped significantly from about 210 to 164, my weight went down from 140 lb. to 135 lb., and my bowel elimination improved. (For the record I am 5’7″ tall – hey! so is Tom Cruise) I do not eat other grains, even rice, preferring to follow a keto/Mediterranean diet with an emphasis on fish, eggs, and vegetables, occasionally fruit. I think that my experience with daily oats has been satisfactory and contributed to my overall health. I workout daily, mostly dumbbell exercises, do yoga twice a week, walk daily, and try to stay active. Oh yes, for the record, I’m 71 years old and, according to my daughter, who does love me as I her, a real pain in the ass.

  244. I had the opposite effect on my brain from eating oats than Mark did. I was eating primally, enjoying all the PB supplements, but I could not pass the health coach course tests without a couple of tablespoons of oats in my breakfast. Otherwise, I was just a stupid flake head and couldn’t think. I think I’m one of those people whose thyroid turns down if carbs are too low. Not hypocritical, just n=1.

  245. I was never a fan. The texture grosses me out, the blandness, as you say, is virtually impossible to overcome without staggering amounts of sugar, and the way it sits in my stomach feels like a bowl of wet cement. Easiest thing in the world to eliminate from my diet – I don’t even like oatmeal cookies!

  246. Another problem with oatmeal is the propensity for steel cut oats to suddenly boil over during preparation, resulting in a slimy mess on the stove top…..think I’m done with oatmeal- thanks Mark!

  247. During the 80’s and 90’s my husband was a triathlon competitor. Every night I’d soak the oats in warm water, pinch of salt and lemon juice or whey from yogurt. This was mixed with grated apple, cinnamon and sheep’s yogurt ready to have early before a race. One morning he couldn’t find it in the fridge and grabbed a banana. He stumbled over the finishing line completely depleted and had to force feed a banana down his throat. Oats prepared properly certainly sustained him during his 10 years of competing.

  248. I love all of your writing, thank you for sharing with us. I was surprised you didn’t mention that most oats are loaded with round up. Apparently it has to do with how they are farmed. Seemed like a relevant point.

    1. yeah, I thought perhaps Mark would mention that also. One of the food testing outfits checked oatmeal from various sources a few years back, and even the “organic” brands contained Roundup. It seems that some farmers use Roundup as a dessicant to dry out the oats prior to harvest. No thanks………..I’ll skip the oatmeal!

  249. I make a GF sourdough bread with brown rice, oat, sorghum & teff flours. I’m sensitive to gluten, but I can eat this. It’s basically a slice of fermented whole grains. With butter.

  250. See the new book ‘called “Regenerate” the man has tracked all grains in the human diet along with just about all other foods going back 50,000 years, and it’s all documented with about 10,000 articles and scientific studies. Have a look.

  251. Yes Mark, I was confused about oats; I grew up on them–cooked slowly overnight, ready for a good start to the day.
    Thanks for pointing out how bland they are, as my solutions to make them edible became suspect as good diet became important. I still get tempted, as my wife still eats them, and adds the necessary sweetness, but I’m getting better with a chia bowl, plus: coconut, hemp, maca, blue berries and a bit of almond milk. Cheers, Neil

  252. Honestly, I love steel it oats that have been cooking all night. I sauté them in a little butter so they toast up, add some water, bring them to a boil and turn it off. In the morning I turn the pan back on, heat it up and add some sausage and a fried egg or two. Without the protein I zonk and any more than a 1/2 cup of cooked porridge and it hits like a brick. So clearly it’s a moderation thing for me, but I do love it every now and then on a cold winter morning. I have also tried fermenting and soaking overnight with an acid, but then it tastes sour and weird to me. At any rate, my kids like cereal and I would much prefer to serve them this than something out of a box – they like theirs with brown sugar and butter, but also a side of protein and some grapefruit – they are young and clearly need more carbs than I do!

  253. Love oats, rolled, steel cut or groats. The only grain I eat. I don’t get a sugar high/low at all. The opposite, they keep me going for all day, literally. But I have Scandinavian genes. I don’t know if that’s a ‘thing’, but historically they are part of that culture.

    However, I do NOT eat any sweetening with them. Only ghee, maybe some berries, lemon zest, and a couple tablespoons of yoghurt, which goes extremely well with oats. I also don’t eat a lot at once. I don’t need to. I cook Maybe about 1/4-1/3 cup dry oats at a time. Or make more and eat it cold later for the resistant starch (which sweet potato doesn’t have).

    I need them also for good digestion and elimination. I don’t know the technical processes here, but results are what speak loudest.

    I think the reason oats feel “good” going down, some say comforting, is the sort of sticky quality they have. In combo with the chewiness.
    Whatever that substance is, works great on some people’s Gi tracts, including mine, without apparent adverse consequences.

    My vote is thumbs up for oats in moderation and without sweetening.

  254. Thick rolled oats spikes my blood sugar. I don’t cook them, just put the tea kettle hot water on them. After a while, I feel quite hungry. On the occasions I check my BG – as in why on earth am I hungry, I just ate and hour and a half ago – and find that it is as high as the 180’s. That’s on 1/3 cup and no sugar. I don’t think oats are so good for me. Same thing happens with groats soaked overnight and lightly cooked so they are chewy. The blood sugar spike isn’t as bad. I can eat oat bran which I hope has some good stuff in it with no trouble. So many health ‘experts’ are so sure oats are good for everybody – and I think they have studies to prove it. I’ve taken to eating vegetables for breakfast.

  255. I love plain bland oats! Maybe only add blueberries. But I get hungry too fast after. I use them as a treat – like you would cake. But wondered about how nutritional they are. Dr. Mark Hyman says there are other better grains if you want to eat those instead.

  256. I love oatmeal. In fact I crave warm oats for
    breakfast on a the cold day in Chicago. I do the sprouted gluten free rolled oats, cooked in water for a few minutes. I either add cinnamon and a tsp of maple syrup or make them savory w/ sea salt, oregano and sometimes a tsp of olive oil.

  257. I immensely enjoy sprouted rolled oats cooked with a little extra salt. No sweeteners needed though I sometimes add refined coconut oil. They have a delicious, complex, nutty flavor and creamy texture. I find them incredibly delicious, filling, and an occasional treat. Perhaps my Scottish ancestors have contributed to my taste preference. I enjoy most any oat (and always have) but sprouted oats are my favorite.

  258. Being Scottish, I remember often eating porridge for breakfast but not as described above! My dad used to make it and we added salt and the creamy “top of the milk”! Delicious – I still sometimes have it like that as a special treat! With sugar – no thanks!

  259. Hi Mark
    I’m surprised that you haven’t touched on sprouted oats, a friend bought some from Costco and I tried some with a bit of maple syrup, cinnamon and some pecans, it was really tasty.
    From what I know,. sprouting takes care of most if not all antinutrients.

  260. I’ve always hated oatmeal, but I have friends and family that can’t seem to do without it. They still believe the advertising that it is “heart healthy”. Thanks for the facts, Mark!

  261. Man, I love oats so much.

    I used to eat a nice big bowl for breakfast every morning and tried all different kinds of preparations/toppings. But my favorite was plain with a few drops of honey and a dash of cinnamon. They would leave me full and satisfied for many hours and I would also have a tiny bowl of them in the night, putting me to sleep almost immediately following.

    However, once I began to experiment with my diet after IBS/SIBO-like symptoms following a parasite infection, I reluctantly have come to give up one of my favorite foods.

    Once I cut out fast food from my diet, I usually ended up adding lots of nuts and milk to my oatmeal to boost the calorie count but that would end up leaving me severely bloated until lunchtime. Any day I ate oatmeal also delayed my bowel movements by 24 hours and my night-time oats would ensure almost no deep sleep or dreams either.

    I will forever miss that convenience food. Oddly, I do just fine with wheat!

  262. Oats used to be a big part of my pre-lchf diet back in the day. I never really felt any adverse affects from them other than the spike and crash that was part of most everything I ate at the time. I haven’t eaten oats or grains in almost two years now.

  263. I don’t eat oatmeal very often but when the voices of my Irish and Scottish ancestors start calling to me I make a big pot at night and in the morning have a bowl with heavy cream and maple syrup. Kinda feel crappy afterwards and always have a bit of heartburn but hey! Who the heck wants to mess with the ancestors?!?

  264. I have no use for rolled oats of any variety. They were cheap filler breakfast food when I was a kid. The stuff we usually got was a little past its prime so cooking them turned them into glue with lots of flecks of textured nastiness. No amount of butter, milk and / or brown sugar could ever make them palatable, IMHO.

    I don’t care for oatmeal raisin cookies, either, or the no-bake chocolate oatmeal cookies (even though I love chocolate).

    Steel-cut oats on the other hand … I have no problem eating those.

    Dice three strips of bacon and render. Add 1/8 cup of steel-cut oats and toast them in the wonderful, smoky pig fat. Instant flavor, right there. Add diced sausage (I like bratwurst) and sliced mushrooms and get everything browing. Add 1/8 cup water and 1/8 cup milk (at least 2x as much liquid as grain) and simmer until it’s thick enough you can eat it with a fork. I usually add some garlic and some turmeric; use whatever savory spices you like. Maybe top with some shredded, smoked gouda, or an over-easy egg. The goey yolk running all over it just makes it even more satisfying.

    That’s not breakfast. Makes a good, reasonably quick lunch, if you simmer it in a skillet with a good lid.

    For more than one serving, scale as needed.

    Definitely not bland.

  265. Been mostly paleo/primal for over 10 years but have just started eating oats a couple of days a week as an easy breakfast at work after exercise. 1/2C rolled oats with some vanilla protein powder, yogurt and berries soaked overnight in the fridge. Not bad chilled the next morning and keeps me full till lunch.

    After seeing a comment above I did some reading and it seems like overnight oats are a decent source of resistant starch. Combining that with the fact I’m already glycogen depleted from the exercise probably blunts any blood glucose spike. And after reading Marks article I’d like to think the yogurt soak is helping, but not sure that applies if I leave it in the fridge?

  266. Good idea to rerun this article. For the record oats don’t disagree with me the way gluten grains in any quantity do, but the carbs are no good for my waistline.

  267. When the urge for oatmeal hits I chop up walnuts, pecans, almonds or whatever I have with some almond milk, blueberries, cinnamon and butter & heat it up Delicious!

  268. One big problem with eating oatmeal every morning (as quite a few people do) is that it takes the place of far more nutrient-dense breakfast options. It also causes blood sugar to spike, as others have mentioned. No thanks………..I’ll stick with my breakfast of eggs/meat/veggies.

  269. Hi Mark – I’ve got a question… You list a number of types of oats in your blog post – 7 I believe. How do I know which ones need to be soaked first? Does every kind/brand oat available for purchase need to be soaked or do some brands do that for you? If yes, what writing is used on packaging to indicate the oats either need to be soaked or are good to eat?