Eating Oatmeal: Does It Cause Weight Gain?

A new study suggests that eating oatmeal can lead to weight gain. Find out if you should banish this healthy grain from your breakfast table.

Conventional wisdom has always dictated that to control weight you need to start the day with a healthy breakfast. No, not a pop tart, but something with more nutritional value such as a hot bowl of oatmeal. Eating oatmeal for breakfast with its high fiber content is a good way to fill up without filling out. Now, a new study suggests that eating oatmeal for breakfast may not help with weight loss after all, and may actually cause you to gain weight. What’s the story?

In a new study published in Eat This, Not That Nutrition News, a group of 2,000 participants were asked to follow one of several diet strategies for ninety days. One strategy tested was eating oatmeal for breakfast. To the surprise of the researchers, the group who ate oatmeal for breakfast during the ninety day period not only didn’t lose weight, but actually gained a pound of weight during each month of the study.

Does this mean you should give up your morning bowl of oatmeal if you want to keep your weight under control? Probably not. It turns out there were underlying reasons for the weight gain these participants experienced when eating oatmeal for breakfast. It seems that some people in the group didn’t like the taste of oatmeal. To compensate for the taste, they piled it high with sugar to make it more palatable.

Some of the participants even disliked it so much that they followed up by rewarding themselves with something they did enjoy such as a pastry, doughnut, or other high calorie treat. No one ever said eating a doughnut with oatmeal was recipe for a healthy, low calorie breakfast.

All in all, eating oatmeal for breakfast has its health and nutritional advantages. Its high fiber content makes it filling and satisfying so you won’t end up craving a high carb snack by mid-morning. It’s also a good source of vitamins and disease fighting phytochemicals. Another bonus - its insoluble fiber helps to lower cholesterol levels. The key to avoiding weight gain is to hold the sugar. Instead of dousing a bowl of oatmeal with spoonfuls of sugar or honey, substitute calorie-free, all natural Stevia instead, or simply use unsweetened fruit preserves to add sweetness without excess calories.

When eating oatmeal for breakfast, stay away from those convenient individualized packaged varieties that come in different flavors. They’re usually high in sugar and more expensive than raw oats. Buy old-fashioned oatmeal in bulk from a natural food store and prepare it yourself at home. It’ll be lower in calories and less expensive.

The good news? Oatmeal is still a healthy breakfast even for those who are watching their weight. Just don’t eat it with a doughnut.

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