In our quest to lose weight, many of us make the rookie mistake of exercising intensely but not paying attention to our diet.
The world abounds with foods brimming with terrific weight-loss properties, if only we paid attention. Oats are one such food.
Oats are whole grains that play a vital role in reducing weight and combating obesity.
Obesity significantly increases a person’s risk of developing coronary artery disease, high blood pressure and elevated blood glucose levels.
Obesity also increases the risk of endothelial dysfunction, a disease in which the inner linings of the blood vessels in the heart stop functioning properly.
This disease also directly contributes to high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. It is one of the major contributors to coronary heart disease.
Endothelial dysfunction significantly decreased in adults who consumed oatmeal after a high-fat diet, according to a 2001 study published in the American Journal of Backentive Medicine.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Backention, 78.6 million (more than one-third) U.S. adults are obese.
The yearly medical cost of obesity in the U.S. was $147 billion in 2008, according to a 2009 study published in Health Affairs. Medical expenses for obese individuals were $1,429 higher than those who were not obese, the study further notes.
If you are piling up the pounds and looking for a one-step miracle fix, you are in for disappointment. Weight loss is a gradual process that requires dedication.
Consult a nutritionist and gym instructor for a holistic plan to curb your weight.
In the meantime, here is a solid tip: Incorporate oats in your daily diet to make the first positive dietary change toward a healthy body.
Here are some reasons why eating oats can help you lose weight quickly.
1. Whole Grains
Whole grains slowly release sugar into the bloodstream, thereby maintaining a consistent energy level.
Sugar provides energy to the body. However, when there is an excess supply, the body stores it as fat. Whole grains prevent this from happening.
A low-calorie diet containing fibrous whole grains as an intrinsic constituent combined with regular exercise significantly decreased body fat and increased the intake of dietary fiber, minerals and nutrients, according to a 2006 study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.
Furthermore, whole grains (unlike refined grains) have all their nutritional properties intact. Combined with all the other weight loss-aiding properties of oats, this becomes crucial as it not only helps you shed pounds but also makes sure you are not depriving yourself of nutrients.
2. Contains Fiber
Just as it does in your breakfast bowl when you add water to it, the soluble fiber in oatmeal turns into a gel-like substance in your digestive tract and regulates digestion.
This keeps you feeling full longer and inhibits unnecessary hunger pangs that make you load up on calories.
According to a 2000 study published in The Journal of Nutrition, dietary fiber prevents obesity and affects a sense of satiety by regulating the energy intake and fat absorption from food so it is not used all at once, making you feel hungry faster.
Furthermore, soluble fibers like oatmeal help protect the heart in overweight individuals.
In a 2015 study published in Food and Nutrition Research, 14,690 dietary surveys of children (ages 2 to 18 years old) from 2000 through 2010 were used to assess oatmeal consumption and its effects.
Results showed oatmeal intake resulted in better nutrient consumption and quality of diet, and decreased the risk of obesity and abdominal fat buildup.
3. Contains Beta-Glucan
Beta-glucan is a substance that occurs in the cell walls of plants like barley and oats. The greatest concentration of beta-glucan is found in oat bran.
Oats rich in beta-glucan significantly decreased the body mass index (BMI), body fat, weight and waist-to-hip ratio in adult subjects with BMIs higher than 27, according to a 2013 study published in Plant Foods for Human Nutrition.
Beta-glucan aids weight loss by curbing the blood glucose level.
People who are overweight often consume a good amount of carbohydrate-rich foods and soft drinks. These substances release excess sugar in the bloodstream, some of which is converted to energy and the rest is stored as fat.
Muesli (oats-based cereal) containing 4 grams of beta-glucans significantly lowered glucose levels in study subjects, according to a 2007 study published in the European Journal of Clinical Medicine.
Food intake dropped by more than 95 calories in subjects who had consumed more than 5 g of beta-glucans 4 hours before a meal, according to a 2009 study published in Molecular Nutrition and Food Research.
4. Contains Protein
One cup of uncooked steel cut oats (156 g) contain about 26 g of protein.
Protein-rich diets that contain 25 to 30 g of protein per meal improve satiety and weight management, and reduce the risk of diabetes, heart attacks and strokes, according to a 2015 study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Dietary protein promotes weight loss further by aiding thermogenesis, the process by which certain foods enhance metabolism.
Proteins are a lot harder for the body to break down than fats and carbohydrates. Hence, the body ends up expending more energy when processing dietary protein. This revs up your metabolism significantly.
5. Contains Complex Carbohydrates
Complex carbohydrates found in oats convert to sugar at a slower rate than simple carbohydrates found in refined food products. Sugar releases energy in the body.
When sugar is released into the bloodstream all at once, as happens with simple carbohydrates, some is converted to energy while the rest is instantly stored as fat.
Gradual release of energy prevents this from happening, thereby inhibiting weight gain.
In a 2003 study published in the Journal of American Medical Association, 60 subjects consumed a slow energy-releasing diet with complex-carbohydrate foods as a major constituent while 60 subjects adopted a healthy lifestyle but did not follow a specific diet.
After 2 years, the first group reported a significant and greater reduction in body weight, BMI, blood pressure, glucose, insulin and triglycerides than the second group.
Therefore, incorporating oats in your daily diet will promote weight loss and boost overall health.
6. Low in Calories & Fat
A person needs to burn around 3,500 calories to shed 1 pound. One cup of oatmeal contains about 106 calories – an insignificant amount.
A cup of oatmeal contains 11 g of fat, but it is incredibly low in saturated fats that promote weight gain and increase the risk of heart disease.
The low-calorie content of oatmeal, combined with the benefits of beta-glucan and its high-fiber and high-protein properties, make it the perfect food for promoting long-term satiety and weight loss.
7. Aids Workout Sessions
Oats are rich in beta-glucans, soluble fiber, proteins and complex carbohydrates that gradually release energy so the body never runs out. All these properties render oatmeal an indispensable pre-workout food choice.
Male athletes who consumed rolled oats with water 45 minutes before exercise showed increased performance duration, maintained normal glucose levels longer, and increased carbohydrate metabolism (releases energy) during exercise, according to a 2001 study published in Metabolism.
Like other whole grains, oats contain antioxidants that help protect the mitochondria (energy reserve of the body) from energy-sucking free radicals.
Oatmeal is also rich in vitamins (especially B vitamins like folic acid and thiamine), minerals (particularly manganese, magnesium and phosphorous) and omega-3 fatty acids. These nutrients further energize you so you may exercise your way to fitness.
8. Low to No Sugar
High-sugar foods can hamper your weight-loss efforts. Unless you purchase ready-to-eat-oatmeal that is likely to contain added sugar, oats promise you little to no sugar.
It depends on what variety you purchase – 3.5 oz (100 g) of rolled oats contain 0.99 g of sugars while steel cut oats contain no sugar.
This makes oats particularly beneficial to those who are trying to lose weight or are diabetic.