Oatmeal is considered to be a nutritional gold mine because of its many great health benefits. It helps boost your energy for the day as it is rich in carbohydrates and protein. It is also diabetic-friendly, very high in fiber (which can help reduce the risk of colon cancer) and good for your heart’s health. Oatmeal also helps suppress your appetite and keep you fuller for longer, so you aren’t eating unnecessarily throughout the day, which can help promote and support weight loss.
Although all of those benefits are great, the first problem is that most people don’t like the way oatmeal tastes. It tends to be bland and boring when served on its own. So, to compensate for this, most people add different toppings to make it either sweeter or more savory. Now, the issue with this is that it completely reverses all of the nutritional value that it once had. This ultimately ruins your bowl of oatmeal from a nutritional standpoint.
Primarily, people want their oatmeal to be sweeter. So, they achieve this by adding sugar, chocolate chips, cocoa powder or dried fruit. By doing so, you are adding extra calories, fat, sugar, carbs and decreasing its overall nutritional value.
In fact, a 2010 study involving 1000 individuals who followed dietary and behavioral changes, including eating oatmeal everyday for three months, actually gained weight eating this superfood on a daily basis. This was because they loaded their oatmeal with sugary toppings, made their portions too large and rewarded themselves with a mid-morning snack for eating a healthy breakfast.
#SpoonTip: Add healthy sweeteners such as honey, real maple syrup, vanilla extract, cinnamon or fresh fruit to your oatmeal to change the taste without packing on the pounds.
The next problem is that people are ordering their oatmeal from fast-food chains without checking the nutrition label. Since oatmeal is considered to be a “healthy option”, many people don’t see the problem with buying it from a fast-food chain. Oatmeal is healthy,right?
Again, it’s something that goes back to all the added toppings, and the fact that it is still fast-food. For example, a McDonald’s “fruit and maple oatmeal” contains 290 calories, 4.5 grams of fat, and 32 grams of sugar. Their signature Egg McMuffin, the ‘unhealthy’ choice, contains only 10 more calories, and significantly less sugar. Now compare this to a regular package of Quaker’s plain instant oatmeal which has 100 calories, 3 grams of fat, and 1 gram of sugar.
Another food giant, Starbucks, also offers oatmeal as a healthy alternative to their customers. You order their oatmeal and then pick one of three toppings offered. Now the oatmeal by itself isn’t horrible, containing 140 calories, 2.5 grams of fat, and 5 grams of protein. See how quickly these numbers change once the toppings are added.
Their first option, a brown sugar topping, adds 50 extra calories and 13 grams of carbs – all coming from the sugar itself. Next, they offer a dried fruit topping. This topping adds 100 extra calories, 24 grams of carbs, and only 1 gram of protein. Again, all of these increases are coming from the added sugar. Finally they offer a nut medley, which packs on an additional 100 calories and 9 grams of fat. All of these options hardly seem healthy or nutritious.
#SpoonTip: Instead of picking up your oatmeal on-the-go, prepare these overnight oats for a healthy, hearty and quick breakfast in the morning
So, although oatmeal does have its nutritional benefits and can be a healthy breakfast option, we should all think twice about what we’re putting on it before we eat it. If eating chocolate chips and spoonfuls of sugar isn’t healthy on its own, it’s not going to be healthy on top of a bowl of oatmeal.