Updated: Jan 19
If you're looking to achieve a weight loss goal with Intermittent Fasting, should you be breaking your fast with oatmeal? In other words, is oatmeal a good option to break your Intermittent Fast? Today, I'm breaking down the details of if you should break your fast with oatmeal in order to maximize fat burning AND which foods are BEST for your weight loss goals.
Can You Break Your Fast With Oatmeal?
Oatmeal is typically deemed a "heart healthy" breakfast option. But if you're looking to lose weight, it might not actually be your best option, especially if you're using Intermittent Fasting. One of the main goals with Intermittent Fasting is to reduce the frequency that you're eating throughout the day in order to keep insulin (our fat storing hormone) lower. This allows your body to turn on the fat burning process called lipolysis and start burning fat as fuel. In order to maximize your fat burning results with Intermittent Fasting, it's important to eat foods that support a more stable blood glucose level and reduced insulin release.
When compared to other break-fast meals, oatmeal doesn't do a great job of keeping you feeling full or of minimizing the insulin response. Because of this, oatmeal is not a great option to break your fast if you're using Intermittent Fasting to achieve a weight loss goal.
Of course, this also depends on your carbohydrate sensitivity, which you can find out how carbohydrate sensitive you are with my article HERE.
Pssst - wondering what type of fasting is best for your goals? Click below for my free Intermittent Fasting Schedule quiz to find out!
Is Oatmeal Good For Weight Loss?
The two top priorities when it comes to achieving lasting weight loss success includes a reduced insulin level (fat storing hormone) and increased satiety (meaning feeling full and not feeling hungry). Some studies suggest that oatmeal helps to decrease the hunger hormone, which is a key aspect of weight loss.(1) However, when you dive into the details of these studies, oatmeal is typically being compared to sugary cereals (in this case, Honey Nut Cheerios) which can significantly spike our storing hormone insulin and result in feeling hungry fairly quickly after the meal.(1) So yes, when comparing oatmeal to a sugary cereal, oatmeal will certainly win out (at least, before maple syrup, honey and jam are added in). But is oatmeal truly a great option for your weight loss goals?
When we start comparing oatmeal to other breakfast food options, it starts to fall a bit short. For example, one study compared having oatmeal or eggs for breakfast and found that eggs resulted in increased satiety and decreased hunger hormone, ghrelin.
When we start to look at oatmeal specifically, we find that it might actually not be a great weight loss food at all. Oatmeal ranks middle of the lane when it comes to the glycemic index, which is often a sign of how much insulin (the storing hormone) will be released.(3) Quick oats, however, are high glycemic meaning it likely causes a big secretion of the fat storing hormone insulin and completely shuts off fat burning (aka lipolysis).
Not to mention, oatmeal is low in the nutrients that prevent hunger and snacking. In order to prevent hunger, we need to stimulate key satiety hormones: peptide YY and CCK. These are both secreted when we eat foods rich in protein and fat. Oats are very low in both of these key nutrients. A 1 cup cooked serving of oatmeal only comes in at about 5g of protein and 3g of fat. Compare that to the two egg breakfast and you're looking at 9g of fat and 11g of protein. No wonder you feel more satisfied when you eat eggs vs. oatmeal!