Monday, March 15, 2010

Oatmeal isn't Enough

I came across a blog the other day that stated that oatmeal consumption prevented heart disease, in addition to its well-known effect of reducing cholesterol levels in the blood.

First of all, it's not oatmeal that does the above, it's fiber. I do believe we all need to eat healthier and I love whole-grain, natural (not instant and certainly not microwaveable) oatmeal. When I make it I usually slice a banana, add strawberries, add a touch of honey, or a little blue agave. And I certainly believe that oatmeal is an integral part of a healthy diet. HOWEVER, it is not enough.

You cannot believe that you will see significant improvement in your health if you have oatmeal for breakfast once a week (this is a much higher frequency than what most people I know eat).

Why Isn't Oatmeal Enough?
Certainly oatmeal has benefits beyond fiber. And I believe in eating a variety of foods. But as pertains to the health claims above, it is important to isolate those to fiber (as most phytochemicals are destroyed when the oatmeal is cooked). According to this fiber calculator a 32 year old adult male needs 32 grams of fiber per day.

Oatmeal has, based on the sources I found online, betweet 2 and 3.5 grams of fiber. Can you eat 10 bowls per day (if we consider 3.5 grams per serving). Oatmeal has one of the highest fiber concentrations in foods, meaning that you would HAVE to eat much, much more of other foods.

There is no question about it, the fiber found in oatmeal is not enough. You need a fiber supplement.

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