I've been seeing this study from China mentioned several times recently, so I thought I'd take a look at it. Short- and Long-Term Effects of Wholegrain Oat Intake on Weight Management and Glucolipid Metabolism in Overweight Type-2 Diabetics: A Randomized Control Trial (free full text).
...short- and long-term oat intake had significant effects on controlling hyperglycemia, lowering blood lipid and reducing weight.
Three meals a day, totaling 2275kcal (calories) for men and 1890 calories for women. The macro ratio of this diet was 60% carbs, 22% fat, 18% protein with 30g of fiber. Some participants ate a control diet with no oats, some ate a diet where a portion of the grains were replaced with 50g or 100g of oats (1/4 - 1/2 cup).
If any of you track your macros, you'll recognize this as a very low-fat diet.
298 overweight men and women with Type 2 Diabetes were chosen. They were kept in a hotel for 30 days and fed the various diets. Then they were released to the wild, with instructions to eat certain amounts (0, 50g or 100g) of oats for the next year. Blood labs were sampled throughout the period.
The test subjects were divided in four groups:
- 59 people in "The Usual Care" group (eating whatever they wanted);
- 76 people in "The Healthy Diet" group, eating the low-fat control diet;
- 77 subjects in the 50g oat intervention; and
- 75 in the 100g oat intervention.
Some results (from Table 4):
- All groups lost weight (100g oats group lost the most).
- All experienced a slight reduction in Body Mass Index (BMI).
- All groups had decreases in Fasting Blood Glucose (100g oats had biggest reduction).
- All groups had decreases in 2-hour post-prandial glucose readings (100g oats the most).
- All groups had decreases in HbA1c (100g oats had the biggest decrease).
- Most groups showed improvements in cholesterol, no change in triglycerides.
Some of the improvements seen were not drastic, but please consider that these are all overweight Type 2 Diabetics, I assume they are on medications, but this was not mentioned in the paper.
If you have Type 2 Diabetes, adding a bowl of oatmeal to your daily routine should be quite helpful in maintaining long-term health, however, it will most likely not cure you. Similar for those with high cholesterol.
For everyone else...same thing. Oats have some amazing health properties, many come from the fiber known as β-glucan (beta-glucans). [See previous posts on oats].
If you are not a huge fan of oatmeal, oat bran is possibly even more effective as it has a higher percentage of β-glucans.
I like to use oat bran in smoothies, and I always add a couple heaping spoonfuls to any regular oatmeal I prepare. When choosing your oat meal, I prefer the steel-cut, thick-cut, or groats. Please stay away from the oatmeal that comes pre-flavored in little packets. While more convenient, the quick, flavored oats are the least nutritious and have tons of additives and artificial flavors/colors. The ingredient list on your oatmeal should read: "Oats."
Thanks for reading.