Oats—To Eat or Not to Eat

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A friend called me the other day, concerned over what to do about her breakfasts. She sometimes eats oats (steel-cut), but she’d just watched a talk show on television, where a guest had said that we shouldn’t eat oatmeal for breakfast because it turns to sugar.

Oh for heaven’s sake! I suppose I understand the rationale that brought on this new line of thinking that’s attempting to sweep the nation; but really, what’s the world coming to? On top of everything else we have to deal with—the steady bombardment of do’s and don’ts that are confusing people enough already—someone’s now bad-mouthing oats. I could feel my bronchioles constricting a little as I asked my friend for more details.

She told me all she could remember, still baffled over what to do with the news that had come along and hit her out of left field. I suggested that she quickly return to her senses and advised her not to listen to anyone who tells her not to eat perfectly good, real, whole food. Basically, if people were eating it one hundred years ago (and it hasn’t been terribly altered or tampered with since then), and it makes you feel good, then eat it. Besides, oats are nutritious, energy giving, bowel moving, cholesterol lowering, natural and economical, and we certainly need as many of these benefits as we can get.

We’ve got grocery stores loaded with products high in actual sugar and refined wheat (white flour rapidly turns to sugar) that we ought to be very concerned about and trying to avoid. I don’t think anyone should be picking on the innocent oat—dragging it into the sugar discussion. Same goes for any grains for that matter—rye, spelt, kamut, barley, brown rice – because they’re all generally friendly to most people. Oats didn’t do anything wrong and surely don’t deserve this bad press! Good grief! Okay, now I’m going to breathe…

Just make sure to stick to the large rolled oats or steel cut oats. The quick or “instant” oats do turn to sugar quicker. The large whole grain oats break down more slowly, releasing sugar/energy into your blood stream more gradually (as mentioned in chapter 2 of my book “Top Ten Best-Ever Healthy Weight-Loss Tips”).

A few exceptions to eating oats :

– Although oats do not contain gluten, there are often traces of gluten found in most commercially sold packaged oats because most facilities processing oats also process gluten containing grain, like wheat. This is why most oats may need to be avoided by those with celiac disease. Luckily “certified gluten-free oats” are also available to consumers.

– Oats are a perfectly good food to eat, but like all foods and all people, they don’t always get along. Occasionally a person may feel that oats, or other grains, simply don’t agree with them. Some people have trouble with grains in general.

For more on the many important health benefits of oats, see the following article from a website devoted to oats… http://www.eatmoreoats.com/health.html