Nutrition / Diet Urology / Nephrology

Does the oatmeal diet work for weight loss?

Many fad diets, including the oatmeal diet, are based around eating one type of food.

The oatmeal diet became popular online. It involves eating only or mostly oatmeal. In this article, learn whether the oatmeal diet is safe and effective.

What is the oatmeal diet?

Oatmeal porridge with apple and cinnamon in bowl for breakfast.
Initially, the oatmeal diet involves eating oatmeal for all meals.

Online advocates have described several variations of the oatmeal diet. Most are divided into phases, such as:

Phase 1

The first phase of the oatmeal diet usually involves eating oatmeal for three meals a day.

The oats should be whole rather than instant because instant oats often include added sugar. Some people also include fruit in this phase.

Phase 2

The second phase of the diet involves eating oatmeal for three meals a day and adding one-half cup of fruit or raw vegetables to each meal.

Phase 3

During the third phase, a person can resume a regular, healthful diet, but one meal should involve oatmeal.

A person can add fruits, nuts, and natural flavorings to the oatmeal to enhance its flavor.

Proponents of the diet describe it as an easy, cheap, and effective way to lose weight. However, many risks are associated with eating only one type of food.


Potential benefits

Advocates of the diet claim that it provides the fiber, calories, and vitamins that a person needs to maintain energy while losing weight. However, the diet is dangerously restrictive.

Oatmeal is nutritious when a person eats it in moderation. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in the United States, oats contain a type of fiber called beta-glucan, which can help to reduce cholesterol levels while strengthening the immune system.

Oatmeal is a good option for breakfast because it can help a person to feel full for a long time.

However, it does not provide the nutrients that a person needs on a daily basis. This makes the oatmeal diet a poor strategy for long-term weight loss.

Does the oatmeal diet work?

Following the oatmeal diet would be challenging because it does not provide the calories that a person needs to feel energetic.

People on the diet may feel ill, nauseated, and tired.

Also, a person may be able to lose weight, but they will likely have difficulty keeping this weight off after they return to their regular eating habits.


Risks

Kidney stones are a potential risk of extreme diets.
Kidney stones are a potential risk of extreme diets.

The oatmeal diet is potentially harmful to a person’s health. Like other fad diets that focus on a single type of food, the oatmeal diet is a highly unbalanced approach to nutrition.

The diet promises fast weight loss, but it does not ensure a person’s safety. No research supports its use.

Other examples of fad diets include:

  • broth fasts
  • the cabbage diet
  • the grapefruit diet
  • juice fasts
  • liquid diets
  • protein-only diets

Like the oatmeal diet, these involve eating a very limited selection of foods, with no sustainable plan for maintaining weight loss in the long term.

Fad diets tend to make people feel hungry, lightheaded, and tired. They can also cause health problems and make existing conditions worse.

Possible risks of the oatmeal diet and other fad diets include:

Instead of trying a fad diet, a person should talk to a doctor or dietitian about effective weight-loss programs. A doctor can help a person to establish healthful targets.

A diet can help a person to lose weight if it includes a variety of lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthful fats.

A person is also more likely to stick to a diet that is nutritious and varied, which will help them to keep the weight off in the long term.


Summary

The oatmeal diet and other fad diets can be dangerous. Also, they are usually ineffective for long-term weight loss.

While oatmeal can be a beneficial part of the diet, it is not healthful as a sole source of nutrients.

Instead, a person should aim to eat a variety of fresh, whole foods, while spending more time being physically active.

A well-rounded approach to weight loss will help a person to keep the weight off in the long term while feeling full and nourished.

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