What is the Oatmeal Diet?

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  • Originally Written By: Lisa Love
  • Revised By: C. Mitchell
  • Edited By: J.T. Gale
  • Last Modified Date: 14 November 2019
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Oatmeal is a key part of many different diet and weight loss plans, and a number of schemes can and do use the title “oatmeal diet.” There isn’t a single, definitive oatmeal diet plan, though most of the oatmeal-based eating regimens recommend using the grain as a core food element. Sometimes it’s the only thing people are supposed to eat for a certain number of days, whereas in others it can be combined with things like raw vegetables or nuts; the most liberal plans simply stipulate how much is to be consumed and when. Most diets work by limiting calories and setting specific rules and restrictions regarding the types of foods people eat. Many people have found oatmeal-heavy diets to be very successful in part because of the high energy and fiber contents of the grain. In general, though, no diet can work as a weight loss “cure all” or magic fix. Diets usually have to be combined with regular exercise and other lifestyle modifications in order to be truly effective.


Why Dieters Look to Oatmeal

Oatmeal is a soluble fiber that is low in saturated fat, and it’s attractive for people looking to lose weight and adopt a healthier lifestyle for a couple of different reasons. It lowers low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or bad cholesterol, for example, and it raises high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or good cholesterol. It helps people feel and stay full for longer, which can reduce cravings and overeating, and can also improve metabolic processing, making food energy more efficient in the body. Many different clinical studies have concluded that oatmeal can reduce the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, type-2 diabetes, and weight gain, as well. Antioxidants found in the grain have also been known to exhibit anti-inflammatory properties and even reduce the risk of some cancers.

People can usually get most of these benefits simply by incorporating the grain into their daily food intake. Many healthcare experts recommend this, but it isn’t usually thought of as a “diet” in and of itself. In order for something to be a specific oatmeal diet, it must usually involve regular oatmeal consumption, often as a replacement for other meals. Dieters usually also have specific goals beyond improved health; most, for instance, aim to lose a specific amount of weight before changing the plan or incorporating different foods.

Typical Diet Plans

The typical oatmeal-based diet advises followers to eat a small portion of cooked oatmeal at each meal for the first seven days. Whole oats are preferred over instant or processed oatmeal, and oatmeal-based snacks, such as granola bars or other processed oatmeal food, don’t usually qualify. The idea is to eat raw oats, usually soaked or boiled in plan water, in order to get the most raw, most natural form possible.

Diets usually also limit total calorie intake for each day. In general, the maximum caloric intake should be 1,200 calories or less per day for the first week. Once people have completed the first part of the regimen, they can often slightly increase their food intake and can often also add in different foods. A lot of this depends on the specific plan, though. Some diets are stricter than others, and most can be adapted if people aren’t getting the results they want. Diets that allow more food at meals than just oatmeal usually rely heavily on fruits, raw or cooked vegetables, sugar-free snacks, and other healthy snacks such as nuts and dried fruit.


An oatmeal diet typically lasts for about approximately a month, or 30 days. This is usually about the maximum amount of time dieticians and other health experts recommend that people seriously curtail or limit their meals, since a variety of food groups is generally important to good health. After the first 30 days, dieters are often encouraged to implement lifestyle changes and to adopt low-fat diets that include oatmeal on a daily basis, but don’t rely on it as heavily. A daily food journal can also help keep dieters accountable and might encourage them to stay on a longer-term healthy eating plan.

Tips for Maximizing the Benefits

Actual weight loss on any of these plans tends to vary a lot from person to person. Some diet plans promise that dieters may lose up to five pounds (about 2.27 kg) per week, but this usually depends on more than just the presence of oatmeal; other foods eaten, the amount of exercise a person gets, as well as a person’s overall fitness level all factor in.

Nearly all diet plans tend work best when paired with daily exercise and pure water intake. Exercising for at least 30 minutes each day, five times a week can help encourage permanent weight loss. Drinking eight glasses of water daily can also help with hydration and with flushing impurities from the body. Checking with a physician before beginning a new diet or exercise plan is generally recommended for all dieters, as well. Oatmeal is a natural food, but this doesn’t automatically mean that adopting a diet built around it is inherently healthy. Talking over the personalized risks and likely gains with an experts can usually be helpful, both when it comes to getting good results and setting realistic expectations.


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Discuss this Article

Post 3

When you say eat 1/2 a cup oatmeal, is that pre-cooked measurement or after cooking?

Post 2

While I generally frown at fad diets or "power food" diets based around one specific dish, I can see why oatmeal would work. It is high in fiber and other nutrients, all natural, and flexible. As long as you're allowed to add fruit to it each day and drink plenty of water, tea, and other low-calorite liquids, I can see this being a pretty legitimate diet plan.

Post 1

The oatmeal diet has actually been around for many years. There have been references made in medical journals regarding the oatmeal diet that date back to the 1930’s. There are many variations but the main point still remains the same: Oatmeal is fairly cheap, filling, and good for you.

An important note is that you should only use whole oatmeal instead of instant oatmeal. You shouldn’t add sugar, honey, or other sweeteners. I add a little bit of cinnamon and a dash of nutmeg to mine for extra flavor. I also add fruit to it.

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