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One Major Side Effect of Eating Oatmeal, Says Science

This will make you want to ditch that sugary cereal for good!
oatmeal

At this point, you're probably aware oatmeal can do a lot for your body. It's a good, natural, complex carbohydrate, it's full of vitamins and minerals, and it's incredibly versatile (hello, overnight oats). And yet, while there's a lot about oatmeal that we love, there's one major side effect of eating oatmeal that we can't help but point out, and that's how oatmeal can keep you feeling full for hours.

Here's why oatmeal is one of the best breakfasts you can have because of its satiety, and for even more healthy tips, be sure to check out our list of The 7 Healthiest Foods to Eat Right Now.

Oatmeal fills you up.

Compare to your usual breakfast go-to's—like sugary cereals and toaster pastries—oatmeal is full of a natural, soluble fiber that will help keep you feeling full for a long period of time. That's because the sugars in this complex carbohydrate take longer for your body to digest. The longer your body takes to digest something, the longer you will feel full. Complex carbohydrates like oatmeal help make that happen.

In a 1/2 cup serving of rolled-cut oats, you'll get a whopping 4 grams of fiber (compared to a serving of sugary breakfast cereal, which usually provides you with less than one). Plus, that 1/2 cup serving has 5 grams of protein (the same amount as one large egg!), 27 grams of carbs, and totals at a mere 150 calories.

However, fiber is the main reason why oatmeal keeps you feeling full (hence why you should make sure to be getting enough fiber throughout the day). According to the University of California San Francisco, fiber helps to slow down the absorption of sugar in the bloodstream, which causes a slower decline in your glucose levels after you eat. If you eat something without fiber in it, your glucose levels will decrease quickly, causing you to feel hungrier sooner.

Hence why fiber, and that feeling of fullness, is the one major side effect of eating oatmeal on the regular.

Make it even more filling with toppings.

Even though oatmeal is already filling on its own, if you prepare it with just water or a little plant-based milk, there won't be a ton of taste to it, right? That's why toppings are key! Here are a few we recommend

  • Berries (raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, etc.)
  • Fruit (bananas, apples, mango, peaches)
  • Nut butter (peanut, almond, cashew, etc.)
  • Nuts (walnuts, pecans, cashews, peanuts, almonds, pistachios)
  • Seeds (chia, pumpkin, flaxseed)
  • Dried fruit (raisins, cranberries)
  • Shredded coconut
  • Cacao nibs
  • Maple syrup
  • Honey
  • Cocoa powder
  • Pumpkin puree

However, it's easy to go overboard with your toppings, which is why it's important to focus on whole, natural ingredients and to portion out your toppings properly. For example, nut butter is a great topping to mix into your bowl of oats. But if you add more than one or two tablespoons, the calories (and the fat) of your bowl can add up quickly.

So be sure to portion out what you add to your bowl—including the oats themselves—and enjoy a delicious, filling breakfast in the morning. Not sure what oatmeal creation to make? Then you're going to love our list of 51 Healthy Overnight Oats Recipes.

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Kiersten Hickman
Kiersten Hickman is a senior editor at Eat This, Not That!, specializing in recipe development, food, and diet coverage. Read more
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