Can you eat oatmeal on a low carbohydrate diet?

In this brief guide, we will answer the question, “Can you eat oatmeal on a low carbohydrate diet?”. We will also elaborate on a low carbohydrate diet and will share a perfect low carbohydrate oatmeal recipe with you. 

Can you eat oatmeal on a low carbohydrate diet? 

Whether you can eat oatmeal on a low carbohydrate diet or not, depends on which low-carbohydrate diet you are following and it is also based on the dietary choices you have. 

Oatmeal has a high nutritional value as it has complex carbohydrates. For instance, if you eat a large bowl of oatmeal (about 100 g), it will have a carbohydrate content of about 66 g. 

That is why oatmeal may not be absolutely appropriate if you are following a strict low-carbohydrate diet or a ketogenic diet but you can definitely adjust a small portion of oatmeal in a not-so strict low carbohydrate diet. 

What is a low carbohydrate diet?

A low-carbohydrate diet is a diet that limits carbohydrate intake, specifically those carbohydrates found in sugary foodstuffs, pasta and bread. 

There are many types of low-carbohydrate diets. Depending on the definition of the diet, a low-carbohydrate diet contains 60 g, 100 or 130 g of carbohydrate per day, with a nutrient distribution being 50–65% from fat, less than 30% from carbohydrates, and 20–30% from protein and advises the a avoidance of sucrose and high-glycaemic index carbohydrates such as potatoes, pasta, corn, white rice and carrots (1). According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), a low-carbohydrate diet must contain less than 130 g/day or 26% total energy intake from carbohydrates (2).

It is generally used for losing weight. In addition to this, some low-carbohydrate diets may also have other advantages, for instance, reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

Moreover, it can be helpful by managing diabetes type 1. In type 1 diabetes, blood glucose excursions are a function of the input of glucose from food, mainly carbohydrates (starch and sugars), and insulin from predominantly exogenous sources. By reducing dietary carbohydrate, the error rate in determining the required exogenous insulin amount is reduced and blood glucose fluctuations attenuate. Consequently, less frequent and severe hyper- and hypoglycemic episodes as well as a reduction in overall insulin requirements should result (2).

A low-carbohydrate diet emphasizes more on the consumption of high protein, fat and healthy vegetables.

Low carbohydrate diet and oatmeal 

Well, oatmeal consists of 66% carbohydrates with 11% dietary fiber and can not be directly permitted for those who are following a low carbohydrate diet. However, there are a few notable aspects and facts that you must know to comprehend how you can add oatmeal to a low carbohydrate diet.

As mentioned before, low-carbohydrate diets limit the intake of carbohydrates, but oatmeal is pure insoluble dietary fiber, which is low-carbohydrate friendly as it does not dissolve in water and is not digested into the digestive system.

Because of its composition, oats are considered a low glycemic index cereal. Glycemic index is a rating tool for the glycemic rising capacity of a food and it provides a method to identify food useful for the management of Type 2 diabetes. The abundant starch content in oats could have a potent potential for releasing glucose in the bloodstream. However, the type of starch, which is a resistant starch and the presence of other several bioactive components, such as oat -glucans and phenolics, can prevent the glycemic index from rising via several mechanisms. A more recent study also indicated that consuming oat polar lipids could reduce glucose and insulin responses and modulate second meal postprandial metabolic responses (3).

So, if you can combine some quantity of oatmeal with a large number of fats and protein, then it will decrease the overall carbohydrate consumption. This way, it will not only fulfill your carbohydrate requirement for the day but will also let you follow a low carbohydrate diet plan.

How to prepare your keto oatmeal recipe?

Oatmeal is most peoples’ favorite satisfying dish to have for breakfast. It is popular for its loaded creamy, delicious flavor and chewy consistency. 

Oatmeal is quite a versatile dish as it can be included in a broad variety of savory recipes. The best thing is, it is an exceptional source of essential nutrients. 

Research shows that the processing and cooking methods and times of oats can vary the glycemic index of the prepared meal. Minimum mechanical processing (grain) maintains the intact cell wall and larger particle size that reduce the accessibility to enzymes and thereby tend to enable lower glycemic index values. In contrast, ultra-processing makes the starch more easily hydrated and increases the surface area available to enzymes. Therefore, it is recommended to eat uncooked oats, such as instant oats, in the low-carbohydrate diet (3).

However, the addition of other rich-fiber ingredients, such as chia seeds and others, will limit the carbohydrate absorption. Enrichment with dietary fibers can reduce the glycemic index value of foods (3).

Preparation time: 5 mins 

Cooking time: 10 mins 

Serving: One person

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp ground flax seeds
  • 3 tbsp hulled hemp seeds
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

 Tools required

  • Spatula 
  • Small container
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Small storage container 

Step I: Assemble all ingredients 

Assemble and measure all of the ingredients that you have to use to prepare the low-carbohydrate oatmeal. 

Mix all the ingredients together in a small saucepan, add any additional flavorings, and blend until fluffy. 

Step II: Simmer until thick

Heat the oatmeal on a medium flame and mix periodically until condensed into a porridge thickness. 

The chia seeds and grounded flax seeds help condense the mixture, you may see it firm up overnight.

You can adjust the consistency by using more or less liquid based on your choices. As soon as you get where you like, move on to the next step. 

Step III: Plate or portion for meal preparation 

Once you get the desired thickness you can remove your low-carbohydrate oatmeal from the container and portion it into meal preparation containers or into a bowl to enjoy right away.

This recipe only serves one person, so increase it as many times as you would like for your weekly meal preparation. 

You can also microwave your low-carbohydrate oatmeal for 3 mins, make sure to cover it with a paper towel and stir it halfway through the cooking process.

Nutritional information

  • Calories: 450
  • Total fat: 32 g, 41% of the required intake 
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg 0% of the required intake 
  • Sodium: 120 mg 5% of the required intake 
  • Total carbohydrates: 9 g 7% of the required intake 
  • Sugars: 7 g
  • Protein: 19 g
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C

Other healthy, low-carbohydrate meals

  • Full-fat yogurt
  • 1 or 2 hard-boiled eggs
  • A slice of fruit
  • Baby carrots
  • Some nuts

Other FAQs about Oatmeal that you may be interested in.

What happens if you eat expired oatmeal?

What happens If you eat expired oats?

Do you have to use chia seeds in overnight oats?

Can you eat instant oatmeal raw?

Conclusion 

In this brief guide, we have answered the question, “Can you eat oatmeal on a low carbohydrate diet?”. We have also elaborated on a low carbohydrate diet and have shared a perfect low carbohydrate oatmeal recipe with you. 

References 

  1. Adam‐Perrot, A., P. Clifton, and F. Brouns. Low‐carbohydrate diets: nutritional and physiological aspects. Obes rev, 2006, 7, 49-58. 
  2. Turton, Jessica L., Ron Raab, and Kieron B. Rooney. Low-carbohydrate diets for type 1 diabetes mellitus: a systematic review. PloS one, 2018, 13, e0194987.
  3. Zhang, Kailong, et al. Oat-based foods: Chemical constituents, glycemic index, and the effect of processing. Foods, 2021, 10, 1304.

Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.