Whether you love it or hate it, oatmeal is a staple breakfast all over the world. However, if you're from the South, maybe you're more of a grits kind of person.
Either way, you may find yourself wondering if you can still enjoy your long-time breakfast ritual while following a ketogenic diet.
- Read: Is grits keto friendly?
Is oatmeal keto friendly? Rolled oats, steel-cut oats, overnight oats, and every other variation of oats and oatmeal is not keto friendly.
In this article, I'll go over why you can or cannot eat oatmeal, how many carbs are in oatmeal, the benefits, the differences, and some more keto-friendly substitutes you may want to try to get that oatmeal fix.
Can You Eat Oatmeal On Keto
Whether you can or cannot eat anything while following a ketogenic diet boils down to how bad do you need to fit something into your diet.
There are no foods that are or are not inherently off-limits, meaning, foods are neither keto or not keto.
Ketosis is a metabolic state achieved through the reduction or elimination of carbohydrates. Therefore, as long as you stay under your carbohydrate threshold, whatever that may be for you, you'll achieve and remain in a state of ketosis.
Some foods are more keto “friendly” than others because they have low or no carbohydrates.
Most people stay between 20-50 grams of net carbs per day, which you might think of as your daily “budget.” How you choose to spend that budget is entirely up to you, but some foods aren't worth blowing your entire budget on.
At least most of the time.While you could potentially eat oatmeal on a ketogenic diet, the portion size would be so small, it wouldn't be worth the trade-off.
You're better off using your carbohydrates are more nutritious and filling sources such as fibrous vegetables, which will keep you more satiate and provide additional micronutrients.
How Many Carbs In Oatmeal?
For a half cup of oatmeal (dry), oats contain 51 grams of carbohydrates with 8 grams of those coming from fiber. In total, oatmeal has 43 grams of net carbs.
If you were an individual who was sticking to the lower end carbohydrate range, a 1/4 cup (dry) would already put you over or close to your daily limit.
Are Oats And Oatmeal The Same Thing? What Are they?
The scientific name for oats is avenue sativa, which is considered a whole-grain food.
From what I've found, the main difference between oats and oatmeal is that the preparation of oats (cooked) for consumption makes it oatmeal.
Oats are commonly prepared by boiling the oats in water or milk and often referred to as porridge.
What Are The Different Kinds Of Oats?
Oats are considered an ancient cereal grain, believed to be cultivated as early as 1000 B.C. The different varieties of oats you may think of are essentially how processed they are.
In general, the more processed the oat is, the faster it will cook.
Listed from least processed to most processed:
Oat groats, also called whole oat kernels, is the least processed variety; thus, it takes a long time to cook.
Is oat groats keto friendly? Oat groats are not keto friendly.
Also known as Irish oats, steel-cut oats are toasted whole oat groats cut into smaller pieces by a steel blade, hence the “steel-cut.”
Is steel-cut oats keto friendly? Steel-cut oats are not keto friendly.
Scottish oats are stone-ground instead of rolled or cut, giving them a more finely ground texture and appearance.
Is Scottish oats keto friendly? Scottish oats are not keto friendly.
More popularly known as old-fashioned rolled oats, they get their name due to whole oat groats being steamed, rolled, and flattened. Rolled oats are the most common variety of oats you're likely to find at the grocery store.
Is rolled oats keto friendly? Rolled oats are not keto friendly.
Instant oats, also known as quick-cooking or 1-minute oats, takes rolled oats and steams them even longer, thus allowing them to cook much quicker.
Is instant oatmeal keto friendly? Instant oatmeal is not keto friendly.
Why Is Oatmeal Good For You
Despite oatmeal not being the most keto-friendly food, it does have some health benefits associated with it.
Contain the soluble fiber beta-glucan
Beta-glucan has been found to have health benefits such as:
- Increased satiety 1
- Reduced blood sugar and insulin response 2
- Reduced total and LDL (bad) cholesterol 3
Since the benefits of oats on skincare are applied to the skin, this would be an acceptable application of oatmeal while following a ketogenic diet.
Oat-based skin products may improve symptoms of eczema, along with other various itch and irritation-based skin conditions.4 5 6
Rich in antioxidants
Whole oats have a unique group of antioxidants called avanthramids, which is almost exclusively found in oats. 7
Avenathramides increase the production of nitric oxide, which may help lower blood pressure. Nitric oxide acts to dilate blood vessels, which may improve blood flow. 8 9
Additionally, avenathramides also have an anti-inflammatory effect. 10
Who Invented Oatmeal
While we may all be familiar with the Quaker Oats Company, the origin of oats didn't start there.
However, it was Quaker Oats that propelled the popularity in the United States by inventing and pioneering the faster-cooking varieties in the late 1800s, then instant oats in the mid-1900s.
Instead, oats were believed to be cultivated by the Greeks and Romans as early as 1,000 B.C.
The primary use for oats was harvest for animal feed, and apparently to fatten up slaves and gladiators to provide that extra set of cushion to brace the impact.
As if that would stop a sword from piercing your organs… but I guess if you were fat enough, it would.
Minus one point for the Game Changers documentary on Netflix. (You'll get it if you've seen it)
Oatmeal Substitute For Keto
So now that we know oatmeal is probably a no-go on a keto diet, what can you have that may fulfill that craving?
Here are a few “n” oatmeal recipes.
Low carb overnight chia oatmeal
The star of the show here is… can you guess…? Chia seeds! This isn't a warm variation of porridge, but I don't see why you couldn't warm up this recipe to make it one.
Photo and recipe courtesy of I Save A 2 Z
No-Oats keto oatmeal
This recipe also uses chia seeds but also combines flax seeds, nuts, and your choice of a non-dairy Milk. However, if you want to use some heavy whipping cream (HWC), it might make for something even more creamy.
Photo and recipe courtesy of Cassidy's Craveable Creations
“Oatmeal” Chocolate chip cookies
What's better than a bowl of oatmeal?
Cookies made of oatmeal.
Here's a great keto friendly “oatmeal” chocolate chip cookie recipe.
Photo and recipe courtesy of All Day I Dream About Food
Oatmeal isn't exactly the most keto-friendly food.
The majority (99%) of people should steer clear of it if staying in ketosis is one of your primary goals.
If looking for an oatmeal substitute, try chia and flax seeds with your favorite nuts for a delicious keto-friendly alternative.