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Can I Eat Oatmeal on Keto

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 06/02/2018

Do you have to give up a favorite comfort food when you’re on a low carb keto diet?

Because you’re imagining digging into a bowl of hot oatmeal on a cold morning. You’re salivating because you can practically taste its gooey deliciousness and feel it warming your insides.

I mean, surely you could put full-fat coconut milk and butter on it to make it keto adherent, right? It can’t be THAT high carb. Would it really bump you out of fat burning on a low carb diet?

Well, I’ve got good news, bad news, and some better news - so stick with me.

In this article:

  1. The Lowdown On Oatmeal

  2. Give These Satisfying Oatmeal Alternatives A Try

  3. Ready To Find Your Favorite Oatmeal Alternative?


The Lowdown On Oatmeal

The first thing to be aware of is that there are two types of oatmeal.

One is steel-cut oats, also known as Irish or Scottish oatmeal. It’s unrefined and looks very different from the oatmeal flakes you probably grew up on. Steel-cut oats are little round nuggets, with a chewier texture than instant.

a picture of a bowl of raw steel cut oats | Can I Eat Oatmeal On Keto

The other kind of oat is instant oatmeal, which usually comes with a lot of sugar or brown sugar, especially when it comes in packets.

All oats start off as oat groats — the whole, unbroken grains. Before being processed into any other variety of oat, groats are usually roasted at a very low temperature for flavor enhancement and to extend their shelf life.

Let’s take a look at where the two types of oats rank on what’s called the glycemic index.

A glycemic index is a number that shows how quickly your body converts the carbs in food into glucose. The smaller the number, the less impact the food has on your blood sugar. This puts foods into three general glycemic index ranking categories:

55 or less = Low
56- 69 = Medium
70 or higher = High

On the glycemic index, steel-cut oats come in at 55. As you can see from the categories above, it’s not particularly high. Nonetheless, it’s a little too much for the low carb keto diet because it tends to convert to sugar, raise your blood glucose, and spike your Fat Storing Hormone - something you’re trying to avoid on keto.

Compare steel-cut oats with Instant oatmeal, which comes in at a whopping 83 on the glycemic index- and that’s even before adding the reams of sugar it nearly always comes with!

Because instant oatmeal is more refined than steel-cut oats, it converts almost immediately to sugar in your body, very quickly raising your blood sugar and Fat Storing Hormone to high levels.

In other words, the higher a food ranks on the glycemic index, the worse it is for weight loss because, in the presence of persistent high Fat Storing Hormone, you can’t lose weight. Fat Storing Hormone is the fat-storage hormone; it instructs your body to hang onto fat. So it defeats the purpose of going on a low carb keto diet in the first place.

Never eat instant oatmeal! It’s not healthy in any way. Sure, it contains something called beta-glucan, which is used to treat high cholesterol, diabetes, cancer, and HIV/AIDS. But there’s not enough in instant oatmeal to make a difference to your health, despite what oatmeal marketers say.

The main point: if you’re on a keto diet and trying to lose weight by keeping your carbs very low, it’s not a good idea to consume any oatmeal. It will slow down your weight loss.

So yes, the bad news is you’ll need to give up oatmeal on the keto diet if you’re trying to lose weight.

But the good news is, if you’re not trying to lose weight, go ahead and eat it. Just make sure you eat the steel-cut oats. Yes, it takes longer to make, but it’s far healthier for you.

And remember, I promised you better news too! Keep reading; it’s next.


Give These Satisfying Oatmeal Alternatives A Try

Happily, there are several low carbs, keto diet-friendly alternatives to oatmeal that can easily substitute for your favorite hot cereal:

#1 Hemp Hearts Porridge

You’re in for a treat if you haven’t yet discovered low carb hemp hearts, the edible interiors of the seed that hemp grows from. They’re exceptionally nutritious; rich in the healthy fats Omega-3 and Omega-6, protein, and the minerals phosphorus, potassium, sodium, magnesium, sulfur, calcium, iron, and zinc.

a picture of hemp hearts

Hemp hearts have a pleasantly mild, nutty flavor. You can make hemp heart porridge with a variety of accompanying keto diet-adherent ingredients such as unsweetened shredded coconut and chia seeds. Simply type ‘keto hemp hearts porridge recipe’ into your search engine of choice, and you’ll get more recipes than you could try in one lifetime.

#2 Keto Oatmeal

Keto oatmeal is a more general name for the many oatmeal alternatives that keto enthusiasts have created. The best recipes feature true keto ingredients such as unsweetened shredded coconut, chia seeds, almond flour, and nuts. You can search online for ‘keto oatmeal recipes’; just be sure to double-check that the ingredients truly adhere to the keto diet. The good news is, the best recipes result in a high-protein and high-fat hot cereal for you to enjoy.

#3 Noatmeal

The clever term noatmeal was coined awhile back when keto started getting more mainstream. You can see you’re not the only one who didn’t want to give up their hot cereal!

Although noatmeal is often used interchangeably with the term keto oatmeal, when you search on it you’ll get slightly different recipes that are more closely aligned with oatmeal. One major benefit noatmeal has compared to regular oatmeal - besides being low carb - is that its common ingredients contain substantially more protein that regular oatmeal and often have as few as 5 grams of net carbs per serving.

See? This really is good news - you don’t have to give up a hot cereal breakfast when you go on a keto diet.


Ready To Find Your Favorite Oatmeal Alternative?

I know some of you love oatmeal and are unhappy about giving it up when you’re on keto.

I get it. For many of us, oatmeal is a warm treasure on a cold morning. You may have grown up on it, and have a lot of good memories of oatmeal as your childhood breakfast. After all, it’s called comfort food for a reason.

While you can’t stick with the kind you cherish and remain in keto fat-burning mode, now you have several alternatives to try.

Healthy, tasty and comforting alternatives that I predict you’ll love just as much as traditional oatmeal.

So give them a try and have the best of both worlds: a hot, nourishing breakfast that easily lets you stay completely keto adherent so you continue to burn fat and lose weight.

Get going - your new soon-to-be-favorite breakfast cereal awaits.

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