Oatmeal properties and health benefits. The consumption of vegetable drinks grows every year and that of oatmeal is becoming popular as one of the healthiest versions. Discover the properties of this cereal and if its liquid version brings us some benefit.
Just take a look at social networks to realize that oatmeal are on the rise, both in serious profiles dedicated to the promotion of health, as well as in doubtful accounts that exhibit it as a panacea for weight loss. We found pictures of porridges for breakfast (the porridge of a lifetime, but with a more trendy name ), substitutes for cookies made with oatmeal, or recipes to make your own oatmeal drink at home.
But what does science tell us? Does incorporating oats into the diet have any benefits? The impact of oat intake on several health-related parameters has been studied, and scientific evidence shows that positive effects can be obtained on the control of some factors related to cardiovascular risk and diabetes .
These interesting properties are mainly due to the presence in the oats of a soluble dietary fiber , beta-glucan , which is mainly found in the bran (outermost layer of the grain) and in the endosperm of the germ (internal part that contains the embryo of the seed).
Thus, there have been several recent reviews of the scientific literature that support the efficacy of oats to reduce cardiovascular risk factors such as total cholesterol levels and LDL-cholesterol , published in scientific journals such as the British Journal of Nutrition (and another in the same magazine in 2016 ) or the AJCN .
In addition, it also has desirable effects on glycemic control and insulin sensitivity in a healthy population , but also in patients with type 2 diabetes and in overweight people .
The sum of these effects is considered to have beneficial effects on diseases associated with obesity , such as metabolic syndrome , but there is no evidence that it alone helps to lose weight (so, as always, let’s run away from dietary proposals little rigorous launched by gurus and influencers ).
Health Benefits of eating foods with beta-glucan
Based on this evidence, the European Commission allows food containing a specific amount of beta-glucan may take the following claims health claims :
- “Beta-glucans contribute to the maintenance of normal blood cholesterol levels”: only in foods containing at least one gram of beta-glucans from oats, oat bran, barley, barley bran, per serving. or a mixture of these products. It should be noted that the benefit is obtained by consuming at least 3g daily of beta-glucan.
- “The consumption of oats or barley beta-glucans as part of an intake contributes to the reduction of blood glucose rise after that intake”: it can be indicated in foods containing at least four grams of oat beta-glucans or barley for every 30 grams of carbohydrates.
- “Oat beta-glucans have been shown to reduce plasma cholesterol. The high cholesterolis a risk factor in the development of coronary heart disease “can be used for foods containing at least one gram beta-glucan per serving, and should be mentioned that the benefit is obtained with a daily intake of three grams of oat beta-glucan.
However, the benefits of beta-glucan are achieved by consuming it as part of oats, but we do not achieve the same if we ingest it as a supplement or extract . In that case, the reduction in plasma cholesterol levels is not significant, possibly due to changes that occur in this fiber during the extraction process .
A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (which is considered high quality research) found that the positive effects on carbohydrate metabolism (fasting glucose control and insulin concentration) that did occur when ingesting oats, did not appear with the consumption of beta-glucan extracts.
Once again it becomes clear that we cannot see food as a sum of nutrients, but that they are much more than that and that the interaction of the compounds in the food matrix determines the health benefits it provides.