Here’s another one of those studies that produced an eye-rolling moment for me.  Actually, it wasn’t the study itself.  The study was fine, which is why I didn’t have a head-bang-on-desk moment.   It was the conclusion – which is the only part of a study many media health reporters read — that produced the eye-rolling.

Here’s part of the abstract:

OBJECTIVE:
The physicochemical properties of soluble oat fiber (β-glucan) affect viscosity-dependent mechanisms that influence satiety. The objective of this study was to compare the satiety impact of oatmeal with the most widely sold ready-to-eat breakfast cereal (RTEC) when either was consumed as a breakfast meal.

METHODS:
Forty-eight healthy individuals ≥18 years of age were enrolled in a randomized crossover trial. Following an overnight fast, subjects consumed either oatmeal or RTEC in random order at least a week apart. The breakfasts were isocaloric and contained 363 kcal (250 kcal cereal, 113 kcal milk). Visual analogue scales measuring appetite and satiety were completed before breakfast and throughout the morning. The content and physicochemical properties of oat β-glucan were determined. Appetite and satiety responses were analyzed by area under the curve (AUC).

So they compared people eating oatmeal to people eating ready-to-eat cereal.  Surprise!  The people who ate oatmeal reported feeling less hungry later in the day.  No kidding.  Ready-to-eat-cereal takes your blood sugar on a wilder roller-coaster ride than oatmeal.

Now here’s the study’s conclusion:

Oatmeal improves appetite control and increases satiety. The effects may be attributed to the viscosity and hydration properties of its β-glucan content.

Oatmeal improves appetite control?  Well, I can already picture the additional sales pitch on boxes of Quaker Oats, right there next to Can Help Reduce Cholesterol! Now they’ll be adding Improves Appetite Control!

Here’s the Science For Smart People question:  Compared to what?

Compared to ready-to-eat-cereal, oatmeal produced greater satiety.  But what if there had been a third group that ate eggs for breakfast?

I haven’t seen a study with a direct oatmeal-to-eggs comparison, but I did find an eggs-to-bagels comparison in my study files.  Here’s part of that abstract:

OBJECTIVE:
To test the hypotheses that among overweight and obese participants, a breakfast consisting of eggs, in comparison to an isocaloric equal-weight bagel-based breakfast, would induce greater satiety, reduce perceived cravings, and reduce subsequent short-term energy intake.

SUBJECTS:
Thirty women with BMI’s of at least 25 kg/M2 between the ages of 25 to 60 y were recruited to participate in a randomized crossover design study in an outpatient clinic setting.

DESIGN:
Following an overnight fast, subjects consumed either an egg or bagel-based breakfast followed by lunch 3.5 h later, in random order two weeks apart. Food intake was weighed at breakfast and lunch and recorded via dietary recall up to 36 h post breakfast. Satiety was assessed using the Fullness Questionnaire and the State-Trait Food Cravings Questionnaire, state version.

The results showed that the women who had eggs for breakfast ate smaller lunches than the bagel-eaters:  574 calories for lunch vs. 738.  They also reported feeling fuller, even though both breakfasts contained the same number of calories.

I’d like to see a head-to-head comparison with four heads:  eggs, bagels, oatmeal and ready-to-eat cereal.  I’d put my money on the eggs for the greatest satiety and appetite control.

But if someone conducted that study and the egg producers slapped a big Helps Reduce Appetite! label on their cartons, I bet somebody at the FDA would get very upset.

NOTE:  The Older Brother will be taking over the blog next week.  I’m giving a speech on Thursday and plan to spend the early part of the week rehearsing and putting the finishing touches on my slides.

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32 Responses to “Oatmeal For Appetite Control?”
  1. Don’t know what you are talking about this their study makes complete sense…just like smoking filtered cigarettes is more healthy than non-filtered cigarettes so in conclusion for optimal health you should smoke non-filtered cigarettes….

    Side note: Almost forgot to eat lunch today with my breakfast of beef jerky and hard-boiled egg I ate for breakfast as I ran out the door…

    That’s why I’ve been sucking down light beers to lose weight.

  2. lemoutongris says:

    ” I bet somebody at the FDA would get very upset.”

    You bet. I’ve been shelving the diabetes aisle (a.k.a cereals) during the past week, and I’ve seen all those cliché hearthealthywholegrain stereotypes. Apparently, when “studies” come from the government, they can be used over and over again. But don’t go and claim that walnuts are healthy, or else it will become medicine…

    I’m not kidding: http://www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/health-care/item/1906-walnuts-are-drugs-says-fda

    Let’s hoard walnuts and become drug kingpins.

    • scott says:

      So that’s how Paulie Walnuts got his name.

    • Dave says:

      I think the FDA’s wording is rather ridiculous. However, I tend to agree with the notion that packaged foods, even walnuts, should not make any health claims. This would just feed into the ‘magic bullet’ mentality that gets promoted by the likes of Dr Oz. Eating a ‘superfood’ like walnuts isn’t going to prevent heart disease if you’re otherwise consuming loads of sugary, processed carbs.

      I had a look at the cereal aisle yesterday. (It was almost like sending a former smoker into a tobacco shop.) Yes, there are plenty of packages that say ‘made with whole grains.’ But, none of them are claiming any kind of health benefit to that. Their lawyers know you have to let the consumer make that mental connection between ‘whole grains’ and ‘heart health.’

  3. Lori says:

    Newspapers have become largely a printout of press releases. Such a dying industry probably doesn’t attract very many bright young people.

  4. Gilana says:

    Not hungry in the mornings and never have been. When I was in grade school I would dutifully eat my cereal (or oatmeal) and by 9:30 I’d be feeling cranky and my stomach would be growling. But I was doing the right thing! Breakfast is the most important meal of the day! Now I’m happy not eating until at least noon, though lately I’ve been eating my first meal in the evenings.

    Same for me. When I ate cereal for breakfast, I’d be famished by noon. Now I often skip breakfast, and when noon rolls around, I’m ready to eat lunch but not famished. Now and then I’ll just go ahead and power through until dinner.

    • Walter Bushell says:

      Even with eggs the additional carbage society and my upbringing demanded for breakfast left me ravenous by 10AM. Then I noticed that I was not hungry in the morning if I didn’t eat breakfast.

      Since this was contrary to my structures, it took a long time to sink in and until I discovered Aktins I had no explanation.

      You want to be ravenously hungry by noon, try drinking a can of Slim-Fast for breakfast.

  5. Tom Welsh says:

    Apparently denial is a powerful tool of thought control. For a superb recent example, see http://www.dietdoctor.com/butter-better-vegetable-oils?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=butter-better-vegetable-oils.

    Whether you call it begging the question – “We know that saturated fat is bad for us, whatever anyone says or demonstrates” – or The Big Lie (tell people that fat is evil every day of their lives and, guess what, they come to believe it.

  6. Alyssa says:

    I used to eat oatmeal every day for breakfast. I love the stuff! However, I would always have to eat a second breakfast about an hour later because I would be so hungry it felt like my stomach was eating itself. I occasionally run into someone who says “I eat a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast every morning and it keeps me full for hours!” and I have a hard time believing them. Maybe some people do find it satiating? Who knows. It never worked for me.

    I’m sure some people do feel satisfied on oatmeal. I certainly wasn’t one of them.

    • Toni says:

      When I first replaced the sugary cereals of my youth with more “grown up” cereals (oatmeal, bran flakes, shredded hay) I absolutely found them to be more filling, and I could go longer before rummaging for more food. When I switched to skim milk some years later (misguided attempt to cut fat and lose weight; you know, what everyone is told to do), the difference became more negligible. I was back to foraging for sustenance at 10 am again. Now I eat an egg or two cooked in butter or bacon grease (if I’m hungry, some days I’m just not) and that keeps me full and happy til 1 or 2 pm at least.

      So, I figure it’s all relative – yes, they probably are less hungry than they were, if their former breakfast was even worse than oatmeal….

    • K2 says:

      Hi Tom and all,

      Alyssa, like you and others stated here, Years ago when an undergrad in college, I’d eat oatmeal in the morning because I was told it was a “stick-to-your-ribs” food that would keep you full and going all day long. I would have the worst gnawing, horrible hunger pains within a couple of hours. I thought surely something was wrong with me because I didn’t couldn’t feel good eating oatmeal.

      And like you, Tom, when I didn’t eat breakfast – which I haven’t for years now – I was and am fine. Wonderful, in fact. Back then, though, I didn’t have a clue about carbs, insulin (other than diabetics used it), and how they impact hunger and such.

      My grandmother – unfortunately, a diabetic for the years I knew her – told my mother that studying on an empty stomach before breakfast made you remember better. I think there might be something to that. Evolutionarily, if one was hungry and went hunting/gathering, they had to pay attention to how they found food, the direction they went, etc, so they could be successful next time, too. Maybe some little bits of old wives’ tales can be true.

      The best to you all. Enjoy the holidays. Good luck with your speech, Tom!

      K2

      Thank you. I’m looking forward to the speech and will put it on YouTube when I get back.

      • Alyssa says:

        That makes sense. I find that if I don’t eat breakfast I have a ton of energy and it’s very easy to concentrate on what I’m doing. As soon as I eat all I want to do is sit around doing nothing.

    • Firebird7478 says:

      I ate oatmeal, too, but would have eggs with it, so I didn’t have that hungry feel. A lot of bodybuilders cook eggs and mix it right into the oatmeal, or like I use to do, a scoop of protein powder with peanut butter.

      The thing that makes me laugh about oats is the claim that it fights cholesterol. If it does it must lose a lot of bouts because I use to eat a bowl every day and watched my cholesterol soar from 210 to 330.

    • Kristin says:

      Wow, all these people who wrestled with the healthy oatmeal breakfast. I actually rather miss the lovely long cooked pinhead oats I used to make and then put in raw nuts, dried fruit, maple syrup etc. It would be a 600+ calorie breakfast but I was chewing on my desk by 10am. I figured it was my fault for being so weak.

      Now I eat two pastured eggs poached in bacon fat or scrambled in butter and a couple slices of bacon or some sausage. It runs around 500 calories and I motor on until around 2pm which is perfect as my client is on the East coast (I’m on the West) and I can take a relaxed lunch break at that point and prep some serious veg and meat. I’m only eating two regular meals a day these days. I don’t miss my pinhead oats enough to go back to being hungry (and fatter.)

      Chewing on the desk is a good image. I remember that feeling.

  7. Serena says:

    If someone must have cereal, of course oatmeal is better than processed sugar bits. I was eating Frosted Wheat Squares for a while, and whoa did I get round.

  8. Galina L. says:

    I convinced my mom to eat eggs instead of oatmeal after measuring her blood sugar – it was 167 in one hour after the meal, she wanted to eat again in two hours after a such meal. Coffee with cream, sugar substitute and eggs or cheese and butter allowed her to be not hungry 5 hours after the meal.
    She resented at first the idea not to eat her favorite sourdough rye bread with eggs – it was almost morally wrong from her point of view, not to dilute meat/eggs with some carbs.
    I guess people who are not hungry for hours after the eating an oatmeal do not have high blood sugar levels after eating it.

    I bookmarked the article http://thatpaleoguy.com/2011/10/10/neolithic-equids-why-the-long-face/ by the Paleo Guy where he blogged about health problem in horses caused by eating grains, including oats. His friend sent him the article from “Mid-Atlantic Horse” about the subject.

    “How do you give a horse digestive and metabolic disorders?

    Step One: Feed it lots of grains (including oats) and sugar

    Step Two: There is no step two”.

    Apparently, horses can’t be blamed for setting too much yet.

    • Cindy C says:

      That is comparable with some people, who, perhaps like those horses have genetic mutations,and cannot burn glucose from their muscles,but can burn fat, leading to Fibromyalgia symptoms. I keep my muscle pains low only going very low carb/moderate protein/high fat.

  9. Becky says:

    That link about walnuts being a drug is giving me high blood pressure and heartburn as I write.

    Eat some walnuts and you’ll be fine.

  10. Howard says:

    You aren’t ever going to see an oatmeal-to-eggs comparison published in any major journal.

    Back when I first started on a low-carb diet, I read LOTS of studies. Up until I discovered there was only one significant variable in all of them: http://nequals1health.com/significant-variable-nutritional-study/

    I went back looking for my favorite example of that (where the “researchers” removed sugar from the diet, and concluded from the health improvements that animal protein was bad for diabetics), but it appears to have been scrubbed from the web. I wish now I had printed it out.

    Perhaps the wayback machine could retrieve it?

  11. Don in Arkansas says:

    When I was little I had to eat my oatmeal before my mother would put a splash of coffee in my milk. I swore that if I ever got old enough to drink coffee without eating oatmeal I would never eat it again. I did, and I don’t. Kept that promise!

    She bribed you with coffee?

  12. Cindy C says:

    On this site, it talks about that red meat, bacteria, and carnitine. He is not ready to give up his red meat.

    http://humanfoodproject.com/from-meat-to-microbes-to-main-street-is-it-time-to-trade-in-your-george-foreman-grill/

    • Justin B says:

      I agree with the sentiment to trade in your Foreman grill. Wasn’t its big claim to fame that it drains the fat off? Who wants that??

      Not me.

  13. Rolled oats are practically the only grain I eat these days, and I find them very satiating. Here is my recipe;
    partly cook one chopped onion in 2 tablespoons of butter, ghee or dripping. Add sage and salt and a couple of rashers of finely chopped bacon; stir in one heaped tablespoon of rolled oats.
    Stuff inside 1 large chicken and roast at 180C till done. Eat with greens, and some roast potatoes for the kids.

    Guaranteed to reduce the appetite.

  14. Kathy from Maine says:

    I have to share this with you. I went to a special cooking class once that was held in the home of the chef. We chatted, of course, while she was showing us how to prepare the food, and someone asked her how she stayed so thin (huh? She was about 5’2″ and must have weighed close to 180 pounds) eating all the delicious foods.

    She said that her doctor told her and her husband to eat oatmeal every morning because the oatmeal coats the throat and absorbs all the fat you eat for the rest of the day so you don’t get fat.

    No joke.

    What’s even funnier is that all the ladies (all women I work with and who know I eat low-carb and high fat) turned to me as if on cue to see if that was a true statement or not, and I just mouthed “Noooooooo.”

    :-)

    Oatmeal coats the throat and absorbs the fat? And then it goes where? That belongs in a silly-theory hall of fame.

    • Walter Bushell says:

      The oatmeal absorbing the fat and passing through and not releasing the fat would be a horrid thing, if it worked. Thankfully it doesn’t. Wasn’t that the idea behind oilystain®? You know that fake oil that passes right through and makes you carry an spare pair of pants or two and soaks up the fat soluble vitamins?

      Ray Romano on Olestra chips:

      “It says on the package ‘may cause anal leakage.’ So I’m wondering, how good are these chips? They’d better be pretty damned good if I have to change my underwear afterwards.”

  15. Tracey says:

    I noticed an ‘eggs for breakfast’ campaign on TV this morning, basic premise being you can cook eggs in the time it takes for your toast to pop and it’s a far better start to the day than cereal – and just as quick.

    http://www.eggs.org.nz/news-events/eggs-toast-challenge.html

    The tide appears to be (slowly) turning, certainly here in Noo Zillund.

    Love the oatmeal coats the throat and absorbs fat theory tho, must bring that up in my physiology class :)

    If a campaign like that runs in the U.S., the Guy From CSPI and half of the media will be screaming about the egg producers trying to kill people.

    • Alyssa says:

      I’ve only seen 2 ads on TV lately from egg producers. One from here in Canada called “Get Cracking”, which is just an eat eggs for breakfast kind of ad. The other is an ad from down in the states for some kind of eggs that they’ve managed to produce with something like 25% less cholesterol.

      Remind me to avoid those eggs.

  16. scott says:

    Shredded wheat spikes your blood sugar worse that capn’ crunch, so it’s so obvious they need to start putting help control your appetite on all boxes of capn’ crunch a.s.a.p.

    By their logic, yes.

  17. Catherine says:

    I currently attend a well-known slimming club here in the UK (I know, I know!), and I am pleased to say that they have fulfilled all my expectations in respect of well-worn nonsense. “We often mistake thirst for hunger” is one of my favourites. I’ve never confused the two, actually, and I feel that would be true for most people. It’s just another stick to beat slimmers with, implying that instead of eating a decent meal or snack, they should just have a nice diet drink instead, not be a greedy pig. I am still at a loss as to how 30g of any cereal, even oats, could satisfy anyone’s hunger at breakfast time – it’s a minute serving, yet it’s the amount recommended, with skimmed or semi-skimmed milk, of course! No sugar/sweetener, because you have to suffer to be slimmer, so you have to endure the cardboard taste. I say no! Give me eggs any day of the week. I never feel hungry before lunchtime if I have eggs for my breakfast, and they’re even better with some bacon, or ham. Interestingly, on my slimming club plan, eggs are a “free” food….

    Well, at least they got one thing right.

  18. Ulfric Douglas says:

    A few years ago I tried eating oatmeal with yoghurt for breakfast, and tasty it was, but it never, ever filled me up and I was hungry quickly afterwards. Worse than having no breakfast at all.
    Now of course I eat bacon & eggs if I do want breakfast.
    I can eat oatmeal if I want to but it just seems less good for me than nothing at all, you know what I mean? : from the point of view of not wanting to get a fat gut, not wanting to feel hungry, not wanting a tight chest, not wanting grumpy mood swings. I’m sure the list is longer but I forget …

  19. Abbie Williams says:

    This makes so much sense! When my doctor put me on a med with a side effect of suppressed appetite, I started eating homemade granola in the mornings so I would be hungry enough by lunch time to eat.

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