Oatmeal Diet: How to Stick to the Program and Lose More Weight

The Oatmeal Diet involves replacing one or two meals a day with oatmeal.oatmeal-diet

This is good since oatmeal has a number of health benefits including

  • healthy weight management
  • reducing cholesterol
  • and potentially lowering the risk of certain types of cancer.

Some have taken this further by eating nothing but oatmeal. This approach is a tad extreme, but most people follow the version listed below.

Oatmeal Diet Basics

One method of doing the oatmeal diet involves varying the amount of oatmeal eaten over three phases.

Phase One

  • Dieters eat nothing but oatmeal for the first week.
  • You can eat ½ cup of oatmeal for each meal, which may be combined with a ½ cup of skim milk if desired.
  • Only whole oatmeal is allowed, not instant oatmeal.
  • Instant oatmeal and granola bars should be avoided for the first seven days.
  • Calorie consumption for the first seven days should be between 900-1200 calories per day.

Phase Two

  • For the next 30 days, dieters continue having ½ cup of oatmeal three times a day in addition to their regular diet.
  • Instant oatmeal is now permitted.
  • Calories may now be increased slightly to 1000-1300 per day.
  • A morning snack of a ½ cup of fruit and an afternoon snack of ½ cup raw vegetables are allowed.

Phase Three

  • After 30 days you may begin to eat your normal diet while continuing with one meal and one snack of oatmeal daily.
  • Dieters are advised to limit their intake of fats when returning to normal eating.

The biggest challenge to eating oatmeal (also known as porridge in the UK) is how to keep adding things to prevent monotony and blandness. See some ideas here.

Oatmeal Diet Alternatives

  1. Medifast– Uses meal replacements like oatmeal and shakes to promote weight loss.
  2. Special K Diet– Replaces 2 meals a day with Special K Cereal.
  3. Cooking with Oats: Oat Bran, Oatmeal, and More

Recommended Foods

Oatmeal, skim milk, berries, bananas, apples, oranges, grapes, carrots, red pepper, celery, lettuce, spinach, chicken breast, fish, coffee, tea, club soda, sugar-free pudding.

6-Day Oatmeal Diet Meal Plan

Feel free to make substitutions to suit your various preferences and tastes. Just make sure the calorie amounts stay about the same.

Day 1

Breakfast½ cup oatmeal
½ cup skim milk
1 tablespoon raisins
½ teaspoon cinnamon
coffee or tea
Morning Snack½ cup blueberries
Lunch½ cup oatmeal
1/2 cup low fat yogurt
1 banana
Afternoon Snack½ cup raw vegetable sticks
Dinner4 oz grilled chicken breast
Large green salad
½ cup oatmeal
Evening SnackSugar-free pudding

Day 2

Breakfast½ cup oatmeal
½ cup skim milk
1 tablespoon raisins
½ teaspoon cinnamon
coffee or tea
Morning Snack½ cup blueberries
Lunch½ cup oatmeal
1/2 cup low fat yogurt
1 banana
Afternoon Snack½ cup raw vegetable sticks
Dinner4 oz grilled chicken breast
Large green salad
½ cup oatmeal
Evening SnackSugar-free pudding

Day 3

Breakfast½ cup oatmeal
½ cup skim milk or milk substitute
1 tablespoon dried cranberries
½ teaspoon cinnamon
coffee or tea
Morning Snack1 Medium Apple
Lunch½ cup oatmeal
1/2 cup low fat yogurt
1 cup strawberries
Afternoon SnackHandful of almonds
Dinner4 oz broiled fish fillet
1 cup broccoli
1 cup wild rice pilaf
Evening Snack1 cup celery sticks

Day 4

Breakfast½ cup oatmeal
½ cup skim milk or milk substitute
1 banana
½ teaspoon vanilla
coffee or tea
Morning Snack2 small kiwi fruit
Lunch½ cup oatmeal
½ cup skim milk or milk substitute
1/4 cup walnuts
1 tsp cinnamon
Afternoon Snack1 apple
Dinner4 oz lean turkey burger
1 whole wheat bun
1 cup baked zucchini fries
Evening Snack1 cup sugar-free jello

Day 5

Breakfast½ cup oatmeal
½ cup non-fat Greek yogurt
1 cup blueberries
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
coffee or tea
Morning SnackA handful of almonds
Lunch½ cup oatmeal
½ cup skim milk or milk substitute
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 tsp. cinnamon
Afternoon Snack1 banana
Dinner4 oz lean sirloin steak
3 cups garden salad
2 Tbsp lite salad dressing
Evening Snack1 orange

Day 6

Breakfast½ cup oatmeal
½ cup skim milk or milk substitute
½ cup raisins
½ cup dried plums
coffee or tea
Morning Snack1 apple
Lunch½ cup oatmeal
½ cup vanilla nonfat yogurt
1/4 cup walnuts
Afternoon Snack1 Tbsp. peanut butter
4 celery sticks
DinnerOne can light chicken soup
2 cups mixed vegetables
Evening Snack1/2 cup sugar-free pudding

Exercise Recommendations

30 minutes of exercise is recommended on 3-5 days of the week.

Costs and Expenses

The only cost for this diet is for groceries, which will probably be even less than usual because oatmeal is very inexpensive.

There are also a few, more comprehensive books written on the oatmeal diet. Here’s one that retails for $9.99.

Pros

  • Oatmeal is high in soluble fiber, which helps to promote a feeling of fullness after meals.
  • A diet high in oatmeal can reduce the ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol without affecting the ‘good’ HDL cholesterol and has been demonstrated to be as effective as cholesterol lowering medication.
  • Oatmeal is a good source of low glycemic carbohydrates and can help to promote stable blood sugar levels.
  • Oats contain phytonutrients called lignans, which are beneficial for heart health.
  • Oats are very inexpensive.

Cons

  • Calorie intakes are below that recommended for safe and healthy weight loss.
  • Lack of variety in the diet will limit the ability to obtain adequate nutrition.
  • The oatmeal diet involves a dramatic change in normal eating patterns, especially for the first week, which has the potential to trigger yo-yo dieting for some people.

The First 7 Days May be Difficult

Any diet that is based on a single food while excluding other healthy foods can be regarded as a fad diet that will not be supportive of the health of the dieter. It is not recommended to follow the first seven days of the version of the diet where oatmeal is the only food permitted.

However, the oatmeal diet is based on a nutritious food that can help to reduce appetite, which makes it a good source of carbohydrates for a weight loss diet. If weight loss is to be maintained over the long term it will also be necessary to pay attention to other aspects of nutrition and lifestyle.

Adding Oatmeal to Your Diet

  1. 1
    Go shopping for supplies before you start the diet. Before you embark on the oatmeal diet, you should make a shopping list of ingredients you will need to start your diet.[3]

    • Go for steel cut oats, rather than rolled or instant oats. Though they will take longer to cook than rolled or instant oats, steel cut oats have a creamy texture that will make your bowls of oatmeal taste delicious and filling. Instant oat packages often have added sugar, so avoid these if possible.[4]
    • Choose skim milk over whole milk. Skim milk will provide more creaminess for the oatmeal without adding too much fat. The milk will also help you maintain a healthy calcium level throughout the diet. You can also substitute the milk with egg whites and butter.
    • Buy fruits and green vegetables to put into the oatmeal. These could be berries, such as strawberries, blueberries, or blackberries, and green vegetables like kale, broccoli, and spinach.
    2
    Start with plain oatmeal in milk or with egg whites. For the first week of the diet, you should prepare basic oatmeal in skim milk or with egg whites and butter. The egg whites will ensure you get enough protein with your oatmeal.[5]

    • To prepare oatmeal in skim milk with steel cut oats, boil 1 cup skim milk and add ¼ cup oats. If you’re using rolled oats, boil 1 cup milk and add ½ cup oats. Let the oats cook for 20-30 minutes on simmer, stirring them occasionally. The longer the oats cook, the softer they will be.[6]
    • To prepare oatmeal with egg whites and butter, boil 1 cup water and add ¼ cup steel cut oats or ½ cup rolled oats. Let the oats cook for 1 hour and then add 250 grams of butter and 100 grams of egg whites once the oatmeal is done cooking. You can also add a dash of salt.
    3
    Add fruit to the oatmeal in the morning and green vegetables at night. After one week of oatmeal with milk or egg whites, you can add fruit and vegetables to your oatmeal.[7]

    • Add ¼ cup of berries like blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries to your oatmeal in the morning to break up the monotony of plain oatmeal and to give your body some much needed natural sugars and fiber.
    • You can then add ½ cup of steamed vegetables, like kale, spinach, or broccoli, to your oatmeal at night. This will provide nutrients, vitamins, and minerals, and give you some variety for your dinner meal.
    4
    Balance your oatmeal consumption with other healthy meals. Though the oatmeal diet is designed to ensure you have enough fiber, protein, and nutrients to subsist on for one to three weeks, you may want to also include other healthy meals in your diet. Use a Calculate-Calories-per-Day|daily calorie intake, based on your age, weight, and physical activity level, to ensure you do not overeat or waste your calories on empty calorie meals.

    • To ensure your body is getting enough nutrients, you may decide to eat oatmeal with fruit in the morning and then have a healthy lunch that consists of a protein (animal based, like chicken or fish, or plant based, like tofu), a grain (quinoa, brown rice), and leafy green vegetables. You could then finish your day with a dinner of oatmeal with vegetables.
    5
    Return to your normal diet gradually. Once you feel the oatmeal diet has been beneficial, usually about two to three weeks from the start date, you can start to gradually return to your normal diet. Avoid diving right back into your normal diet, as this can lead to an increase in your blood sugar levels and can be harmful to your health, especially if you are diabetic.[8]

    • Cut out one oatmeal meal and replace it with one cup of broth, accompanied by steamed vegetables. The following day, replace one oatmeal meal with 1/2 cup of cooked chicken or beef and a small salad made of lettuce or spinach.
    • Continue to replace one oatmeal meal with a 1/2 cup of solid foods like chicken, beef, potatoes, and one slice of bread for one week.
    • After one week, you can reduce the oatmeal meal to once a day or once every other day.
    6
    Have one serving of oatmeal a day once the diet is done. Though you may be tired of oatmeal by the time you finish the oatmeal diet, you should try to still incorporate oatmeal into your daily breakfast meal. Starting your day with oatmeal and fruit, sweetened with honey, can provide enough fiber to get you through the morning. Oatmeal will also prevent you from getting hungry until it’s time for lunch.[9]
Part 2

Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle

  1. 1
    Exercise at least two-three times a week. To maintain a healthy lifestyle during the oatmeal diet, you should try to do at least 30 minutes of exercise two-three times a week. This could be 30 minutes of walking or jogging, or a weekly exercise class.

    • Doing weekly exercise will ensure you will lose weight in a healthy and sustainable way while on the oatmeal diet.
    2
    Drink lots of water. It is not recommended that you drink juice, soda, or alcohol during the oatmeal diet. Instead, you should focus on drinking at least one to two cups of water after you exercise and one to two cups of water during each meal and between each meal.[10]

    • Drinking water will help your body stay hydrated and ensure you are expelling any waste or toxins out of your body.
    3
    Consider stopping the diet if you feel weak, have low energy, or other health issues. If you feel weak or fatigued at any time during the oatmeal diet, you may not be getting enough nutrients and protein in your diet. You may decide to add more protein or nutrient rich meal to your diet or to add more vegetables or fruits to your oatmeal.

    • If you have any health issues and are concerned about your health while on the oatmeal diet, you should consider stopping the diet and talking to your doctor. Your doctor can then determine if it is medically safe for you to continue on the oatmeal diet.
Part 3

Understanding the Benefits of the Oatmeal Diet

  1. 1
    Be aware of how the oatmeal diet works. The oatmeal diet was originally developed by Dr. Carl von Noorden as a way to treat certain cases of diabetes. In von Noodren’s version of the diet, the patient consumes 250 grams of oatmeal, 250-300 grams of butter and 100 grams of a vegetable albumin, which is protein derived from plants, or six to eight egg whites. The patient cooks the oatmeal with water for two hours and then stirs in the butter and egg whites when the oatmeal is done. This diet is followed for one to two weeks and then the patient is allowed to return to their normal diet gradually.[11] In a clinical trial, the use of the oatmeal diet was shown to reduce the symptoms of diabetes and it is still used today to treat diabetic patients with a severe resistance to insulin.[12]

    • The modern oatmeal diet consists of three phases, where you start with plain oatmeal in skim milk for one week. In the second phase, you can add fruit to the oatmeal in the morning and vegetables to the oatmeal in the afternoon. In the third and final phase, you can gradually return to your normal diet.[13]
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    2
    Understand the health benefits of oatmeal. The oatmeal diet is structured around the known health benefits of oatmeal, which include:[14][15]

    • Lower cholesterol levels
    • Reduced blood pressure levels
    • Boosting your immune system to fight off bacteria, fungi, viruses, and parasites
    • Helping your body to remove waste
    • A reduced risk of type 2 diabetes
    • An improved sensitivity to insulin
    • An increase in appetite-control hormones
    3
    Talk to your doctor if you have existing health issues or eating issues. While oatmeal is known as a healthy food option, the oatmeal diet is often only done by diabetics who are trying to improve their insulin levels. However, if you would like to use the oatmeal diet to lose weight, you should make sure you are having other healthy meals along with oatmeal and that you are maintaining a healthy lifestyle. This will ensure your body is reaping the benefits of oatmeal and will not put you at risk of other health issues while on the oatmeal diet.

    • If you have existing health issues, you should speak to your doctor before you try the oatmeal diet. This will ensure you are not putting your body in any danger by going on the diet. As well, if you have any past eating or dieting issues, you should talk to your doctor to make sure you are doing the oatmeal diet properly and safely.