Since oatmeal is a fiber-rich food, it makes an excellent addition to any weight-loss meal plan. A 2009 review published in “Nutrition Reviews” reports that a high fiber intake reduces your risk for obesity and can enhance weight loss. However, eating oatmeal only works for weight loss when eaten in recommended amounts and as part of a reduced-calorie meal plan.
To effectively lose pounds when eating oatmeal, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises reducing your current energy intake by 500 to 1,000 calories daily. This type of calorie reduction often leads to a weight-loss rate of 1 to 2 pounds weekly. Often, adults need about 1,200 to 1,600 calories daily to effectively lose weight, notes the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. If you’re losing more than 2 pounds weekly, slightly increase your calorie intake unless supervised by a doctor.
Eat Recommended Portions
The amount of foods from the grains group, including oatmeal, you should eat daily depends on your weight-loss calorie needs. A 1-ounce equivalent from the grains group equals one slice of bread, 1 cup of ready-to-eat cereal or one-half cup of cooked rice, pasta or oatmeal. If you’re eating 1,200 calories a day, which is more appropriate for women than men, aim for 4 ounces from the grains group each day -- and if you’re eating 1,400 to 1,600 calories a day, eat 5 ounces from the grains group daily, suggests the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010.
Though the fiber in oatmeal does help boost satiety, protein increases satiety more than the other macronutrients, notes a 2008 review published in “The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.” Authors of this review point out that protein also helps your body burn extra calories, which is beneficial when you’re trying to lose weight. To boost the protein content of your oatmeal, add protein-rich sliced almonds to the oatmeal, prepare it using low-fat milk or soy milk or eat egg whites, reduced-fat cheese, tofu or low-fat yogurt with your oatmeal.
Because it’s rich in complex carbohydrates, oatmeal is an excellent pre- or post-workout meal or snack. Regular exercise -- especially cardiovascular exercise -- burns extra calories, which helps enhance weight loss and keeps the weight off long term. A 2009 review published in “The Ochsner Journal” recommends that overweight and obese individuals participate in 45 to 60 minutes of exercise five to seven days weekly to effectively shed pounds.