You may be more used to seeing oatmeal in your breakfast bowl than in a tall glass, but blending it up with fruits and other ingredients can make a shake that's both tasty and healthy. As part of a low-calorie eating plan, oatmeal drinks can help you lose weight, but they can't do that work on their own.
Weight Loss Pros
Oat drinks aren't an automatic ticket to getting skinnier, but oats do have positive nutritional properties that are associated with healthfully losing weight. For instance, they're high in both fiber and protein, satiating nutrients that can fill you up on few total calories. Oats are also able to absorb fats, a property that makes them beneficial for heart health as well as steady weight loss.
If you're making an oat drink at home, you can use the nutrition facts labels on each item to calculate the total calories and nutrient amounts in the shake, which can be useful if you're sticking to a certain calorie limit every day. Buying a prepared oat drink makes finding nutrition information even easier. In a 1-cup serving of a homemade drink made with oats, water, milk, ice, sugar and cinnamon, there are about 125 calories, 2 grams of fat and 7 grams of protein. An oat protein shake powdered mix has about 200 calories, 1.5 grams of fat and 24 grams of protein in a 50-gram scoop.
At least one scientific trial has determined that including oats in your diet can help prevent obesity. In 2013, the journal "Plant Foods for Human Nutrition" published research from Taiwanese scientists concluding that overweight subjects who added oats to their diet daily for 12 weeks lost weight and developed better body compositions and better waist-to-hip ratios than they had when beginning the study. The participants took oats as a dietary supplement in cereal form, however, so it's unknown whether an oatmeal drink would produce the same results.
Since cutting calories is a key component of weight loss, using oatmeal drinks as meal replacements can help you reduce the total number of calories you consume in a day. For the strategy to work, your oat drink must contain fewer calories than the meal you're replacing, so use moderate portion sizes or replace your largest meal of the day. Keep the meal replacement drink healthy by limiting or omitting added sugar and using nutrient-rich but low-calorie ingredients like banana chunks, fresh or frozen berries and nonfat Greek yogurt.
Adding oat drinks to your diet and changing nothing else about your lifestyle is unlikely to help you lose weight. To steadily slim down, you need to eat fewer calories than you expend and keep up that eating pattern on a consistent basis. Regular exercise will also help you burn off more calories. Before you begin using oat drinks as a weight-loss aid or regular meal replacement, see your doctor or a registered dietitian to discuss your plan for losing weight.
- Nutrition: Dietary Fiber and Body Weight
- American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: Protein, Weight Management and Satiety
- Forbes: 5 Foods That Help Shed Pounds
- Plant Foods for Human Nutrition: Oat Prevents Obesity and Abdominal Fat Distribution, and Improves Liver Function in Humans
- SkinnyTaste.com: Avena Healthy Oatmeal Shake
- MyPlate: Optimum Nutrition 100% Natural Oats and Whey Oatmeal Protein Shake