You need at least some carbohydrates for energy, even when you're trying to lose weight. The trick is to pick the right carbohydrate sources, including those that are the most filling and provide significant amounts of essential nutrients without containing a lot of calories per serving. Both oatmeal and whole-wheat bread are better options than white bread for weight and fat loss.
A 3/4-cup serving of plain oatmeal prepared with water has about 124 calories. Each slice of whole-wheat bread contains about 81 calories, and a slice of white bread contains about 74 calories. As long as you stick to just one slice of bread, it is the lower-calorie carbohydrate choice.
Choosing foods higher in fiber may help you lose weight because these foods are bulky and slow the emptying of your stomach. This helps you feel full for longer so you eat less throughout the day. Fiber-rich foods may also cause you to absorb fewer calories from the fat, protein and carbohydrates you eat, according to an article published in "Nutrition" in March 2005. A serving of oatmeal will give you the most fiber, with 3 grams, or 12 percent of the daily value. A slice of whole-wheat bread has about 1.9 grams of fiber, but white bread only has about 0.8 gram per slice, making it a poor choice for weight-loss purposes.
Energy Density and Satiety
Foods lower in energy density, or calories per gram, tend to be good for weight and fat loss. These foods fill you up with fewer calories, making it easier to create the calorie deficit you need to lose weight. Oatmeal has a lower energy density than bread, with 0.7 calorie per gram compared to 2.5 for whole-wheat bread and 2.6 for white bread. A study published in the "European Journal of Clinical Nutrition" in 1995 found that oatmeal really is more filling than bread. This study created a satiety index on which oatmeal made with milk had a score of 209, compared to a score of 100 for white bread and 157 for whole-grain bread.
Neither oatmeal nor bread will cause fat loss on its own. For each pound of weight loss, you need to create a 3,500-calorie deficit by eating less, exercising more or a combination. Exercise is particularly important if you want most of the weight you lose to come from fat. Unless you participate in strength training, about 25 percent of each pound you lose will come from muscle instead of fat, according to the American Council on Exercise.
- Health-Alicious-Ness.com: Nutrition Facts Comparison Tool
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Low-Energy-Dense Foods and Weight Management: Cutting Calories While Controlling Hunger
- Nutrition: Dietary Fiber and Body Weight
- European Journal of Clinical Nutrition: A Satiety Index of Common Foods
- American Council on Exercise: What Are the Guidelines for Percentage of Body Fat Loss?