Label Madness Monday: Oatmeal

It’s been a piece since I posted a “proper” label takedown, thus here’s my endeavour at reclaiming my onetime glory. Today’s topic: oatmeal. I alluded to this inwards the post service almost granola, but oats lead keep fallen victim to the same nutrient processing together with sweetening madness that lead keep transformed other simple, nutritious, together with wholesome whole foods into desserts thus laden amongst refined saccharify together with vegetable oil that you lot wouldn’t fifty-fifty eat them for dessert, allow lone breakfast. In their whole, unrefined state, oats are a decent refined saccharify rootage inwards the grain family. They lead keep a fair chip of fiber together with a non distressing amount of vitamins together with minerals. (Animal foods—such equally liver—pack a much bigger nutritional bang for your buck, but if you’re inclined to eat grains together with your private refined saccharify tolerance allows for them, you lot could produce a lot worse than old fashioned oats.) But let’s run across what sort of wellness havoc happens when nutrient processors larn their hands on this humble traditional staple nutrient of Republic of Ireland together with Scotland.

Here are ii products, for the sake of comparison. We lead keep your basic, quick-cooking oats, together with Quaker Real Medleys™ Apple Walnut Oatmeal +™. (We’ll run across what the “plus” is for inwards a bit.) 

It's been a long fourth dimension since I've eaten oats, but when I had them directly together with then, I much preferred steel-cut. I similar the texture together with nutty flavour amend than regular old-fashioned together with much better than quick cooking. But that’s neither hither nor there. Let’s stick to the data. Just travel along inwards hear that this apple tree walnut diversity is 1 of several super-convenient ones Quaker offers (others lead keep peaches or berries), non to advert the eye-popping pose out of other versions available these days from other brands: maple & chocolate-brown sugar; peaches & cream; cinnamon roll; banana bread; chocolate—and lots of others that are designed to construct you lot forget you’re eating oatmeal. (Even though, inwards my humble opinion, plainly oatmeal amongst absolutely zip on it is pretty decent tasting together with I run across no argue to enshroud the taste.) My betoken is, what I say hither almost this 1 would probable employ to whatever together with all of those other sugar-fied flavors.

Okay, showtime let’s compare the ingredients.

Oatmeal 1: Whole grain rolled oats. (One ingredient.)

Oatmeal 2: Yowza! It’s difficult to determine how many ingredients are inwards this one. Should nosotros count “sugar” equally exactly one, or count it equally three, for the 3 carve upwards times it’s mentioned, plus chocolate-brown sugar, plus fructose. (I justice this is the “+” they’re talking about.) Of course, that doesn’t include the natural sugars inwards the “sweetened apples,” the “dehydrated apples,” or the “dried sweetened cranberries.” Um, apples are pretty sweetness on their own. I’m non quite certain why Quaker felt the bespeak to add together to a greater extent than sugar. And this isn’t exactly oatmeal, folks. It’s wheatmeal, barleymeal, together with ryemeal. Four grains! They managed to cram four dissimilar kinds of grains together with 3 kinds of added refined saccharify into this itty bitty 75-gram container.

Now let’s lead keep a gander at the macronutrients on these bad boys.

Oats are relatively high inwards carbohydrates, thus I’m non expecting the quick-cooking oats (on the left) to live low-carb. For a 40g serving, we’ve got 27g of full carbs, amongst 4g of fiber together with exactly 1g of naturally occurring sugar. Influenza A virus subtype H5N1 niggling chip of protein, together with a tiny chip of fat. No large deal; I can’t imagine many people plough to oats as a principal rootage of poly peptide or fat.

What almost the Real Medleys™? (On the right.) The serving size hither is 75g, thus we’ve got to degree the mathematical playing land earlier nosotros tin produce a proper comparison. The showtime thing to realize is that this isn’t 75g of oats. It’s 75g of oats, addition the sugar, wheat, barley, rye, dried fruit, walnuts, together with flavorings. But all nosotros tin genuinely produce is compare it to 75g of straight-up oats. Based on the nutrition label for the 1 here, 75g of plainly oats would larn us 281 full calories, compared to 290 for the sweetened stuff. Not also large a difference—the whacked-out dessert version has exactly nine to a greater extent than calories. For full carbs, 75g of plainly oats would give us 50.6g of carbs. Not also far off from the 53g inwards the sweetness version. I lead keep to admit, that surprised me. I expected a bigger difference. But I didn’t lead keep to hold off long to lead keep that expectation met. Look at the sugar numbers. The plainly oatmeal has exactly 1g of refined saccharify for a 40g serving. At that rate, 75g of plainly oatmeal would cyberspace us 1.875g of sugar. Compare that to the 22g of refined saccharify inwards the candy sweetened 1 here, together with that, my friends, is the “plus.”

I would live remiss if I didn’t acknowledge that all the carbohydrates inwards both of these oatmeals—yes, fifty-fifty the plainly one—will eventually live digested downward to “sugar” (i.e. glucose). What I’m trying to emphasize hither is the added refined saccharify coming from the sugar, chocolate-brown sugar, fructose, together with dried fruit. If you lot were to eat an equivalent amount of the plainly oats, minus the copious sweetening agents, your torso genuinely would have to digest those oats downward into uncomplicated sugar. When you lot swallow the straight-up sugar, the digestion is done for you, thus it tin hitting your bloodstream that much faster.

Gram for gram, the plainly oats win out on protein. At an equivalent 75g serving, they'd yield around 9.4g protein, which beats the 6g inwards the mucked upwards version.

The best thing the Real Medleys™ has going for it is the extra fatty -- 8g compared to 3g for the plain. (For equivalent 75g servings, the plainly oats would lead keep 5.6g fat, thus the sweetened stuff however has more.) Im guessing it comes from the walnuts, together with that's a expert thing. One positive angle for this production that is otherwise a refined saccharify stupor wasteland.  

Now you lot know nosotros lead keep to aspect at the prices, too, together with this is where things genuinely larn outrageous. 

When they’re non on sale, the plainly oats (on the right) are 11.9 cents an ounce. That’s $1.90 per pound. At the sale toll of 2 for $5, they’re 6 cents an ounce. That’s 96 cents per pound. 96 cents!! Less than a dollar a pound!

How almost the other stuff? (On the left.) At the regular price, it’s 75.8 cents per ounce, or $12.12 a pound. Over twelve dollars a pound! For oats together with sugar!! (And people recall grass-fed beef is expensive? Please. These manufacturers are robbing us blind! They start amongst raw materials [oats & sugar] that are dirt cheap, pose them inwards a pretty newspaper cup, together with jack upwards the toll past times multiple orders of magnitude, all to relieve us 30 seconds of chopping some apples together with walnuts together with throwing them onto our ain oatmeal.) The sale toll isn’t much better. At 2 for 3, it’s 56.9 cents an ounce, which is $9.10 per pound. Almost 10 dollars—and almost ten times the toll of the plainly oats!! This is how they larn us, folks. At showtime glance, 2 for $3 sounds similar a amend bargain than 2 for $5, but when you lot lead keep a infinitesimal to aspect at the size of the containers together with the unit of measurement cost, you lot let out pretty speedily that you lot pay big time for the privilege of having Quaker throw a bunch of sugar, some dried fruit, together with a sprinkling of cinnamon onto your oatmeal for you. This. Is. Crazy. The Real Medleys™ cups weigh inwards at 2.64 ounces, piece the large tub o’ oats is 42 ounces—over ii together with a one-half pounds of oats! It’s almost sixteen times equally much product. No wonder 2 for $5 is genuinely a better deal. Look how much to a greater extent than you lot get!

Okay. Let’s verbalize almost this a little. I’m non immune to convenience foods. They’re called that for a reason: they’re convenient. And nobody wants to babysit a pot of steel-cut oats at 6:30 inwards the morn together with fish the cinnamon out of the spice cabinet piece their eyes are however half-closed, together with DAMMIT, WHERE IS THE COFFEE?!! So I larn it. I do. Really. But let’s recall almost another ways to construct this pretty convenient. Before nosotros larn to that, though, nosotros should larn over who tin likely produce good amongst oatmeal together with who powerfulness desire to avoid it. Oatmeal—especially if it’s sugary, fruity oatmeal—is best consumed later a tough workout. If you’re by together with large low-ish carb most of the time, the fourth dimension to refill those glycogen stores is later you’ve gone together with depleted them. If you’re overweight, insulin resistant, together with sedentary, oatmeal powerfulness live okay 1 time inwards a while, but it’s likely best left off your card altogether for a piece until your torso is amend equipped to handgrip it. Like Diane Sanfilippo says inwards Practical Paleo, don’t carb-load for your desk job. If you’re going to live sitting however inwards front end of a reckoner for a few hours, oatmeal genuinely isn’t the ideal means to start the day. (No betoken inwards having a blood refined saccharify spike unless that glucose has somewhere to go, together with if you’re sittin’ on your keister all 24-hour interval together with don’t lead keep a lot of musculus mass, it mostly doesn’t.)

Okay, fine. Let’s say you lot however desire oatmeal for breakfast. (Or whatever other fourth dimension of day, for that matter.) There’s genuinely no argue to plough to the “convenience” versions. We’ve already shown they’re loaded amongst refined saccharify together with you lot pay an arm together with leg for them. If you’re at home, there’s no argue you lot can’t lead keep an extra duo of minutes to ready real oats together with add together whatever spices you lot like. (And perchance a niggling bit of fruit or existent maple syrup, if that’s your thing.) You tin microwave them, for crissake. In that regard, plainly oats are exactly equally convenient equally the processed ones.

But let’s say you’re at work, together with let’s also say your travel involves a desk/cubicle-type setup. (You lead keep my sympathies.) Oats are non-perishable. Dried fruit is non-perishable. Cinnamon together with nuts are sort-of non-perishable. You tin travel along all of these things inwards airtight containers inwards a drawer or cabinet at your workstation. (Worried almost the nuts going rancid? Keep ‘em inwards the component fridge.) Keep an electrical kettle at your desk, too, together with you’ll live able to pour boiling H2O correct over the oats together with live expert to go. You tin add together small amounts of dried fruit if you lot similar (dates are super yummy here, equally are golden raisins), but amend yet, add together whole, non-dried fruit. (Lower glycemic load.) Even amend still, don’t add together fruit. Cinnamon is genuinely pretty sweetness when your palate isn’t accustomed to Twinkies together with Krispy Kremes. Best of all, add together some nuts together with larn expert fats in. Chopped walnuts or pecans are dynamite on oatmeal. You could also travel along kokosnoot crude at your desk, or butter or heavy cream inwards the component fridge. All delicious amongst oatmeal. Depending on what you lot pose inwards it, you lot tin construct oats a warm, nourishing, nutritious meal, or you lot tin larn inwards blood refined saccharify napalm.

There are thus many ways to easily develop “convenience foods” at work, but larn all the nourishment together with satisfaction of the homemade, non-convenience version. It exactly takes a niggling creativity, together with perchance hauling a duo of things inwards to the component amongst you lot directly together with then. Keep a duo of bowls together with pieces of silverware there. (Even amend if you lot travel along real silverware there, thus you lot don’t throw out a plastic fork or spoon every day, but I’ll spare you lot my tree-huggery. You tin launder things inwards the component kitchen sink or, worst illustration scenario, the bathroom. My betoken is you lot don’t bespeak to throw out paper/plastic nutrient accoutrements every day.) Of course, if you lot produce similar your oatmeal sweetened (and I can’t blame you), you lot tin travel along handy whatever sweetener you lot like, whether that’s stevia, a pack of Splenda, or a container of existent honey or maple syrup. Cinnamon is a great thing to travel along at work—it’s delish inwards coffee! And if you lot do create upwards one's hear to larn an electrical kettle together with travel along it at your desk (as opposed to exactly microwaving your oatmeal), you lot tin role it to construct java this way:

The pour-over method. Yum.
(And my honey Rosie the Riveter mug.)

Remember: Amy Berger, M.S., NTP, is non a MD together with , LLC, is non a medical practice. The information contained on this site is non intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or preclude whatever medical condition.

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Label Madness Monday: Oatmeal
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