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How to prepare oat porridge for maximum health benefits
Breakfast is the MOST important meal of the day !
The problem is, what is the best breakfast to have.
You KNOW it’s NOT cocoa pops.
What about a bowl of oat porridge ?
Oat porridge for breakfast
It is a traditional breakfast.
It was good enough for Goldilocks and the three bears.
Yes, yes… there was the temperature issue. But, when the temperature was JUST RIGHT, Goldilocks tucked into it and she THRIVED !
Will YOU thrive on a bowl of oat porridge ?
This is what a group of researchers from Norway asked………..
And just like in the story of Goldilocks, the focus was not on the nutritional quality of the porridge , so much as on how the porridge was prepared.
It turns out……….. it does matter.
Oat porridge in the modern era
Traditional oat porridge was made with flaked oats, but modern versions are more finely milled i.e. they are oat flour.
This means they are easier to prepare.
Think 1 minute in the microwave.
But………. this changes how they behave in the gut. And these changes are NOT necessarily good for us.
Particularly those of “us” with insulin issues.
Oats go down the hatch
In the graph below, we track the response of people to different bowls of oat porridge. The only difference between the bowls is the size of the oat flake.
There is no difference in how full the stomach is, when the porridge is first gobbled down. But there is a difference later on. The oats that started out smaller (the dotted line), leave more quickly.
Putting numbers on this trend…
- The flake porridge is leaving the stomach at 2.7 ±5 ml/min
- The flour porridge is leaving at 3.3 ±7 ml/min
This is a tiny, but significant difference.
The million dollar question, does it matter ?
The stress of dinner
Eating feels pretty good to us. But, from your body’s perspective, it is stressful….
The problem……… a whole lot of chemicals SUDDENLY arrive.
Don’t let the word CHEMICALS freak you out.
We eat CHEMICALS. In the case of the oat porridge, among the chemicals are
- Beta-glucans – these are the good guys in porridge
- Sugars and fats – these serve as important fuel sources
- Amino acids – these are used to build “stuff”
Chemicals make us grow big and strong
The vast majority of these chemicals are useful. The body will either use them directly, or make a few minor modifications to them, to go about it’s business.
The point is…………these chemicals have to be processed. It’s quite a big job and depends on quite literally hundreds of hormones and enzymes.
And this is what makes every meal “a little” stressful.
Now just how stressful the process is, varies.
A flood or a trickle
One thing that can make the whole event particularly stressful, is the speed at which things arrive.
A flood is going to be harder to handle than a trickle.
One of the factors that determines whether your body is facing a flood or a trickle, is the speed at which the food moves through the stomach (gastric emptying).
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out…
Big stuff is going to take longer to break down.
Which is what our team from Norway observed.
The trouble with food processing
The bits start out smaller.
This means less work for the stomach and faster exit times.
Good for the stomach, but not for the rest of the body. The team found the exact same quantity of oats, cooked in the exact same way, showed differences based on how the oats had been processed i.e. if they were flakes or flour.
The finely milled oats (flour) where more trouble.
Now to be fair………..the response levels seen in this study were not pathological. This is not surprising, the 8 guys swallowing bowl fulls of porridge were all relatively healthy.
But, there was a significant difference……
Lessons from an oat breakfast
When you can, opt for LESS processed foods……………….
Food structure matters. Less refined is better.
You might have to work harder in the kitchen to prepare the meal. Your stomach will definitely have to work harder, dealing with it, but a couple more turns in the acid spin cycle, won’t actually stress your stomach. That said, the slight delay this creates, will end up making life less stressful for everyone down stream – improving your body chemistry.
NOTE : You can change the speed at which the stomach empties by using food combinations. Adding protein, fat and/or fibre to a meal, will slow gastric emptying. In the case of porridge, don’t be afraid to use a “traditional recipe” i.e. add cream and butter, a spoon or two of fat, will slow things down nicely. A modern twist to a traditional favourite, is to add a scoop of whey protein, the protein will do the same thing.
The 250 mg of cholesterol in egg WILL send cholesterol levels through the roof – so oatmeal is best. When tested head-2-head, surprisingly eggs trump oat meal.
Altering WHEN food is around, creates better body chemistry, which helps trapped egg princesses escape the tyranny of their androgen oppressor in PCOS
Cereal boxes are positioned so that their spokes “character” makes eye contact with your kids. And catching their eye, makes YOU more likely to buy.
Want to discover more ways to create BETTER BODY CHEMISTRY ?