Are oats paleo or not? In this article, I will take a look as to whether this very popular ingredient is ok to eat on the paleo diet. I will also take a look at what oats are and some of the different types that you will find around.
Is there anything quite as iconic as eating a large bowl of oatmeal with brown sugar and raisins in the morning before going to school as a kid? Horse wisdom would suggest that oats are an essential part of any healthy diet. But, is this even true? And, early humans sure we’re not eating bowls of oatmeal. Are oats paleo?
What Exactly Are Oats?
Rolled oats, instant oats, and steel cut oats are the three main varieties of oats. Steel cut oats are essentially whole groats that have been cut into more manageable chunks. They are whole grain since they contain the majority of the bran. They supply the highest concentration of nutrients and antinutrients, yet they take a little bit longer to cook.
To make them faster to cook and semi-processed, rolled oats are just whole groats rolled flat. Most people do not consider rolled oats to be whole grains since the bran is discarded. When you must have your oatmeal in the time it takes to pour hot water into a bowl, and these are instant oats. These are rolled and flattened again to process them a little further.
With instant oats, the bigger problem is that they are typically served in packets with plenty of additives and sugar. A great alternative to oatmeal is our paleo friendly porridge which makes use of a variety of paleo friendly healthy ingredients.
But, Are Oats Paleo Friendly?
Oats are part of the weed family and are technically a cereal grain. This categorization means that oats are not paleo per se. When craving baked goods and starch but trying not to take in too many almond or coconut flours, many paleo dieters will add these easily digested grains in moderation. It is always recommended that you ferment your oats if you want to incorporate them into your diet.
What Are the Benefits of Oats?
Oats get plenty of praise from the American Heart Association and other health organizations. But, why is that? Oats increase bile acid excretion since they contain a specific kind of soluble fiber known as beta-glucan. Any serum cholesterol that is bound up in the bile is excreted in the bile acid. This process leads to the serum cholesterol being reduced significantly. Research also shows that oat bran, found in steel cut oats, is protective against atherosclerosis. Oat bran also increases the production of butyrate, a short-chain fatty acid with a variety of benefits.
With all of the benefits, it makes sense to allow oats into your diet. However, when on the paleo diet, you should begin by eating oats in moderation. Steel cut oats are preferable since there is minimal processing. You should closely monitor your reaction to eating oats. Members of the paleo community recommend soaking raw oats in purified water with raw whey and buckwheat flour to reduce phytic acid and predigest the oats.
Your favorite childhood breakfast may not fit perfectly into the paleo lifestyle, but oats are not necessarily terrible for you either. In short, are oats paleo? No. They do have many benefits, and when prepared correctly, you can avoid the negatives and live healthily.
If you have anything to add that we might have missed, then be sure to drop us a comment below.