The Magical Properties of Oatmeal


Oatmeal with brown sugar, apples, cranberries, toasted pecans, almonds, and sunflower seeds.

I’ve been let down by oatmeal. Again. I’ve simply had it with everyone telling me oatmeal is the best choice for breakfast. I find that it leaves me simply starving. Today is the last oat! (Or straw.)

I believe science. The science that tells me oatmeal is good for me, I can get behind. Everyone says, and Bob’s Red Mill says it perfectly, “What makes steel cut oats particularly attractive for breakfast, and the reason we tout them as the perfect fuel for your day, is how the body breaks them down. Because of their size and shape, the body breaks them down more slowly than rolled oats, preventing spikes in blood sugar and keeping you full longer.”

That lady who told her sons that oatmeal sticks to your ribs? I’m pretty sure she was a farmer’s wife, and she had to send her family out to the fields, and the only thing she could offer them every morning was oatmeal. And it probably didn’t taste that great. So she had to talk it up. She told them it’s satisfying and will stick with them all day and so they ate it.

We’ve all heard that rib story (of which circumstances I have completely made up), and according to the Dairy Council of California, “Oatmeal contains insoluble fiber which stays in the stomach longer and helps you feel fuller, longer.”

Yes, science, I believe you. However, my body doesn’t seem to care about science. My oatmeal doesn’t stick to my ribs, or keep me full for a reasonable amount of time. Fullness is it’s job! I think we should fire oatmeal.

At first I thought I was doing it wrong. I see plenty of people who try something and then say it doesn’t work, but that’s because they are doing it wrong. I just roll my eyes. Of course it didn’t work, I think, you have this all wrong! (Idiots, I mutter under my breath.)

I realize I may not be immune to the Doing It Wrong syndrome, so I have tried to do my research. Steel cut oats! Rolled oats! Irish oats! Scottish oats! To be honest, I’m not including Scottish oats in my tirade against the oat today. Scottish oats (while the most oat-y) are very porridge-like, and are not what we Americans typically think of when we think oatmeal. Also, steel cut oats and Irish oats are basically the same thing, although companies sometimes sell them as if they were completely different.

Some oats take all night to get perfectly right. All that preparation surely leads to a more satisfying oat! False. I can eat a bowl of oatmeal that took 6 hours to cook and not feel the slightest bit full. In fact, I have more hunger. Somehow, oats create a deficit.

So I turned to toppings. Spices. Fruits. Nuts. Milk. No milk. No sugar. All the sugars. White sugar. Brown sugar. Honey, agave, jam!

Ugh, this oatmeal I ate one hour ago still has me hungry. And it’s like it negates the nuts and seeds, the apple I had with it. I know on my lean mornings when I have a glass of water or tea, a handful of nuts and a half apple that I’m completely satiated for at least two and a half or three hours. But when I add oatmeal to it? Forget about it! I end up hungrier. For me, oatmeal is a magic oat that takes away all that is good. I’ve never seen anything quite like it.


  • This is so sad. I kind of feel the same way. I do love oatmeal, but I eat at least twice the amount they call “a serving” and always want more. Also, I tried an overnight crock pot recipe with Irish oats and it was disgusting. I threw the whole pot of oats in the trash, so not only was I hungry but also felt terribly guilty and mad about the whole thing.

    • It’s really not fair that oatmeal causes us to feel this way. I think it says something lovely about us that we are willing to give it chance after chance, despite the heartbreaks, despite the letdowns, despite the resulting ravenous hunger.

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