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Weight Loss

These Viral Baked Oats Are Packed With a Filling Fiber That Makes Weight Loss Easy + Delicious

One meal can help dial back hunger enough to cut out 1,000 calories!

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Suddenly, everyone is abuzz about a tiny fiber with massive benefits. Called beta-glucan, the evidence supporting its impact on heart health, diabetes, cancer and more is solid. Meanwhile, bloggers rave that a beta-glucan-rich breakfast — particularly the internet’s famous baked oats — “tastes like cake” and “kills all hunger and cravings for 6 hours.” Skeptical? Keep reading to discover the beta glucan benefits that helped two women revitalize their health and slim down.

What is beta-glucan?

Beta-glucan is a type of soluble fiber found in foods like oats and barley. When we eat foods rich in the fiber, it begins rapidly soaking up fluid and becomes what Cleveland Clinic experts call a “thick goo.” This goo moves through the digestive system slowly, working wonders as it goes. Indeed, scientists say it can help heal wounds, lower cholesterol and blood pressure, tame allergy symptoms, fight diabetes and much more. And when it comes to weight loss, beta-glucan is proven to stave off hunger, blast fat and nourish the gut, making it a great option for those of us aiming to shed a few pounds. (Click through to learn how oats help melt a stress belly.) 

Related: Women Over 50 Are Losing 100+ lbs With This “Super Fiber” — Without Feeling Deprived

How beta-glucan boosts weight loss

Not convinced that beta-glucan can help you slim? Consider this: One study found a just-right daily dose of oats, the richest source of beta-glucan, delivers enough of the fiber to help us lose weight as much as six times faster than normal. But how? Here’s three beta-glucan benefits that heal your health and boost slimming:

1. Reduces appetite

A recent analysis found an array of ways beta-glucan shuts off hunger. First, it absorbs so much liquid, it swells to many times it original size. “That’s why cooked oats have just 350 calories per pound versus 1,500 calories per pound for most cereal. The water and fiber have a bulking effect that fill us up with very few calories,” says nutrition expert and Plant-Strong author Rip Esselstyn. (Click through to learn more about Esselstyn’s Plantstrong diet plan.)

What’s more, the satisfaction lasts because beta-glucan ‘gums up’ and slows down digestion. “Food lingers in your system and keeps you full for hours,” he says. At the same time, the gel flips biochemical switches that lower hunger hormones by about 42%. No wonder one study found a beta-glucan-rich meal makes us want up to 1,000 fewer calories for 24 hours after we eat it. (That’s why oats are a key part of the Oatzempic diet.)

2. Blasts belly fat

Another fun fact about beta-glucan gel: It fully coats your gut lining, which seriously slows the speed at which sugar can enter your bloodstream, says Tufts University-trained nutrition specialist Melina Jampolis, MD. She notes that blood sugar is well controlled “for up to 10 hours.” When sugar stays steady, levels of the belly-fattening hormone insulin naturally improve a lot; there’s even evidence that the more beta-glucan we consume, the less belly fat we’ll carry.

Bonus: Steadier blood sugar also cuts cravings and staves off a whole host of health issues caused or worsened by blood-sugar spikes, including joint pain and diabetes.

Related: Top MD: These ‘Invisible Carbs’ Lower Blood Sugar + Speed Fat Burn — Shortcut Recipes Make It Easy to Benefit

3. Dials back cravings

Eating oats prompts us to reach for healthier foods overall, per Harvard-trained researcher James M. Rippe, MD. One explanation: Beta-glucan feeds beneficial strains of bacteria in our GI tract that help turn off cravings for junk. The same good bacteria also reduce absorption of calories, improve levels of slimming hormones and generally promote effortless weight control. (Click through to learn how fenugreek tea curbs cravings.)

Indeed, shifts in gut bacteria are behind many of beta-glucan’s other benefits too, including a recent study that found it protects against memory loss. “And research shows the more fiber you get from oats, the better your results,” says Esselstyn.

For maximum benefits, you want at least 4 grams of beta-glucan a day — the amount in 1 cup of uncooked oats. If that sounds like a lot, keep scrolling to learn about the real ways women like Karen Drexler are sneaking oats into other meals to get beta-glucan benefits. 

Beta-glucan before + after: Jean Boyes, 61

Before and after photos of Jean Boyes who lost 67 pounds thanks to beta glucan benefits
Danielle Coons

When Jean Boyes found herself struggling with autoimmune issues, “the treatment caused weight gain, and it felt impossible to lose,” recalls the Pennsylvania retired nurse, 61. Bouncing between well-known plans, she eventually found a weight-loss coach who urged her to choose foods that made her feel good and turned off hunger for a long time. Staples became protein, veggies — and oats!

Trading it for sugary cereal, “I used to be hungry again right after breakfast. Oatmeal keeps me full most of the day!” Jean even found she can savor low-sugar oatmeal cookies with no urge to binge. Before long, her health transformed: Down 67 pounds, she reversed her diabetes or high blood pressure and got off five meds. “I never thought I could see such a turnaround at my age,” she says. “Luckily, I tried anyway!”

Beta-glucan success story: Karen Drexler, 51

Karen Drexler and her pilot husband have always loved family travel adventures. But as she gained weight over the years, “I had trouble keeping up,” admits the Tennessee mom, 51. Fad diets only made matters worse, so a friend suggested Esselstyn’s oat-forward, plant-based approach. “I loved the science and the simplicity. There’s no measuring or counting. You eat as much as you want of a large variety of food like oats, beans, fruit and veggies.”

On day one, Karen swapped her usual morning cereal for oatmeal with fruit and flaxseed. “It made me feel full for a few hours longer than usual — and set me up to make better choices all day.” Soon, she was experimenting with healthy versions of oat waffles, muffins, cookies, even oat-based burgers and savory oats with veggies. Her fave? Baked oatmeal. “I make mine with frozen black cherries, almond extract and slivered almonds. It’s delicious!”

Within a year, Karen went from a size 22 to a 10. All in all, she’s 85 pounds lighter, full of energy and coaching other folks. “You can go all in like I did, or you can start small and replace one unhealthy habit with a healthy habit and make positive changes over time.” Regardless, great things can start with a daily bowl of oatmeal!

What to eat to get beta-glucan benefits

Experts say that adding beta-glucan–rich oats to your diet can help you eat less and lose weight without trying. For maximum benefits, make it part of a healthy diet and swap it in place of refined carbs you’d normally eat (like sugary cereal, white bread and rice) at least once daily. We’ve got fun ideas to get you started. For great plant-based recipes and plant-based weight-loss advice, check out PlantStrong.com. (Click through for more benefits of oatmeal for weight loss.)

Overnight ‘Apple Pie’: In jar, mix ½ cup oats, 1 cup nut milk, 2 Tbs. chia, 1–2 Tbs. nut butter and a dash each of maple syrup, cinnamon and vanilla extract. Chill overnight. Enjoy with sliced or sautéed apples.

Simple & Savory Oats: Prepare oats with broth instead of water and season with a bit of garlic salt to taste. Add a fried egg and sautéed veggies (such as peppers, onions and mushrooms).

Hearty Meatloaf: Mix 1 lb. ground turkey, 1 cup blitzed oats, 1 diced onion, 1 egg, ¼ cup ketchup and salt and pepper to taste. Bake in loaf pan at 400ºF until done, about 45 minutes.

Bonus recipe: Chocolate Cake Baked Oats

Bowl of chocolate baked oats made to get beta glucan benefits
VeselovaElena/Getty

This viral recipe tastes like dessert and keeps you satisfied for hours! Makes 2 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 2½ Tbs. nut butter or 2 eggs
  • ½ cup nut milk
  • Tbs. cocoa powder
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • ½ cup chocolate chips
  • Pinch of salt

Directions:

  1. Blitz all ingredients except chocolate chips in blender.
  2. Divide batter into 2 ramekins misted with cooking spray and top with chocolate chips.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes.

This content is not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always consult your physician before pursuing any treatment plan.

A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.


Check out these stories for more viral foods that boost slimming:

Chickpea Cookie Dough Is the Viral Dessert Helping Women Lose Weight Deliciously

It’s Easy to Turn This 2-Ingredient Dough Into Protein-Packed Bagels and Donuts — And Science Says It Can Boost Weight Loss

MD Reveals the Protein Pasta Tip That’s Helping Women Over 50 Lose a Meno-Belly

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