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Are Oats Bad For You?

Also Known As: Avena sativa, the common oat



Short answer

Oats are packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber. Oats have many health benefits and are a great gluten free choice.



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Long answer

Oats are grains from the cereal plant, Avena Sativa.  Oats are gluten free and have proteins called avenins. For anyone dealing with gluten intolerance, gluten sensitivity or Celiac Sprue, oats are a great choice. These disorders affect millions of individuals who have to avoid wheat, rye and barley. For these individuals the ingestion of grain causes significant gastrointestinal upset. Glutinous proteins can make your gut more permeable which allows partially digested proteins to enter the bloodstream-promoting inflammation throughout the body. So for anyone avoiding gluten they should familiarize themselves with oats.  

There are many types of oats including whole oat groats, steel cut, regular rolled oats and instant rolled oats.  Whole oat groats are harvested and the hulls removed.  These take the longest to cook.  Steel cut is when the groat is cut with a sharp blade into 2-3 pieces.  These cook faster. Regular rolled oats are groats that are steamed and rolled into flakes.  This stabilizes the healthy oils so they stay fresh longer and cook faster.  Instant rolled oats are steamed longer, rolled out thinner and cook the fastest.

Oats are a great source of fiber-soluble and insoluble. Because of their high beta-glucan fiber content oats are slowly absorbed, make you feel full and are a great choice for diabetics and individuals that want to lose weight.  Soluble fiber absorbs water and helps to soften the stool and has the ability to absorb cholesterol and sugar. In a study published in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine it was concluded that fiber from oats can decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease. Here is what they concluded, “Consumption of oats and oat-based products significantly reduces total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol concentrations without adverse effects on high-density lipoprotein cholesterol or triglyceride concentrations." Soluble fiber helps to populate the gut with good bacteria and helps boost the immune system. 

The insoluble fiber is commonly referred to as “roughage” and provides bulk to the stool, helping to prevent constipation. Fiber helps to remove toxins from the body and both sources of fiber are helpful for general good health.  A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that over a nine-year period, consuming more dietary fiber lowered the risk of death from many causes. People who ate the most fiber (which ranged from about 25 grams a day for women and 30 grams for men) were 22% less likely to die compared to those who consumed less fiber (10 grams per day for women and 13 grams for men). Researchers looked at deaths from cardiovascular disease, infectious and respiratory diseases, and discovered that individuals ingesting high fiber diets had as much as a 50% reduction in risk for these disorders. High fiber diets are also associated with a lower risk of colon cancer.

Oats are loaded with minerals, vitamins and antioxidants. Oats are a very good source of B vitamins, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc copper and manganese. Polyphenols provide antioxidant power that helps with lowering blood pressure by increasing nitric oxide production in the blood stream.

Oats are gluten free but in rare instances they are grown in the same fields as wheat or barley which can potentially contaminate the oats with gluten. 

Commonly found in


  • heart healthy
  • loaded with minerals and vitamins
  • good antioxidants
  • high fiber
  • helps digestion
  • immune booster
  • helps cholesterol and triglyceride levels
  • gluten free
  • natural anti-inflammatory
  • helps with weight loss

Our Wellness Pick (what is this?)

Bob's Red Mill Rolled Oats

  • Gluten-free
  • Whole grain oats
  • High in fiber
  • Non-GMO
  • Convenient 4-pack
Learn More!

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Dr. Becky Maes
Published on: 03-22-2018
Last updated: 12-01-2023

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Dr. Becky Maes
Published on: 03-22-2018
Last updated: 12-01-2023

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