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‘The unique characteristics of oatmeal’: Quaker Oats-funded study shows that instant oatmeal keeps hunger at bay from breakfast until lunch

By Stephen Daniells+

11-Jun-2014
Last updated on 11-Jun-2014 at 17:58 GMT

‘The unique characteristics of oatmeal’: Quaker Oats-funded study shows that instant oatmeal keeps hunger at bay from breakfast until lunch

Eating instant oatmeal for breakfast may help to manage hunger better than the leading oat-based, cold cereal, says a new study funded by Quaker Oats with implications for weight management.

Researchers from the Louisiana State University System and PepsiCo R&D Nutrition report that instant oatmeal enhanced satiety, feelings of fullness and reduced the desire to eat more, compared with equal calorie servings of a ready-to-eat (RTE), oat-based cereal.

“This study demonstrates that the unique characteristics of oatmeal have a significant impact on fullness and desire to eat – even when matched for calories and ingredients [oats] with another breakfast option,” said lead researcher Frank Greenway, MD, from LSU. “We found instant oatmeal to be more effective at suppressing appetite compared to the cold cereal, even with a smaller serving size and less calories than previously investigated.”

Writing in the Nutrition Journal the researchers attributed the satiating effects of the instant oatmeal to the beta-glucan content of the cereal, as well as differences in hydration and physicochemical properties, which would affect the viscosity of the cereals and influence satiety.

Marianne O’Shea, PhD, PepsiCo R&D Nutrition, described the research as “exciting” because it showed that something as simple as a single-serving of instant oatmeal and milk has the potential to help keep hunger at bay from breakfast until lunch. “This study supports our mission at the Quaker Oats Center of Excellence of investigating the ways that oats can improve our health and wellbeing,” added Dr O’Shea.

According to Candace Mueller-Medina, Senior Director of Communications, Quaker Foods North America, the the hot cereal category was healthy coming out of Q1, and serving as one of the supermarket’s sweet spots. "There appears to be a renewed interest in oatmeal," she told us, "and it’s becoming more top of mind as consumers see it in more places and are recognizing its satiety and fiber benefits.”

Study details

“Replacing less-filling breakfast cereals with oatmeal can be an effective tool for promoting satiety," said the researchers

The new study, which was funded by the Quaker Oats Center of Excellence, PepsiCo R&D Nutrition, echoes those of an earlier study published last year in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition. Dr O'Shea told FoodNavigator-USA that previous research examined 250-calorie breakfasts consisting of instant oatmeal or an oat-based RTEC served with 113 calories of lactose-free skim milk and found that when subjects ate oatmeal, they reported increases in overall fullness and reductions in hunger and the desire to eat.  This study examined 150-calorie breakfasts of either instant oatmeal, old-fashioned oatmeal or a RTEC served with 67.5 calories of lactose-free skim milk.

While that earlier study compared oatmeal to an RTE cereal, the new study compared instant oatmeal with old-fashioned oatmeal as well as a RTE cereal (Honey Nut Cheerios). Dr Greenway and his co-workers recruited 43 healthy men and women to participate in their randomized, controlled crossover investigation.

After consuming one of the three breakfasts, results showed the instant oatmeal was associated with less hunger compared to the RTE cereal.  Oatmeal also provided increased fullness and a reduced desire to eat more.  Researchers stated that the viscosity of oatmeal was higher than the RTE cereal – which they said could explain the differences in hunger and appetite control.    

“Oatmeal provides a readily available source of viscous soluble fiber, and its consumption may be a means of reducing the motivation to eat at future meals,” they explained. “Replacing less-filling breakfast cereals with oatmeal can be an effective tool for promoting satiety.”

Beyond breakfast cereals

Beyond breakfast cereals, the company recently filed a patent application for a lower cost, more efficient process for producing soluble oat or barley flour that meets FDA health claims.

As reported previously on FoodNavigator-USA , to meet the FDA threshold that justifies a health claim, a whole oat product must have 0.75 g soluble beta-glucan fiber per serving (the equivalent of about 18 g whole grain oats), which requires formulation with a highly soluble oat flour.

Source: Nutrition Journal
13:49, doi:10.1186/1475-2891-13-49
“The role of meal viscosity and oat β-glucan characteristics in human appetite control: a randomized crossover trial”
Authors: C.J. Rebello, Y-F. Chu, W.D. Johnson, et al. 

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