Why are oats being demonized and how can you eat them without feeling guilty?

In this episode of the "Inflamed in the Brain" podcast, host and registered dietitian Krissy Carbo explores why oats are suddenly being demonized, despite their longstanding reputation as a healthy food. Krissy shares her insights on the latest trends and controversies surrounding oats, including their carb content, links to glyphosate, and how to eat oats in a way that supports your health. She also offers tips for enjoying oats without succumbing to diet culture's "good" or "bad" food labels.

Understanding Oats:

Krissy begins by explaining the different types of oats commonly found in grocery stores:

  • Rolled Oats: These are whole oat groats that are steamed and flattened, cooking in about 5-10 minutes. They are used in oatmeal and granola.
  • Steel-Cut Oats: These are chopped into small pieces, offering a coarser texture and chewy consistency. They take longer to cook, around 20-30 minutes.
  • Quick-Cook Oats: Also known as instant oats, they are pre-cooked and cut into smaller pieces, cooking in just 1-2 minutes.

Why Are Oats Considered Bad?

Krissy addresses the growing negativity around oats, focusing on two key points:

  • Carb Content: Oats are high in carbohydrates, leading to blood sugar spikes when eaten alone. Rapid blood sugar changes can cause fatigue and irritability, and over time, contribute to inflammation and chronic diseases.
  • Glyphosate Concerns: General Mills, a popular oat brand, has been linked to high levels of glyphosate, a controversial herbicide associated with cancer risks.

How Oats Can Benefit Your Health:

Despite the criticism, Krissy explains the health benefits of oats:

  • Lowering Cholesterol: Oats contain beta-glucan, a soluble fiber that helps lower LDL cholesterol by binding to bile acids and eliminating them from the body.
  • Supporting the Microbiome: The fiber in oats acts as a prebiotic, providing nutrition for beneficial gut bacteria, promoting gut health, and reducing inflammation.

A Smarter Way to Eat Oats:

To get the most out of oats without the downsides, Krissy suggests pairing them with protein and healthy fats:

  • Overnight Oats: Combine oats with protein powder or yogurt for a balanced breakfast.
  • Hot Oatmeal: Add protein powder or eat with eggs, and top with nuts or seeds.
  • Oat Milk: If you use oat milk in coffee, add protein to balance the carbs.


Krissy concludes by reminding listeners that oats are not inherently bad, but need to be eaten mindfully to support health. She emphasizes the importance of avoiding food labeling and finding balanced ways to incorporate favorite foods into your diet. By removing the stress and pressure associated with diet culture, it's easier to maintain a state of health that's free from inflammation and chronic diseases.

Hungry For More!? Catch Up on these Episodes Next! 

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Ep. 8: The Secret to making any meal more anti-inflammatory

3 lies about anti-inflammatory eating you need to stop believeing

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