Porridge Oats

But what about porridge?

This is a question that I get asked all the time, so I thought it was about time I wrote a quick post on it.

Although the conventional wisdom holds all wholegrains in high esteem, most people seem to acknowledge that wheat might not be the health food it’s cracked up to be (in fact, perhaps more people are choosing to avoid it than is really necessary).

It’s also now fairly well accepted that most breakfast cereals are little more than junk food in disguise.

A breakfast of porridge oats, however, has become synonymous with a healthy diet. Promises of “slow release energy”, “heart healthy oats”, “breakfast of champions” and the like have become ingrained the conventional wisdom surrounding diet.

Is there any justification for this belief however? As we have seen in many of these diet debates, often much of what we believe regarding nutrition has no actual basis in fact!

A Closer Look at Porridge Oats

In order to try and answer the question of “Is porridge healthy”, I’m going to take look at it under the criteria I outlined in my article on Making Decisions on the suitability of foods.


Porridge oats are renowned as an excellent source of slow release energy, which will keep you going throughout the day.

I would have to agree, that porridge is a good source of energy. Whether this is a good thing or not however, all depends upon your individual needs.

If you are highly active, have low body fat, and/or are looking to gain weight, getting sufficient energy should be a high priority, and oats can be a cheap, convenient, relatively sustainable, and tasty way to supply it.

If however, you are largely sedentary, and are happy with your current body fat levels, or would actually like to reduce them, eating high energy foods may not be the best solution, no matter what rate it is released at!

Perhaps switching to another plant food with a lower energy density might be a better option?

Raw Materials

Much of porridge’s good reputation has to do with its high soluble fibre content. Soluble fibre has been shown to reduce levels of bad ldl cholesterol. While there is much controversy over the whole cholesterol debate, I think there is probably some truth in the benefits of soluble fibre, most likely due to its probiotic effect.

Fibre is not an essential nutrient, however, so what about porridge as a source of raw materials?

Check out the nutrition data for porridge oats on nutritiondata.com.

At first glance, porridge looks like a pretty nutritious food, with a broad range of vitamins and minerals, fairly decent protein score, and plenty of fibre.



Porridge Oats are very high in phytates. Phytates are found in many plant foods, as they are the principal form of storage of phosphorous in plant tissues, particularly in grains, legumes and seeds. Phytates are indigestible to humans and other non-ruminant animals however, and therefore are not a dietary source of phosphorous.

Further to this, phytates chelate to other minerals in food such as zinc, iron, calcium and magnesium, thus preventing them from being absorbed via digestion!

The potential negative effects of high phytate foods such as oats are highlighted in this article by Stephan Guyenet: Reversing Tooth Decay.

In the article, Guyenet reviews research from the 1920s where the effects of oats on cavities in the teeth of children were studied.

Guyenet writes:

In group 1, oatmeal prevented healing and encouraged new cavities, presumably due to its ability to prevent mineral absorption. In group 2, simply adding vitamin D to the diet caused most cavities to heal and fewer to form. The most striking effect was in group 3, the group eating a grain-free diet plus vitamin D, in which nearly all cavities healed and very few new cavities developed. Grains are the main source of phytic acid in the modern diet, although we can’t rule out the possibility that grains were promoting tooth decay through another mechanism as well.

To reiterate – adding oats to the diet of children significantly increased their rates of tooth decay! Removing oats and other grains, and adding vitamin D, not only prevented new cavities, but actually caused existing cavities to heal.

Though sugar and starch are generally labelled the culprit for tooth decay, this study points to the contrary, as the tooth healing diet still contained foods such as jam, sugar and potatoes.

(One caveat – the study appears to lack a control, or at least it is not shown in the graph published on Whole Health Source, so there are some serious problems with the data. What effect would Oats + Vitamin D have had? Or removal of grains without VitD? How did the diet plus extra oats compare to the standard diet etc)

If Dr Mellanby’s theory is correct, that tooth decay is a problem of mineral availability and utilisation, it is equally likely that bone health is also at risk from the same factors.

In short, oat porridge is potentially bad news for your bones and teeth!

The good news is however, that soaking and fermenting can significantly reduce the pyhtate content of grains, and thereby increase the mineral and nutrient bio-availability.1,2


I really like porridge, and always have done. Or do I? What I really like is porridge with dried fruit, bananas and honey. I.e. porridge with lots of extra sugar!

Plain porridge made with just oats and water? Not so much, and I’m sure that’s true for most people.

Is Porridge for You?

Whether porridge is a suitable food for you depends largely upon your goals.

If your goal is weight loss, or weight maintenance and health, it is probably best to keep porridge oat consumption to a minimum.

Porridge may be filling, but if you consider that 100g of oats contains around 350-400 kcals, you could eat 3 x large 50g eggs (200-250 kcals, and around 400g of Spinach (approx 200 kcals), nearly 1/2 a kg of food for the same amount of energy.

This increased food volume, and the higher protein content will fill you up just as long, if not longer than the porridge with fewer calories, and also provide much more essential nutrition, in a more easily digestible form.

Alternatively if eggs and spinach aren’t your thing, how about 250g Natural Full Fat Yoghurt (approx 150kcals), with 250g Fresh Strawberries (approx 75kcals). Again around 1/2kg of food but with just a little over half the calories, and packed with bio-available nutrients.

(All kcal values based on information from http://nutritiondata.self.com/)

If you want the increased energy density, because you are highly active and/or want to gain weight, porridge can be a good choice, but it is probably worth ensuring you soak the grain overnight first, ideally in some live dairy (think natural yoghurt or buttermilk), and some buckwheat which is high in the enzyme phytase, which helps break down phytic acid (thanks to this recipe on paleohacks for this tip).

(Exactly how effective this technique is I can’t really say, but it takes little effort and significantly improves the taste, so there are no drawbacks from doing it).

Once the phytates are broken down, oats are a relatively “safe starch”, they do contain a gluten like substance, avenin, but it seems much less problematic, and it is low in fructans, the indigestible carbohydrates in wheat which often cause digestive distress in I.B.S. sufferers and those sensitive to FODMAPS.

Combine it with some nutrient dense, low toxin foods such as Raw Organic Grass Fed Milk, Grass Fed Butter, Organic Eggs, Organic Fruits and Berries etc, and you’re onto a winner.

Oats also have the advantage of being relatively cheap, and fairly sustainable, being one of the crops most naturally suited to the UK climate.

Si’s Properly Prepared Porridge Recipe

Here is my famed (in Whalley Range at least) Properly Prepared Porridge Recipe:


  • Organic Scottish Oats
  • 2Tbs Live Yoghurt or Buttermilk
  • Water
  • 2Tsp Buckwheat


  • 1 Large Organic Egg
  • Knob of Grass Fed Butter
  • Dried Fruit
  • Brazil Nuts
  • Berries
  • Fruit
  • Honey
  • Cinnamon


Place the oats and buckwheat in a bowl and stir well with the live dairy and water.

If using dry fruit and/or nuts add these now (the soaking will help neutralise phytates in the nuts also, and make the dry fruit nice and plump)

Cover, and leave to stand for at least 12 hours at room temperature.

After at least 12 hours of soaking, add any additional ingredients, and either eat cold, or heat on the hob (if you’re adding the egg, I’d strongly recommend cooking it). I like to add a splash of creamy full fat raw milk too, mmm.

You’ll never want to eat un-soaked oats again, trust me!

Image courtesy of Grant Cochrane / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

1) Improved zinc and iron absorption from breakfast meals containing malted oats with reduced phytate content. Larsson M, Rossander-HulthΓ©n L, SandstrΓΆm B, Sandberg AS.

2) The effect of food processing on phytate hydrolysis and availability of iron and zinc. Sandberg AS.

53 thoughts on “Diet Debate: Are Porridge Oats Healthy?”

  1. Hello from Salford and thanks for the well researched article! However I must take issue with certain points about porridge: You speak about 100g of oats having 350kcal – maybe so – but who can eat 100g of oats for breakfast?!! Certainly not me – my breakfast serving is (the recommended) 40g containing 150kcal. Since this 40g will keep me feeling full until 2pm, requires no added fat or dairy, and is convenient, I must insist that porridge really is a superfood! I will certainly try your soaking suggestion though…yours, S West, 44yo, own teeth & no fillings!

    1. Hi Sam,

      Thanks for the comment – I’m glad that porridge is working for you as a heathly breakfast.

      I was just visting my friends, and we had porridge for breakfast (they’re Scottish, so what else!). As you’d coincidentally just posted this message, we decided to do an experiment, and weight the oats in the bowl. It came to 90g.

      Making it with milk, and adding raisins and honey no doubt took it to well over 400kCal.

      As it happens, we’re all super active, and therefore need these extra calories.

      On the one hand, perhaps we’re all super in tune with our appetites, on the other, perhaps it’s just more to do with the size of bowl…

      I’d be willing to bet that there are plenty of people out there who aren’t active, but can still easily plough there way through 100g of oats with relative ease.

      Again though, my aim is not to bash porridge. It certainly can be part of a healthy diet, and it’s delicious!

    2. Hi Sam; with reference to your point regarding 100g – it depends on your lifestyle. Sedentary individuals with a higher body fat levels could do with a 40gm serving but active people very often wolf down 150-200gm of oats in one meal – i personally eat about 220-250gm every breakfast, and i actually need it because i’m absolutely ravenous in 4-5 hours πŸ™‚ the first time i started eating oats, i was quite shocked to see that it suggested only 40gms per serving – it just seemed so little πŸ˜›

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  3. What never seems to get a mention is price. A lot of people simply can’t afford the truly healthy options of several eggs or luxuries like strawberries for breakfast (or, indeed, any other meal of the day). I have to eat porridge quite regularly because it’s either that or no food at all. (People who see me might think the latter option would be preferable!) And no matter how much or how little porridge I eat, it always leaves me with heartburn and hungry again after a couple of hours…

    1. Thanks for your comment Ina, I’d certainly agree that this is a valid point, and IMHO why grains continue to form the base of the food pyramid.

      The government can’t promote a diet that can’t be sustained on minimum wage!

      What I would say however, is that you can grow your own strawberries, and even keep a chicken and get free eggs everyday.

      If you don’t have a garden, get window boxes, and get on a waiting list for an allotment patch – if you don’t have time or knowledge to manage one yourself, get together with a group of like minded individuals and share the load and the fruits of the labour (most allotments will allow you to keep chickens as well as grow veg).

      Money doesn’t grow on trees, but food does… Here’s a pretty inspiring TED talk:

      If everyone turned their lawns into veg patches and kept chickens (or even pigs and goats!) we’d all be able to eat strawberries and eggs for breakfast regardless of income!

      In the short term (before you start living “the Good Life”…) another potential cheap breakfast option if porridge oats don’t agree with you is making rice pudding with white rice. It’s another cheap option calorie wise, but it might be easier for you to digest and not give you the heart burn? Did you try the overnight soaking option to see if that helps with the heartburn?

  4. Nice post Simon. Porrage seems to have a funny effect on me as only a few hours after eating it I get really low blood sugar levels, dizzy, lightheadedness ect. Seems that it’s anything but slow release with my digestive system. Adding fat to it like peanut butter can help but as you mentioned it’s not particularly nutrient dense with plenty of better choices.

  5. Referring to research from 1920s is not really convincing! If that’s all the evidence there is, then this is a really weak article. Also, concluding that porridge must then also be bad for your bones is totally unsubstantiated. Please do some proper research before you write

    1. HI Ellen,

      Thanks for taking the time to comment.

      There is absolutely no reason to discount the results of an experiment purely because it was conducted a long time ago. If we had to keep repeating every experiment every 5 years to check the results hadn’t changed, we wouldn’t make much progress.

      Also, at no point in the article did I say “Porridge MUST be bad for your bones” – I said IF Dr Melbany’s theory was correct porridge COULD POTENTIALLY also be bad for your bones.

      The point of this blog is not to say what you should or shouldn’t eat, but to encourage people to question the conventional wisdom.

      I think my conclusion that A) There may be more nutritious alternatives out there to porridge, and B) If you do eat porridge, it may be beneficial to soak it overnight first are hardly outlandish out there claims.

      Have you done some “proper research” and found some more recent studies which counter the results found in 1920? Or do you have any evidence which points to the fact that either oats or human teeth have changed significantly over the last 100 years and warrant repeating the experiment to see if the results are now different?

  6. Hi. I recently switched to porridge breakfast as my nurse told me it was a good way to reduce bad and increase good cholesterol, I have a very high level of cholesterol. I blend them too so it’s more creamy than stodgy and add raw honey – yum.
    I’m not too much bothered about the other positive effects although surprised that the body can’t digest these minerals/vitamins – even if blended, would that make a difference? I’m also not too bothered about the net effect on teeth, I have no problems brushing twice a day and many other types of food will have the same effect. Re gaining weight, I tend to walk a lot so the extra calories are a benefit, so another plus for me.
    I’d be interested to see your thoughts on this recent article – thanks for the post, it’s certainly got me thinking more laterally πŸ™‚

    1. Dear John,

      Thanks for your comment.

      Firstly, I never really intended this article to be an exercise in “Porridge Bashing”. I do eat it myself, and it is certainly a vast improvement over 99% of the highly processed, nutritionally devoid, sugar filled “Breakfast Products” our there.

      With regards to improving the nutrient quality, rather than blending, I’d recommend the soaking/fermenting technique mentioned in the article above.

      As for the Independent article, I’m afraid you can take any form of “Science Reporting” in the mainstream press with a pinch of salt!

      A couple of key alarm bells:

      1) There is no link to the actual study

      2) Ample uses of the words “could” and “may”

      My best guess would be that this is a study sponsored by oat producers, where scientist have been messing about with isolated compounds from oats in a test tube. Unfortunately, in most cases, there is very little transfer from what happens in a test tube in a lab, to what actually goes on inside your body.

      While this doesn’t rule out the possibility that there are some kind of extra beneficial effects to eating porridge, I still think the most likely advantages of eating oats for breakfast come from the fact you’re not eating fried toast or pop tarts!

      Even if there is some tiny effect from the avenanthramide, I seriously doubt that over the long term, there would be any advantage of eating porridge over any other low calorie, nutrient dense breakfast.

      NB – Try adding some cinnamon too, it’s delicious!

  7. Hi Simon – An interesting article as well as the comments and your replies. Until quite recently I always had porridge for breakfast, made with whole oats (“avena integral” here in Chile) and left overnight in the saucepan, but just with boiling water. Then heated up in the morning, with skimmed milk added. No sugar, no salt, but several drops of stevia. Then about two weeks ago someone said quite categorically that porridge makes you fat, so I stopped. My weight has not changed. I switched to a grapefruit instead, plus a cup of green tea. I would like to lose weight. Have I made a bad decision? My lifestyle is sedentary, though following a back operation last month I am starting to exercise again and will have more time to do this when I retire at the end of this year.

    1. Hi Michael,

      Thanks for the comment.

      Hmm – it’s certainly a lot more nuanced than “porridge makes you fat”. There are a lot of people out there, myself included, that eat porridge, but aren’t fat.

      That said, too many calories can make you gain fat, and the only proven way to lose weight, is to reduce calories.

      As a grapefruit would generally contain fewer calories than a bowl of porridge, then this could be part of a good weight loss strategy, though of course it all depends on what you eat later in the day.

      I would suggest looking at the What is Food? series on this site as a potential starting point, to being to change the way you think about what foods you eat and why and how you eat them.

      When it comes to weight loss, I believe knowledge is power!

      Another thing would be to give it time – 2 weeks is relatively little time in a lifetime. Generally, small gradual changes you can maintain are better in the long run. Most likely the extra weight crept up on you slowly, so don’t be surprised if it creeps off slowly too πŸ˜‰

      Que tengas suerte!

  8. “Fibre is not an essential nutrient” – I have to admit I stopped reading at this point. Fibre may not have nutritional value, but it most certainly is essential and I think you should make this clear in your article.

    1. Hello “Anon”,

      I’d say “thank-you for taking the time to comment”, but really, it’s probably better to take the time to properly read an article before passing judgement.

      I think, perhaps, you don’t understand what is meant by the term “essential nutrient”. Here is the scientific definition: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Essential_nutrient

      Fibre, is categorically NOT and essential nutrient. This does not mean that it can’t have potential health benefits. I actually listed these in the paragraph before you stopped reading. All it means is that it’s not a 100% necessary component of the human diet.

      If you had bothered to read further, I actually go on to suggest swapping porridge for other plant foods, such as vegetables and fruits, which are relatively higher in fibre per calorie, if your goal is weight loss.

  9. Positive Feedback :
    the great advantage of this article is that it is well-rounded, and not simply one more paraphrase of trendy opinions and received half-knowledge.
    Not being boffins ourselves, most of us actually have no idea whether such information is ever fully accurate. What we can know, however, is that the way to look at something is with detachment, balance and independent thought – all of which the tone of this article encourages.
    Yes, in the end, to diet successfully we partly have to think about questions of nutrition for ourselves – and listen to our bodies. Just the self-discipline of this alone is one step on the way to potential success.

  10. Hi I found you article very interesting to read and many of the other comments, just for information I eat porridge made with filtered water and added fruit sometimes up to 3x a day. I have in fact lost 1 stone in weight and my husband 2 stone. We both walk our four dogs regularly and do many other forms of exercise. I’m amazed at how we all digest this simply food so differently? I do sometimes soak the oats overnight and sometimes rinse the oats, I’m old fashioned and go by my intuition.

    1. Hi Wendy,

      Thanks for your comments, much appreciated.

      To be honest, I think it’s less to do with individual differences between how people digest foods differently, but more to do with overall diet composition and eating habits.

      There are documented accounts of people losing weight on all sorts of diets – from all twinkie diets, all bacon diets to all potato diets (please don’t think I’m comparing porridge to any of these foods, I’d certainly see porridge as a far better option!).

      No matter the composition of the diet, weight loss can be achieved and maintained, providing calorie consumption is lower than calorie expenditure.

      I’d certainly agree that being tasty and filling porridge can certainly form part of a healthy diet for anyone, providing they are mindful of overall calorie consumption.

      1. I have to disagree about the diet benefits, a 30g serving is more than sufficient for a filling breakfast and the gloopiness means that it stays in the stomach for longer and so is much more filling than equivalent calories of toast and an egg.
        I was a skeptic until i started eating it for breakfast.. the measured portion is key and I use the porridge portioned in individual packets. I never snack before lunch now and that’s a major change for me. Just eating healthy and avoiding puddings and snacks with more exercise and lost a half stone in 6 weeks.. No fad diet and porridge has been key as it is for breakfast every day.

        1. Hi Jane,

          Thanks for your comment, I’m glad to hear that you’ve found a diet that works for you.

          I’d refer you to my response to Wendy’s comment below, which is much the same as yours.

          The key to successful dieting is calorie control, via a method which works for you. If weighing and measuring works for you, all the better.

          The problem I have seen with porridge in the past, is that when people categorise in their minds something as “healthy”, they often don’t consider that the calories it contains can contribute to weight gain/stall weight loss, and fail to control portion size.

          The other point of this article was to highlight that there are more things to consider when planning your meals than weight-loss.

          You mention eggs – free range organic eggs are also a great source of nutrients – essential amino acids, omega 3 fats, choline, B vitamins etc, none of which are found in porridge.

          As I say in the post, I myself do eat porridge and muesli for breakfast at times, but it’s also good to vary with more nutrient dense options from time to time – rather than eggs with toast, how about eggs scrambled with tomatoes, onion, mushrooms, courgette and pepper. I’m sure this would be equally, if not more filling for the equivalent calories, but with much higher vitamin and mineral content.

          All that said, providing you’re getting plenty of nutrient dense veggies and high quality animal foods at your other meals, porridge for breakfast everyday is no problem at all I’m sure – though perhaps consider the soaking technique recommended in the article to maximise it’s digestibility.

  11. Hi! I am an avid porridge eater since I was a child and I have to disagree about the calorie comparisons. I regularly binge on porridge too mind you, and so often I make and eat 100g of it. 100g in a bowl seems tiny, but you seem to have forgotten the fact that 1 – oats expand and 2 – I would add 500+ mls of water to it and after heating it for 5-6 mins I get a LITRE of porridge (or 1kg) for about 380cals. Now because of my eating disorder history I can easily eat that BUT the majority of people will not eat a whole litre of porridge, the only way you would have eaten 90g was not cooking it long enough and therefore the oats don’t expand so much. I am biased in my next point, as a vegan I do not believe we should even eat eggs or yoghurt, but seriously, who would really be satisfied with 400g of spinach…like…seriously!!!?

    Haha I am not trying to start anything, sorry if this comes across bitchy – but 40g of oats can make 300ml of porridge for like 150cal. That is definitely enough for the average person, and a lot more exciting than a bunch of leaves πŸ™‚

    1. Hi Emma,

      I think you’d be surprised at the quantities of food people can eat. Portion sizes are getting larger and larger nowadays!

      There are also few people who eat simply porridge oats with water. More common is porridge with milk (either real or one of the many milk alternatives out there now), plus dried fruits, nuts and honey, all of which up the calorie content.

      Again, I’m not saying that any of that is “bad”. I regularly eat that myself as a highly active person who doesn’t want to lose weight, as they up the nutrient density, only that the calories still add up.

      I also at no point suggested that anyone would be satisfied with a breakfast of spinach alone! Except maybe Popeye?

      You’d need to accompany it with some lean protein too in order to create a satiating, nutrient dense, low calorie breakfast.

      I’d also point out, that if you soak the oats over night as I recommend in the article, they will expand even more than simply cooking them for longer, thus another benefit of the soaking in addition to releasing more of the nutrients being that the equivalent quantity of oats becomes more filling.

      Thanks for your comment, enjoy your oats πŸ˜‰

  12. i was raised on a bowl of porridge for breakfast every day , but being a child took sugar with it. i still have the same and am now 80. no problem with weight ever. i take soya milk with it nowadays.

    1. Thanks for your comment Alan.

      I’m glad to hear you are healthy and happy at 80!

      I myself eat porridge or muesli on a regular basis. I think it’s a great option for active people (no doubt being born in 1945 you’ve had a more active life than most of my readers), and I hope I can maintain my health and weight as you have done.

      The people who I am recommending avoid porridge, at least temporarily, are those who are already overweight, and don’t have an active lifestyle (though I’d also encourage them to be more active of course!). The diet required to lose excess body fat and repair a metabolism which is out of whack, is far different to that required to maintain an already healthy weight and metabolism.

      It should also be noted that everyone is different. While you may have been able to reach 80 while eating sugar everyday and not gaining pounds, not everyone has the same genetics. Some people reach 100 on a daily diet of cigarettes and whiskey. It doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good strategy for everyone. Don’t get me wrong, I am most certainly not comparing porridge to smoking or hard liquor, even with sugar in it, but the point is that you can’t necessarily presume that just because something works for you, it will work for everyone, there are too many variables involved.

      Maybe try soaking your porridge as in my recipe – you might find you like it even more!

  13. Hi Simon. I am type2 diabetic and really enjoyed your article and subsequent debate i tried various breakfasts many of whichcaused large spikes in my glucose readings including the sachets of instant pooridge. I then tried supermarkets own brand porridge oats made with water and a pinch of salt which causes no spike in my glucose and recently started adding a handful of raspberry and blueberries which is also great as no spike unlike other fruits. I am an office worker so find 40g of oats keeps me full till lunch with a mid morning mixed nut snack. I know some diabetics find a spike with oats Im glad to say I dont and with cholestrol readings at 3.8 with a 2/1 ratiio Im a huge portidge fan. Im interested in anyones ideas of “healthy” low GI food so if you have any further research I am very interested in your findings and anyones comments as food seems to react differently for diffetent individuals

    1. Hi Ewan,

      Thanks for your comments, much appreciated.

      In terms of suggestions for other “healthy low GI foods” – do you mean for breakfast, or in general?

      In general, I’d say fibrous veggies are always your best bet for a good combo of low calorie influx, high vitamin and mineral content, plus plenty of fiber to keep you full. Beans and legumes could also be a good option providing your digestion handles them OK (Up until recently I’d avoided these for years, due to IBS issues, but I’ve found now I can eat them again, and find them very satisfying and a great source of slow release energy). As you’ve already said, from a fruit perspective, berries are a great option. Aside from oats, on the grain front, I enjoy eating wholegrain “real bread” i.e. bread which has been fermented for at least 24 hours to improve digestibilty.

      Like you say, foods can affect different people in different ways, and even (as with my experiences) the same people differently at different stages in life, so some self experimentation and constant mindfulness of a foods effects is always wise!

      Thanks again for taking the time to comment, have a great day πŸ™‚

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  15. I came across your article after doing a search on porridge oats and fat content. I have become an avid consumer of oats over the last year, (thinking that I am eating healthiIy). I eat a somewhat limited diet as a result of suffering from migraine and finding that many foods act as a trigger. I’ve been worried to notice that over the last few months I have been steadily gaining weight and became suspicious that the oats might be contributory as I haven’t added anything else to my diet. I must admit I lead a sedentary lifestyle, owing to a bad back. I only eat a ‘small’ bowl but add milk and fruit and eat this morning and evening so I get though a fair old amount of the stuff! I think I’ll be cutting down on the oats, in the future. I did enjoy reading your article and am going to take up your suggestion of soaking the oats!

    1. Hi Amanda,

      Thanks for the comment, much appreciated.

      Another option for you could be trying making the porridge with water rather than milk, that would considerably lower the calorie content?

      Regarding exercise, have you tried simply walking? Not only is this going to help with weight maintenance, but it’s also great for mental wellbeing and has been shown, along with other forms of exercise/activity to help with back pain.

      NB – I also have a post on back pain which may be of interest to you here

      I hope you find a solution that works for you πŸ™‚

    2. Hi Amanda, Try without milk to reduce the calories and be aware of portion size. 40g of porridge iats made with water and a handful of blueberries is my breakfast and comes in around 180 calories. Be careful if your having fruit at night as your body may struggle to effectively break down the sugar content. I have staryed using myfitnesspal app to count calories and withour too much effort have lost 20lbs since 3 Jan and have no hunger till lunchtime….

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  17. Thanks for writing the article. It is the most informative I’ve read, plus the comments are interesting too. I started eating porridge 3 weeks ago after getting acid reflux problems. I soak the rolled oats overnight in water (p.s tesco own brand better than aldi so far) and add skimmed milk the next day 1 part osts, 1 part water and 1 part milk). I do this because I heard they taste better plus it reduces cooking time in the morning (2.5 mins down from 5-6 minutes). I add honey and it tastes great. I’m glad the soaked oats work better health wise too. I didn’t used to have breakfast so this works well for me and stops me skipping it too. Thanks again for the useful article

  18. Thanks for writing the article. It is the most informative I’ve read, plus the comments are interesting too. I started eating porridge 3 weeks ago after getting acid reflux problems. I soak the rolled oats overnight in water (p.s tesco own brand better than aldi so far) and add skimmed milk the next day 1 part osts, 1 part water and 1 part milk). I do this because I heard they taste better plus it reduces cooking time in the morning (2.5 mins down from 5-6 minutes). I add honey and it tastes great. I’m glad the soaked oats work better health wise too. I didn’t used to have breakfast so this works well for me and stops me skipping it.

    1. Thanks James, glad you found it useful.

      Nb, as of late I’ve been stirring an egg into my porridge while it cooks.

      Great way to add protein and omega 3s, plus I find it much more filling.

  19. George Gamberg

    Hello fellow humans. I’m 92 years of age and have been eating a bowl of porridge just about every morning, no soaking but I do add a hand full of raisins and I cook it with 2% milk. And I think I’m going to make it for another couple of years. My best wishes to the rest of you. George.

    1. Thanks for your comment George. I’m glad the porridge is working out for you.

      I also eat porridge everyday, and hope I can make it to 90+ in good form.

      Of course, I’ve also encountered people of 90+ who have smoked cigarettes every day too, but this doesn’t necessarily mean it’s to be recommended to all!

      Please understand, I’m not comparing oats to cigarettes! The point is that people need to be mindful of what they eat, and consider that different foods may be suitable for different people, and at different stages of life.

      Hope you’re still enjoying your porridge at 100+ πŸ™‚

  20. Interesting article. I consume 100g of Porridge oats for breakfast. I add boiling water to saturate it then Top up with semi skimmed or full fat milk, (not a lot) I let it cook slowly for about 10 minutes and then add a selection of berries 1tbsp of liw fat yogurt and 1tsp of honey. It’s a mighty feast. I’ve never considered porridge being unhealthy and bad for the teeth. Very interesting. Definitely food for thought. My work is quite physical and I cover about 25 miles in a 5 day week sometimes more and always considered my porridge as a good start to the day and embarrassed now at the quantity i scoff down Im 5ft 6 and stuck at 150 lbs. Im not fat by any means but still im trying to lose between 17 and 20 lbs. I work evening shifts. I’m all over the place and going through the menopause is the spanner in the works and affects my sleeping. I’m going to give up the oats for Lent and see if it makes a difference and replace it with fruit n yogurt and eggs. Will get back and fill you in


  21. I’ve been eating 100g of dried Porridge, added to it boiling water to saturate and topppef up with semi skimmed or full fat milk. I add to this ( after it’s been slowly cooked for 10 minutes) 1 tsp of honey 1tbsp yogurt and a handfull of mixed berries. It tastes yum. I’m embarrassed now at the quantity. Sometimes I eat 50g of the porridge and everything else and follow up with 1 poached egg on lightly buttered wholemeal toast. My work is physical and involves a lot of movement (I cover min of 25 miles in a 5 day period and a lot of lifting etc. ) I’m 58, female and going through the menopause. At 5ft 6 I weigh 150 lbs ( 10 st 10) I’m not fat, but I’d like to weigh less for the feel good factor, I’ always weighed less than 130lbs even after 5 children. I never thought of porridge as being fattening and the article on tooth decay has also got me thinking. I was brought up on porridge and push it on my children and granchildren albeit with honey , (the sugar added to mine all those yrs ago wouldn’t of helped) . I’ve still got most of my teeth and lucky that they still look good, but I’ve had enough fillings. My dad always said .. “you have ears for a reason and to close them would be to do yourself an injustice” Something went ping in my brain when I read your article and I most definitely will do some more research into this. Great read. It’s one thing to be eating a healthy diet and another if you think you are because you don’t have the correct information. I will stop eating the porridge and see what happens to my diet. I’ll report back in 4 weeks


    1. Hi Annie,

      Thanks for your comment, I’m glad you found the article thought provoking.

      Let me say again, I eat porridge most mornings, with water, honey, milled seeds and (since writing the article) the addition of an egg (which cooks with the porridge).

      As you’re neither overweight nor gaining weight, your current breakfast sounds like it’s doing the job for maintenance.

      Perhaps a temporary change to a lower calorie breakfast to shed that little bit of fat you want to get rid of, then back to the porridge when you’ve hit your target to maintain?

      Though I think the tooth decay info is interesting, I also believe that providing the rest of your diet is nutrient dense, and you follow good dental hygiene practices, I doubt there’s anything to worry about from daily porridge eating (though no harm in edging your bets with the buckwheat and soaking!).

      I’d be interested to hear back form you in 4 weeks!


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