There are always new diet methods and measures that promise the best and fastest results. If these do not work sustainably, frustration quickly arises. In contrast, losing weight with porridge relies on a long-term and healthy change in lifestyle.
In the following we will show you what the porridge diet is and what advantages it offers. We also address the possible problems. In addition, you can read a few tips for the right preparation and the right toppings for losing weight with porridge here.
the essentials in brief
- Porridge is the English term for the classic oatmeal. This is made from rolled oats boiled in milk, milk alternatives or water.
- Porridge offers many health benefits for your body. It provides plenty of vitamins, proteins, minerals and fiber. The ingredients have a positive preventive effect on some disease risks.
- Rolled oats are not generally suitable for a gluten-free diet , as they often come into contact with gluten-containing foods during processing and are thus "contaminated". They also contain a lot of carbohydrates. But there are low carb alternatives to porridge.
Losing weight with porridge: what you should know
As with any diet, there are a few things to consider when losing weight with porridge. Because this is the only way to get a satisfactory result. But this is not a crash diet. Rather, the porridge diet is designed for a long-term change in your diet. This can mean that the results can only be seen later, but a yo-yo effect can be avoided.
So that you are well informed and can approach your porridge diet correctly, we have answered the most important questions for you below. Finally, we also present you with alternatives for losing weight with breakfast, if a diet with porridge is not an option for you.
What is the porridge diet?
With the porridge diet, you replace your daily breakfast with a portion of oatmeal. Since oatmeal has a high carbohydrate content and also contains a lot of calories, the porridge diet is by no means about you just eating the porridge. Rather, the porridge diet requires a change in eating habits. Be sure to cut out other carbohydrates in your other meals and instead focus on healthy fats, proteins and vegetables.
In addition, you should avoid sugary drinks and alcohol. Unlike other breakfast cereals, porridge keeps you full for longer (1). As a result, you don't get cravings and you don't need snacks or sweets between meals.
As with most diets, a calorie deficit is important for the porridge diet. Set yourself a daily goal, for example not to eat more than 1,500 calories a day, and adjust your meals accordingly, and you will see the first successes after just a few weeks.
What makes porridge so healthy?
Again and again it is said that porridge is so healthy. But why actually? This is mainly due to the ingredients, because the small grains are full of healthy nutrients. In addition to a lot of protein and vitamins, the oat flakes in the porridge also contain important and easily digestible fiber and minerals such as iron and magnesium (2,3). These take care of your intestinal flora and also ensure that you stay full for a long time (1).
The beta-glucan contained in particular is said to have positive effects on health, as it ensures, for example, a healthy heart and intestines (4). In addition, porridge has a positive effect on cholesterol levels and helps to reduce elevated blood sugar (5,6). The risk of cancer can also be reduced (7,8).
How many calories does porridge have?
After all the good news about the health benefits, here's the bad news: porridge is quite high in calories. 100 grams of oatmeal already has 350 calories. Then there are the calories from the toppings and the milk. We have put together the calorie information for the toppings from this article below.
You can find the calories per 10 grams here. 10 grams is about one tablespoon, which is enough for some toppings, such as chia and flaxseed, but almost too much for cacao nibs. For raspberries, on the other hand, you might want to consider 20-30 grams. Since the number of calories varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, these are guide values.
|topping||Calories per 10 grams|
|Chia seeds||49 calories|
|Linseed, crushed||54 calories|
|Hemp seeds, hulled||60 calories|
|cocoa nibs||58 calories|
At first glance, the many calories in a porridge may seem daunting, but since the porridge fills you up for a long time, you don't need a large portion. The good news: Due to the persistent feeling of fullness, fewer calories are consumed in subsequent meals (1.9).
How do I prepare porridge to lose weight?
After the calorie fright, you are probably now asking yourself how you should prepare your porridge to lose weight. As with any diet, it is important not to get bored with this one. Because if the food is boring and tastes the same every day, you're more likely to have a cheat day. So variety is the order of the day, and you can achieve this with the porridge diet primarily through the many different toppings.
The toppings are a crucial factor in porridge because they provide variety and a delicious taste. However, you should choose them consciously, otherwise the breakfast porridge will quickly have too many calories. (Image Source: Jennifer Pallian / Unsplash)
If you want to stick to a calorie goal, then it's especially helpful to weigh the oatmeal before preparing it. 40-50 grams of oat flakes are enough for a filling portion of porridge. To further keep the calorie count low, it is also a good idea to prepare the porridge with water or plant-based milk alternatives instead of cow's milk.
Which toppings are suitable for losing weight with porridge?
There are no limits to your imagination when it comes to toppings - whatever tastes good is allowed! But so that your health also benefits, we have put together a list of toppings that provide your breakfast with additional nutrients.
- Chia or flaxseed: The popular superfoods provide you with omega-3 fatty acids and other healthy fats.
- Nuts: Nuts also provide high-quality fats and nutrients, but they are very rich in content, so it is better to dose them carefully. Alternatively, you can add a dab of nut butter.
- Hemp seeds: Hemp seeds are also a good substitute for nuts as a topping because they give the porridge a nutty taste. In addition, they provide plenty of minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, healthy fats, and proteins (10).
- Berries: Contain many vitamins and minerals, but also sugar.
- Coconut: Grated or as chips, this topping brings healthy fats and fiber to your porridge in addition to the exotic aroma. But they also have a high fat content.
- Cacao nibs: Cacao nibs are now quite well known as a superfood. They have less sugar than processed cocoa and more valuable ingredients such as magnesium, potassium and antioxidants.
- Cardamom: Admittedly, cardamom in breakfast sounds strange at first, but the spice from the Ayurvedic diet promotes digestion and calms the stomach. It also provides antioxidants and lowers blood pressure (11).
Keep in mind that each additional topping on your porridge increases the calorie count. That's why you shouldn't overload the porridge, but choose it carefully. In general, the rule applies here: less is more.
Which porridge is suitable for a low carb diet?
The classic porridge is made from oatmeal, which consists of many carbohydrates. This means that porridge cannot be combined with a low-carb diet. If you still don't want to do without the delicious breakfast porridge, you can also use alternatives and either partially or completely replace the oatmeal. The following alternatives are also suitable for people who cannot tolerate gluten.
Chia, flax or hemp seeds
These grains and seeds provide a nutritious base in porridge. Since they swell up a lot, you should use more liquid when preparing a low carb porridge with these ingredients. But the porridge is nice and filling and, similar to oatmeal, just a few tablespoons are enough. Flax and hemp seeds in particular are very healthy.
- Contain important and healthy nutrients
- Gluten free
- Allow the porridge to thicken up nicely
- Need lots of liquid
- Chia seeds can cause problems with low blood pressure
It is best to consult your doctor before consuming chia seeds, especially if you are taking blood-thinning medication, but also if you have low blood pressure, as the seeds lower blood pressure. Also, be careful with the dosage. Chia seeds swell up a lot, which can lead to stomach upset when hydrated.
Coconut flour is also suitable for a low carb porridge. It provides an exotic feeling and the fiber boosts digestion. But make sure that the coconut flour is de-oiled, otherwise it contains too many calories and fat. In order to get the consistency as similar as possible to the porridge with oatmeal, you can also stir in coconut flakes.
- Low in fat and gluten free
- Contains lots of fiber
- Porridge becomes very creamy
- Requires a lot of liquid
- Relatively expensive
Of course, these alternatives are no longer porridge in the classic sense, but the low-carb porridge made from coconut flour in particular is quite similar to the classic preparation due to its creaminess. But the other alternatives are in no way inferior to porridge and, with delicious toppings, become a varied and healthy low-carb breakfast.
What mistakes should I avoid when losing weight with porridge?
You have already read a lot about the advantages and disadvantages of porridge for losing weight. In order to achieve a positive effect on the porridge diet, however, you have to consider a few things. A common mistake is to reach for ready-made products.
Stay away from finished products! Due to their high sugar content, they are not suitable for losing weight.
Of course, they are quick and easy to prepare, which saves time. Especially when preparing breakfast, this means that you can stay in bed longer. However, the convenient instant oats are by no means suitable for a porridge diet because they contain a lot of sugar and additives. If you're short on time in the morning, it's best to try overnight oats that you prepare the night before.
Another mistake creeps in when sweetening the oatmeal, because you should also avoid adding sugar here. Try the natural sweetness of fruits and berries instead. Honey, agave syrup and maple syrup are also good options. They have fewer calories than sugar but some healthy nutrients. Dose carefully though. If you want to avoid all types of sugar altogether, you can use cinnamon instead.
Finally, it is about the size of the portion. The delicious porridge tempts you to prepare more than necessary. Most recipes state between 40-50 grams of oat flakes for a portion of porridge, which initially sounds like very little. Due to the toppings, the quite high number of calories and the many fibers, this is completely sufficient. If you want to lose weight with porridge, be sure to follow the instructions and weigh your portion carefully.
What alternatives are there to losing weight with porridge?
Of course, there are a variety of different diet methods with which you can achieve your weight loss goal, be it by doing without, changing your diet or exercising, and listing all the weight loss alternatives here would probably go beyond the scope.
Instead, we have put together effective breakfast alternatives for you to lose weight below, because porridge is not the only breakfast that is suitable for a healthy diet.
- Wholemeal bread: Wholemeal products have a lot of fiber and complex carbohydrates and therefore, like porridge, fill you up for a long time.
- Low-fat quark: As a very good source of protein, low-fat quark is particularly popular with people who are physically active. With little fat and carbohydrates, it helps to build muscle just as well as to lose weight.
- Grapefruit: Due to the vitamin C, grapefruit is very healthy and the fiber contained in the fruit keeps you full for a long time. But caution is advised here: some medications are incompatible with the consumption of grapefruit.
- Miso soup: The Japanese soup for breakfast may sound a bit unusual, but it prevents cravings thanks to its protein content.
These alternatives are healthy diets that support your body with natural nutrients and ensure a lasting feeling of satiety.
With delicious toppings like avocado and egg, your whole grain bread will definitely not be boring. You can also combine it with low-fat quark. (Image source: Wesual Click / Unsplash)
Since these weight loss methods work in a similar way to the porridge diet, you can also combine them, for example by replacing one or two porridge meals a week with one of the alternatives.
Whole grain bread
Wholemeal bread is certainly a classic at breakfast tables in Germany. And not without reason, because whole grain products are full of vitamins, fiber and minerals such as magnesium, iron and potassium. With an average of over 200 calories per 100 grams, whole grain bread may not sound like a slimming product, but the swelling of the fiber in your intestines will keep you full for a long time.
As a result, you generally eat less during the day. Along with the many healthy ingredients, whole grains have a positive impact on weight and body fat (12).
In addition to the weight loss effects, whole grain products also have some positive effects on your health. For example, they reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes (13,14). In order not to get a stomach ache, you should definitely make sure that you drink enough.
To avoid boredom at the breakfast table, you can top your wholemeal bread with healthy ingredients, such as avocado or radishes, which have other positive effects on your health. But of course you should avoid butter.
The low-fat quark conveniently already bears its weight-loss qualities in its name. In contrast to porridge, it has very few calories. At the same time, the high protein content keeps your blood sugar levels in balance, which keeps you full longer and protects you from food cravings. This makes it easy to maintain the calorie deficit, which is particularly important when losing weight.
If, in addition to changing your diet, you also have sport on your diet, low-fat quark is an ideal partner for you, because the high protein content supports muscle building. The other ingredients also support and protect your body. As in all dairy products, low-fat quark also contains a large amount of calcium, which is good for the bones. The following table shows you the nutritional values of 100 grams of low-fat quark.
|nutritional value||Content in 100 grams of low-fat quark|
In addition, low-fat quark also provides some vitamins, such as vitamin D , which is also important for bones and muscles, but also for our immune system. And phosphorus also ensures healthy bones and is at the same time a source of energy for our cells.
If the consumption of pure low-fat quark does not appeal to you, you can also combine it with other foods and spice it up. The easiest way to do this is with raw food sticks. But a slice of wholemeal bread in combination with fresh herbs and vegetables makes the low-fat quark look much tastier.
Grapefruit can also help you lose weight in a healthy way. The main reason for this is the fiber pectin it contains. This is indigestible and swells in the stomach and intestines, making you feel full for a long time.
Grapefruits are great for a healthy breakfast. You can use them as a topping in your porridge, eat them raw or baked like in the picture. (Image Source: Maddi Bazzocco / Unsplash)
Half a grapefruit for breakfast already helps to reduce weight and body size after several weeks (15). In addition, the grapefruit provides you with a good amount of vitamin C and the mineral potassium. The latter has a draining effect, making your body look slimmer.
In contrast to other fruits and berries, which are often eaten in porridge, a grapefruit contains very little sugar, which is also reflected in its bitter-sour taste. It is therefore often sprinkled with additional sugar to make it more pleasant to eat. Of course, you should avoid this when losing weight.
Grapefruits have dangerous interactions with some medications, such as beta-blockers and antibiotics. It is best to find out from your doctor.
Despite the many positive nutrients in grapefruit, caution is advised because it contains furanocoumarins. These are plant compounds that have a negative effect on taking certain medications (16). On the one hand, they inhibit the enzyme CYP3A4 in our body. This enzyme is responsible for metabolizing drugs.
If it is inhibited, the active ingredients remain in the body for too long and a dangerous overdose can result. On the other hand, they can also block the absorption of medicines, which means that they lose their effect. Be sure to read the package insert and talk to your doctor if you have any doubts. To be on the safe side, you should avoid grapefruits altogether when taking medication.
Admittedly, Japanese miso soup for breakfast sounds strange at first. But unlike the typical German breakfast, which is often high in carbohydrates, fat, and sugar in the form of jams and chocolate spreads, soup doesn't fuel cravings throughout the day. The soup traditionally consists of broth, seaweed, tofu and vegetables. As a result, it contains a lot of protein, which keeps you full for a long time.
In addition, the lactic acid bacteria and enzymes support digestion and ensure a healthy intestinal flora. Furthermore, miso paste is anti-inflammatory and contains many antioxidants (17). Don't be afraid to try the Japanese specialty for breakfast. When buying the miso paste, however, make sure that it has not been processed with chemical additives, otherwise the many good nutrients will no longer be available.
This article has shown you what is meant by the porridge diet and how you can best lose weight with the method. You also learned about the health benefits of changing your diet and incorporating oatmeal into your daily meals. It's not enough to just replace breakfast with porridge. Rather, you have to coordinate all daily meals.
For this reason, you should make sure that you take a holistic approach to losing weight with porridge. Provide variety in your meals, avoid sugary foods and integrate regular exercise into your diet plan. This is how you achieve sustainable success that is good for you and your body.
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