Why Every Cyclist Should Eat Oatmeal

Oatmeal Nutrition

All oatmeal, with exception to the ones with added sugars and flavorings, are a healthy carbohydrate choice. At a quick glance, many will assume that the quick oats are not as nourishing, but there isn't much nutritional difference.

Oatmeal has many great nutrition properties. It is a hardy grain that can thrive in poor soil conditions that most crops cannot survive in. Oatmeal gets its nutty taste from the roasting process the groats go through after being harvested and cleaned. Oatmeal retains all its bran and germ even though it's hulled, leaving it full of nutrients and fiber.

One 1/2 cup of Rolled Oats has 150 calories, 27 grams (g) of carbohydrates, 5 g of protein, 3 g fat, 1 g sugar and 4 g fiber. Oatmeal has both soluble and insoluble fiber.

One 1/4 cup of Steel Cut Oats has 170 calories, 29 g carbohydrates, 7 g protein, 3 g fat, 5 g fiber.

Steel cut oats are a more calorically dense option for the same size serving. Note that the comparison above is 1/2 cup to 1/4 cup.

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More Than Just a Carbohydrate
Oatmeal has a specific type of fiber called beta glucan, which has been shown to reduce cholesterol levels. People with high cholesterol (over 220 mg/dl) consuming only 3 g of soluble oat fiber per day (what you would find in a typical bowl of oatmeal) can lower cholesterol by 8 to 23 percent.

Fiber of course is also great for healthy bowels. With all the food cyclists should consume, having healthy bowels is certainly a top priority to feeling energetic and reducing GI issues while riding.

Regardless of who you are, starting off your day with oatmeal as part of your breakfast will help you to maintain steady blood sugar. By continuing to fuel with some high fiber foods, lean proteins and good fats throughout the day, you can have sustained energy all day--rather than the highs and lows from sugary, low-fiber breakfast options.

Oats are also an excellent source of magnesium. Magnesium--like calcium, sodium, and potassium--is a macro mineral, needed in larger amounts in the body than trace minerals.

Although many would assume that steel cut oatmeal would have a lower glycemic load than rolled oats, the difference is minimal. The glycemic index of quick cooking oats is higher than that of steel cut and rolled oats. Eaten alone, a bowl of quick cooking oats may not keep you as satisfied for as long or keep your blood sugar as steady. By adding some protein and fat to quick cooking oatmeal you can easily slow down the digestion of the meal.

Protein and fats have slower gastric emptying rates than low fat carbohydrates such as quick oats. Eaten together the entire meal will digest more slowly. There are instances where higher glycemic index could be a good thing, such as after training for a recovery meal.

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