Are Overnight Oats Good For Weight Loss? Ways To Enjoy Them In 2024

are overnight oats good for weight loss
Overnight oats contain many nutrients that help with weight loss. Photo: Candice Bell/Shutterstock

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Overnight oats are a popular, healthy, and convenient breakfast option. But, you might not consider them first when you want to lose weight. They are basically a mixture of oats, milk or yogurt, and a variety of toppings that are kept in the fridge overnight. 

But are overnight oats good for weight loss? This article delves into the potential of overnight oats as a weight loss supplement. We explore the nutritional profile of overnight oats, examine how they promote satiety, and provide practical tips and recipes for maximizing weight loss with this delicious and customizable meal.

Are Overnight Oats Good For Losing Weight?

Overnight oats can be a helpful part of a weight loss plan. They’re rich in fiber, which helps you feel full longer and can aid in controlling hunger throughout the day. 

They’re made with nutritious ingredients like oats, fruits, nuts, and seeds. This makes them a good balance of carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats. 

Overnight oats can be a great addition to a weight loss plan because they’re customizable and can be made with ingredients that suit your dietary needs and preferences. Just be mindful of portion sizes and added sugars or high-calorie toppings.

Are Overnight Oats Good For Weight Loss?

are overnight oats good for weight loss
Overnight oats are full of nutrients that help weight loss. Photo: Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock

Oats are among the healthiest grains and are primarily grown for their seed. Oats are a versatile food that can be processed into various forms like oatmeal, rolled oats, oat flour, and oat bran. With nutritious foods low in calories, weight loss requires that you consume fewer calories than you already do.

How much calorie deficit to lose weight depends on individual factors. However, these foods should contain a good balance of macronutrients, particularly protein and fiber, which can help regulate appetite and metabolism. 

Moreover, the best options for weight loss are usually minimally processed to preserve their natural nutritional content and reduce added sugars, unhealthy fats, and refined carbohydrates. Highly processed foods should be avoided to lose weight.

So, do overnight oats help with weight loss? Overnight oats can be a fantastic addition to your weight loss journey, thanks to several key factors. A typical serving of overnight oats for weight loss provides a healthy balance of macronutrients.

Oats have many health benefits as well. Research shows that they improve immune function[1] and help with gastrointestinal health.[2]

Here are more reasons why they are great for weight loss: 

High In Fiber

Oats are particularly beneficial due to their high content of soluble fiber. Fiber is important for weight loss because it promotes satiety[3] and makes you feel fuller for extended periods. Oats, in particular, have fiber in the form of beta-glucan. 

This type of fiber slows digestion, keeping you feeling fuller for longer[4] periods. Additionally, beta-glucan has been shown to reduce hunger levels, further aiding in appetite control. Also, fiber acts as a prebiotic, nourishing the beneficial bacteria[5] in the gut. 

Regulates Blood Sugar

Regulating blood sugar is important for weight loss. Studies[6] have shown that oats help to regulate blood sugar. When consumed, the fiber in oats forms a gel-like substance in the digestive system, slowing down the breakdown and absorption of carbohydrates. 

As a result, the release of glucose into the bloodstream is steadier and more gradual, preventing sudden spikes and subsequent crashes in blood sugar levels. But based on this, are overnight oats good for losing weight?  

Research[7] shows that overnight oats, in particular, maintain glycemic index and insulin levels. This reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes and obesity due to weight gain. 

Rich In Nutrients

While cutting out calories, you still need the complete nutrients that meals give. Overnight oats can be an excellent addition to a weight loss diet due to their nutrient-rich composition. 

Oats contain phosphorus, magnesium, and iron, which play key roles in various bodily functions including metabolism, bone health, and energy production. These minerals are essential for maintaining overall well-being,[8] supporting the body’s systems and aiding in optimal functioning.

Additionally, oats contain antioxidants, which are beneficial compounds that help combat oxidative stress and inflammation.[9] Incorporating oats into a healthy diet provides essential nutrients. Oats also have water to help you lose weight. Overall, it improves health while aiding in weight management goals.

The Nutritional Value Of Overnight Oats 

Before fully answering the question, “Is oatmeal good for weight loss?” we should see what it contains. The nutritional value of overnight oats can vary based on the ingredients used in the recipe. However, a basic recipe for overnight oats typically includes oats, milk, and other ingredients like fruits, nuts, seeds, or healthy sweeteners.

Here’s a breakdown of the nutritional components in raw oats alone based on a standard serving of 81g (one cup) of oats:[10]

  • Calories: 307 cal.
  • Carbohydrates: 51.8 grams.
  • Fiber: 8.1 grams.
  • Protein: 10.7 grams.
  • Fat: 5.3 grams. 
  • Sugar: 0.8 grams.
  • Water: 8.7 grams.

In addition, oats are a good source of vitamins and minerals such as phosphorus, magnesium, iron, zinc, and B vitamins like thiamine and folate.

Types Of Oats To Consider

Types Of Oats To Consider
There are different types of oats depending on processing style. Photo: hannahby/Shutterstock

Did you know that there are actually different types of oats to choose from? From the whole-grain goodness of rolled oats to the quick and convenient instant oats, each variety has unique characteristics.

If you want to lose weight, you should consider the type of oats you have. Here are the most common ones:

Rolled Oats 

Rolled oats, also known as old-fashioned rolled oats, are made by steaming oat groats and then rolling them flat with heavy rollers. This process flattens the oats into flakes, reducing their cooking time and creating a texture quicker to prepare than oat groats.

One of the main advantages of dry rolled oats is their versatility. They cook relatively quickly, usually within 5 to 10 minutes. They can be used in various dishes such as healthy overnight oats, oatmeal, granola, cookies, bread, and more. They are a common healthy breakfast choice due to their ease of preparation and ability to absorb flavors from other ingredients like fruits, nuts, chia seeds, and spices.

Steel-Cut Oats 

Steel-cut oats are also known as Irish or Scottish oats. They are a less processed form of oats compared to rolled oats or instant oats. They are made by chopping oat groats into smaller, coarse pieces using steel blades, hence the name steel-cut.

Cooking steel-cut oats typically requires about 20 to 30 minutes on the stovetop. They absorb more water during cooking resulting in a chewier texture than other oats. Those who appreciate a heartier texture and nuttier taste in their oatmeal often prefer steel-cut oats.

They are versatile and can be used in various recipes, including porridge, soups, stews, and even as an addition to baked goods for added texture and flavor.

Instant Oats

Instant oats are the most processed form of oats. They are pre-cooked, dried, and then rolled thinner than traditional rolled oats. The main difference between instant oats and other oat varieties is their processing method and cooking time.

The result is a product that cooks very quickly, often within just a few minutes, when mixed with hot water or almond milk. However, due to the extensive processing, instant oats may have a slightly diminished texture compared to steel-cut or rolled oats. They can also have a milder taste.

They are often flavored and packaged in individual servings, making them easy to prepare on the go. However, they might have a higher glycemic index than less processed oat varieties, as the body can more rapidly absorb them.

Nutritionally, instant oats retain a significant portion of the nutrients found in other forms of oats, including fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. However, their quick-cooking nature and extensive processing might impact their overall nutritional value.

Basic Overnight Oats Recipe

Here is a healthy overnight oats recipe to get you started:

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats (old-fashioned oats)
  • 1/2 cup milk (dairy or non-dairy)
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup (optional for sweetness)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional for flavor)
  • Chia seeds, grapes, and cinnamon 

Instructions:

  1. To prepare overnight oats, mix the oats, milk, Greek yogurt, honey, or maple syrup in a jar or container with a lid. Stir until well combined.
  2. Cover the jar or container and refrigerate it overnight or for at least 4 hours. This allows the oats to absorb the liquid and soften.
  3. Serve in the morning. Start by giving the oats a good stir. You can eat them cold straight from the fridge or heat them in the microwave for a warm nutritious breakfast. Add your favorite toppings like fresh fruit, nuts, and chia seeds. 

Feel free to adjust the ingredients and ratios according to your taste preferences. You can also prepare multiple servings at once for a few days ahead.

Tips For Making & Eating 

Now that you’ve got your oats of choice, it’s time to get cooking. There are many cooking methods to suit your oats. Here are some tips for making and eating oats:

  1. Choose the right type: There are many types of oats. Rolled oats have a quick cooking process, while steel-cut oats have a nuttier texture and take longer to cook.
  2. Cooking methods: Aside from the type of oats, there are also various cooking methods. You can use a stovetop, microwave, or overnight. Let oats with milk/yogurt soak overnight in the fridge for a no-cook option. There are also many easy overnight oat recipes to use.
  3. Flavor enhancers: You can also add spices to your oats for a better experience. They can also help with weight loss. For one, people often use cinnamon to lose belly fat. You can also have dried fruit alongside as the best belly fat burners.
  4. Portion control: Oats are nutritious but calorically dense. Be mindful of portion sizes to avoid overconsumption.

Conclusion

If you find yourself wondering, “Are oats overnight good for weight loss?” Yes, they are. We outlined how oats are good for weight loss. As a weight loss breakfast, they help regulate blood sugar levels, manage your appetite, and reduce cravings. The variety of oats also makes them great.

Pairing oats with a variety of nutritious toppings like fruits, nuts, or seeds allows you to customize while maximizing their health benefits. Overall, when combined with regular exercise and a balanced diet, overnight oats can serve as a nutritious addition to your weight loss journey.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I drink milk if I want to lose weight?

You can drink milk while aiming to lose weight, but opt for lower-fat options like skim or unsweetened almond milk. However, moderation matters, too.

What kind of milk is best for weight loss?

The best milk for weight loss depends on your preferences and nutritional needs. Skim milk, almond milk, or other low-calorie options can aid weight loss due to their lower fat content.

Should I avoid milk to lose belly fat?

Avoiding milk solely for belly fat loss isn’t necessary. Milk, especially low-fat variants, can be part of a balanced diet. Also, spot reduction isn’t effective; focus on overall health.

What’s the healthiest milk to drink?

The healthiest milk choice varies based on individual dietary requirements. Unsweetened almond milk is low calorie and is lactose-free. Skim milk provides protein and calcium with lower fat content.

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EHproject has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We work mostly with peer-reviewed studies to ensure accurate information. We avoid using tertiary references. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. Susan Adeosun (MPH, MD) is a medical doctor and public health enthusiast. She has over five years’ worth of experience in public health and preventive medicine and is a firm believer in the famous phrase… See More