Tag Archives: porridge

Porridge that helps. Porridge that harms?

We’re into autumn and winter is looming, and once again many will be turning to porridge as a breakfast of choice (funny how so many think a hot breakfast is only for winter!)

Today I’m reading an article that suggests porridge will help lower your cholesterol…but is that true?

“Eating a simple bowl of porridge every day could transform the health of the nation, in one single step”, says Chris Seal, professor of food and human nutrition at Newcastle University.

Certainly oats contain beta-glucans, a soluble fibre, which HAS been shown to help lower cholesterol…as long as you eat 3 grams beta-glucans per. day… and that equates to a 70 gram bowl, according to this article. Actually most porridge portion sizes are way less than 70 grams! A typical portion size is between 30 and 40 grams only – so 70 grams is 2 bowls per. day. And that’s the first problem I see in this advice.

HOW we eat oats is crucial. The article states that oats are “virtually sugar free”. And that’s true – a bag of simple oats is about 1% naturally occurring sugar. But is that how we typically eat porridge? I suspect in most cases it isn’t.

IMG_20170928_102252The modern way of eating oats means a handy tub, just add water, eat on the go – or at least in a hurry. What’s in the tub, in most cases, bears no resemblance to a bag of simple oats. Full of sugar and additives, porridge in this way can simply no longer be claimed to be healthy!

We might sensibly expect the flavoured varieties to contain a few additives. Take Quaker’s Oat So Simple Caramel flavour as an example… we all know caramel means sugar, so it comes as no surprise that this product is more than 23% added sugar! Say goodbye to any health benefits in this product!

So, what about Quaker’s Oat So Simple Original? Just original porridge oats right? Wrong! It still contains a whopping 22%+ added sugar! Very little in it between the one we understand will have sugar and the one we might reasonably expect to be better – if we trust the appearance of the food label that is.

Ah, but, there are brands that proudly declare “no added sugar”! Take Moma – certainly less sugar than Quaker pots but which still contains over 15% sugar. No added sugar? No resemblance to mere oats!

By now you’re probably thinking I’ve got it in for porridge? No, in the right way oats are great! They are great cooked from scratch, preferably with water or full fat milk, and “sweetened” if necessary with a good quality cinnamon. Or the traditional Scottish way with water and a pinch of salt.

Prepare for winter. Prepare for a HEALTHY winter!

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