Wait – A Whole Podcast on Oatmeal Dangers?
Gone are the days where oatmeal was just accepted as a healthy breakfast option. In the age of social media where controversy drives attention, various “oatmeal dangers” have made people start questioning the classic breakfast favorite.
That’s right – there are multiple oatmeal dangers identified in social media land.
For starters, it’s a grain. <GASP!>
Anyone immersed in enough mainstream nutrition media knows that grains are often perceived as unhealthy or inflammatory. It turns out processed food made with grains may be unhealthy when consumed in excess or when a true allergy is present, but wheat bread and oatmeal? These are quite healthy.
We find better health outcomes for humans when their diets include whole grains. Be sure to check out this podcast episode where we talk about grains and oatmeal specifically, as well as this episode on the Paleo diet (which completely eliminates grains).
But nevertheless, it’s common for trendy diets to eschew grains, and since oatmeal is a grain, it usually has to go.
In addition to being a grain, perceived oatmeal dangers in social media also include the potential glyphosate contamination as well as its glycemic index value (or insulin-spiking potential).
What is Glyphosate?
Glyphosate is an herbicide, which means it’s used to control weeds and grasses. It’s the most commonly used herbicide worldwide for both residential and agricultural uses.
Many crops have been genetically-engineered to be glyphosate-tolerant because you don’t want to kill the crop while trying to get a handle on weed control. Therefore, oatmeal grasses will likely contain some glyphosate residues – but so will other crops.
The specific concern about glyphosate and oatmeal seems to be a result of the Environmental Working Group which tested oat-based cereal and snack products in 2018 and 2019. Glyphosate was found in all of them – and to levels higher than their recommended amount for children.
BUT before you stop buying all oatmeal products…
The Environmental Working Group proposed glyphosate level is 100 times lower than the Environmental Protection Agency regulatory limit! Of course they are going to consider the levels they detected to be high.
From the freely available information available online, the greatest amount of glyphosate detected was 2.8 parts per million (and the EPA level is 30 parts per million). The amount detected was well below what the EPA has determined to be safe for long-term exposure. So where you set your cut-off level dictates what is “high” or “low.”
Now, most people immediately think there should be no pesticides ever – without realizing that much of the risk in exposure comes down to dose. Too much water can in fact kill you. But most people aren’t afraid of water.
The same concept can be applied to chemicals. The EPA sets health standards to be very protective of human health and you can learn more about their process in this podcast episode on eating organic.
But, check out the podcast episode linked above to learn more about the different types of glyphosate exposure (dietary vs. occupational), as well as what the science says about cancer risk and glyphosate.
What About Other Perceived Oatmeal Dangers – Like the Glycemic Index? And Insulin Spiking? And what about Oatmeal Benefits and Advantages?
In the podcast episode linked above, another common health risk is discussed: the glycemic index and insulin spiking.
Much of social media content – and even businesses – discusses the “harm” of spiking your insulin from carbohydrate foods. This episode breaks down the glycemic index and what you need to be focused on to stay healthy.
And finally, we also talk about what advantages there are to including oatmeal in your diet (spoiler alert: oatmeal is a healthy food).
So listen now using the links above. (If you open in a podcast player like Apple or Spotify, be sure to scroll back to Feb 2023 to find the one titled: on the Hidden Dangers of Oatmeal.)
Andreotti et al., 2017. Glyphosate study with applicators in North Caroline and Iowa.
European Food Safety Authority, 2015. Report on glyphosate carcinogenic hazard to humans.
Fulgoni et al., 2015. Oatmeal is associated with healthier diets and lower body mass index.
Guyenet & Schwartz, 2012. Insulin and glucose levels do not drive hunger.
Ho et al., 2016. Oatmeal reduces cholesterol in randomized controlled trials.
Kirman et al., 2021. Non-Hogkins Lymphoma and glyphosate meta-analysis.
on the Cancer Risk of Meat
Quick Bites #1 (see question #4 for “grains” and #5 for oats and gluten free)
on the Highs and Lows of Continuous Glucose Monitors