Oatmeal and Carbs: Do Oats Count as a Carbohydrate?

oats and raspberries in a bowl
Oats seem like a healthy, nonfattening food to add to your diet, right? But why? , It’s natural to wonder what exactly makes oats such a ‘healthy’ addition to your food routine. Because oats are usually found on the food pyramid next to the wheat and bread, many people associate oats with carbs. And then comes the stigma that carbs are the key to weight gain, so how does that affect oats in your diet? Are oats a carb? Are they high-carb or low-carb? Let’s dive into the answers below. 

Oats and Carbs 

Carbohydrates are naturally occurring sugars, starches and fiber found in food. They are also the body’s favorite macronutrient to get energy from. So here’s the thing. Yes, oats are high in carbs. According to the USDA, ½ cup of dry oats (or 1 cup of cooked oats) contains about 27 grams of carbohydrates. But, that isn’t actually a bad thing; Oats are actually high in the healthy carbs your body needs to fuel itself.

Unfortunately, there is a big misconception about how carbs work with your body and how it can contribute to weight gain or weight loss. Many people think that carbs can only cause weight gain. And yes, indulging regularly in bad carbs like the ones you find in your favorite bag of Doritos will lead you on the path to obesity, but so will overindulging in any of your favorite sugary, fatty snacks. Moral of the story: the carbs aren’t always to blame. In fact, healthy carbs like quinoa, sweet potatoes, and oats are essential for your body’s everyday functions. When you aren’t taking in enough healthy carbs, your body starts to break down fats and proteins for energy instead, which aren’t used efficiently. Speaking of protein, 1 cup of cooked oats also provides 5 grams of protein, so oats really are ready to support your body in running smoothly.

What are Healthy Carbs?

You may have figured out by now that not all carbs are created equal. There are some we want to steer clear of and there are others that our body needs for energy. So, what exactly is a healthy carb? A general rule of thumb is if you can pick your carbohydrate straight from the farm, then it’s a healthy carb. Can you pluck potato chips from your backyard garden? I don’t think so (read: unhealthy carb). But, you can pick a sweet potato, a carrot, or even healthy grains like brown rice (read: healthy carb). If you are eating a healthy carb, it will be rich with fiber and help you feel full in a lasting way. So, you won’t need to eat as much, you’ll stay satiated for longer, and you’ll get the essential nutrients your body needs to function and maintain a healthy weight. Looking for something to hold you over during a busy day? Bring on the healthy carbs!

Example of healthy carbs include:

  • Oats
  • Apples
  • Buckwheat
  • Bananas
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Quinoa
  • Blueberries
  • Chickpeas
  • Carrots
  • Potatoes
  • Pumpkins
  • Kidney Beans
  • Beets
  • Oranges
  • Lentils

And the list goes on! So, don't be afraid of carbs because your body needs them to burn energy efficiently. Plus these whole foods come packed with nutrients that support a healthy lifestyle. Oats alone are loaded with vitamins and minerals like iron, selenium, calcium, magnesium, manganese, potassium, sodium, and zinc. Plus they offer key B vitamins like folate, niacin, riboflavin, thiamine, and pantothenic acid.

Are all Oats Healthy Carbs? 

All oats are not created equal. Whether it’s big-name companies loading their product with sugary additives or your favorite recipe asking you to add more brown sugar than apples, it can be easy to assume oats are healthy and ignore common mistakes.

Eating oats plain can not only bore your tastebuds, but also your body. To give your system the best mix of nutrients, and really get you ready to take on the day, you’ll want to add a little extra fat and protein. This can be in the form of milk, fruit, or nut butter. If you’re adding sugar maple or syrup, keep an eye on how many spoonfuls you mix in as this added sweet can spike blood sugar and up your carb count in an unhealthy way. Try adding fresh fruit for sweetness and enjoy the added nutrients you wouldn’t get from straight sugar.

What about when you leave your trust in someone else’s hands? Many big manufacturers include add-ins or refined sugar that are unhealthy for your body. But, don’t worry. At Oats Overnight, we’ve got your back. Our oats are healthy, nutritious, and contain the healthy carbs your body needs. We only use quality ingredients to make the flavor you love match the nutrients you want. From peach upside-down cake to peanut butter cookie dough cacao crunch, get your morning dose of protein, fiber, and real fruit delivered right to your door (free shipping for all orders in the U.S.)! Check out our selection of Oats Overnight here.

Oats Overnight Logo
About Oats Overnight

Enjoy the benefits of eating breakfast with none of the work. Overnight oatmeal loaded with superfoods like flax, chia, maca root, and 20g+ of protein. No recipes needed. Life Is Hard, Make Breakfast Easy.