So I will admit I am a bit biased as I lost an absolute ton of weight before I found Paleo by simply eating a small quantity of quick oats ($1.79 for a generic cardboard tube) with a little bit of real maple syrup or real peanut butter for breakfast, the same for lunch, and then a simple dinner of probably Paleo-friendly stew or fish with some veggies.
To be honest at about a 1/3 cup dry for breakfast and another for lunch I was probably entering ketosis from low calories even though I was eating 'carbs'. Oatmeal is fairly low on the Glylcemic index, but with such a small quantity I probably was 'almost fasting' for 24 hours at a time. I understand the logic behind (and currently do) the fasting with Paleo, but felt like I was keeping the fire burning while burning off excess fat around the clock.
PaNu's approach to weight loss is here: LINK There are some similarities, but also significant differences.
So, why not oatmeal? I am interested in Paleo from the 'this is what our bodies do and how they respond to foods' aspect, not the particulars of what humans ate in that particular epoch. It doesn't matter to me that humans in Paleo times didn't cook with this method or that... I am only interested in the why and how of real health and digestion.
PaNu seems to be anti grains in general, and I understand that gluten grains can cause leaky gut, and that we all are probably somewhat intolerant to wheat; but what is the science behind avoiding oatmeal?
Since starting a Lacto-Paleo style approach I cut out oatmeal and started eating more fats and fasting. This seems to work too, but I am curious why the former approach I stumbled upon might be considered 'wrong' from a Paleo standpoint.
In short, why is oatmeal 'bad' for me?
Oats are often contaminated with other gluten grains during processing. (Thompson T (2005) Contaminated oats and other gluten-free foods in the United States. Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 105:348.)
Also the avenin protein appears to have similar effects to gluten. (Lundin, K et al (2003) Oats induced villous atrophy in coeliac disease. Gut. 52: 1649-1652. and Haboubi NY et al (2006) Coeliac disease and oats: a systematic review. Postgraduate Med J. 82: 672-678.)
Considering you don't need starch or beta-glucan or fibre, I'd rather ask, "Oats - why?"! ;)
I am very impressed with the manner in which you posed your question. Quite thorough I must say.
Pre-Paleo, my wife and I ate oatmeal all the time. We were all engulfed in the whole 'low saturated fat, high fiber, cholesterol lowering foods' deal. Oh how off base we were.
The case against oatmeal:
high in: carbs, fiber, phytic acid
many people, especially those with sensitive insulin response, have a significant surge in blood glucose after eating oatmeal.
The case for oatmeal (and why I still choose to eat it):
like potatoes, oatmeal is delicious when you use it as a vehicle for other additives
has enough nutrients / minerals to be worth eating if properly prepared
extremely inexpensive if you're on a budget (sometimes finding inexpensive meals that 'qualify' allows more room in your food budget to purchase the premium quality foods to satisfy your main staples)
Best way to prepare oatmeal: soak/ferment to predigest the oats and reduce phytic acid
pour 3 cups of raw oats into glass bowl and fill with purified water until oats are covered
add 8 tablespoons of raw whey (or any acidic medium like kefir/yogurt)
add 2 tablespoons organic buckwheat flour (this adds phytase to break down the phytates)
stir thoroughly. cover with paper towel and let sit at room temperature for 24 hours
drain and rinse thoroughly (most of the buckwheat flour will rinse out)
Now you can cook them as normal and prepare as desired. Personally, I add 4 organic eggs, half stick of melted pasture butter, 2 tsp vanilla, dash of cinnamon, a handful of fresh blueberries, 2 tbsp pure maple syrup, 1 tbsp baking powder, mix it all up, pour the oats into a casserole dish, and bake at 350 for 45 min.
the result? 'baked blueberry oatmeal' that will make your entire house smell like the holidays. the oats are very light and fluffy, and do not cause gas or stomach upset. obviously, you wouldn't want to eat this in large quantity, especially if you have blood glucose imbalances. but i tell you what, fill a small bowl with this and add some pasture butter and heavy cream, you got yourself a delicious 'bready' style treat without the grain issues.
I would refer you to http://heartscanblog.blogspot.com/2010/02/you-just-think-youre-low-carb.html entitled "You just think you're low carb" Dr Davis talks about what happens to one's blood glucose levels after ingesting oatmeal and other sugar spiking foods.
On Edit: There is evidence that eating oatmeal retards the healing of cavities while eating paleo at http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2009/03/reversing-tooth-decay.html
Edit: Dr Davis has a new posting on Mar 10 regarding Oatmeal exclusively. http://heartscanblog.blogspot.com/2010/03/oatmeal-good-or-bad.html regarding the insulin spike brought on by eating oatmeal in most people.
I agree that they are among the least bad grains and I discuss them in my post about Scottish traditional food. If you are interested in consuming grains, the Weston A. Price foundation is a great resource. Did you know oatmeal was usually eaten fermented back in the old days? My boyfriend refuses to give up oatmeal, so I make fermented oatmeal for him.
Why don't I eat oatmeal? Personally, I think grains muck up our bodies. In my case, even nice oatmeal messes with my digestion. My father who is paleo was slow to give up oatmeal but once he gave it up he lost even more weight. Oatmeal has fiber, but in the end it's glucose, which is a sugar, and they have very little nutrition compared to true paleo foods.
so in that case, most of the french population should be diabetic because of the french white bread they consume daily, and white rice and wheat noodles or buckwheat noodles are all over china and japan, have been for centuries, yet no-one talks about the fact they are just as high carb sugar rushes as white bread- lets talk genuine sourdough, rye? has anyone noticed that old generation sardinians are amongst the longest lived people with low rates/almost non-existent diabetes and so on, and they eat pane carasou and other white-bread wheat-based albeit homemade goods? Okay so white rice contains no phytic acid and oats do- but doesn't cauliflower and almonds, pecans contain phytic acid in abundance? i bet only a small handful of us sprout these nuts to decrease the phytic acid because we know deep down our bodies can handle a bit of phytic acid enough to eat them in an un-sprouted form because we are living in a society where we can go out and buy grass fed beef, raw butter, raw cheese, bone marrows and other nutritious foods stuffs- therefore we are not malnourished or in danger of being wholly reliant on phytic acid rich foods- our bodies are amazing machines that if we are genuinely healthy with no gluten or immune issues we will be fine to consume oatmeal. Infact many people live to a ripe old age eating oatmeal, just google centenarians and their dietary tips- they include fat of course, but a morning oatmeal is thrown in there too. I genuinely believe that some people do better on a breakfast thats high carb mixed with fats then even it out during the course of the day. Let's not forget that you can disregard your cravings and what you want so much, convincing yourself your body is tricking you into wanting something, when really you could just eat it and eat it with a positive state of mind (considering you aren't gluten intolerant) and be just fine. I see a few people saying about insulin spikes being detrimental to health over time yet no-one seems to remind anyone how the majority of the world do not actually solely rely on tubers for carb fuel but actually there is a great mix of grains that are cultivated and used. Preparation is key. second to that, pairing the phytic acid rich food with a calcium rich food stuff and a fat will likely change the way it affects the gi response.
Oatmeal simply does contain gluten and will raise blood sugar quickly in many. I take all diabetic and gluten intolerant clients off oats (and they are usually quite unhappy until they see how much better they feel). Most folks have the inclination to put maple syrup into the mix(and more than just a little)! Seems like there are so many other choices for breakfast that will hold your blood sugar stable for a much longer period of time.
Oats contain high levels of lectins and phytic acid which can cause intestinal imbalances and block the absorption of nutrients. They are also high in omega 6s and cause many people to have high insulin. If you really want to eat them, people are right when they suggest fermentation. THe fermentation process helps break down the lectins and phytic acid and make the food more nutritious. However, it will still be an insulin generator.
To add to what has already been said, I think oats have got to be the most tasteless and bland food available on this earth. Even more so, when you eat them, you're not eating something immensely more nutritive instead.
I stopped eating oatmeal after I found out that it was adversely affecting my blood sugar. I began testing after I read that the best way to avoid heart disease was to avoid raising your blood sugar. Oatmeal boosted it up to the 160's in a flash.
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