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  • KellyC

    “Does anyone remember the product for which Wilford Brimley was the spokesperson years ago? Right, Quaker Oats. Does anyone know what Wilford Brimley now promotes? Diabetes testing supplies.“

    Nice!!! Love it.

    • admin

      @Kelly- that was all Robb pointing that one out!

      • Tonya


        • Yvonne Sinclair

          I agree. The title implies oatmeal causes diabetes. I wonder if it is what is added to the oatmeal not the oatmeal itself. In some of the responses the author says oatmeal is also bad for the “grain” reason. If we declare any food “bad” because someone is intolerant or allergic…what would we eat. Each one of us needs to decide for our self what is good for us. Real food, no additives and processed ingredients is best for me. I take offense to the new wave of declaring foods “bad” because they cause someone problems. Thanks for listening…just needed to vent a little.

          • Enid Hutchinson

            I have a question: if you get plain oatmeal, it has ZERO sugar, so, what are we concerned about? sugar? or how high in carbs oatmeal is? or both?

    • Derek

      That quote just further proves the awesome that is Robb Wolf.

      • admin

        Right? :)

  • Jules

    Don’t forget the Nutella-as-healthy-breakfast commercial. It gets kids to eat more toast and waffles, so they’ll do better in school! 😀

  • Chris Kresser

    LOVE the graphic. The stupidity of it all is just shocking sometimes.

    • admin

      Perhaps you need a “bacon is rad. gluten is bad.” T shirt?

      • Kim

        That would be awesome! Does such a t-shirt exist??

  • Joe

    I’m interested in learning more. Like so many others, I was taught that oatmeal and OJ were healthy breakfast choices. I’m eager to hear what you say about bacon and eggs.

    • admin

      Hey Joe- Welcome!

      The bacon post will be up as soon as possible. I highly recommend that you click on and read the posts I linked to above. You’ll learn a ton. I also recommend reading “The Paleo Solution” by Robb Wolf.

      Here’s a link:

  • Lia

    I cringe every time I see that commercial.

  • Bobby Khan

    I am on the fence about the whole grains thing, just cause I think that evolution works faster than what we think, the whole epigenitics thing. BUT either way it is stuffed with sugars. its stupid to even think it is healthy…

    • admin

      From what I’ve seen in my practice and what colleagues of mine see in their practices (and have for over 10 years) is that when people remove the “new” foods from their diet, they generally look, feel and perform better. It’s pretty much become a clinically healing diet amongst naturopathic/holistic nutrition and medical professionals that a grain-free/dairy-free/legume-free diet is what will be the least irritating to human digestive systems and allow them to heal… which is where most disease begins- in the gut or breakdown therein.

      I recommend reading and as well for more info.

  • James

    So what about just plain old pure Quaker Oats? Are thse bad for you as well?

    • admin

      Yes from the grains perspective (gut irritation > poor digestion > malnutrition > disease and systemic breakdown of biochemical processes in the body) but less so from a sugar perspective since there aren’t sugars ADDED to the plain rolled oats. That said… 1- do you cook and eat them without adding more sugar/sweetener/fruit to them? and 2- all carbohydrates are sugar (finally used as glucose for fuel) in your body. That’s not to say some carbs aren’t perfectly nutritious and healthy, but those would primarily be in the form of vegetables and possibly some fruit… but mostly vegetables, roots and tubers. Grains are inferior nutrition sources and mostly just spike our insulin and leave fairly little nutrition behind in their wake.

      Read this for more on grains- I needn’t reinvent the wheel- this post says it all…

      • James

        Thanks for the information. I add just a hint of honey, along with some frozen blueberries, as well as a tablespoon of organic ground flax seed. I have heard about Paleo but have not really dove into the subject. I will checkout your article to find out more. Thank you!

        • James

          Forgot to mention, yes, I make sure the oats are thoroughly cooked.

          • admin

            Yeah, that’s a big pile of sugar for breakfast… I’d opt for a protein-based breakfast for 2 weeks and see how you feel…

          • JCL

            You ought to cover this (and spend some time with it) in your OP. I think everyone who is into healthy food (ie the people reading) wouldn’t consider the options you discuss and it’s the #1 question in their minds when they read.

          • Bev

            @JVL: Right…because of media and industry’s definition of health. Diane can’t hit on all the answers here. Understanding the effects gluten has on the body will answer many questions for you. Without any other variables, doesn’t it make sense to eat something straight from the chicken (eggs) over processed cereal?

  • Stephen Duncan

    This is the quote for me, “I know I didn’t think much about it before maybe five or six years ago. I ate tons of cereal. With skim milk. Seriously. And I was hungry ALL the time.”

    Been there done it and bought the carb addiction and adrenals the size of a grain of cous cous to prove it!!
    I now get how we are all really different and can see the low fat brainwashing con for what it is but I still remember training 3 times a day like a lunatic and then sitting there at night after spending 45 minutes solid eating an entire pot of spaghetti and then still needing to hit the Frosties for several bowls just to keep up with my training and hunger.
    Yes I was ripped to the bone but was that sustainable, was that healthy??
    Id argue not.
    My mothers side of the family, Italian restaurant owners, will be turning in their graves at my sugar/grain/carb avoidance but there you go.
    It took some time for me to see the light.
    This is a really good article and will show it to my clients as Im always trying to show ppl its not just me that has the hump with Mr Kellogg.
    Thanks Diane, and this is a really good looking blog by the way.

  • RJones

    Very interesting. My husband and I have recently begun a paleo lifestyle. I’m amazed that I have not had a day that I’ve been STARVING. I don’t get as hungry now and dont eat as much either. I’ve had a few days where I’ve had a little bread or pretzels, but on the whole feel good. I’d be very interested in reading about bacon.

    • admin

      Satiety is a wonderful thing, isn’t it? I rode the hypoglycemia roller coaster for 10 years, and as much as I like roller coasters, I sure am glad to be off of that one!

  • Primal Toad

    I remember those days when I ate toasted oatmeal squares and oatmeal for breakfast. Along with other “healhy” cereals. Where they more healthy then the fruit looks, frosted flakes, honey nut cherrios, etc. that I ate before I made the whole grain transition? Yes.

    But my breakfast of meat (sometimes bacon) and eggs along with veggies for fruit is FAR HEALTHIER. Thank you primal, paleo!

  • jess

    I also remember trying to eat oatmeal and “healthy” cereal for breakfast because “they” said it keeps you full all morning and time and time again I would wonder why I was hungry, no make that starving, in an hour.

    • Cindy

      I eat oatmeal for breakfast every morning, its the only thing I can eat that I am NOT starving by lunch time… I have done the whole atkins zero carbs thing, the low carb thing and no matter what i am always hungry…. I believe the whole carbs are not great for you ideal, but I have to disagree with the whole argument that eating oatmeal makes you hungry an hour later….. as I said, I tried tons of combination of foods for breakfast to get me through the morning and its come down to oatmeal that keeps me fullest, the longest

  • Alexander J. Rinehart, MS, DC, CCN

    One dilemma is that any breakfast is better than no breakfast, and they try to leverage that and it’s just a slippery slope assumption. They can always point to research supporting their case, and they can take the slivers of research combine it with lobbying money and get what they want. They give money to the American Dietetic Association, they influence our guidelines, they push away any idea of food being therapy or medicine, and the vicious cycle continues for yet another generation. Tides are changing and I appreciate the work you do in spreading information and helping transform lives!

    • Rick

      Amen to that. The grain lobbies have been greasing palms to get their message of consumption to us for decades and it has worked to near perfection.

  • Becky

    While I find the whole paleo-diet interesting (I cannot fully delve into it due to a medical condition), I find the title of your article misleading. The ad in question is for a cinnamon flavored oatmeal CEREAL, not Quaker Oats.

    Also, there have been published studies linking drops in both cholesterol levels (which I understand wasn’t your point) AND blood sugar to oatmeal. Example links are attached. You may not have access if you don’t have an academic browser.

    No, I’m not a proponent of the Carl Von Noorden method (look it up). All in all, I think that there are different strokes for different folks. That applies to breakfast food.

    Then again, I hated the Kashi commercial, too.

    • admin

      Becky- “interesting” in what way? And I/we are happy to hear medical conditions if you’d like to elaborate. I have clients and followers who have put many chronic conditions into remission via a Paleo diet (grain/legume/dairy-free).

      I’d have written the same article about the plain oats if that was what the commercial was for, to be honest. Watching a trusted “health advisor” talk about oatmeal being a superfood was just appalling to me, though not surprising I suppose.

      I don’t think that different strokes for different folks can adequately defend a choice to eat a bowl of grains for breakfast, sorry. And remember here that I used to eat that stuff EVERY MORNING. I understand that mentality. IT still remains that a bowl of plain oats would also be a bowl of sugar to the body- 1cup has 39g of carbs (sugar) and 5g of protein- piddly when compared to a meal of real food vs rolled out grains This is to say nothing of the fact that “breakfast foods” are a sham anyway and that eating whole, real food in the form of meats and veggies is really all humans need to be eating any meal of the day. (if we can even trust this resource, I’m not entirely sure it isn’t biased but we get what we get)

      Sure maybe there are some nutrients in there and if your intestinal permeability isn’t compromised (which it likely would be if you ate oats daily/regularly) then perhaps you’d get some nutrition from them. That said, most Americans are not in a position to be digesting and absorbing foods properly and by continuing to eat a bowl of sugar & gut irritants each morning we’re not doing ourselves any favors.

      I’m not very interested in studies linking drops in cholesterol to oatmeal consumption as I don’t believe that dropping cholesterol via consuming carbohydrates is a valid or even necessary approach, nor do I think that the drop in blood sugar was likely due to consuming oatmeal, but likely rather to consuming oatmeal possibly instead of consuming further refined grains or an even higher amount of sugar than the person did before the study.

      And yes, the Kashi commercial is appalling. We agree there… :)

  • Jimmy Moore

    I was doing my interval workouts at the gym on Friday and it was early in the morning. One of the “personal trainers” was showing one of his clients what he eats for his “healthy” breakfast and it was a big bowl of oatmeal. He told this poor person, “You gotta load up on healthy carbohydrates like this first thing in the morning to fuel your day.” The blatant ignorance abounds even in 2011 no thanks to pawns like Bob Harper. Grrrrrrr.

  • Daryl

    I was just wondering what you think of information like “The China Study” and other longevity studies promoting vegetarianism and also what you think about the impact of raising meat on the planet? I’m really wanting to talk to someone about this because I have an autistic son who has never received vaccinations or medication. I’m learning that many people in the autism healing community like your kind of diet as a way to heal with profound changes. But I’m in Israel right now in a center for his healing that promotes vegetarianism. I have a family of four to feed and feel very stongly about the environmental impact about killing enough meat to feed us all but want the best for my family as well. As a background, my other son always has dark circles and is prone to reactive, overemotional fits as well and I’m ALWAYS tired and drained. Thank you!!!!

    • admin

      I am not an expert on The China Study but I know that the information reported in that book does not present the entire picture and the author practices “nutritionism” and tries to show how single nutrients or types of proteins are harmful to people and health but the “proof” isn’t there when you read the actual research and the information doesn’t report on what happens when the nutrients are eaten in the context of whole foods. I would recommend reading Denise Minger’s blog and articles therein for more on The China Study:

      Additionally, I would recommend thinking about how and what to eat from an evolutionary perspective and what man would have been able to consume in a whole form without processing. I don’t believe in, nor do I promote a diet void of animal foods. I also don’t believe in a grain-based diet as being healthy for any person. Plants are great, but grains are not what I consider to be healthy even in a plant-based diet.

      Keep reading up- check out as well as for even more information. Your kiddos would do well to be grain and dairy free. Dark circles are a classic sign of food allergies/intolerance in the presence of adequate sleep. Take the kid off of grains and dairy for 30 days and report back to me.

      • Daryl

        Thanks, Diane. I will look into these websites and tell you what happens if I take the kids of grains.

  • emily (a nutritionist eats)

    I think the same thing when I see those commercials!! So frustrating!

  • Shannon

    I heard your interview with Jimmy Moore and it was great. I just started visiting this site. I just want to say I absolutely LOVE the tone of your posts. It’s like I can hear your sarcasm or cynicism or something! Not in a bad way; you’re just funny. So thank you for the refreshing blog and facebook food pics!

  • michm

    I am so on board with what you have written, but my office is so not! They leave quaker oats in the kitchen (both the sugar laden packets and the original) and every M,W,F there are bagels abound! It’s so hard when I’m rushing out the door to still make time for breakfast when I potentially could fall back on what they have to offer (I admit it, I have, but I believe my work suffers as a result – I am trying to eat all day when that happens!) Nice to know there is a community out there making time and making eggs for breakfast!

  • Blair Wilson

    I can’t believe I am just finding this article right now. Well written, point well made and so relevant. Well done Diane – keep it up.

  • Laurie

    Late to the party, but I love this post! It’s so hard to explain to others that what’s being promoted on TV and most mainstream ads (and by the Federal Government) is cr*p, cr*p, cr*p! It’s no wonder obesity rates are climbing.

  • Shanna @ The Truth about Chasing your Dreams

    Amazing! I get so angry when I see that commercial on TV. I have been Paleo for about a year. I’m pregnant with my first, just had my blood work done and my Midwife was impressed with the results. She said, “wait, you’re on that paleo diet right? Keep doing that, yeah definitely keep doing that, everything looks great!” I was a little nervous to tell her about paleo the first appointment, everything that I have been reading about pregnancy talks about the importance of having a “balanced” diet that includes the 6-8 servings of grains and dairy. Bunch of bull feed to us from the USDA. She had not heard of paleo before but was very interested in hearing about it. Once she knew what it was she was very supportive.

    I do have a question for you, do you have any suggestions on getting over the nausea related to pregnancy and eating meat? I have had the hardest time eating meat, it’s crazy. It’s not like I’m having cravings for carbs, I’m just nauseated by most paleo foods so I eat what I can, which usually ends up being “health” foods like oatmeal. After being paleo for so long its weird. Thought you might have worked with some pregnant ladies with the same issue. Any suggestions would help…

    LOVE the blog! Keep spreading the truth!!


  • Matt Smith

    1. Quaker Oats, which is in the title of the article, is a different product than Quaker Oatmeal Suares and Instant Oatmeal which are used in your ‘analysis’. Quaker Oats are 100% whole oats. Please do pick oats apart so I don’t have to buy a paleo book.
    2. Whole oat flour = sugar? Really? Explain! Whole oat flour is made from grinding oats and all parts of the oat remain in the flour. Only the texture is changed, not the underlying chemical composition.

    • admin

      1. Once metabolized, all carbs are sugar in their usable form to the body. The squares are just even more processed than the plain rolled oats. Neither offers much nutritional value otherwise.

      2. Yes, really. Flour is the closest thing to sugar besides actual sugar or sweeteners… refined grain flours are carbohydrates that we metabolize QUICKLY into sugar. Yes, the texture is changed, so you don’t need to chew as much or digest as much, even faster digestion and absorption (provided you CAN even digest the grain’s proteins) into your bloodstream as sugar.

      Yum! 😉

      • Matt Smith

        Thanks for the reply Diane. The biggest problem I have with the article is the obvious assertion from the title that Quaker Oats, again 100% whole oats, has some strong special link to diabetes. This is obviously not true.

        Additionally, following the reasoning you allow that since all carbs *end up* as sugar (a misleading term itself) and therefore *are* sugar one could just as easily title the article ‘Banana for breakfast diabetes for lunch’.

        • admin

          What’s obviously not true? A high carb diet might lead to Type 2 diabetes? Clearly the article is titled to get some attention and get people reading to learn about what it means to chug down a bowl of sugar in the morning. Yes, a bowl of fruit is similar though fruit carries a more bio-available nutrition than grains do.

          Misleading how?

          Sure, I could have titled the post as you mention, but the motivation to write it was from a commercial for quaker oats, not for a banana. I’ve never seen a commercial for bananas touting their health benefits, have you?

          • Matt Smith

            Again, the commercial was for Quaker Oatmeal Squares (flour-based added sugar etc), not Quaker Oats (100% whole oats nothing else). The title refers to Oats and the contents to other products and you continue to mislead or confuse the two.

            Above you make the tie between having oats for breakfast and therefore ‘having a high carb diet’ which may lead to t2 diabetes. Honsetly!?

            Btw, banana ads are done in print. I don’t watch TV and neither should you – it’s linked to diabetes and other health problems.

          • Ramone

            Just wanted to post this after reading this article:

  • Shaun Somers

    I just saw this post for the first time yesterday. As I mention in my blog post today, all I could picture when I watched the kids at work eating bowls of oatmeal was them eating pure sugar. That they put brown sugar on top of.

  • kel

    HI Diane,
    I think this is counter to what you might expect, but i have a friend who just started paleo and is now experiencing low blood sugar crashes more often. she definitely used to eat tons of oats and fruit juice as a solution. i really thought paleo would help her problem with this, but she seems to think it actually got worse. any ideas on this? and what do you think she should do during a crash when she used to reach for the fruit juice? (by the way, she is not diabetic)
    thanks so much for your help, I really appreciate it!!

  • Yvonne Sinclair

    This is a little misleading I think. Your title implies this tat OATMEAL is bad for your health. “Quaker Oats,” is what your title states, and I am thinking a different title would be more appropriate for this piece.

    • admin

      Oatmeal is also bad for your health. Six of one, half-a-dozen of the other. Read my reply above to someone asking about regular oats.

      • Melanie

        Good post.

        Just wondering, Diane, do you think I was too soft on oats when I wrote about them the other day in Is Oatmeal Healthy?”

  • Lindsey

    I realize this article is over a year old, so everyone may have already moved on. But the comment by Cindy, above, rang true with me and I was wondering about it. I was on a sugarless, dairy free, completely carb free diet for about 60 days. I went on it with about 5 other friends. At 1st we all struggled with our cravings and even feeling hungry, but it lessened a great deal after the 1st week. Except for me. I was the only one who starved my way through the whole 60 days. I constantly felt like my stomach was empty. No matter how much protein I “filled” up on. I thought, if I could just have one piece of sourdough, or something, I’d feel so much better. Sure enough, at the end of the diet, the 1st phasing back in of carbs was to add them to breakfast. I had a piece of toast with my eggs and did not get hungry until lunch! Weirdly, this is not true with oatmeal – oatmeal makes me more hungry. But, I feel like I need a starchy carb, especially with breakfast, to survive. What does this mean? The only connection I could find was I was the only one of my friends on the diet who had a A bloodtype, which according to the blood type diet is the only bloodtype that is happiest on carbs (not protein). But, I couldn’t find much to back up these thought. I did just complete the 21 DSD and felt better on that, but still so hungry. Thoughts?

  • Ivor Goodbody

    I might take this “scathing editorial” (Doug Robb) more seriously if

    (a) the headline didn’t misleadingly suggest that oats per se are the problem, not a product loaded with several types of sugar

    (b) your own website had not previously featured an article recommending chocolate containing up to 30% sugar, right under the toolbar tab “Sugar DeTox”

    Maybe it’s not just Quaker that needs weaning off its sweet tooth!

    Wishing you lifelong health, naturally


    • Sandra L Etemad

      I agree with this; I’m seeing a long screeds against pre-processed packets of oatmeal with other stuff added. I didn’t read every word (all the links and fancy editing prevent just reading the darned thing) but I didn’t see anything about OATMEAL — just about packaged foods. Very annoying! Now, about oatmeal . . . I’d love to see something that’s not a rant. I’m reading equal numbers of rants about how Paleo is not at all scientific, is rated among the lowest for diets, etc., but really, although maybe the public in general responds to rants more than to INFORMATION, I seek information, and at this point I’m completely confused.

      • balancedbites

        I wrote this post in 2011 when rants were a big thing of mine, mostly because commercials REALLY got under my skin. I still love a rant now and then, to be honest, because I can find “science” to “prove” almost any point of view I may have. Folks are here for my perspective, and I have 100% respect for someone who seek different information.

        Not sure what Ivor is referring to here about the chocolate, since, again, this post is from 2011…

        • Sandra L Etemad

          Haha — I love a rant now and then, too. Thanks!

        • Sandra L Etemad

          Haha — I love a rant now and then, too. Thanks!

    • Sandra L Etemad

      I agree with this; I’m seeing a long screeds against pre-processed packets of oatmeal with other stuff added. I didn’t read every word (all the links and fancy editing prevent just reading the darned thing) but I didn’t see anything about OATMEAL — just about packaged foods. Very annoying! Now, about oatmeal . . . I’d love to see something that’s not a rant. I’m reading equal numbers of rants about how Paleo is not at all scientific, is rated among the lowest for diets, etc., but really, although maybe the public in general responds to rants more than to INFORMATION, I seek information, and at this point I’m completely confused.

  • Lily

    I think this post is very informative and interesting, but it’s not really about oats. It’s about how bad processed breakfast cereals are. I have eliminated oatmeal and gone paleo for almost 30 days now and was hoping to find an article refuting the “oatmeal for heart health” myth. It’s something my mom has asked me about a lot. She (like me before our paleo experiment) eats oats every morning.

  • Sarah Butterfield

    Love this article! At, our goal is to inform the public of the importance of reading food labels. We want people to know it’s not just about calories and fat! We grade foods based on every aspect of the nutrition label, focusing mainly on the ingredients list. We gave Quaker Oats Instant Oatmeal a D:

  • Jill Therese

    I love this! I just recently transitioned over to quinoa as a substitute for oatmeal and its gone really well!

  • roesgrubbin

    I really enjoyed this article. I do have a question of concern. Can someone please clarify why “OAT and WHEAT FLOUR” are considered sugar in there raw form? Thanks

  • DLin

    Loved the article and calling out these kinds of commercials!

    I do wonder about your thoughts on raw oats in general though, steel cut and raw oats. Typically I don’t eat them by themselves but mix them with yogurt and some flax seed oil for good fats and sometimes some berries mixed in or nuts. Would love to hear your thoughts.

    • Diane Sanfilippo

      I don’t think they’re the worst thing in the world in the context of an otherwise overall healthy diet, but I don’t think they should be eaten for breakfast daily, and I DO think that a LOT of people have massive blood sugar regulation issues that are not helped by a bowl of cereal in the morning – of any kind. So there’s that… :)

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