Is Oatmeal Poison?

The Little Rascals in Our Gang Comedies taught me to hate even the thought of mush:

Mush is a thick cornmeal pudding (or porridge) usually boiled in water or milk . . .Usage is especially common in the eastern and southeastern United States. It is also customary for those in the Midwestern US to eat it with maple syrup.

In my mind, mush included all those mushy grain cereals, like Wheatina and 0atmeal too. In later years, however, I became an oatmeal fanatic. Everywhere I go, I order oatmeal – breakfast, lunch and sometimes dinner – because it is supposed to be good for you (and with honey and fruit its tasty too).

Now Mark Bittman has thrown the oatmeal on the wall and whatever doesn’t stick . . . well, you get the point. In his recent OpEd critique of MacDonald’s new oatmeal concoction, he sheds light on the pros and mostly cons of this gluttonous food. Here’s an excerpt:

“There’s a feeling of inevitability in writing about McDonald’s latest offering, their “bowl full of wholesome” — also known as oatmeal. The leading fast-food multinational, with sales over $16.5 billion a year (just under the GDP of Afghanistan), represents a great deal of what is wrong with American food today.”

Oatmeal has become big business. When I started eating it, I had no idea it had become the new black. But, lemming that I am, I started buying the instant variety to make certain I consumed my daily quota. Here’s another excerpt:

“Like so many other venerable foods, oatmeal has been roundly abused by food marketers for more than 40 years. Take, for example, Quaker Strawberries and Cream Instant Oatmeal, which contains no strawberries, no cream, 12 times the sugars of Quaker Old Fashioned Oats and only half of the fiber. At least it’s inexpensive, less than 50 cents a packet on average. (A serving of cooked rolled oats will set you back half that at most, plus the cost of condiments; of course, it’ll be much better in every respect.)”

This is an important article, not just for those of us being duped by the oatmeal consortia, but for anyone who is concerned with the industrial food manufacture in the United States. After reading it, all I could do was repeat an oft-quoted phrase of the Little Rascals: Ah, raspberries!!!!!

20 thoughts on “Is Oatmeal Poison?

  1. interior designing

    I don’t think oatmeal is poisoning everyone. When I read the title of the post, this reminds me of a way to eliminate cockroaches effectively and safely: mix oatmeal and baking soda, which could encourage to build up more acid in the stomach. The oatmeal could just attract the cockroach and the baking soda do the acid build-up. As for my oatmeal consumption, I could not have a morning without preparing oatmeal. And I began to like its taste.

  2. Mayene de Leon

    My mom served me oatmeal for breakfast Sunday through Friday (no joke, maybe give or take at least a week’s worth of missed days) from when I was 2 years old up until I finished 8th grade (12 years old or something like that?). She either mixed in yogurt (instead of milk) or Nesquik (instead of sugar) if I wanted extra flavor. But when it came down to it, using a teaspoon or sugar plus milk (instead of water) and bananas were the basics for old-fashioned Quaker oats … and, I must say, I was a pretty healthy kid. 
    Some days it sucked because it was the same mush day after day before school, but hey, it kept me going. : ) 

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  4. Nicholas Latkovic

    Every wonder why the flavored Quaker oatameal in packets has a different taste/texture than the old-fashioned oats in the cardboard cannister? It’s treated with preservatives and additives to maintain those… uh… artificial flavors.
    I say, go old-fashioned, and add your own brown sugar!

  5. Bobbi

    Ahem…. Steven… Trader Joe’s has a wide variety of oatmeal. Steel cut. Quick cook packets. Also a frozen oatmeal “hockey puck” that you simply microwave. Don’t you love us anymore? Quaker be damned. (joking)

  6. Jessica S.

    Steel Cut Oats are the way to go or there’s a fabulous 7 Grain mix that gives even higher diversity of healthy grains. I use the stove, and it’s NOT mush. There’s actually substance and flavor especially with a pinch of salt, fruit, and cinnamon. We’ve become overly addicted to sugar, just look at another abused food: yogurt. The stuff in the individual cups no longer resembles in quality or nutrients the original substance. Try making that from scratch and you’ll taste the amazing difference, without sugar. Thanks for the nutrition post Steve!

  7. Paul Wharton

    As usual, our need for easy and fast has bitten us in the butt again. Oatmeal is easy and fast to make on the stove top or microwave with good old fashioned Quaker Oats or Quick Oats. No need whatsoever for the pouches of pre-processed oats with twice the sugar and alot more additives. I’m also a little tired of people eating their breakfast in the cubicle/office instead of in their own kitchen. Call me old-fashioned.

  8. William Eva

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    After watching the movie Food Inc. last year, my family and I completely cut out all fast food. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. This article just punctuates the fact that McDonald’s and the like are poisoning our country and our planet.

  9. Sam Barnes

    This designer right here lugs a mason jar of dry oatmeal mix that I make myself with oats and brown sugar once a week to work. I make my oatmeal, and I eat it happily. So easy, saves money, and uses no paper. No one can tell me that they can’t do this at work. Seriously, if you have a water faucet, a bowl, a spoon, and a microwave, it’s the same thing as those little packets.
    Only good thing about those packets is that the servings are dolled out for you.
    Make your own! So easy! No excuses!

  10. Bill Shelton

    If you’re really looking for the best nutrition from oats, look to oats from Scandinavia, not the U.S. or Canada–and make sure the oats aren’t overly processed. Scandinavian oats are higher in good fats, higher in fiber, have better vitamin and mineral profiles and contain carbs that are generally slower burning.  If you want the real scoop on great oats, talk with a champion horse barn–they’ll confirm everything I’ve just said.  In other words, when it comes to oats, it’s best to eat like a horse!

  11. Penny Rose

    With a microwave it’s just as easy (and much cheaper) to make Quaker Oats Oatmeal-old fashioned or Quick oats (or generic brands if you want to save even more money); which doesn’t have the sugar and preservatives in it. And then you can throw in your own strawberries and cream, and sugar if necessary. (Though I’ve found with a little cinnamon and raisins I don’t even need the sugar). And it IS healthy this way. Stick with it Steve!