Have you recently heard the power behind oat fiber nutrition to reduce your weight? Or maybe you’ve been told to add more psyllium husk fiber into your diet to help lower cholesterol levels?
If so, today’s blog is designed for you as we explore how oat fiber and psyllium husk will help you achieve these goals.
- Pin It For Later!
- What Is Oat Fiber?
- How Is Oat Fiber Made?
- Oat Fiber vs. Oat Flour
- Is Oat Fiber And Oat Bran The Same Thing?
- Health Benefits Of Oat Fiber
- Oat Fiber Nutrition
- Oat Fiber Taste
- Texture Of Oat Fiber
- Common Uses For Oat Fiber In Cooking And Baking
- Is Oat Fiber Gluten Free?
- Is Oat Fiber Keto?
- Side Effects Of Oat Fiber
- Where To Buy Oat Fiber?
- Examples Of Oat Fiber Products
- Oat Fiber Substitute
- How To Incorporate Oat Fiber And Psyllium Husk Into Your Diet
- Final Thoughts
Fiber is a crucial component of a healthy diet, and its importance cannot be overstated. Dietary fiber is a type of carbohydrate that the human body cannot digest or absorb. Instead, it passes through our guts mostly intact, promoting bowel regularity, and providing various health benefits.
One of the primary benefits of fiber is its ability to promote digestive health. It helps to keep the digestive tract moving and prevents constipation, as well as reducing the risk of developing diverticular disease, hemorrhoids, and bowel cancer (1).
Fiber can also help control blood sugar levels by slowing down the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream. This makes it beneficial for people with diabetes or those at risk of developing it (2).
Moreover, fiber can help lower your low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol aka “lousy” cholesterol levels, reducing the risk of heart disease. It also promotes a feeling of fullness, making it easier to control calorie intake and maintain a healthy weight (3).
Great sources of fiber include whole grains, whole fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts, and of course, the stars of today’s blog, oat fiber and psyllium husk!
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What Is Oat Fiber?
Oat fiber refers to the non-edible part of the oat grain, which is its outer shell or hull. It is an insoluble type of fiber and cannot be digested by the body. Hence, it moves through the digestive tract without undergoing any breakdown.
If you are reading this and have no idea what insoluble fiber is, let me break me it down for you.
There are two types of dietary fiber in our diet: soluble and insoluble fiber.
Soluble fiber (found in the portfolio diet) can absorb water to form a gel-like substance and can be broken down by the bacteria in your gut. This type of fiber can be found in foods such as oats, fruits, vegetables, beans, and seaweeds.
Insoluble fiber, on the other hand, does not dissolve in water and remains intact as it moves through the digestive system. It adds bulk to the stool and promote healthy bowel function. Insoluble fiber is found in foods such as wheat bran, nuts, seeds, and vegetables.
Since oat fiber is separated from the oat kernel (the “meat” of the oat), and consists of only the outside fibrous hull, it is a great source of insoluble fiber.
How Is Oat Fiber Made?
Oat fiber is typically made from the outer layer or hull of the oat grain, which is the non-edible part of the plant. To make oat fiber, the hull is first separated from the oat kernel, which is used for making oatmeal or other food products.
The oat hulls are then ground into a fine powder using a milling process. The resulting powder is high in insoluble fiber and low in carbohydrates. Thus, making oat fiber perfect for the keto diet.
Oat Fiber vs. Oat Flour
Oat flour is a type of whole grain flour that is made by grinding oats, usually rolled oats, into a fine powder. It can be used as a great substitute for all-purpose flour, especially if you are following a gluten-free diet. Compared to all-purpose flour, oat flour also has a lower glycemic score, which helps control your blood glucose better.
Oat fiber, on the other hand, is a powder that is made by grinding only the oat hull, and it is a source of insoluble fiber. It is often added to flour blends in baking to increase bulk, improve the texture, while offering lower carbohydrates and caloric content. For this reason, oat fiber is often marketed for the keto diet.
Is Oat Fiber And Oat Bran The Same Thing?
The short answer: No, oat fiber and oat bran are not the same thing, although they are both derived from oats. Oat bran is the outer layer of the oat grain that lies between the hull and the endosperm. It is high in soluble fiber, particularly beta-glucan, which is shown to have numerous health benefits, including lowering LDL levels, and improving blood sugar control (4).
Oat bran is commonly consumed as a hot cereal (like this overnight oat bran recipe), added to baked goods, or used as a thickener in soups and stews. Check out this list of oat bran recipes to lower cholesterol.
Oat fiber on the other hand, is derived from the oat hull, which is the inedible outer shell of the oat grain. It is a pure source of insoluble fiber that is often used in low-carb and keto baking to increase fiber content and reduce the net carb counts of baked goods. Thus, oat fiber is lower in calories than oat bran.
Health Benefits Of Oat Fiber
You may be wondering if oat fiber is good for you?
The majority of North Americans consume only 15 grams of fiber per day (5). Current guidelines, however, suggest that in order to maintain good health, both children and adults should consume a minimum of 25 to 38 grams of fiber per day (5). Data from cohort and intervention studies also recommend that half of this amount should come from insoluble fiber (6).
Several studies have pointed out the health benefits of oat fiber supplementation on our metabolic health; one of which is the OptiFit, the first long-term RCT on insoluble fiber cereal (7).
In this trial, the study group was given 7.5 grams of insoluble fiber (mostly oat hull derived), while the placebo group was given 0.8 grams of this fiber per day. The supplement was meant to be consumed twice daily over the period of 24 months. The oat fiber supplement was added on top of the participants’ dietary intake of fiber (7).
The results showed that consuming high levels of insoluble fiber has a positive impact on metabolic outcomes such as decreased insulin resistance, better blood glucose control, reduced inflammation and potentially reduced liver fat buildup (7).
On average, it was found that these positive health benefits started to show effects when participants consumed more than 14 grams of insoluble fiber, and the maximum benefit was achieved at an amount of 25 grams (7).
So, is oat fiber good for you?
Since the study focused on insoluble fiber intake altogether, it is hard to tell exactly how much daily oat fiber supplementation is recommended. However, it is very likely that adding oat fiber to your normal daily fiber intake, can bring about positive health benefits.
Oat Fiber Nutrition
Oat fiber is a great source of fiber and iron. It is low in calories, and also contains a small amount of other vitamins and minerals.
Nutrients per ½ cup (around 15 g) edible portion of oat fiber (oat hull) *
|Nutrients||Per ½ cup (15 g) edible portion|
|Digestible energy||20 kcals|
|Crude fiber||4.55 g|
|Crude protein||0.53 g|
*All data are derived from MadBarn
Table 1: Oat fiber nutrition benefits
Oat Fiber Calories
There are 20 kcals per ½ cup (15 g) of oat fiber, making it a great low-carb, low-calorie staple in your pantry!
Oat Fiber Taste
Oat fiber’s taste by itself has a neutral taste and does not have a distinct flavor. It is often added to food as a functional ingredient to increase the fiber content, improve texture, and reduce the net carb count.
When added to recipes such as bread, muffins, or pasta, the taste of oat fiber can contribute to a slightly nutty or grainy taste, but rest assured that it does not significantly alter the flavor of the final product.
Texture Of Oat Fiber
The texture of oat fiber is very fine and powdery, almost like flour. When used in recipes, it can also add a slight chewiness or bulk to foods, such as in low-carb bread or pasta.
However, if too much oat fiber is used in a recipe, it can result in a dry and crumbly texture. Therefore, it is important to use the appropriate amount of oat fiber in recipes to achieve the desired texture.
Common Uses For Oat Fiber In Cooking And Baking
You can use oat fiber in a variety of cooking and baking recipes as a low-carb, gluten-free, and high-fiber alternative to traditional flours. Here are some common uses for oat fiber in cooking and baking:
- Low-carb baking: Oat fiber can be used to create low-carb versions of baked goods, such as bread, muffins, and cookies. It can be used in combination with other low-carb flours like almond flour, coconut flour, and flaxseed meal. Oat fiber is perfect for the keto diet.
- Fiber supplement: Oat fiber can be added to your smoothies or other drinks to increase the fiber content of the beverage.
- Breading: Oat fiber can be used as a coating for fried foods, such as chicken or fish. It can help to create a crispy, crunchy texture without adding additional carbs.
Is Oat Fiber Gluten Free?
Yes, oat fiber is gluten-free!
However, if you have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, you need to be cautious when consuming oat products as they can sometimes be contaminated with gluten during processing. It is recommended to choose certified gluten-free oat products to ensure they are safe for consumption.
Is Oat Fiber Keto?
Yes, oat fiber is considered keto-friendly as it is a great low-carb, high-fiber ingredient that can be used in a variety of keto recipes.
Oat fiber is almost entirely composed of insoluble fiber. This makes it an excellent option if you are following a low-carb or keto diet as it does not significantly raise your blood sugar levels.
Additionally, oat fiber can be used as a low-carb substitute for flour in many keto recipes, making it a versatile ingredient in keto cooking and baking.
Side Effects Of Oat Fiber
Consuming excessive amounts of oat fiber (or fiber in general) without adequate hydration and exercise can lead to potential side effects, such as bloating, gas, constipation, and abdominal discomfort.
Hence, you should gradually increase fiber intake, be physically active and drink plenty of water to avoid these side effects. It is also important to note that if you have tried and found that you are allergic or intolerant to oat fiber, you should avoid it in your diet.
As always, it is best to consult with your doctor or Registered Dietitian before making significant changes to your diet.
Where To Buy Oat Fiber?
You can find oat fiber in the baking section at your local supermarkets, but it may not be widely available.
To make things a little more convenient, you can order oat fiber online. For example, you can look for Anthony’s Organic Oat Fiber on Amazon. Walmart also offers NuNaturals Oat Fiber, so you can have a look at it the next time you go grocery shopping!
Examples Of Oat Fiber Products
Oat fiber products are considered good substitutes for several reasons. They are:
- A good source of dietary fiber, which helps regulate blood sugar levels, promotes feelings of fullness, and supports digestive health.
- Typically, lower in net carbs and calories compared to regular products, making it suitable options for those following a low-carb or calorie-controlled diet.
- Often gluten-free, making it a good choice for people with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease.
Oat Fiber Pasta
Oat Fiber Bread
Oat Fiber Noodles
Oat Fiber Substitute
If you have run out of your supply while preparing your favorite dishes, here is an oat fiber substitute that contain high amounts of fiber and are worth trying.
Psyllium Husk vs. Oat Fiber
Another fiber supplement you may have heard about is psyllium husk. So how is it different from oat fiber? Check out the comparison of oat fiber vs. psyllium husk below.
Psyllium husk is a type of soluble fiber that is derived from the seeds of the Plantago ovata plant. It is commonly used as a dietary supplement due to its high fiber content.
Benefits of Psyllium Husk
Some of the nutritional benefits of psyllium husk include:
- Lowered Cholesterol: Studies have shown that psyllium husk can help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels in the blood, which can contribute to a reduced risk of heart disease (8) Find out how long it takes to lower cholesterol with diet.
- Blood Sugar Control: Psyllium husk can help regulate blood sugar levels by slowing down the absorption of carbohydrates in the digestive system (9).
- Improved Digestion: Psyllium husk is known to promote regular bowel movements and prevent constipation by increasing the bulk of stool and aiding in its movement through the digestive tract (10).
Psyllium husk is a perfect oat fiber substitute because it is similar to oat fiber in that both are types of dietary fiber that can help improve digestion, regulate blood sugar, and lower cholesterol levels (it is also considered a low cholesterol food).
However, psyllium husk is a soluble fiber, while oat fiber is an insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber (found in portfolio diet recipes) absorbs water and turns into a gel-like substance in the digestive system, while insoluble fiber remains intact and moves through the digestive tract relatively unchanged.
Additionally, psyllium husk is derived from the seeds of the Plantago ovata plant, while oat fiber is derived from the hull of the oat grain.
The table below shows common nutrient contents per 15 g (1 tbsp) of edible portion between oat fiber vs psyllium husk.
|Fiber sourcesNutrient content(/15 g of edible portion)||Psyllium husk*||Oat fiber**|
|Energy||32.9 kcals||20 kcals|
|Total Fat||0.6 g||0.19 g|
|Dietary Fiber||6.4 g||4.55 g|
|Protein||2.3 g||0.53 g|
|Calcium||11.3 mg||20 mg|
|Iron||1.6 mg||2.63 mg|
|Potassium||177.8 mg||70 mg|
*All data for psyllium husk are derived Nutritionix
**All data for oat fiber are derived from MadBarn
Table 2: Comparison of oat fiber vs psyllium husk
How To Incorporate Oat Fiber And Psyllium Husk Into Your Diet
Here are some ideas for youto incorporate oat fiber into your daily meals and snacks, cooking and baking:
- Smoothies: Add a tablespoon or two of oat fiber to your smoothie for an extra fiber boost. Try adding it to this smoothie to lower cholesterol. It can also be added to natural drinks to lower cholesterol.
- Baking: Substitute a portion of regular flour with oat fiber in recipes for cakes, muffins, breads, and other baked goods like this lentil muffin.
- Pancakes and waffles: Add oat fiber to the batter for extra texture and nutrition. It would go well in this low sodium pancake recipe.
- Soups and stews: Stir in a tablespoon or two of oat fiber into your favorite soups (like this carrot lentil ginger soup) and stews to thicken them up and add fiber.
- Morning oatmeal bowl: Add a spoonful of oat fiber to your oatmeal for extra fiber and a thicker consistency like this low sodium oatmeal.
- Coating for fried foods: Mix oat fiber with your favorite seasonings and use it as a coating for fried foods like chicken or fish.
Please remember to start with small amounts and gradually increase to avoid digestive issues.
Looking to improve your gut health and overall well-being? Look no further than adding some soluble and insoluble fiber to your diet.
By adding oat fiber and psyllium husk to your diet, you are not only getting a tasty and versatile ingredient for your meals and snacks, but also a fiber-packed superfood that can help support your digestive health, regulate your blood sugar levels, and even aid in weight loss.
If you’re looking to learn more about different oat products, read here!
So why not give these fiber sources a try and start reaping the benefits of psyllium husk and oat fiber nutrition for yourself? Your taste buds and your body will thank you!
This article was written by Wesley Mai, Nutrition Student, and edited by Veronica Rouse, MAN, RD, CDE.