Do you know if granola makes you fat? With the growing demand for the so-called functional foods, the mixture of whole grains, dried fruits and oilseeds fell in favor of Brazilians.
Currently, the cereal mixture has gained the status of a functional food, promising to bring numerous health benefits and promote healthy weight loss. But, is this true?
In this Home Remedy article , you’ll find out once and for all if granola is suitable for weight-loss diets, discover its main health benefits, and learn a simple, healthy recipe to prepare your cereal at home. Check out!
Table of Contents
Granola is fattening or not?
The answer to that question is: it depends. According to the way of preparation and composition of the granola, it can be a great ally or the villain of weight loss diets.
In general, granola is made with a mixture of whole grains, which can be oats , soybeans, wheat germ, as well as corn and rice flakes. Along with this, whole grains, oilseeds, dried fruits and even honey or brown sugar can be added.
As there is no regulation on the ideal composition of granola, it is possible to find options on the market that have more or less ingredients. This amount of ingredients directly influences the final result of the product.
For example, granola rich in unsaturated fats and sugars are more caloric and favor weight gain. The most basic options, which do not have more than 400 calories for every 30 grams, have several benefits for the body.
Because they are simpler, they can favor weight loss for several reasons. First, due to the presence of whole grains, granola is extremely rich in soluble and insoluble fiber. These components work by reducing appetite and caloric intake throughout the day.
The fibers are also responsible for assisting the removal of fat plaques that accumulate in tissues. Fruits, in turn, are sources of vitamins and minerals and oilseeds are rich in omegas 3 and 6.
The result of all this is a complete food, which even with a high calorie content, favors weight loss in a healthy and regular way. But of course, as long as it is fat and sugar free in large amounts.
Nutritional properties of food
You have seen that granola is not the low-calorie food, a 40-gram serving contains 195 calories. However, it is very rich in nutrients as it has carbohydrates, fiber and proteins. This makes granola an ideal food for those who want to maintain muscle mass and athletes.
Granola is also very rich in other nutrients, such as vitamins A, C, E, K and the B complex, among which it is possible to mention B1, B2, B3, B6 and pantothenic acid, also called B5.
Finally, the food is also complete in relation to the amount of minerals present in its composition. That’s because granola contains good levels of iron , calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, zinc , copper, manganese and selenium.
In this way, granola becomes a complete health food. Provided it is consumed in moderate amounts.
Health Benefits of Granola
Due to its nutritional value, granola has several beneficial effects on health. Check out what are the main benefits of the cereal that will make you add it once and for all to your diet:
- lowers cholesterol
- Promotes glucose reduction
- Reduces the risk of cardiovascular accidents
- Regulates bowel function
- Improves nutrient absorption
- Provides more energy
- it’s anti-cancer
- Rich in Antioxidants
- Contributes to increased muscle mass
Both cereals and oilseeds found in granola have bad cholesterol lowering properties . This happens, especially because of the action of soluble dietary fiber.
This type of fiber works by capturing the fat molecules and causing them to be expelled through the stool. As a result, the body does not absorb all the cholesterol it consumes throughout the day.
Oil seeds, such as Brazil nuts, cashew nuts and walnuts, have a high concentration of fatty acids. The best known are omegas 3 and 6, which reduce cell oxidation and the total cholesterol level.
Promotes glucose reduction
Fibers are also pointed out as allies in decreasing glycemic indexes. That is, they help lower blood sugar levels and prevent diabetes from developing.
This effect is related to the fact that fibers form a viscous substance in the body. In practice, this mass causes the small intestine to absorb nutrients more slowly, causing glucose to be expelled from the body.
Reduces the risk of cardiovascular accidents
Combining the effects of lowering cholesterol and blood glucose levels, it’s no wonder that granola also helps reduce the risk of cardiovascular accidents.
This is because both cholesterol and glucose are the main causes of heart disease . Therefore, maintaining a low-fat, high-fiber diet prevents fatty plaques from migrating into the arteries and compromising the entire circulatory system.
On the other hand, fatty acids, present in both oats and oilseeds, reduce the risk of developing heart disease by up to 5%.
Regulates bowel function
One of the best-known benefits of dietary fiber is that it regulates bowel function. This process is due to the joint action of two types of fibers, insoluble and soluble.
The insoluble fiber found in whole grains does not change when eaten. Therefore, they reach the entire intestinal tract and are able to widen the walls of the intestine, thus improving the mobility of the stool.
Soluble fibers, on the other hand, react when they come into contact with gastric juice. They turn into a viscous substance that holds a lot of water inside. Thus, they improve the movement of feces and prevent their drying.
Likewise, the fibers are effective against diarrhea and prevent the formation of gas. This is because they favor the proliferation of essential bacteria for the intestinal flora.
Improves nutrient absorption
Nuts are great sources of minerals for the body. In addition, they also improve the rate of absorption of iron, calcium and magnesium. In other words, eating granola makes you better absorb the minerals consumed throughout the day.
Through these benefits, you can avoid problems caused by a lack of these minerals, such as anemia and osteoporosis. Thus, granola becomes a functional food for those who want to ensure a healthy old age.
Provides more energy
The whole grains used in the preparation of granola are great sources of carbohydrates. This nutrient is transformed into sugar when metabolized by the body. And more blood sugar means more energy throughout the day.
Therefore, granola is an ideal pre-workout food, as it promotes fat loss while providing more energy for physical exercise.
One more reason to add granola to food: the properties that reduce the risk of developing some types of cancer, especially those that affect the gastrointestinal tract.
This benefit arises from the fibers present in whole grains, as they increase the beneficial bacteria in the intestine and provide extra protection for the same.
Oilseeds, on the other hand, help to strengthen the immune system. In this way, the body is able to contain the proliferation of cancer cells before it becomes a problem for the body.
Rich in Antioxidants
Both whole grains and oilseeds and dried fruits have components with antioxidant properties , they are called phenolic compounds, phytic acid, vitamin E, saponins and phytosterols.
These components are considered essential in maintaining the body’s vital functions, as they help to prevent the emergence of problems related to cell oxidation and the release of free radicals in the body.
Thus, granola is responsible for ensuring the prevention of neurodegenerative and cardiovascular diseases.
Contributes to increased muscle mass
To complete the list of benefits, granola is rich in proteins, components that favor the recovery of muscle cells. As such, it is an ideal food for athletes and people who want to gain lean mass .
Homemade granola: see how to prepare
Industrialized granola can be accompanied by ingredients that are not good for the body, especially high levels of sugars and fats. A good way out is to prepare the cereal itself, focusing on functional foods with a pleasant taste. Here’s a simple, easy and healthy recipe!
- 3 cups of thick oat flakes
- Half a cup of honey or brown sugar
- Half a cup of chopped Brazil nuts
- Half a cup of almonds or cashew nuts
- Half a cup of dried fruit
- 2 tablespoons of coconut oil
- Cinnamon to taste.
Just mix the oats, coconut oil and the chosen ingredient to sweeten in a large baking dish and cook on low heat for about 20 minutes. Be careful not to burn as this will leave your granola with a bitter aftertaste. Soon after, add the chestnuts and cook for another 10 minutes over low heat.
Finally, just wait for it to cool and add the cinnamon and dried fruit, which can be raisins, apricots or coconut. The granola must be stored in a glass jar, in a dry and ventilated place and you can consume it in the same way as the industrialized product.
What is the ideal amount per day?
You have seen the main health benefits of granola and its action on weight loss. However, you must be very careful with the amount consumed throughout the day.
The ideal, to avoid ingesting more calories than necessary, is to consume only 40 grams of cereal per day . The food can be consumed with milk or yogurt, absorbing the probiotic properties, or accompanied by fruit.
My name is Ellie Lauderdale, MD and I am USA based professional Nutritionist .
I am a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and board certified specialist in sports dietetics who is trained in integrative medicine. I have worked with hundreds of clients, from those suffering with chronic disease to professional and olympian athletes. My goal is to help optimize you from the inside so that you can feel, perform, and look your best on the outside.