Are Oats Paleo Friendly? (No, Here’s Why)


Are Oats Paleo

The oat plant is a species of cereal grain, grown for its edible seeds or “groats.” Once the husk is removed from the groat, it may be left whole or processed into what we commonly know as, rolled oats. Oats are one of the most versatile grains out there. They can be used to make oatmeal, cookies, bread, and so much more. Oats are known to be one of those grains that are highly nutritious, containing a high amount of fiber and complex carbohydrates. But, are oats approved to consume on the paleo diet?

Oats are not Paleo. Oats are a grain and any derivative of them (i.e., oatmeal, oat flour) is not considered Paleo. Paleo dieters avoid oats because of the anti-nutrients they contain. The best Paleo alternatives to oats include Purely Elizabeth Grain-Free Cauli Hot Cereal, Bob’s Red Mill Paleo Style Muesli, and Wildway Grain-Free Instant Keto Hot Cereal.

If you are unsure of what foods should be included or avoided in a paleo diet, it’s recommended that you follow a personalized paleo meal plan for maximum effects and success. 

In this article, we will discuss the nutritional information for oats, what antinutrients are, alternative options, and paleo-approved recipes. Let’s dig in!

Are Oats Healthy?

Oats are among the healthiest grains found on earth. They are a great source of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. Due to their high fiber content, they are often marketed as a great way to stabilize blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. This is because the soluble fiber in oats traps bile and cholesterol in the digestive tract, preventing them from being reabsorbed by the liver. This is then excreted from the body in stool and eliminates those harmful toxins in the colon. 

Why Are Oats Not Paleo?

Although oats are a highly nutritious addition to a regular diet, they don’t fit the paleo criteria due to their antinutrient content. These antinutrients are avoided on the paleo diet because of their contribution to leaky gut and inflammation. They also tend to weaken the immune system and trigger autoimmune diseases in at-risk individuals. We will break down these antinutrients in more depth.

Avenin

Avenin is a protein that is found in oats. For some individuals who have celiac disease or gluten intolerance, it can trigger a reaction similar to gluten by irritating the intestinal lining.

Phytic Acid

Phytic acid is found in grains, nuts, seeds, and beans. Phytic acid is a component of oats that is typically found in the outer husk or bran. Phytic acid binds to minerals and prevents the intestines from absorbing them. The most common minerals it binds to are magnesium, iron, calcium, and zinc. A diet that is high in phytates can result in mineral deficiencies. 

Lectin

Lectins are a type of protein that is produced by plants as a protective mechanism to stop pests and microorganisms from eating their seeds. When humans ingest these proteins, it can cause digestive discomfort and trigger an immune response, leading to inflammation. 

Gluten

Oats are naturally supposed to be gluten-free, however, they are commonly contaminated by gluten-containing grains like barley, wheat, and rye during processing. Since the paleo diet strongly advises against gluten, oats are best to be avoided.

Nutritional Information For Oats

Quaker Oats Old Fashioned Oats

Ingredients:

  • Whole Grain Rolled Oats

Nutrition Facts (per ½ cup):

  • Calories: 150
  • Total Fat: 3g
  • Saturated Fat: 0.5g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg
  • Sodium: 0mg
  • Total Carbohydrate: 26g
  • Fiber: 4g
  • Sugars: 0g
  • Protein: 5g

Nature’s Path Old Fashioned Rolled Oats

Ingredients:

  • Organic Whole Grain Rolled Oats

Nutrition Facts (per ½ cup):

  • Calories: 150
  • Total Fat: 2.5g
  • Saturated Fat: 0g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg
  • Sodium: 0mg
  • Total Carbohydrate: 27g
  • Fiber: 4g
  • Sugars: 0g
  • Protein: 5g

Paleo Alternatives To Oats

To put it simply, grains are not allowed on a paleo diet – even if they are just plain rolled oats with nothing else added. The good news is, there are so many paleo alternatives available today for those looking for a replacement. There are grain-free hot cereals, cold cereals such as muesli, and granolas. Let’s explore some of the most popular options available.

Bob’s Red Mill Paleo Style Muesli – Cold Cereal

Bob's Red Mill | Grain Free Cold Cereal | Paleo Style Muesli | Real Dried Fruits (14 Ounce (Pack of 1)) Ingredients:

  • Coconut Flakes
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Cashews
  • Sliced Almonds
  • Currants
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Macadamia Nuts
  • Cranberries 
  • Blueberries
  • Freeze-Dried Strawberry Pieces

Nutrition Facts (per ¼ cup):

  • Calories: 140
  • Total Fat: 10g
  • Saturated Fat: 7g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg
  • Sodium: 0mg
  • Total Carbohydrate: 9g
  • Fiber: 4g
  • Sugars: 3g
  • Protein: 3g

Purely Elizabeth Grain-Free Cauli Hot Cereal

Purely Elizabeth Grain-Free Cauli Hot Cereal, Cinnamon Almond, 1.4 oz - Pack of 12 Ingredients:

  • Almond Protein Powder
  • Coconut Flakes*
  • Almonds
  • Freeze-Dried Cauliflower
  • Coconut Sugar*
  • Freeze-Dried Banana
  • Chia Seeds*
  • Flax Seeds*
  • Cinnamon*
  • Coconut Milk Powder* 

           *Organic 

Nutrition Facts (per 1 cup):

  • Calories: 190
  • Total Fat: 11g
  • Saturated Fat: 6g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg
  • Sodium: 20mg
  • Total Carbohydrate: 18g
  • Fiber: 6g
  • Sugars: 8g
  • Protein: 8g

Wildway Grain-Free Instant Keto Hot Cereal

Wildway Keto Hot Cereal | Original | Certified Gluten Free Instant Breakfast Cereal, Low Carb Snack | Grain-Free, Keto, Paleo, Non-GMO, No Artificial Sweetener | 2 pack Ingredients:

  • Walnuts
  • Ground Flaxseed
  • Cashews
  • Coconut Flour
  • Pecans
  • Dried Dates
  • Vanilla Bean

Nutrition Facts (per 1 pouch):

  • Calories: 270
  • Total Fat: 20g
  • Saturated Fat: 3g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg
  • Sodium: 18mg
  • Total Carbohydrate: 17g
  • Fiber: 8g
  • Sugars: 5g
  • Protein: 7g

Pure Traditions Instant Keto and Paleo Certified “Oatmeal”

Keto Oatmeal, Instant Hot Cereal, Unsweetened, Certified Paleo, Keto Certified, Gluten & Grain Free (14.1 oz) A delicious and healthy alternative to oatmeal or any other grain-based, gluten-containing hot cereal out there.

Ingredients:

  • Organic Coconut
  • Almond
  • Pecan
  • Organic Chia Seed
  • Organic Flaxseed
  • Konjac Root
  • Organic Cinnamon
  • Himalayan Pink Salt

Nutrition Facts (per ½ cup):

  • Calories: 240
  • Total Fat: 21g
  • Saturated Fat: 7.5g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg
  • Sodium: 25mg
  • Total Carbohydrate: 10g
  • Fiber: 8g
  • Sugars: 1g
  • Protein: 6g

Nature’s Path Grain-Free Hot Cereal

Nature's Path Organic Grain Free Hot Cereal, Cinnamon Apple Crisp, 6.21 Oz Box, 4Count Nature’s Path grain-free hot cereal is made of sweet maple, crunchy roasted almonds, and hearty chia. It’s nutrient-dense with nuts, seeds, and contains plant-based protein from watermelon seed protein powder, boosting your morning with healthy fats and fiber.

Ingredients:

  • Chia Seeds
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Coconut Flour
  • Coconut Sugar
  • Cashew Flour
  • Watermelon Seed Protein Powder
  • Almonds
  • Dried Coconut
  • Maple Sugar
  • Sea Salt
  • Fair Trade Cocoa Powder

Nutrition Facts (per ½ cup):

  • Calories: 200
  • Total Fat: 11g
  • Saturated Fat: 3.5g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg
  • Sodium: 125mg
  • Total Carbohydrate: 17g
  • Fiber: 7g
  • Sugars: 7g
  • Protein: 9g

Wild Zora Instant Grain-Free Cereal – Apple Pie Flavor

Wild Zora Instant Grain Free Hot Cereal - Variety Pack - Oatmeal Substitute, Vegan Breakfast, No Sugar Added, Gluten Free - Individual Packets (5-Pack) Ingredients:

  • Apple
  • Organic Flaxseed
  • Walnuts
  • Coconut
  • Almonds
  • Cinnamon
  • Sea Salt

Nutrition Facts (per 1 package):

  • Calories: 260
  • Total Fat: 19g
  • Saturated Fat: 6g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg
  • Sodium: 105mg
  • Total Carbohydrate: 20g
  • Fiber: 7g
  • Sugars: 5g
  • Protein: 7g

Public Goods Vanilla & Coconut Grain-Free Granola

This grain-free granola is a healthy and clean way to satisfy hunger, any time of day.

Ingredients:

  • Coconut
  • Banana Chips (Banana, Coconut Oil)
  • Honey
  • Cashews
  • Almonds
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Sea Salt
  • Bourbon Vanilla Extract
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Pecans

Nutrition Facts (per ⅓ cup):

  • Calories: 150
  • Total Fat: 11g
  • Saturated Fat: 7g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg
  • Sodium: 75mg
  • Total Carbohydrate: 12g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Sugars: 6g
  • Protein: 3g

Paleo Hero Primal Porridge – Cinnamon Spice

PALEO HERO 'Primal Granola' 6-pack Ingredients:

  • Almond Meal
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Cinnamon
  • Nutmeg
  • Ginger
  • Sesame Seeds
  • Chia Seeds

Nutrition Facts (per ⅓ cup):

  • Calories: 280
  • Total Fat: 25.6g
  • Saturated Fat: 2g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg
  • Sodium: 5mg
  • Total Carbohydrate: 3g
  • Sugars: 3g
  • Protein: 10g

Paleo “Oatmeal” Recipes

Paleo and Grain-Free “Instant Oatmeal”

Ingredients: 

  • ½ Banana
  • 2 Tablespoons shredded coconut
  • 2 Tablespoons almond flour
  • ½ cup cashew milk
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • Pinch of sea salt

Instructions:

  1. Mash banana in the bottom of the bowl. Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine.
  2. Microwave 1-2 minutes, until hot and starting to bubble. Stir and let stand a couple of minutes. It will thicken slightly as it cools.
  3. Serve with your favorite toppings! 

Paleo Pumpkin Spice Coconut Breakfast Porridge

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups canned pumpkin puree 
  • 1 ripe banana, mashed
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 2/3 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 cup full-fat coconut milk 
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Blueberries, coconut flakes, maple syrup, and/or coconut milk, for serving

Instructions:

  1. Combine the pumpkin puree, banana, coconut flour, shredded coconut, water, coconut milk, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves in a medium-size saucepan over low heat.
  2. Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thickened to the consistency of oatmeal. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract.
  3. Spoon into serving bowls and top with blueberries, coconut flakes, maple syrup, coconut milk, or other toppings of choice.

3-Minute Ultimate Paleo Breakfast Porridge

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup almond milk
  • 6 tablespoons coconut shreds
  • 3 tablespoons almond flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons golden milled flax meal
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup 
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ground cinnamon & salt to taste

Instructions:

  1. Heat almond milk in a saucepan over medium heat for about 1 minute until warm.
  2. Add in the rest of the ingredients and cook for 1-2 minutes until soft.
  3. Serve with toppings of choice! Need some ideas? Try sliced pears, nut butter, almond milk, paleo granola, honey, or maple syrup.

Related Questions

Are Oats Gluten-Free?

While pure oats are naturally gluten-free, they may come into contact with gluten-containing ingredients while in storage or processing. Unless the packaging contains a label stating them to be gluten-free, it would be best to avoid that brand altogether. 

Are Oats Keto?

Interestingly enough, oats are actually suggested on the keto diet. Pure oatmeal is a great source of resistant starch, which is an important component of the keto diet. If you stick to just ¼ cup of dry oatmeal, it contains only 12 grams of carbs. Of course, making sure you always stick to the correct portion size is the key.

Are Oats Nuts or Seeds?

Oats are not nuts. Rather, they are a type of grain that grows from a seed.

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Jordana Tobelem

Jordana is a Registered Dietitian who enjoys helping others become the best versions of themselves through proper nutrition education. Jordana has a passion for promoting lifestyle changes through nutrition, physical activity, and behavior to create a superior quality of life. Jordana also holds certifications in Personal Training and Holistic Health Coaching.

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