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Are Oats Keto-Friendly?

Oats on a kitchen counter

Embarking on a ketogenic, or keto, diet involves a significant shift in your food choices.

Central to this diet is a low carbohydrate intake, which can often lead to the question: 'Are Oats Keto-Friendly?' In this article, we dive deep into the carbohydrate content of oats, explore its implications for those following a keto diet, and look at some fantastic, keto-compatible alternatives to oats.

While oats boast a wealth of nutrients, their high net carb content can pose challenges for individuals adhering to a strict keto diet.

So, let's unravel the complexities of oats in the context of a keto diet and discover how to navigate your nutritional journey effectively.


  • Oats are not typically keto-friendly due to their high net carbohydrate content.
  • While oats are nutrient-rich, their high carb content could disrupt ketosis.
  • Discover keto-compatible alternatives to oats in our detailed discussion below.

Are Oats Keto-Friendly?

Alright, let's dive into a hot topic: "Are oats okay on keto?" Short answer: not really. Here's the scoop—oats are packed with carbs. We're talking about roughly 68.66 grams of net carbs in a 100g serving. Now, considering the keto diet loves fat and is pretty much on a break with carbs, limiting them to about 20 to 50 grams a day, you can see the dilemma. Just a small bowl of oatmeal could easily fill up your carb tank for the day.

The thing is, oats are basically a carb fest, which doesn't exactly jive with keto's fat-burning party. The whole idea of keto is to keep your body in a state of ketosis, burning fat for energy instead of carbs. Oats will disrupt your ketosis and switch your body's energy source back to glucose, nudging you out of ketosis.

Now, don't get it twisted—oats are full of good stuff nutrition-wise. But when it comes to fitting into a keto diet, they're a bit like that friend who's awesome but just doesn't gel with the group. It's not about oats being bad; it's about keeping your carb count in check and staying on track with your keto goals. Remember, it's all about finding what works best for you and your lifestyle.

Can You Have Oats on a Strict Keto Diet?

On a strict keto diet, where you really watch your carbs, oats usually don't fit in. They have a lot of carbs, and even a small bowl could use up most of your carb limit for the day. So, if you're trying to stick to strict keto, you'll probably need to skip the oats. But don't worry, there are plenty of other keto-friendly foods out there that can take their place and keep you on track.

Remember the carb limit for someone on a keto diet is often between 20 to 50 grams per day. This is to ensure your body remains in the state of ketosis, burning fats for fuel instead of carbohydrates. A single serving of oats, with its approx 68.66g of net carbs, could easily surpass this daily allowance.

If you're following a strict keto diet, it's important to be wary of foods with high net carb content like oats. They might be a nutritional powerhouse, but they could potentially derail your keto progress.

Now, you might be wondering, "How can I keep track of my carb intake?" Fortunately, there are various tools and apps available nowadays that help monitor your daily macro-nutrient intake. These can be immensely helpful in tracking your day-to-day consumption, ensuring you stay within your limits and maintain ketosis.

Is Oatmeal Keto?

Oatmeal, known for its heart-healthy fibers and comforting warmth, unfortunately, packs a pretty high carb count that typically doesn't fit into the strict carb limits of a keto diet. Most keto plans aim to keep daily carb intake very low, often below 50 grams, to maintain ketosis.

A single serving of oatmeal can easily eat up a large portion of that carb budget, making it challenging to include without knocking you out of ketosis. So, while oatmeal has its health benefits, it's not considered keto-friendly due to its high carb content.

Carbs in Oats

Let's roll up our sleeves and take a closer look at the carbohydrate content of oats. As mentioned earlier, a 100g serving of oats has approximately 68.66g of net carbohydrates. But what exactly does 'net carbohydrates' mean, and why is it so crucial for those on a keto diet? Net carbs is a concept that subtracts the fiber content from the total carbohydrates in a food item. Why do we subtract fiber? Because it's a type of carbohydrate that your body doesn't digest. Instead, it passes through your system undigested, which means it doesn't impact your blood sugar levels like other carbs do. This is why net carbs, rather than total carbs, are often the focus for those following a keto diet.

Let's look at different types of oats and their carb content.

Oatmeal (Rolled Oats)

  • Net Carbs: About 27 grams per ½ cup serving.
  • Ingredients: Whole grain oats.
  • Keto-Friendly? No, due to the high carb content.

Steel Cut Oatmeal

  • Net Carbs: Around 29 grams per ¼ cup (dry) serving, which makes about ¾ cup cooked.
  • Ingredients: Whole grain oats, cut into pieces rather than rolled.
  • Keto-Friendly? No, as it's even higher in carbs than rolled oats.

Oatmeal Flour (Oat Flour)

  • Net Carbs: Approximately 54 grams per ½ cup serving.
  • Ingredients: Finely ground whole grain oats.
  • Keto-Friendly? No, it has a high net carb count making it unsuitable for keto.

Instant Oatmeal

  • Net Carbs: About 30 grams per packet (varies by brand and flavor).
  • Ingredients: Pre-cooked and dried whole grain oats, often with added flavors and sugars.
  • Keto-Friendly? No, the added sugars and high carb content make it incompatible with a keto diet.

In summary, all these oat varieties are rich in carbs, which makes them challenging to incorporate into a keto diet focused on low carb intake.

Nutritional Snapshot of Oats

A 100g serving of oats is a nutritionally dense food, packed with both macro and micronutrients. It contains a significant amount of carbohydrates, approximately 68.66g, making it an excellent source of energy. Additionally, this serving provides 13.5g of protein, participating in muscle building and various bodily functions.

Oats are also an excellent source of total fats, containing 5.89g per 100g serving. These fats are largely unsaturated, which are essential for maintaining healthy cells, skin, and hair.

In terms of micronutrients, oats are rich in several minerals. They provide a good dose of Potassium (350.1mg), which contributes to heart function and normal muscular and nervous system activities. Magnesium (126.3mg), vital for enzyme function, and Phosphorus (387.3mg), crucial for bone health, are also found in oats.

Furthermore, oats contain a variety of vitamins. Notably, Vitamin B6 (0.13mg), which aids metabolism and the immune system, and Thiamin (0.41mg), crucial for nerve function, are present. Niacin, aiding in digestion and skin health, is found in oats at 0.99mg per 100g serving.

In addition, oats are a source of trace elements such as Iron (4.34mg), which is fundamental for oxygen transport, and Manganese (3.23mg), supporting metabolism and antioxidant function.

Finally, oats contain notable amounts of water (10.25g), which helps to keep the body hydrated. While they are not a high-water food per se, this water content can contribute to overall daily water intake.

Nutrient NameAmount and Unit per 100g
Carbohydrate, by difference68.66g
Total fats5.89g
Sodium, Na0.67mg
Potassium, K350.1mg
Magnesium, Mg126.3mg
Calcium, Ca45.53mg
Vitamin B-60.13mg
Copper, Cu0.43mg
Iron, Fe4.34mg
Molybdenum, Mo160.4ug
Phosphorus, P387.3mg
Selenium, Se25.35ug
Zinc, Zn2.74mg
Manganese, Mn3.23mg
Folate, total32.03ug
Nutritional data is sourced from the US Department of Agriculture's FoodData Central system. Please see Cast Iron Keto's editorial and research standards for more information.

Oats and Health Benefits

Let's dive into how oats fit into the keto diet and their health benefits. On keto, we aim to keep carbs low to stay in ketosis, where our bodies burn fat for energy. Oats, being high in carbs, might make staying in ketosis a bit tricky.

But, oats are actually pretty awesome for your health. They're full of fiber, especially a type called beta-glucan, which can help lower bad cholesterol and keep your blood sugar stable. This fiber also helps you feel full, which is great for controlling your appetite.

Besides, oats are loaded with important minerals like manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, and zinc, and they're a great source of vitamin B1.

Even with all these benefits, if you're strictly following a keto diet, the high carb count in oats means you'll have to be careful. They offer a lot of health perks, but balancing them with your keto goals means paying close attention to your carb intake.

Keto-Compatible Alternatives for Oats

It's time to explore some exciting, keto-compatible alternatives to oats. These alternatives can offer similar textures and fulfill similar culinary roles, all while maintaining a low net carb content that aligns with a keto diet.

  • Chia Seeds: A wonderful substitute for oats, chia seeds can absorb up to 10 times their weight in water, creating a gel-like consistency similar to cooked oats. They're also an excellent source of fiber, with a 28-gram serving containing only 2g of net carbs. Chia seeds can be used to make a delicious chia pudding, which can be a wonderful breakfast or dessert option on a keto diet.
  • Flaxseeds: Ground flaxseeds or flax meal can be used to create a hot cereal that's reminiscent of oatmeal. A 28-gram serving of flaxseeds contains just 1g of net carbs, making them a fantastic keto-friendly alternative to oats. Moreover, flaxseeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which can be beneficial for heart health.
  • Almonds: Almonds and almond flour can be used in a variety of keto recipes as a substitute for oats, particularly in baking. Almonds are also high in fiber and low in net carbs, with a 28-gram serving containing only 3g of net carbs.
  • Coconut Flour: Coconut flour, when used in the right quantities, can offer a texture similar to oats in baking recipes while keeping net carbs low. A 28-gram serving of coconut flour contains just 8g of net carbs.

These alternatives all offer a lower net carb content compared to oats, making them more compatible with a ketogenic diet. Plus, they each bring their own set of nutritional benefits to the table, from chia seeds' high fiber content to the omega-3 fatty acids found in flaxseeds.

Remember, the goal of a keto diet is to limit your carbohydrate intake to maintain ketosis, and choosing the right food substitutes is a key part of achieving this. With these alternatives, you can create delicious, keto-friendly dishes without disrupting your diet.

Concluding Thoughts on Oats and Keto

Oats are loaded with good stuff like soluble fiber, vitamins, and minerals, but they're also high in carbs. This makes it tough to include them in a strict keto diet without going over your daily carb limit or knocking yourself out of ketosis.

Even though oats are great for your health, staying in ketosis on keto means keeping those carbs really low. So, oats usually don't make the cut.

But don't worry, we've talked about some awesome keto-friendly swaps like chia seeds, flaxseeds, almond meal, and coconut flour. These can give you a similar vibe to oats in recipes without all the carbs.

Remember, it's all about reading those labels and choosing wisely to stay on track with keto. Everyone's body is different, so it's key to see how yours reacts to different foods.

A pro tip? Start slow with these keto alternatives. Ease them into your meals to see how your body handles the change, and tweak your diet as needed.

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Cast Iron Keto's Editorial and Research Standards

Certain rare or exotic food items may not have nutritional profiles in the FoodData Central database. If an exact match is not found in the FoodData Central database, then, the Cast Iron Keto team utilizes a three-prong approach to provide readers with the closest relevant nutritional data, where possible.

First, in the event that nutritional profiles for a rare or exotic food item is not available in the FoodData Central database, we investigate alternative names for that particular food item and use that data, when possible. Second, in cases where no alternate names exist, Cast Iron Keto will use nutritional data for a close relative or similar food item. Finally, if no close relatives or similar items exist, we refrain from publishing nutrient data tables.

When making dietary or health decisions based on FoodData Central's data, we suggest readers consult with a nutritionist or other health experts, particularly if the food in question has a significant role in your diet or if you are using the food item to treat any health disorder(s).

Furthermore, it is important to note that even if a close relative or similar item is used to approximate the nutritional data, different food items can have varying levels of nutrients due to factors such as soil quality, farming practices, and regional differences.


The information on this website is only intended to be general summary information for public use, designed for educational purposes only and is not engaged in rendering medical advice or professional services. This information does not replace written law or regulations, nor does it replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have questions about a medical condition or are seeking to evaluate the health merits of certain food items for the treatment of any medical condition, you should seek the advice of a doctor or other qualified health professionals.

The views expressed at, or through, Cast Iron Keto are for informational purposes only. Cast Iron Keto cannot guarantee the validity of the information found here. While we use reasonable efforts to include accurate and up-to-date information, we make no warranties as to the accuracy of the content and assume no liability or responsibility for any errors or omissions in the content. All liability with respect to actions taken or not taken based on the contents of this website are hereby expressly disclaimed. The content on this posting is provided "as is;" no representations are made that the content is error-free.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, oats are relatively high in carbohydrates. One cup of cooked oats contains approximately 32 grams of carbs, which can be significant for those following a strict keto diet.

While cheat days might seem tempting, consuming high-carb foods like oats can disrupt ketosis and may cause your body to exit the state of ketosis. Restarting ketosis can take a few days or even a week, depending on your body and the amount of carbs consumed.