Hypocaloric, plant-based oatmeal interventions in the treatment of poorly-controlled type 2 diabetes: A review

Nutr Health. 2019 Dec;25(4):281-290. doi: 10.1177/0260106019874683. Epub 2019 Sep 10.


Background: Lifestyle interventions, including dietary modifications, play a key role in the treatment of type 2 diabetes. By the second half of the last century, dietary oatmeal interventions had frequently been used in patients with diabetes; however, with the widespread introduction of insulin, this practice gradually fell into disuse. Within the last decades, the original oatmeal intervention, first described in 1903, has been modified towards a hypocaloric, low-fat, and plant-based intervention.

Aim: The aim of this review was to investigate the current role of these adapted short-term dietary oatmeal interventions in the treatment of patients suffering from poorly-controlled type 2 diabetes. A special focus was put on opportunities for and barriers to its clinical implementation and its potential mechanisms of action.

Methods: The electronic databases of PubMed and Google Scholar were searched using the keywords "oat," "oats," "oatmeal," and "diabetes."

Results: While there are a limited number of clinical studies including hypocaloric short-term dietary oatmeal interventions, there is evidence that these interventions may lead to a significant decrease in mean blood glucose levels and a significant reduction of insulin dosage in patients suffering from poorly-controlled type 2 diabetes.

Conclusion: Modified short-term dietary oatmeal interventions are an effective and economical tool in the treatment of patients suffering from poorly-controlled type 2 diabetes.

Keywords: Dietary oatmeal intervention; beta-glucan; diabetes; glycemic control; insulin resistance; oats.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Avena*
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Caloric Restriction
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / blood*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / diet therapy*
  • Diet / history*
  • Dietary Fiber / therapeutic use*
  • Edible Grain*
  • History, 20th Century
  • Humans
  • Insulin / administration & dosage
  • Life Style
  • beta-Glucans / metabolism*


  • Blood Glucose
  • Dietary Fiber
  • Insulin
  • beta-Glucans