Oatmeal is reputed to lower cholesterol and is touted as a great way to start your day if you need to lose weight. So, it stands to reason that a quick packet of Instant Oats, or a nice quick stop at McDonald’s for their oatmeal should be a great, cholesterol-lowering decision for a guy or gal on the go, right? WRONG!

The truth is McDonald’s oatmeal, “contains more sugar than a Snickers bar and only 10 fewer calories than a McDonald’s cheeseburger or Egg McMuffin. (Even without the brown sugar it has more calories than a McDonald’s hamburger.)” This is according to New York Times food Writer Mark Bittman. Bittman also shared his thoughts on another common household staple, instant oatmeal: “Quaker Strawberries and Cream Instant Oatmeal contains no strawberries, no cream, 12 times the sugars of Quaker Old Fashioned Oats and only half of the fiber.”

These claims that quickie oatmeal-like products are as good for you and as cheap as the real oatmeal is more glaring evidence of the gross misinformation consumers are presented with daily. Here are some other fast food foibles plucked straight from the nutritional information:

Dunkin Donuts Reduced Fat Blueberry Muffin

450 Calories and 10 grams of fat is 30% of your daily caloric intake (based on 1500 cal diet) with little nutritional value.

Dunkin Donuts “Smart Menu” Egg and Cheese English Muffin:

320 calories (kind of high if you are only on a 1500 calorie diet) and a whopping 15 grams of fat.

Starbucks Yogurt Parfait (Cherry)
310 Calories, 4 grams fat. Not bad overall, but this is a high calorie content for a snack.

Starbucks Low Fat Red Raspberry Muffin
340 Calories, 6 grams of fat. Better than Dunkin Donuts, but still offering little nutritional value.

Is it any wonder that American’s are struggling to lose excess pounds?

So what can you do? Bittman went on to share other ways that you can get your morning oats without the fat, calories and mystery ingredients (and even faster than you can say drive-thru). Some of his solutions to getting the nutrition you need while getting out the door include: just putting some oats in a glass bowl (regular oats are fine) and let them sit in water for up to 10 minutes. You can also follow Martha Stewart’s lead and make it while you sleep.

Some other quick breakfast ideas include smoothies. Check out this week’s recipe for a smoothie to go!

If you find these weekly articles helpful, or have additional suggestions for articles or videos, contact david@lotusblossomclinic.com. The first five people to respond with ideas, comments and suggestions will receive a $30 gift certificate for acupuncture!