Terre Pruitt's Blog

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No Need To Soak Your Oats

Posted by terrepruitt on April 3, 2012

All in the quest for something quick and easy to eat before I teach my Nia classes . . . . I am on my sixth oat post.  The last post was about why some people believe we need to soak our oats before eating them. This post is about why some people believe we should not bother soaking our oats before eating them and even a little bit about we should not soak the oats before eating them. 

One of my favorites sites wrote up information from the point of view of “I”, so I am thinking that it is George Mateljan’s point of view since he is the founder of The George Mateljan Foundation for the World’s Healthiest Foods.  He says he doesn’t even consider oats to be particularly high in phytic acid.  Given that the phytic acid is in the outer layers his belief is that cooking reduces the levels of it.  He states that studies have shown that absorption rates of zinc and copper do not get much higher when ALL the phytic acid is removed and in an average kitchen not all of the acid will be removed so soaking is not really contributing that much to the grains nutrition.

I’ve seen articles call phytic acid the “antinutrient”, but in fact it contains antioxidant properties along with a phosphorus (mineral) and inositol (Inositol is a key B vitamin necessary for the metabolism of fat and cholesterol.).  Dr. McDougall stated in one of his newsletters

“It acts as a powerful antioxidant and has been shown to reduce blood sugar, insulin, cholesterol and triglycerides. Phytic acid is linked to a reduction in heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and other chronic diseases in people.” 

The Oxford Food & Fitness Dictionary states:  “There is some evidence that those who regularly eat high fibre diets adapt to the high phytic acid content by secreting an enzyme which can break phytic acid down into inositol and phosphorus.”

And the Wiley Dictionary of Flavors in regards to Phytic Acid states:  “An acid found in grains that would normally block the absorption of calcium in the body. However, phytase is present in most of these grains and allows for the hydrolysis of phytic acid by the body as well, nullifying the effect.”

Everything I’ve read seems to agree that phytic acid can bind with minerals and keep the body from absorbing them.  But nothing states that it happens to ALL of the minerals, nothing states that it happens all the time, and nothing states that it happens in every BODY.  Also some people and research believe that it is a GOOD thing that phytic acid binds to minerals because it helps remove toxins that are in the body.  So it could be that a portion of it DOES keep the body from absorbing minerals but the other portion takes out some bad metals and toxins in the body. 

Another site states a study, from the Journal of Nutrition, showed that phytic acid stimulates the production of phytase in the gut.  Phytase activity increased the absorption of some minerals.

One study states that while this type of activity might interfere with the absorption of minerals it “may protect against the development of colonic carcinoma” when left undigested in the colon.  Research is showing that phytic acid “is the major ingredient responsible for preventing colon cancer and other cancers”.

Many people stated that with a healthy diet there isn’t really a threat of malnutrition from lack of minerals and bone loss because we do eat other foods that supply us with minerals. 

The more I look the more I see the subject being very controversial.  Yet, I see many sources stating why it is not necessarily necessary, it seems the only reference I see stating that it is necessary is Nourishing Traditions. 

My posts are obviously not here to tell you what to do.  They are here to share with you what I have learned, what I have found.  I have found two different sides to the story (well, that is excluding the sides that say we shouldn’t eat grain at all, and the side that says we should eat more grain).

Since it seems as if there are benefits to soaking and benefits to not soaking, I would say soak your oats and see how that works for you.  If you sense that they are more easy to digest and you have the time and forethought to do it, then do it.  Why not?  But if you don’t sense a difference and/or you don’t have the time and forethought, I would think that you would be receiving the mineral binding toxic eliminating benefit.  Basically like EVERYTHING else, it is up to you.  There is always going to be information saying the opposite things, so we need to research it and then do what we think, what we feel, what we sense is best for us.

So, what do you think?  Do you think it is necessary to soak oats?

6 Responses to “No Need To Soak Your Oats”

  1. Anthony said

    Big fan of your well balanced articles. Many thanks.

  2. Srdjan said

    Where did you find that research is showing that phytic acid “is the major ingredient responsible for preventing colon cancer and other cancers”?!? Could not find that anywhere.

    • Excuse me for the delay in getting back to you. My mother’s health took a turn for the worse and I have been occupied. Since that was a quote what I normally do is put the link from where the quote came from next to it, but the link in that sentence does not link to that quote. So I must have gotten my links and quotes mixed up as I had many links “supporting” the information presenting.

      I may have gotten the quote from Wiki–at the time, as this comment states at this link:
      “From Wikipedia:
      Phytic acid may be considered a phytonutrient, providing an antioxidant effect.[1][16] Phytic acid’s mineral binding properties may also prevent colon cancer by reducing oxidative stress in the lumen of the intestinal tract.[17] Researchers now believe that phytic acid, found in the fiber of legumes and grains, is the major ingredient responsible for preventing colon cancer and other cancers.[1][18]”

      Or from this information:

      “Therapeutic uses

      Phytic acid may be considered a phytonutrient, providing an antioxidant effect.[1][18] Phytic acid’s mineral binding properties may also prevent colon cancer by reducing oxidative stress in the lumen of the intestinal tract.[19] Researchers now believe that phytic acid, found in the fiber of legumes and grains, is the major ingredient responsible for preventing colon cancer and other cancers.[1][20]”

      At: http://www.edinformatics.com/math_science/science_of_cooking/phytate.htm which reference [1] as 1. Phytic acid (a link to: http://www.phytochemicals.info/phytochemicals/phytic-acid.php) and [20] as 20.Jenab M, Thompson LU (August 2000). “Phytic acid in wheat bran affects colon morphology, cell differentiation and apoptosis”. Carcinogenesis 21 (8): 1547-52. doi:10.1093/carcin/21.8.1547. PMID 10910957.

      Or the simple statement “Phyto-nutrient – Phytic acid used to be considered an anti-nutrient. Now it may be considered a phyto-nutrient, having an antixodant effect. Researchers now believe that phytic acid is the major ingredient responsible for preventing colon cancer and other cancers.” on a page titled: Phytic Acid in Whole Grains

      Or perhaps I quoted it from infosources.org: “Phytic acid’s same mineral binding properties may also prevent colon cancer by reducing oxidative stress in the lumen of the intestinal tract. Scientific research [2] also indicates that it may reduce the risk of colon cancer. Researchers now believe that IP6, found in the fiber of legumes and grains, is the major ingredient responsible for preventing colon cancer and other cancers.”

      And was thinking it was supported by information such as “The Journal of Clinical Cancer Research, reports a study evaluation the in vivo cancer preventative efficacy of IP6 against prostate tumor growth and progression.” On Natural News.

      Link to The Journal of Clinical Cancer Research here.

      So, I didn’t really find the research so much as I found reference to the research. I find when I want to view “real” research online I need to be a paying member of an organization. While this reply might not give you exact answers as to the research hopefully it will show that I do do a bit of research myself.

      And in regards to cancer preventions and magic ingredients . . . I personally don’t think there is one thing that will keep people from getting cancer. I actually think that cancer is in us often at any given moment . . . because cancer is just cells gone haywire. The key is to try to live a life that does not allow those cells to thrive. I think in some of us it comes and goes and some of us it stays. Unfortunately most of us are touched by cancer . . . somehow.

      Thank you for you comment and your question. Also, thank you for your patience (It has been almost three months).

  3. Tony Lamley said

    One of the more balanced articles, makes sense to me. I have been advised to do exact opposite things for the same condition by 2 different naturopaths. You really do need to make the final decision!

    • At first when I read this I was thinking you were saying that I had to decide, but now I realize that you are saying that each individual needs to make their own decision. Ha, ha, ha. So funny. Just now as I was about to reply (and about the third reading) I get it! And YES! You are so right. Sometimes one can even change there mind! Thanks for stopping by!

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