This article has been Fact-Checked by Kendall Kennedy MS, RD, RYT
There is a wide variety of foods you can eat for weight loss. One of these is muesli, is it good for losing weight compared to other foods?
Muesli is the name for a dish that combines rolled oats and other ingredients like fresh and dried fruits, nuts, seeds, and other grains. You can eat muesli dry but this mix is often combined with milk or yogurt.
The ingredients in muesli are usually gluten-free but these ingredients often come in contact with non-gluten-free food. If you want gluten-free muesli you will need to check individual brands to make sure that’s the case.
There are many different possible ingredients in different quantities. For this article the nutrition info of this muesli will be used. The specific values will be different for each individual brand.
Calories in muesli
The total number of calories in foods like muesli is not the only detail that influences how good they are for weight loss. However, this number does offer some helpful information.
100 grams of the example muesli contains around 340 calories (1).
It is true that a decent amount of this will come from the fiber in muesli.
However, it is still fair to say that muesli is relatively high in calories. There are many food categories that are more helpful for weight loss in this area.
257 of the calories above come from carbohydrates (77.8 g per 100 grams of which 7.3 g fiber). This makes it so muesli is not good for low-carb diets like keto.
Whether or not it is worth consuming this many calories will depend on the macronutrient composition of muesli, what micronutrients it has, and your personal preferences.
Micronutrients in muesli
The first thing to look at is the amount of micronutrients in muesli.
Micronutrients are a group of nutrients your body absolutely needs to survive and thrive. Micronutrients include vitamins and minerals. These are involved in basically every aspect of your health, including weight loss.
100 grams of this brand of muesli provides you with approximately (1):
- Manganese: 109% of the DV (Daily Value)
- Thiamin: 61% of the DV
- Riboflavin: 61% of the DV
- Niacin: 61% of the DV
- Vitamin B6: 61% of the DV
- Folate: 61% of the DV
- Vitamin B12: 61% of the DV
- Iron: 49% of the DV
- Vitamin B5: 46% of the DV
- Vitamin E: 36% of the DV
- Selenium: 25% of the DV
- Phosphorus: 24% of the DV
- Zinc: 24% of the DV
- Copper: 20% of the DV
- Magnesium: 19% of the DV
And some other vitamins and minerals in smaller amounts. This is a very big amount of vitamins and minerals. Even with amounts smaller than 100 grams you can greatly increase the amount of vitamins and minerals you consume.
Depending on the other ingredients it’s also likely that muesli contains some antioxidants. These are substances that help your body deal with oxidative stress.
Fiber in muesli for weight loss
Another very important factor for weight loss is the amount of fiber in your food.
This brand of muesli contains around 7.3 grams of fiber per 100 grams.
That’s a very big amount of fiber per 100 grams and that’s a good thing.
Fiber has multiple benefits for weight loss. First of all, it feeds your microbiome, the microbes that live in your intestines. The health of your microbiome influences your body’s health and weight. Feeding it well is usually not a bad idea.
Fiber also helps you feel less hungry without adding a lot of calories to your diet. Hunger and cravings can be a big pitfall for people trying to lose weight, so avoiding this is a big plus.
With the amount of fiber in muesli you can reduce the time you spend craving for food a lot.
Protein in muesli for weight loss
Another thing in food that can help you on your weight loss journey is the amount of protein in it.
This brand of muesli contains about 9.7 grams of protein per 100 grams. To compare, salmon contains around 25.4 grams per 100 grams (2).
Protein is considered to be the most filling of the 3 macronutrients. Eating enough protein will also help you prevent muscle loss. Muscle helps you burn extra calories throughout the day which is very good for weight loss. Protein calories also take your body more calories to process than calories from carbs and fats.
The amount in this muesli is a nice addition but this food alone won’t be enough to fulfill your protein needs. Do keep in mind that overdoing it with protein isn’t good either.
Will muesli help you lose weight?
So muesli does contain a lot of vitamins and minerals, a lot of fiber, and a decent amount of protein. On the flip side, it is also relatively high in calories.
These things make it so muesli will generally not be good for losing weight for many people.
Even though muesli will still be relatively filling and add valuable vitamins and minerals to your diet, it will add a lot of energy to your diet.
Especially the ones with a lot of honey, added sugars, and dried fruits.
That does not mean you can’t lose weight while eating muesli. If you keep your portions small enough, modify the rest of your diet, and have good habits in other lifestyle areas, this is still possible.
On the other hand, you can get these benefits with fewer downsides by only eating nuts, regular fruits, seeds, and/or whole grains without the honey, dried fruit, and added sugar that is typical for muesli.
Best time to eat muesli
In general, your body is better able to deal with carbohydrate-rich foods earlier in the day. Since many of the calories in muesli are carbohydrates, it’s better to eat muesli earlier in the day.
Eating muesli too close to bedtime or at night can disrupt your sleep quality and duration. Carbohydrates in the food you eat raises a hormone called insulin. Insulin can mess with the production of sleep hormones. Sleep is very important for weight loss.
Muesli vs other popular options for weight loss
Muesli isn’t your only meal option when trying to lose weight. How does it compare to certain similar dishes?
Muesli vs granola
Muesli and granola have a lot of commonalities. They are both mixes with whole grains, seeds, nuts and fruit.
The difference between the two is that granola is baked, almost inevitably with oils and sweeteners.
This makes granola a worse option than muesli for both health and weight loss.
Muesli vs oats
The next comparison is between muesli and oats. A big part of muesli is regular oats so the difference lays in the ingredients that get added.
How health and how good for losing weight muesli is compared to regular oats depends on the composition of the muesli. In particular the amount of dried fruit.
Most grains and nuts have similar effects on weight loss so these ingredients don’t really cause a difference.
Dried fruit on the other hand is usually high in calories and not very filling. Store-bought muesli can also potentially contain added sugar.
Muesli and oats are very similar but regular oatmeal is most likely slightly better for weight loss and health. The same goes for overnight oats.
What is the best kind of muesli for weight loss?
If you decide to eat more muesli you will still have to make a choice between different kinds of brands.
The most important ingredient you want to keep an eye on is the amount of added sugar. Added sugar is one of the worst things if you want to lose weight. Pick the brand that has the least, preferably no, added sugar.
The second thing you want to check is the amount of dried fruit. Grains, nuts and seeds are often better for weight loss. For that reason you want to pick the muesli with the smallest amount of dried fruit.
Besides those 2 deciding factors the differences for weight loss will be small.
Can you lose weight eating muesli?
Like with almost any food out there you can certainly lose weight eating muesli.
Whether or not this dish will help you lose more weight depends on your current diet. If your diet consists of a lot of processed foods some of the benefits of muesli are getting more nutrients, healthier calories, and feeling fuller while consuming less calories.
If your diet is already on point, consuming more muesli might not offer any benefits. There are other foods that are better for weight loss.
Most people will benefit from eating a small amount of a healthy muesli every day.