Oats are one of the very best, if not the best, carbohydrate foods available. It’s a natural complex carbohydrate and should be a major player in your diet.
Oats are most commonly available in 3 different forms:
- Rolled Oats – these are whole oat grains that are lightly steamed so that they can cook faster, or in fact, be eaten raw.
- Quick Oats – these are basically rolled oats that have been chopped up more to allow them to be cooked even faster still.
- Steel Cut Oats – these are whole oat grains that have been cut into smaller chunks.
So, which of these is best? Well, traditionally it’s been believed that because steel cut oats are the least processed, they win out. Realistically though, all three are exactly the same food. They’re all made up of the whole gain, with no nutrients stripped out by removing the good parts like the bran and the germ.
Steel cut oats need to be cooked for some time to make them edible, so really that itself is a form of processing. If they were eaten raw, you wouldn’t be able to digest the grains fully to benefit from their nutrients, so that wouldn’t be a great alternative, nutritionally speaking.
Rolled oats and quick oats can be cooked as well, but they don’t need to be. Because they’re steamed they can be eaten right out of the pack without any problems.
Which of these three forms of oats you choose is really up to your own personal preference – at the end of the day there’s very little difference between them. The main thing is that you avoid any pre-prepared oats that have added sugar.
Below is a brief nutritional rundown on oats (values are quoted for 100g):
Protein: 16.9g (incomplete)
Total Carbohydrates: 66.3g
Dietary Fiber: 10.6g
Monounsaturated Fats: 2.2g
Polyunsaturated Fats: 2.5g
Saturated Fats: 1.2g
One of the major health benefits of oats is their ability to reduce blood cholesterol levels. This is because they contain beta-glucan – a component of soluble fiber. In fact, oats are actually the very best source of beta-glucan there is.