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Are Rolled Oats Just as Healthy as Steel Cut?

Or should we say, are they as filling?

When you're in the grocery store, perusing the oatmeal selections in the breakfast aisle, what style of oats do you typically reach for? There are three main varieties: Steel-cut, rolled, and quick oats. But, is one more healthy than the other two?

Before we dive into that discussion, let's define each type of oat in greater detail.

What are steel-cut oats?

According to The Whole Grains Council, steel-cut oats are made from whole oat groats, aka, grain kernels. Oat groats are the product that comes from harvesting oats. After they're hulled, they're cut into two or three pieces with a sharp metal blade to make steel-cut oats. This type of oat is often the most satiating, as they are the least processed of the bunch, and generally take longer to digest.

For this reason, they have a lower glycemic index, than rolled or quick oats do, meaning they won't make cause your blood sugar levels to elevate as rapidly.

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rolled oats
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What are rolled oats?

Also referred to as old-fashioned oats, rolled oats are made when oat groats are steamed and then rolled into flakes. As the Council states, "this process stabilizes the healthy oils in the oats, so they stay fresh longer, and helps the oats cook faster, by creating a greater surface area."

What are quick oats?

Quick oats, or instant oats, are just rolled oats that have gone through additional processing to make them cook faster. You'll notice these oats only take about a minute or two to prepare in the microwave and are often mushy. This is because they're either steamed even longer or rolled to be even thinner than traditional rolled oats.

These are the most processed oats of the bunch and are often pre-packaged with flavorings and added sugars. But by themselves, they make for a fibrous, nutritious breakfast.

All in all, each variety of oat holds the same nutritional profile, however, due to the level at which they're processed, you could feel fuller for longer opting for a bowl of steel-cut oats over rolled ones.

For more tips, be sure to read This Oatmeal Is the Best for Weight Loss, Dietitian Says. Then, don't forget to sign up for our newsletter!

Cheyenne Buckingham
Cheyenne Buckingham is the former news editor of Eat This, Not That! Read more about Cheyenne
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