Monday, March 7, 2011

Oatmeal Cooked Or Instant ?

                          It’s high in both soluble and insoluble fiber.

 The soluble fiber is really the key, because the beta-glucans in oatmeal have been shown to help reduce bad cholesterol by literally binding to them and sweeping them out of the body.
It’s a great source of slow-digesting, complex carbohydrates. The more “whole” the grain, the slower the digestion. This helps keep blood sugar levels stable, prevents energy crashes as the gym or office and discourages you from feeling hungry later in the morning or day. The advantage of instant oatmeal over other forms of oatmeal like old fashioned oatmeal is cooking time. Thick cut or old fashioned rolled oats will typically take about ten minutes to cook on the stove top (less in the microwave); quick oats take about two minutes, and instant oats … well, you just add hot water and you’re all set. If you go with the natural, unsweetened and unflavored variety of instant oatmeal, the basic nutritional values of instant oats are not all that different from slower cooking old fashioned oatmeal.

 Here’s what a 1 oz packet of Quaker Instant Oatmeal (regular flavor with no added sugar) looks like:
Calories:  100
Fat: 2.0 grams
Saturated Fat: 0
Cholesterol: 0
Protein: 4 grams
Sodium: 80 mg
Carbohydrates: 19 grams
Fiber: 3 grams
Sugar: 0 grams
Calcium: 100 mg

Now, let’s look at a 1 oz dry serving of Quaker Old Fashioned Oatmeal (the stuff that takes 10 minutes to cook):
Calories: 106
Fat: 2.1
Saturated Fat: 0.4
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Protein: 3.5 grams
Sodium: 0 mg
Carbohydrate: 19.1 grams
Fiber: 2.9 grams
Sugar: 0.7 grams
Calcium: 0 mg

http://0.tqn.com/d/cholesterol/1/0/M/oatmeal.jpg
 Surprise! Aside from the higher sodium content, the regular Quaker Instant Oatmeal actually has a marginally better macro-nutrient profile. Now food purists often criticize instant oatmeal because it’s “pre-cooked.”  The argument is that this pre-cooking reduces the natural nutritional values of the oat compared to thick cut rolled oats. Here’s the secret, unless you are eating raw oat groats straight from the field, almost all oat products, including steel cut oats, thick rolled oats and Old Fashioned oatmeal are “pre-cooked” to some degree. Cooked, through the standard steaming process that’s done during milling.  If they didn’t do this, it could literally take an hour to fully cook the raw oat. Even raw oat bran is only marginally more nutrition ounce for ounce when you look strictly at the macros. Now, could there be benefits to eating a less processed or uncooked form of oats, especially in terms of heat-sensitive vitamins? Maybe. but when you compare instant oatmeal to old fashioned oats using the standard macros, they are pretty much equal.



At the end of the day, the biggest difference between instant oatmeal and things like thick rolled or Scottish oats is the texture, flavor and how satisfying and filling they are.  Instant oatmeal is more mushy than cooked oats for sure and its oat flavor doesn't really compare to something like thick rolled oats. On the flip side I know the longer oats cook the more water they absorb, which is why the volume is much more in slow cooked, compared to instant oats. That's why eating old fashioned or thick rolled oatmeal can help you feel fuller. This is especially useful in cold climates on days when your energy output is generally more because you are trying to stay warm. That makes the non-instant variety of oats more satisfying for many people. However many people like instant oatmeal just fine. Like me, for a quick (only 50 seconds to cook) high energy food.Athletes and people training at the gym find that we can live without that full feeling. Though we can utilize the quick meal with high nutrition.


My opinion, Organic instants are quick and nutritious. I always buy organic, regular flavor. I always add fresh fruit, cinnamon and or honey. If you like the thicker oat and have the time to cook them, they are equally as nutritious and flavorful. Start your day with this high energy breakfast and see if it doesn't work for you. Good Luck...








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