Nutritional Showdown: Steel Cut Oats vs Rolled Oats

How many of you have seen, read, or heard that steel-cut oats are healthier for you than regular oatmeal?  I know I have.  I assumed that there must be some sort of nutritional difference between the two: more fiber perhaps, or just less processing.  Recently, as part of my weight-loss efforts, I tried a fridge oats recipe.  Since I didn’t have any regular (rolled) oatmeal on hand, I figured I’d be extra-healthy and substitute the steel-cut oats that I did have on hand! Yay me! Bonus healthy points!

After a week, I learned that I don’t love fridge oats.  I prefer my oatmeal warm.  The super-chewy texture of the steel-cut oats was also not so much awesome.  I wondered just how much of a difference there was. Observe:

Quaker Rolled Oats vs Kroger Steel-Cut Oats
Quaker Rolled Oats vs Kroger Steel-Cut Oats

Now, I understand that it’s very difficult to read those nutrition labels from the photos. Allow me to transcribe:

 Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats Steel-Cut Oats
 Serving Size 1/2 cup 1/4 cup
Calories 150 150
Total Fat 3 g 2.5 g
Saturated Fat 0.5 g 0.5 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1 g 1 g
Monounsaturated Fat 1 g 1 g
 Cholesterol 0 mg 0 mg
Sodium 0 mg 0 mg
Total Carbohydrate 27 g 27 g
Dietary Fiber 4 g 4 g
Soluble Fiber 2 g 2 g
 Insoluble Fiber 2 g 2 g
Sugars 1 g 1 g
Protein 5 g 5 g

The only measurable difference is serving size.  The steel-cut oats have the same nutrition, just more densely packed.  My roommate commented “but steel-cut oats keep me fuller longer!” Yep–you’re eating twice as much food in the same volume!  Of course you’re fuller longer!

But, you argue, Look at the fat!  There’s a half-gram difference in total fat! Why yes, that does appear to be true.  However, when you look at the distribution of those fats, they’re identical, and 2.5 rounds up to 3.  Thus, that difference is probably either a trace difference or rounding difference, therefore, nutritionally NULL.

Oh–one other important (to me) thing: regular rolled oats cook in about 1 minute in the microwave in the morning.  I do not have to soak them overnight to make them chewable.

I’m going back to my regular rolled oats.

 

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