Steel-cut oats have some differences when compared with other kinds of oatmeal. Most of the time it's a comparison between steel-cut oats versus rolled oats, which is another common type of oat product.
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Steel-Cut Oats Nutrition Information
When producing steel-cut oats, whole-groat oats (or oat bran) are cut two or three times, according to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. The pieces that have been cut are not subjected to any further processing, such as rolling or steaming. They are therefore much more intact than either instant oats or rolled oats, both of which have been heavily rolled.
From their unique processing, steel-cut oats acquire a much larger surface area than their counterparts, which means that they are digested a lot more slowly by the body. Because of this larger surface area, the stomach has to work a lot longer to digest steel-cut oats which one consumes.
According to the University of Sydney's Glycemic Index Database, the glycemic index of steel-cut oats is 42, as compared to 66 for quick-cooking oats and instant oatmeal. The glycemic index for steel-cut oats is in a whole different category than that for rolled oats, illustrating how steel-cut oats are better for your blood sugar.
The glycemic index is a measure of how fast different foods cause a rise in blood sugar, which is a proxy for measuring how fast foods gets digested. The higher the glycemic index, the faster the increase in blood sugar, and the easier the process of digestion.
With their filling nature and low glycemic index, steel-cut oats are great for curbing the appetite. This was shown in a small study on oats and appetite control involving 48 participants that was published in the May 2014 issue of the Nutrition Journal.
According to the USDA, oatmeal, in general, is a very rich source of the B complex of vitamins, and of vitamin E. Both of these vitamins are healthy antioxidants that help the cells to function in a regular, well manner. You will also get doses of protein, potassium, iron and calcium from steel-cut oats.
Calcium and potassium are both important minerals for keeping your blood pressure at a healthy level. Among the many benefits steel-cut oats offer, a notable one is that they contain more calcium and protein than other types of oatmeal. However, on the whole, steel-cut oats contain only slightly more nutrients than other types of oatmeal, despite being processed less than the other varieties.
Read more: How Many Calories Are in a Bowl of Oatmeal?
Fiber Content of Steel-Cut Oats
Fiber is a very important nutrient, since it helps to keep your blood sugar at healthy levels. Due to its filling nature, dietary fiber can also curb your appetite by making you feel satisfied with your meal sooner.
Another of steel-cut oats' benefits is that, like other oat products, they provide you with a lot of fiber. According to USDA, every third-cup serving of steel-cut oats, supplies 5 grams of fiber. A third-cup serving of instant oats only provides a little more than 1 gram of fiber.
The daily recommended intake of fiber, according to the Mayo Clinic, is between 25 and 38 grams. This means that a serving of steel-cut oats will help you start your day towards achieving that goal.
Steel-cut oats need more time to cook than almost all other kinds of oatmeal. The only kind of oatmeal that needs to cook longer than steel-cut oats are the whole groats themselves.
When it comes to cooking time for steel-cut oats versus that of rolled oats, it takes longer to cook steel-cut oats, according to MSU Extension. But you can reduce the amount of time that it takes to cook steel-cut oats by soaking them overnight in cool water. Instant oats, on the other hand, can be fully cooked in just a single minute.
- USDA: "Steel Cut Oats"
- University of Sydney: "Glycemic Index Database"
- Nutrition Journal: "The Role of Meal Viscosity and Oat β-Glucan Characteristics in Human Appetite Control: A Randomized Crossover Trial"
- Mayo Clinic: "Dietary Fiber: Essential for a Healthy Diet"
- Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health: "Oats"
- USDA: "Cereals, Oats, Instant, Fortified, Plain, Prepared With Water (Boiling Water Added or Microwaved)"
- MSU Extension: "Steel Cut Oats Are a Nutrient Rich Way to Start Your Day"