Oatmeal Nutrition

Is oatmeal good for you?

oatmeal nutritionYES!  Oatmeal is generally considered to be a superfood, packed with fiber and nutrients that can:

  • Reduce cholesterol
  • Maintain digestive health
  • Help keep blood sugar low

My personal experience with oatmeal is what inspired me to make a website entirely dedicated to the health benefits of oatmeal, and how to make oatmeal.

Let’s start with what is commonly found on an oatmeal package’s nutrition label. All forms of oats are derived from the oat groat, so the label information is generally the same, whether the oatmeal is in the form of rolled oats, steel cut oats, etc. The following information is from my favorite oatmeal, Bob’s Red Mill Organic Steel Cut Oats.

Serving Size1/4 cup (44g) 
Per Serving% Daily Value
Calories from Fat25
Total Fat3 g5 %
Saturated Fat0.5 g3 %
Trans Fat0 g0 %
Cholesterol0 g0 %
Sodium0 g0 %
Total Carbohydrate29 g10 %
Dietary Fiber5 g20 %
Soluble Fiber1.6 g
Insoluble Fiber3.4 g
Sugars0 gN/A
Protein7 g14 %
* Percent Daily Values (DV) are based on a 2000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

oatmeal nutrition

Some key points to add to the information in the table…

Do oats have gluten?

Oats are naturally free of gluten, so they are generally tolerated well by most people. (Note: Due to farming and packaging processes, the potential for gluten cross-contamination exists, so look for a “gluten-free” oatmeal if your diet requires it.)

Oatmeal calories

Oatmeal itself is not a high-calorie food, containing only 170 calories for a 44g serving. Some of the popular flavored oatmeals are loaded with sugar, yet the calories per serving stays roughly the same. The only way this can be true is if the amount of actual oatmeal is significantly reduced!

Oatmeal carbs

Oatmeal is loaded with healthy complex carbohydrates, as opposed to sugary simple carbohydrates. Complex carbs, consisting of starch (for energy) and fiber (for digestion and reducing cholesterol), require longer to digest, so that “full” feeling from eating a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast will last longer.

The importance of oatmeal type

While the various forms of oatmeal (steel cut oats, rolled oats, etc.) technically have the same nutrients, there is a key difference between the forms that must be considered. Refined forms of oatmeal significantly reduce the health benefits of oatmeal in its original form. That is, rolled oats are not as healthy as steel cut oats!

Rolled oats and other processed forms (instant oats, quick cooking oats, etc) are much quicker to digest. As a result, they rate higher on the glycemic index, meaning they are not nearly as effective at maintaining healthy blood sugar levels.

The bottom line is that steel cut oats are absolutely the healthiest form of oatmeal available! Any type of rolled oats, instant oats, or quick-cooking oats are all processed to the point that they no longer offer the health benefits that raw oats can provide.