Q: Is steel-cut oatmeal more nutritious than other kinds of oatmeal?
A: Despite its super-nutritious image, steel-cut oats are similar in nutrition to other forms of oatmeal that don’t contain added sugar or sodium. All forms of oatmeal are whole-grain, containing the same vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and fiber (including the soluble fiber shown to lower blood cholesterol). Both steel-cut and rolled oats are classified as low in glycemic index (GI), an estimate of how a carbohydrate food affects blood sugar. Traditional oatmeal is referred to as rolled oats, because the whole-grain oats are softened by steam and flattened on rollers to form flakes. Steel-cut oats, also known as Irish or Scotch oatmeal, are oats cut by steel blades into small pieces without being flattened. Quick-cooking (one-minute) and instant oatmeal are steamed, cut and flattened in progressively smaller pieces to cook more quickly. The real differences between these kinds of oatmeal are their cooking times and textures. Steel-cut takes longest to cook and has a heartier, chewier texture. Instant oatmeal may seem lower in fiber than other forms when you check label information, but that’s only because a single packet usually makes a smaller serving. The nutritional disadvantage of flavored instant oatmeal is that in equal size servings, the sugar, sodium and calorie content is often substantially higher than other oatmeal options.