Good Question: What’s the Deal With Oatmeal?

updated Jun 4, 2019
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What’s the deal with oatmeal? I love it, and I know it’s really healthy, but is that the case in all forms? My mother says it’s only really good for you if you get the stone ground variety, the kind that takes 30 minutes to cook on the stove.

Well, I can’t find that where I am now (Europe) so I get the organic oats that cook on the stove in a couple minutes. I feel like it’s healthy, but my mother says I’m basically just eating glue. (What?! I don’t even know what that’s supposed to mean!). Help me out? Thanks!

– Tiffany

(To All Good Questions)

Far be it from us to contradict your mother, Tiffany, and we have to allow that her preference for the stone ground or steel cut variety is one that we share. We love the nutty, not-too-gooey taste and texture of the rougher cut oats.

Our preference, however, is more for matters of taste than health, and we suspected that your mother’s insistence on the health value of of longer-cooking oats was inaccurate.

We went to our trusty copy of Harold McGee’s On Food and Cooking, and discovered that oats are available processed in several different ways: rolled and steel cut. For rolled oats, the oat grain, called a groat, is rolled into a thinner flake for faster cooking. You can find these in various thicknesses – old-fashioned, quick cooking, and thick. The only difference is the thickness of the groat flake.

Steel cut oats, on the other hand, are simply a groat that has been chopped into three or four pieces. McGee says that each variety has the same nutritional value – the only difference is in cooking time and texture.

Hope that’s helpful! Anyone have anything else to add?

• Buy organic steel cut oats from Bob’s Red Mill