January 9, 2011

Whole Grain Oats 101

Oats, oat bran and oatmeal have the highest soluble fibre content, the kind of fibre that makes your heart healthy, of any other cereal grain. Soluble fibre dissolves in water and becomes a thick viscous gel that slowly travels through the intestine. This thick goo slows down the absorption of glucose which helps to stabilize blood sugars, a definite bonus for people living with diabetes.

Beta-glucans, a soluble fibre compound, are responsible for all the pluses in oats.  Your liver is on a mission to find cholesterol. It is believed that beta-glucans prevents the re-absorption of bile which forces your liver to get it’s cholesterol from your blood. The beta-glucans in your blood in turn sops up the bad LDL cholesterol. I like to envision it as a drain cleaner commercial – the foamy soluble fibre cleaners unplugging your arteries as they go. The oat fibre may also bind to any cholesterol in your intestine soaking it up and escorting it out of your body.

You need at least 3 grams of soluble fibre from oat products on a daily basis to achieve a notable decrease in cholesterol levels.

Types of Oats:

There are Instant, Quick-Cooking and Rolled Oats. The Rolled Oats are sometimes called Old Fashioned Oats or Large Flake Oats. If that isn’t confusing enough, there are also different varieties such as Scotch, Irish Oats or Steel Cut Oats that you will come across in the same aisle. And then there is oat bran. Read your labels and don’t grab the first package you see.


Steel Cut Oats are the whole grain oat that has been cut with  steel cutters. But just to keep you on your toes they are sometimes called Scotch or Irish oats. Used mostly for hot cereal this cooked oat dish is chewy and has a nuttier flavour than rolled oats.

Rolled Oats is that same uncut whole grain oat that has been steamed and then rolled. They come in different sizes, instant, quick-cooking, and large flake sometimes called old fashioned rolled oats. They can be used in hot cereal, in cookie recipes, or in a topping for a crisp.

Oat bran is the outer husk of the whole oat grain and contains most of the fibre and some of the fat. Keep it in a cool dry place. I store mine in the fridge or freezer. Look for plain oat bran. In Canada, Rogers and Quaker both sell plain oat bran. Can’t find these brands? Read the label to be sure that the list of ingredients only says oat bran.

Overnight Oats

Recipe from Ultimate Foods for Ultimate Health and don’t forget the chocolate! Whitecap 2007
BY: Liz Pearson R.D and Mairlyn Smith H.Ec.

4 ½ cups (1.1L) water
1 cup (250 mL) Steel Cut Oats, sometimes called Irish Oats OR 8 grain cereal

1. Pour water into a medium pot that has a fitted lid. Turn heat to high.
2. When the water is boiling, sprinkle in cereal, stir, cover and remove from heat. Let cool for 15 minutes, pour into a container, cover and place in the fridge overnight.
3. Next morning, take a look – wow, it didn’t look like this last night; put it into a pot, place on medium high heat, bring back to a boil, cover, reduce heat to medium and simmer for 5-8 minute, stirring occasionally, until heated through.
4. Serve equally between 4 bowls.
5. Want some pizzazz? see Build a Better Bowl

Makes – 4 cups (1 L)
Serves – 4 – 1 cup (250 mL) servings

Each 1 cup (250 mL) serving plain oatmeal contains
150 Calories, 3 g Total Fat, 0 g Sat Fat, 0 g Trans Fat, 0 mg Sodium, 27 g CHO, 4 g Fiber, 5 g Protein

Build a Better Bowl
These toppings are for 1 bowl.

1. Add – ¼ cup (50 mL) dried fruit – suggestions: dried cranberries, currants, raisins, dried mango, dried apricots or dried blueberries. Go wild and add a combo of your favourite. See sidebar
2. Add – ½ cup – 1 cup (125 – 250 mL) skim milk or organic soy beverage
3. Sprinkle with 1 – 2 Tbsp (15-30 mL) ground flaxseed
4. Sprinkle with ¼ – ½ tsp (1-2 mL) cinnamon
5. Voila – an amazing bowl of delicious goodness.
6. If you need a little sweetness, add 1 tsp (5 mL) brown sugar or maple syrup.

0 Comments on “Whole Grain Oats 101

Small Changes Big Results | Eat Well
February 17, 2016 at 10:07 am

[…] kind of is confusing.  If you want the nitty, gritty on oats check out Mairlyn Smith’s post – Whole Grain Oats.  She tells us like it is about the nutrition of oats and why your body needs […]

Small Changes Big Results – Eat Well
December 12, 2017 at 3:26 pm

[…] kind of is confusing.  If you want the nitty, gritty on oats check out Mairlyn Smith’s post – Whole Grain Oats.  She tells us like it is about the nutrition of oats and why your body needs […]


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