Oatmeal is widely considered a healthy food.
But there are many different kinds of oats, and not all oats are made equal.
Most people turn to instant or rolled oats when making oatmeal. They’re quicker and easier to prepare than steel cut (also known as Irish) oats.
Rolled and steel oats don’t differ much in their nutritional content, but if you’re trying to eat healthy, steel cut oats are your best bet.
Rolled oats are more processed than steel cut oats
Part of the reason rolled oats take less time to prepare is because they go through a lengthier processing procedure. More specifically, the oats are steamed multiple times, rolled, and then toasted. This processing leaves the oats as thin flakes.
Steel cut oats, on the other hand, are just thickly chopped oat kernels.
Steel cut oats have a lower glycemic index than rolled oats
It takes longer for our bodies to digest steel cut oats because they’re thicker than rolled oats, making it harder for digestive enzymes in the body to reach the starch in steel cut oats. This also means that it takes longer for our bodies to convert steel cut oats into sugar.
Therefore, steel cut oats don’t cause as much of an increase in blood sugar after they’re eaten. In medical terms, this means they rank lower on the glycemic index — steel cut oats sit at 42 on the index, rolled oats sit at 66. Foods that rank higher on the glycemic index are more likely to trigger more hunger in the eater.
Steel cut oats will leave you feeling fuller longer, and chances are you won’t crave more food after eating them, making them the healthier choice in the long run.
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