Is Instant Oatmeal Good For You?
What Is Instant Oatmeal
Instant Oatmeal is a simplified version of the classic oatmeal. What is the main difference between the two? You guessed it; instant oatmeal can be made “instantly” in comparison to the longer cooking time that is required for raw oatmeal. Instant oatmeal is able to be prepared so quickly because it is processed in a way that allows it to be cooked quicker and can be consumed dry, mixed with cold water, or mixed with hot water.
Health Benefits of Instant Oatmeal
Oatmeal is a great breakfast option because of its high soluble fiber content. Soluble fiber is known for its ability to help reduce cholesterol, lower high blood pressure, and ultimately lower the risk of heart disease. Since 1997, the FDA has allowed oatmeal suppliers to state on their products’ labels that their oatmeal may reduce the risk of heart disease. All this hype about oatmeal typically revolves around 100% natural oatmeal in a raw form, but does this also apply to instant oatmeal varieties?
Instant Oatmeal Nutrition Compared To Raw Oatmeal
In terms of nutrition, instant oatmeal is commonly believed to be inferior when compared to raw oatmeal. When instant oatmeal is dissected, it reveals that not only is instant oatmeal still a whole wheat but the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) also considers it to be nutritionally equal to raw oatmeal.
The biggest difference between instant oatmeal and regular oatmeal is the glycemic index. A glycemic index states how significantly a specific food increases your blood sugar levels within a two-hour period. The process that instant oatmeal goes through to be able to be cooked quickly also results in it being able to be broken down by your body much quicker than raw oatmeal. Thus, resulting in a higher glycemic level than regular oatmeal. Consuming a diet with high glycemic foods can result in increasing cholesterol levels. The best way to combat the high glycemic level of instant oatmeal is by consuming it with lean proteins (ie: low fat milk, protein powder, etc) or healthy fats (such as nuts, which are great for lowering cholesterol)
Be Aware Of The Sugar
Make sure to check the nutrition label on instant oatmeals, just so you are aware of what you are consuming. Most instant oatmeals contain high levels of sugar and salt.
When compared to regular oatmeal, instant oatmeal seems to be nutritionally equivalent. The two major differences that you must be aware of are the high glycemic index level for instant oatmeal as well as the potentially high levels of sugar and salt that may be found in the instant variety. If your diet is able to handle these then selecting instant oatmeal over regular option is not a bad decision by any means.