Oats: Nutrition Facts
Calories in Oats and Their Health Benefits
Oats are a whole grain, meaning the grain is intact and the kernel is composed of three distinct parts: the bran, endosperm, and germ. Because they are
a whole grain, they have more nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, and fibre, then other processed grains. Oats also have more soluble fibre than most
grains, much of which is beta-glucan, thought to be beneficial for cholesterol.
Oats are a good source of complex carbohydrate and are available in a variety of cooking forms. If you are looking to modify your carbohydrate intake,
note that one cup of cooked oats or one-half cup raw oats is equivalent to almost two slices of bread.
Health Benefits of Oats Although oats provide almost 30 grams of carbohydrates in one cup cooked, they're a healthier choice than other breakfast options
that would provide similar amounts, like the two slices of white bread or a 1/2 of a bagel. The fibre and protein content is good, and the fat content isn't high.
While a one cup serving is usually the go-to, remember that you can reduce your portion and pair it with fruit, flaxseed, chia seeds, or other healthy options.
Oats Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 cup cooked with water, no salt added (234 g)
% Daily Value*
Calories from Fat 32
Total Fat 3.6g 5%
Saturated Fat 0.7g 4%
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.3g
Monounsaturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 9mg 0%
Potassium 164mg 5%
Carbohydrates 28.1g 9%
Dietary Fibre 4g 16%
Vitamin A 0% · Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 2% · Iron 12%
*Based on a 2,000 calorie diet
Oats are a good source of fibre, containing 4 grams in one cup cooked. Oats contain soluble fibre, the type of fibre that has been shown to help
lower cholesterol, which is why your doctor may recommend starting your day with a filling bowl of oatmeal.
They are also a good source of manganese, a component of antioxidant enzymes, important in facilitating bone development and helping to make
and break down glucose.
Lastly, oats are a good source of protein, iron, magnesium, zinc, and selenium. For a dish that you usually enjoy in the morning, that's a pretty
impressive way to start your day.
Common Questions About Oats
How does the calorie and carbohydrate content of oats change from dry to wet?
Cooking oats is usually done with a 1:2 ratio, meaning that for every one part dry you need two parts wet ingredient. Therefore, when cooking, the dry
measurement will yield double the serving cooked. For instance, half cup of dry oatmeal yields one cup cooked. If you are looking at the label and it reads
one-half cup of uncooked oatmeal is 166 calories, 28 grams carbohydrate, 4 grams fibre, and 5.9 grams protein, then it will contain the same amount of
calories in one cup cooked. If you eat only one-half cup cooked, you can reduce the calories and other nutrient values by half.
Are oats gluten free?
Oats are naturally gluten-free, however, many oats get introduced to gluten containing grains, like wheat, rye, barley, and spelt during farming, transportation,
and storage. They become contaminated with gluten and therefore are no longer considered gluten free. If you are looking for 100 percent gluten free oats,
they must be labelled, gluten free, so don't assume any oat is gluten free.
What's the difference between steel-cut oats and other varieties?
The difference occurs during processing. The more processed an oat is the less cooking time it requires. Typically, an increase in processing will increase the
food's glycaemic index (how quickly it will raise blood sugar). By definition the different varieties of oats are as follows:
- Groats: the whole kernel with only the husk removed.
- Steel cut oats: (otherwise known as Irish oats) are groat oats that are toasted and cut into tiny chunks with a steel blade. They have a chewier texture when cooked.
- Rolled oats: typically marketed as old-fashioned oats, these are what we usually use as oatmeal; the groat oats are softened by steaming and then pressed through metal rollers to flatten. This cooks the oats partially.
- Quick cooking oats: rolled oats that are pressed even thinner than regular rolled oats to speed up cook time and allow more water to penetrate.
- Instant oatmeal: most typically packaged with added flavours and sugar, this type of oatmeal is made of rolled oats that are pre-cooked and dried. This is not the best choice of oatmeal.
Nutritionally, both steel cut oats and rolled oats are similar. Both are whole-grain oats with all three parts of the grain—the bran, germ, and endosperm
—intact. The only differences are their textures and cooking times, which may have differing affects on blood sugars.
Picking and Storing Oats
Purchase plain oats without added sugars or flavourings. Opt to flavour your oatmeal on your own with fresh or frozen fruit and spices like nutmeg,
cinnamon, and vanilla powder.
Store oats in a tightly closed container in a cool, dry place. Use them by their best buy date.
Healthy Ways to Prepare Oats
Oats can be prepared raw, as in overnight oats, or cooked as hot porridge. Oats can also be used in replacing breadcrumbs or as a binder in recipes like meatloaf.
Use oats to add fibre and texture to breads and cookies, or make your own low-sugar granola to eat as a snack or as an addition to low-fat yogurt or cottage
cheese for a protein and fibre packed meal.
Recipes with Oats
- Overnight Oats: Make Breakfast While You Sleep
- Make This Big Diet-Friendly Bowl of Oatmeal
- 3 Carb-Balanced Oatmeal Breakfast Recipes