Q. “I buy quick-cook oats because they help me get breakfast on the table during the school rush — but are they as healthy as regular rolled oats?”
—Lucy, Curl Curl, NSW
A. Accredited Practising Dietitian and HFG nutritionist Brooke Longfield responds:
Quick-cook oats (which we also call instant oats or microwave oats) are just as nutritious as traditional rolled oats and super convenient, too! To make quick-cook oats, manufacturers simply roll wholegrain oats until they’re thin, then steam and grind them into smaller pieces. This allows the oats to cook much faster (usually in roughly two to three minutes) and gives them a smooth, creamy texture.
Both traditional and quick-cook oats are rich in beta-glucan, which helps lower cholesterol absorption; however, instant oats have a slightly higher glycaemic index (GI) because they’re more refined. This means you digest them more easily than you do classic rolled oats, but you may not feel full for quite as long.
Also, some instant-oat sachets contain sugar or other sweeteners, or both. Such varieties are also slightly lower in fibre than regular oats. So if you prefer the convenience of individual sachets, look for ‘original’ or high-fibre varieties.