Steel cut oats are sometimes described as a super-food because of all the nutrients they contain. That being said, they also contain something that our bodies can’t digest, but is still vital to living a healthy life. Fiber!
It is recommended for adults to consume 30 grams of fiber a day. That might sound like a lot, but it really isn’t. The main reason we have such a hard time reaching that quota is that most of the processed food we eat – and for some, the only food they eat is processed – contains next to no fiber at all.
What Is Fiber?
As mentioned above, fiber is not digestible by the human body. It is actually a non-digestible carbohydrate, so you don’t take on any calories from eating it. It naturally comes from plant matter, and is useful in many ways.
Why Fiber Is Important!
Fiber is important in many ways.
It makes you feel fuller, and for a longer time
It helps regulate and lower cholesterol
It helps with digestion, and can help alleviate constipation (insoluble fiber), and diarrhea (soluble fiber)
There are in fact two types of fiber. Insoluble fiber, which does not dissolve in water, helps to move your bowels and adds bulk to your stool. It is commonly called roughage. There is also soluble fiber, which does dissolve in water, forming a gel-like substance. This kind of fiber slows down your digestive system, allowing your body to absorb more nutrients.
How Much Fiber Is In Steel Cut Oats?
Just one cup of prepared steel cut oats contains upwards of 4 grams (varying by brand). And because 1 cup of uncooked steel cut oats yields 4 cups of finished oatmeal, most packages of steel cut oats are quite cost effective for the nutrients and fiber that you get!
In the image below, you can see a comparison of the nutritional information for Quaker Steel Cut Quick 3 minutes Oatmeal (left), Bob’s Red Mill Steel Cut Oats (middle), and PC Blue Menu Steel Cut Oats (right). Interestingly, even though the serving size for Quaker’s steel cut oats is larger, it still contains less fiber than the other brands.
We recommend sticking to steel cut oats, as they are less processed than other kinds of oats. The next best option would be traditional rolled oats, but STAY AWAY from instant oatmeal! They are heavily processed, and often contain additives, especially sodium and sugar.
I came across a very interesting documentary about a month ago, which talks about why fiber is important and how it benefits our bodies (and feeds our microbiome – the good bacteria living in our guts). If you would like to watch it, the video is embedded below.