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Old-fashioned vs. quick oatmeal

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I'm a college student and a big tub of oatmeal is definitely a staple for me.  In fact, oatmeal is pretty high up there on my list of favorite foods!

However, I was curious on the difference between old-fashioned vs. quick oatmeal (I'm not talking about the little flavored packets.)  The only difference I can tell is that quick oats are smaller, have a smoother creamier texture, a cook a minute or so faster.  I still like both kinds however, but am wondering if there is a substantial difference between the two.  I even compared the nutrition facts and they are exactly the same!  So how come quick oats get such a bad rep?

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If you look at the packet contents side by side the instant oats are a kind of fine flaky powder whereas the rolled oats are more identifiable as a grain.  There's often a difference in the fibre content as a result.  The other big difference is that wholegrains (the old-fashioned oats) take longer to break down in the gut than very refined foods..... so a bowl of regular oats should keep you feeling fuller for longer.  Quite handy if you're someone trying to lose weight by eating a little less than normal.    Similarly... whole fruit is more filling than fruit juice, whole new potatoes are more filling than instant mash.

The phrase I tend to recall for these things is 'let your body process your food rather than have a factory do it for you'.   

Cook the old fashioned oats on the stove with some milk or soymilk and you will certainly taste the difference!

gi-jane OP was talking about 1-minute/quick oatmeal sold in big tubs, not instant ones sold in packets. It is not as processed as instant oatmeal.


I think it's just chopped more? I have both, and the only differences are the ones you listed. I prefer quick because it takes too long for old-fashioned to boil down to the mushy consistency I like.

hmm - even the 1-minute oats are still not as beneficial as old fashioned ones. pretty much the longer you have to cook them, the better they are for you. I've been told the same thing gi-jane says by two different nutritionists.


go for the old fashioned stuff. the longest they take is 10 minutes...

the contents/ingrediants vary and the taste to some degree.  Some people argue that old fashioned oats are better for you than instant.

In either case I am an instant oatmeal guy.

Hm, I cook my old fashioned oats in the microwave and they come out great.  It's much quicker than cooking them on the stove and easier to clean up too since I eat them out of the bowl they cook in.  I guess I prefer them to be just tender, not overly mushy.  Extra delish with a chopped apple or pear in there :)

I meant steel cut oats... is the way to go for me, what i do is make a large batch, divide it out for afew days for my family and have it (1/2 cup) in the morning with a 1/2 cup of fat free, sugar free yogurt , a few fresh strawberries and a handful of almonds and the whole breakfast is under 300 calories and i am not hungry for a very long time. If i do the same with quick oats i get hungrier way way faster. But that is just me.


Good luck on your oatmeal adventures!

My favorite is the steel cut oats.  You can often buy them in bulk at natural foods stores for some cost savings.  They do take a while to cook, but you can speed up the process with an overnight soak before cooking them in the morning.  Especially good if you toast the oats in just a little bit of canola oil before cooking them.  I also usually cook a big pot full at the beginning of the week and reheat it for quick breakfasts

Without Googling it, I do believe that I've read that old-fashioned, quick and instant have al been precooked to some extant..then rolled and chopped.  And as previosuly mentioned, the quicker it cooks the more processed it is.  also, they have to remove some beneficial elements of the oats to help them keep their shelf life.

After eating steel cut oats, you'll never be able to eat instant or quick again..they taste like goo :)

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