Steel Cut Oats Nutrition

Steel cut oats are low in fat and high in protein, fiber, and other nutrients. They also have a low glycemic index. However, steel cut oats are a carbohydrate-rich food. People on low carbohydrate diets may wish to limit the amount of oats that they eat. Moderating your portions and keeping your servings to a quarter cup or less will help keep you from consuming too many calories.

Health Benefits of Steel Cut Oats

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

  • Vitamin C 0%
  • Iron 11%
  • Vitamin B6 0%
  • Magnesium 0%
  • Calcium 0%
  • Vitamin D 0%
  • Cobalamin 0%
  • Vitamin A 0%

Steel cut oats are the inner kernels of whole oats that have been cut down into pin-head sized pieces. Because of this association with their size, they are also sometimes known as pinhead oats. In the United Kingdom (UK) they are also referred to as coarse oatmeal or Irish oatmeal. Steel cut oats may be processed further into oat flakes.

As a result of their coarse texture, steel cut oats are chewy and have a slightly nutty flavor. They can be used in place of other types of oats in just about any recipe, or as a satisfying, fiber-rich breakfast option.

Health Benefits

The vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants in steel cut oats can provide important health benefits. For example, the fiber in them helps to lower cholesterol and move food efficiently through the digestive tract. Fiber may also enhance immune function.

Steel cut oats are also rich in iron and B vitamins, both of which improve energy levels.

In addition, steel cut oats can provide other health benefits, such as:

Support Weight Loss

Steel cut oats contain β-glucan, a viscous, soluble fiber that slows the movement of food through the digestive tract and helps you feel fuller after eating. Foods that help people feel fuller longer may benefit people who are trying to lose weight and help them avoid overeating. Although all oats contain β-glucan, the larger particle size of steel cut oats may slow digestion even more than oat flakes, giving them a lower glycemic index than many other types of oats.

Steel cut oats are a low glycemic index food. Research shows that regular dietary intake of oats improves blood sugar levels and lipid profiles in people with Type 2 diabetes.

Incorporating oats into a healthy diet may also help people with Type 2 diabetes to lose weight. Both short- and long-term intake of oats has been shown to significantly reduce high blood sugar and support weight loss in people who have Type 2 diabetes.

The high levels of soluble fiber in steel cut oats can help to lower cholesterol. One study showed that eating 3 grams of soluble fiber from oats (about ¼ cup serving) every day lowers total cholesterol.

Celiac Safe

Because oats do not contain gluten, they are a safe alternative for people with celiac disease. For many, oats provide a welcome high-fiber option, since many gluten-free foods are low in fiber. Because there may be a risk of cross-contamination with wheat products, people with celiac disease should read product labels to make sure their oats are truly gluten-free.

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Nutrition

Steel cut oats are rich in protein and fiber, improving fullness and helping to provide the macronutrient building blocks of a healthy diet.

They are also an excellent source of:

Nutrients per Serving

A ¼ cup serving of steel cut oats (the amount typically found in a single serving) contains:

  • Calories: 150
  • Protein: 5 grams
  • Fat: 2.5 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 27 grams
  • Fiber: 4 grams
  • Sugar: 1 gram

Portion Sizes

Steel cut oats are low in fat and high in protein, fiber, and other nutrients. They also have a low glycemic index. However, steel cut oats are a carbohydrate-rich food. People on low carbohydrate diets may wish to limit the amount of oats that they eat. Moderating your portions and keeping your servings to a quarter cup or less will help keep you from consuming too many calories.

How to Prepare Steel Cut Oats

Steel cut oats are often found in the breakfast aisle of many grocery and health food stores. They may also be available in the gluten-free aisle.

Steel cut oats are easy to use when you’re baking or cooking. In most cases, you can simply substitute rolled oats with steel cut oats in recipes, although soaking the steel cut oats for a few hours before baking will help soften them.

Here are some ways to enjoy steel cut oats:

  • Substitute steel cut oats for breadcrumbs in meatloaf and meatball recipes.
  • Cook steel cut oats in water or milk for 30 minutes and top with almonds.
  • Blend steel cut oats with low-glycemic index fruits, such as berries, to make a thick, satisfying smoothie.

Show Sources

American Journal of Physiology: “Oatmeal Particle Size Alters Glycemic Index But Not As a Function Of Gastric Emptying Rate.”

Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition: “Oat Porridge Consumption Alleviates Markers of Inflammation And Oxidative Stress in Hypercholesterolemic Adults.”

Gastroenterology: “Safety of Adding Oats to a Gluten-Free Diet for Patients With Celiac Disease: Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Clinical and Observational Studies.”

Michigan State University Extension: “Steel Cut Oats Are a Nutrient Rich Way to Start Your Day.”

Nutrients: “Short- and Long-Term Effects of Wholegrain Oat Intake on Weight Management and Glucolipid Metabolism in Overweight Type-2 Diabetics: A Randomized Control Trial.”

Nutrition Reviews: “Dietary Fiber and Satiety: The Effects of Oats on Satiety.”

Nutrition Reviews: “Health Benefits of Dietary Fiber.”

Nutrients: “The Metabolic Effects of Oats Intake in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.”

Why Steel-Cut Oats Are a Perfect Way to Start the Day

Oatmeal porridge bowl with fruits, nuts and cinnamon in bowl

Steel-cut oats, sometimes called Irish oats or Scottish oats, are made by running whole oat groats through a steel mill to chop them into pieces. This variety of oats imparts a slightly nuttier taste than regular oats, and it has a chewy texture. You can use steel-cut oats as a cereal, such as in oatmeal, or add them to baked goods for a heavy, nutritious product.

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Calories and Fat

A 1/4-cup serving of uncooked steel cut oats has 150 to 170 calories. Cooking these oats does not change the calorie content. If you use steel-cut oats, it’s common to add flavorings, including maple syrup, fruit or brown sugar. Be sure to include the calories from these flavorings in your meal plan. Columbia University recommends eating a breakfast containing 350 to 500 calories to best meet your energy needs in the morning. Consider eating oatmeal made from steel-cut oats with a side of fruit, a glass of fruit juice or a lean breakfast meat to bring your meal into the ideal calorie range. A portion of steel-cut oats contains 3 g fat. Limit fat consumption to no more than 20 to 35 percent of your daily calories, or 44 to 78 g fat on a 200-calorie diet.

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Carbohydrates and Fiber

Including steel-cut oats in your meal plan gives you a big boost of complex carbohydrates, a macronutrient that serves as your main source of energy. Each 1/4-cup serving contains 27 to 29 g carbs, or 21 to 22 percent of the 130 g recommended for daily consumption by the Institute of Medicine. Fiber, a kind of carbohydrate that does not break down into fuel for your body, is also found in steel-cut oats. One serving provides 4 to 5 g — your meal plan should include 25 to 38 g fiber. Add fiber to your diet slowly. Consuming too much fiber before your body has the opportunity to adjust to it can result in bloating and gas.

Protein

Steel-cut oats serve as a good supply of protein, offering 5 to 7 g per 1/4-cup serving. Your body uses protein as a secondary source of energy, but it has a more important role. Protein is present in nearly every cell, tissue and organ in your body, and eating adequate levels allows you to replace proteins as needed easily. It also features heavily in helping you to build muscle. The protein in steel-cut oats is considered an incomplete protein because it lacks all nine essential amino acids. You can get all the amino acids you require by serving steel-cut oats with legumes, such as peanuts.

Minerals

One serving of steel cut oats provides 10 percent of the iron you need each day. Iron helps your body get the oxygen it needs to function properly. Without enough of this mineral, you may develop anemia. Symptoms of anemia include dizziness, heart palpitations, headaches and fatigue. You will also get 2 percent of the daily recommended value of calcium from each 1/4-cup serving of steel-cut oats. The strength of your bones and teeth depends on getting adequate levels of calcium, as your body does not manufacture this nutrient on its own, and every little bit helps.

Cooking Tips

Steel-cut oats require more time to cook than regular oats. Cooking time can be lowered to five minutes if you soak oats overnight; however, if you start with unsoaked steel-cut oats, it will take 35 minutes to cook them thoroughly. Making oatmeal using these oats — the most common use — requires you boil oats in water and then simmer until they’re chewy yet tender. Add 1 cup milk and cook an additional eight to 10 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed.

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Alex Koliada, PhD

Alex Koliada, PhD

Alex Koliada, PhD, is a well-known doctor. He is famous for his studies of ageing, genetics and other medical conditions. He works at the Institute of Food Biotechnology and Genomics NAS of Ukraine. His scientific researches are printed by the most reputable international magazines. Some of his works are: Differences in the gut Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes ratio across age groups in healthy Ukrainian population [BiomedCentral.com]; Mating status affects Drosophila lifespan, metabolism and antioxidant system [Science Direct]; Anise Hyssop Agastache foeniculum Increases Lifespan, Stress Resistance, and Metabolism by Affecting Free Radical Processes in Drosophila [Frontiersin].
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