The Nutritional Value of Quick Oats vs. Whole Oats

By Suzanne Robin , last updated March 19, 2012
A bowl of steaming hot oatmeal is touted as the perfect winter breakfast to face the cold morning. But when it comes to choosing oatmeal, you may wonder whether the convenience of quick-cooking oats or instant oats equals the benefit of whole oats. Certainly the quicker cooking oats are a time saver, and their nutritional value does not differ significantly from that of regular oats.

Calories and Preparation Methods

Regular oats, sometimes called steel-cut oats, are unrolled oats cut into large pieces. You must brings them to boil and then cook them over low heat for at least 30 minutes. The oats will remain chewy. Quick-cook oats are steamed, rolled and cut into small pieces that cook quickly. Quick-cook oats and steel-cut oats contain the same number of calories per serving, according to the Quaker Oats website, but the amount of dry oats in a serving differs because steel-cut oats are more dense. One-half cup of dry quick oats equals one serving, compared to 1/4 cup of steel-cut oats. Both contain 150 calories per serving.

Protein, Carbohyrates and Fats

The protein, carbohydrate and fat content of both types of oats are similar. Both contain 5 grams of protein per serving, but quick-cook oats contains slightly more fat per serving, 3 grams compared to 2.5 grams for steel-cut oats. Both supply 27 grams of protein per serving.

Vitamins and Minerals

Both quick-cooking oats and regular oats supply 10 percent of your daily iron needs and no calcium. While the Quaker Oats website does not list the exact amount of iron in their cereal, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Quaker Oats Quick Oats contains 1.86 milligrams of iron per 1/2-cup serving. Both types of oats contain no sodium, according to the Quaker Oats website.


Both regular oats and quick-cooking oats contain fiber, which not only helps regular your bowels but can also lower your cholesterol and blood glucose levels. Both steel-cut and quick-cook oats supply 4 grams of fiber per serving, 2 grams of soluble fiber and 2 grams of insoluble fiber. Most Americans consume just 15 grams of fiber per day but need at least 20 grams or more, according to the Harvard School of Public Health.
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