Side note- you can buy individual instant packets that are just plain oats with no other ingredients.
It has to do with how they are processed. Instant being the most heavily processed and steel being the least. Instant cooks the quickest, steel-cut the slowest. Steel-cut has more fiber and protein but also more calories. However, I would say a serving size of steel-cut would be smaller because they are way more filling than instant. Instant also has a higher glycemic index.
Steel cut, stone-ground, old-fashioned, and quick-cooking rolled oats are all made from whole grains and they all have approximately the same amount of fiber, protein, calories, and other nutrients. So here, it would come to personal preference.
I am not a fan of steel-cut... they're like hard little kernals. Old fashioned (or rolled oats) are flattened but still maintain the whole grain. I much prefer those. I find steel-cut too grainy. They have a slightly longer cooking time than instant (10 mins on stove top) but only take about 1 1/2-2 mins in the microwave.
I find some brands are harder than others. I bought No Name (usually buy Quaker or Bob Red mills) once and they were really hard despite cooking them longer. I prefer a softer oatmeal. So shop around and find a brand you like. I find OF oats are very similar in texture to instant but less processed and nutritionally equivalent to steel-cut.
Always go for the plain varieties and add your own flavours; fresh fruit, nuts/nut butter, seeds, spices, yogurt, egg/egg whites, unsweetened applesauce, sweet potato, other veg and meat for a savoury oatmeal, natural sweeteners (ripe mashed banana, unsweetened applesauce, stevia, real maple syrup, honey, etc.)
Edited by: JENNILACEY at: 8/23/2013 (08:36)
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