Dr. Gourmet Says... Eat - Don't Eat

Dr. Gourmet Says... Eat - Don't Eat: September 11, 2007

I live in the South and I grew up with grits. Grits are a staple of the breakfast table here, but there's really not much about them that is all that good for you. I'm used to hot cereal at breakfast and it never seems strange to me to recommend eating oatmeal to patients, but it always amazes me how many people say "yeah, I really like oatmeal." But they often go on to say that they just don't think of it.

Think of it. It's great for you.

I personally like to make oatmeal from steel cut oats, but it's rolled oats that are about all you can find in America. Making rolled oats (quick oats) isn't all that hard or time consuming and you should try it. There is, however, a lot of instant oatmeal available. The cereal aisle has dozens of varieties. I picked three and all of them were the traditional maple and brown sugar flavor.


McCann's Instant Irish OatmealThe McCann's Instant Irish Oatmeal had the most oatmeal-like flavor and texture. I feel that instant oatmeal suffers from not having the same texture as making your own from the "quick oats" (and certainly not like my favorite steel cut oats). But this is good oatmeal with a good flavor and fairly good texture and it's a lot better for you than most cold cereals on the market.

The drawback is that it has a lot of sugar and I was prepared to not like this one for that reason. But it's good oatmeal from an instant package. There is, however, 13 grams of sugar in a serving and for a lot of diabetics there are going to be better choices.

The Quaker Lower Sugar instant oatmeal was not as good as the McCann's because it didn't quite have a true oatmeal texture and flavor, but this would be a good alternative for diabetics because of the lower sugar. Interestingly, it doesn't use artificial sweeteners but simply relies on less sugar. It still has a good maple and brown sugar flavor, but with only 4 grams of sugar.

Don't Eat

Quaker Weight Control OatmealI chose the Quaker Weight Control oatmeal because I was intrigued by the whopping 6 grams of fiber and only 1 gram of sugar. This oatmeal doesn't have the true oatmeal flavor or texture of the McCann's. The key is that Quaker has added extra fiber and this makes the texture more than a bit gummy.

Looking at the package, it appears that they use both whey protein isolate and oat flour to accomplish the bump in fiber. My guess is that this is what gives the product its funny texture. It doesn't have much sugar in it, and that's appealing, but the combination of Splenda and maltodextrans make it very sweet and give it a funny aftertaste that really made this a Don't Eat.

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