Is Instant Oatmeal Actually Good For You?

It's high time oats shed their reputation for being boring. After all, they are the perfect base for many exciting toppings. Not only that, but they can be served hot or cold and come in a variety of ways. In addition, they are incredibly nutritious, which makes us want to know how they can best be served to promote good health. One of the more popular ways we consume oats is through instant oatmeal, and we get why. Who doesn't want a warm, filling, and healthy breakfast in minutes? But before we start praising instant oatmeal, the question begs to be asked — is the instant stuff actually good for you?

According to physician and nutrition specialist, Dr. Melina Jampolis, instant oatmeal contains the same nutritional profile as regular oatmeal (via CNN). However, a noted difference can be seen when taking a peek at the glycemic index on a package of instant oats. Just as instant oatmeal cooks quickly, our bodies break it down just as quickly in the same way, which means it has a higher glycemic index than regular oats do. The nutritional profile is the same, but if it came down to a face-off, we would have to crown regular oats as the healthier option because they boast a lower glycemic index.

Be aware of any additives in instant oatmeal

As stated above, instant oatmeal and slow-cooked oatmeal are nutritionally alike. But this doesn't mean that all instant oatmeal deserves a spot on your breakfast table. Unfortunately, it's rare to find instant oatmeal varieties that don't come with some delicious, yet unhealthy, additions. In fact, some brands of instant oatmeal sold in America contain as much as 17 grams of sugar, as well as artificial sweeteners (via Eat This, Not That!).

If you're suddenly questioning how healthy your oatmeal breakfast is, try not to stress. Dr. David L. Katz, M.D., director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center, shares via HuffPost, "The only oatmeal that can do you any good is the oatmeal you eat, and even instant oatmeal is better than most breakfast choices most Americans make," he shares. Though oatmeal is a good choice overall, just be sure to watch out for any additives that may be hiding in your instant oats and congratulate yourself for giving your day a healthy start.