Oatmeal is one of the greatest foods of all time. Not only is it super yummy, but it's also a low glycemic index food that's high in fiber, helps lower cholesterol, and keeps you full for a long time. But when you're going to the grocery store, what's the difference between the different types of oats? There are steel cut oats, old-fashioned, instant, quick—almost too many to count. The main difference is the way that the oat has been processed. Let's assess the difference between old fashioned oats vs steel cut oats.

What are Steel Cut Oats?

flour, sweet, bread, wheat, cereal
Celeste Robertson

Steel-cut oats are made when the oat groat has been cut into pieces and are often referred to as Irish Oats. They take longer to cook than rolled oats, but are very good when made. 

What are Old-Fashioned Oats? 

pasture, wheat, corn, cereal
Amy Le

Old-fashioned oats are processed the same way as quick oats. They are first steamed and then flattened down. Old-fashioned oats and quick oats are great for eating on their own, but also great to put into baked goods

Comparison Breakdown 

sesame seed, pasture, porridge, groats, corn, wheat, cereal
Nancy Chen

Old-Fashioned Oats (1/4 cup)          Steel Cut Oats (1/4 cup)

Calories: 160                                        Calories: 140

Protein: 5g                                            Protein: 5g

Fat: 2.5g                                                Fat: 2.5g

Carbs: 27g                                            Carbs: 27g

Fiber: 4g                                                Fiber: 4g

Sugar: 1g                                               Sugar: 0g

So What's the Difference....?

Although old-fashioned oats may have 1g of sugar and 20 extra calories in a 1/4 cup serving compared to steel cut oats, that isn't really a difference. The main difference that acts as a tiebreaker to this debate is the fact that steel cut oats are lower on the Glycemic Index scale. 

The health benefits of oatmeal in general outweigh any real debate between the different types of oats. You can't go wrong with any type of oatmeal (except for instant packaged oatmeals), but the type that's supposedly the best are steel cut oats. What's great about oatmeal is that it can be eaten at every meal, so don't fret if you don't have time to whip up a batch of these oats in the morning. The oatmeal recipe options are endless.