Oatmeal is ground oat groats (i.e.
oat-meal, cf. cornmeal, peasemeal, etc.), or a porridge made
from oats (also called oatmeal cereal or stirabout, in
Ireland). Oatmeal can also be ground oat, steel-cut oats,
crushed oats, or rolled oats.
Oat groats are coarsely ground to make
oatmeal, or cut into small pieces to make steel-cut oats, or
first steamed and then flattened to make rolled oats.
Quick-cooking rolled oats (quick oats) are cut into small
pieces before being steamed and rolled. Instant oatmeal is
pre-cooked and dried, usually with sweetener and flavoring
Both types of rolled oats may be eaten
uncooked as in Muesli or may be cooked to make porridge. It
is also used as an ingredient in oatmeal cookies and oat
cakes, or as an accent, as in the topping on many oat bran
breads and the coating on Caboc cheese.
Oatmeal is also sometimes porridge with
the bran or fibrous husk as well as the oat kernel or groat.
In some countries rolled oats are eaten raw with milk and
sugar or raisins.
Breakfast cereal health benefits
been increasing interest in oatmeal in recent years due to
its health benefits. Daily consumption of a bowl of oatmeal
can lower blood cholesterol, due to its soluble fiber
content. After reports found that oats can help lower
cholesterol, an "oat bran craze" swept the U.S. in the late
1980s, peaking in 1989. The food fad was short-lived and
faded by the early 1990s.
The popularity of oatmeal and other oat products again
increased after the January 1997 decision by the Food and
Drug Administration that food with a lot of oat bran or
rolled oats can carry a label claiming it may reduce the
risk of heart disease, when combined with a low-fat diet.
This is because of the beta-glucan in the oats.
Rolled oats have also long been a staple of many athletes'
diets, especially weight trainers; given oatmeal's high
content of complex carbohydrates and water-soluble fiber
which encourages slow digestion and stabilizes blood-glucose
levels. Oatmeal porridge also contains more B vitamins and
calories than other kinds of porridges.