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Oatmeal

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.

Use
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 added.

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
There has 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.

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