A bowl of hot porridge

Quick-cook porridge v Ordinary porridge

October 8, 2015 3:08 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Quick-cook porridge: can it be as good for you as ordinary porridge? This was the basis of an investigation recently by Channel 4’s Food Unwrapped series. They wondered, with sales of porridge doubling in the UK over the past few years, whether the extremely popular quick-cook sachets could really be as good for you as the porridge your granny used to make. Why did the new porridge cook so quickly? Had they ‘done something weird’ to it?!

Naturally Good Food stocks ordinary porridge oats, as well as quick-cook porridge sachets.

Express porridge: is it just as good for you?

The investigation took the reporter to Ireland, where it was raining. A farmer showed them his oats growing, and then the production line. First, the inedible shells are removed from the kernels (giving us oat groats), and the kernels chopped into smaller sizes. If they’re chopped very small, this makes what, in the UK, we term oatmeal, with the size and shape of the cutting blade determining whether it’s fine, medium, coarse or pinhead oatmeal that’s produced. This is sometimes described as ‘steel cut oats’ Some people make their porridge from oat groats and oatmeal itself, but the most common form is created by the next process, in which the chopped kernels are rolled and steamed.

Rolling the oats make them quicker to cook (and much easier to eat raw, should you wish to). Steaming improves the shelf-life of the oats, but also makes them quicker to cook. And it’s in the rolling and steaming that the difference between standard and quick-cook oats comes in.

With quick-cook oats, as the farmer explained, in technical language: ‘we flake it more tiddly’. The flakes are thinner, so cook faster. Furthermore, they’re steamed at the mill for 30% longer, meaning that at home, they then take less time to cook. To see their short video of the programe click here: Food Unwrapped Oats

Are they equally good for you?

Nutritionally, the value is equivalent. (Indeed, nutritionally, there is very little difference between all types of oats.) However, the bare nutritional data doesn’t tell the whole story here. Channel 4 took it one step further: into a ‘stomach simulator’ – a fantastic machine, which mimics the action of the human stomach. In this investigation the stomach was fed a bowl of standard porridge and a bowl of quick-cook porridge. The process of digestion by proteins and enzymes commenced. After half an hour the stomach was opened up….

…and there was nothing whatsoever left of the quick-cook oats! Their thinness led to them being very easily digested, and the stomach was empty. If the stomach was real, it might well have been rumbling by now, and annoying its colleagues by grumbling about how porridge is supposed to keep you going all day…

The standard oats, however, still had plenty left to digest. These are the oats that keep you fuller for longer, and prevent surges in blood sugar, as their carbohydrates are released more slowly into the system. Your body also works harder to process them.

Buy your Porridge Oats online

At Naturally Good Food we stock a great array of oats, and other porridge grains. We have standard rolled oats, jumbo oats, gluten-free oats and organic oats. We have oat groats and oatmeal in various cuts. We’re great believers in the health benefits of oats! Why not buy in bigger bags to save money with Bulk sizes

We also stock Amisa’s gluten-free, organic Express Porridge sachets, which are a variety of quick-cook oats. We don’t think they’re the same as the standard ones, for all the reasons given above, but we do think there’s a place for them in a busy lifestyle.

Most importantly, though, we want to make sure that our customers understand just what each of our products can offer!

Click here to see all our porridge options.

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This post was written by Yzanne

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