Can you eat steel-cut oats raw?

In this article, we will answer the question “Can you eat steel-cut oats raw?” and discuss what is it?

Can you eat steel-cut oats raw?

Yes, you can eat steel-cut oats raw. However, it is not optimal, as steel-oats contain some anti-nutrients, such as phytates, which may impede full absorption of the nutrients provided by the oats.

 A study showed that after malting and soaking of oats, the phytate content of oats were reduced by 77% and doubled the amount of Zn absorbed, as compared with oat porridge prepared from untreated oats. The average individual increase in Fe absorption was 47 % from oat porridge with 107 micromoles of phytate (4).

What are the risks of eating steel-cut oats raw?

The risks of eating steel-cut oats are of having a mineral deficiency because of the low absorption of zinc and iron caused by a diet rich in oats or other phytate rich cereal.

Mineral bioavailability may be impaired in oat-rich diets due to their high phytate concentrations. According to studies, oats, in particular oat bran, are capable of inhibiting the absorption of non-heme iron in humans (4).

According to studies, hydrothermal treatment applied to oats can not only inactivate fat oxidase in oats, which contributes to preventing fat oxidation from causing rancidity and sensory bitterness, but also reduce the phytic acid content and improve the bioavailability of minerals in oats (5).

In addition, oats can cause a non-IgE-mediated food allergic disorder called food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome (FPIES). Nausea, diarrhea, abdominal cramping are included in the symptoms of this food-related allergy. 

Reactions following oats, peanuts and other cereals or grains are more frequently manifested in infants, while adults may experience food-induced allergic symptoms by eating molluscs and fish (6).

It is known that thermal processing may reduce the allergenicity of proteins. However, fermentation and hydrolysis are more efficient in eliminating it, as they break down the protein structure (7).

What happens when you cook steel-cut oats?

Due to their higher absorption rate, steel-cut oats swell significantly when cooked. As an example , steamed rolled oats are precooked. Because they are both dry, rolled oats weigh the same as steel-cut oats when calculating a serving size. The volume, on the other hand, differs due to the swollen nature of rolled oats.

Another phenomenon is the hydrolysis of the phytates present in the oats. As a consequence, its anti-nutritional property is reduced and the bioavailability of nutrients ingested in the meal are improved.

In addition, the glycemic index is modified. The GI is a ranking system that indicates how quickly a carbohydrate food raises blood glucose. For diabetics, low glycemic index foods are recommended (8). 

A recent systematic review suggests that processing may affect the glycaemic impact of oats, with the mean glycaemic index (GI) of steel-cut oats, 53, and large-flake oats, 56, reported to be lower than those of quick-cooking oats, 71, and instant oatmeal, 75 (2).

What are the health benefits of eating steel-cut oats raw?

Oats are a nutrient-dense cereal that is high in protein, fiber, and many vitamins and minerals. This helps to keep the blood sugar levels stable and also increases satiation for a longer period of time. 

Oatmeal elicits a lower glycaemic response than most other types of ready-to-eat and cooked breakfast cereals when comparing equivalent amounts of available carbohydrate, especially due to the presence of soluble fiber. 

Oatmeal is rich in β-glucan, a highly viscous soluble dietary fiber found predominantly in the endospermic cell wall of oats and barley that has been shown to reduce glucose and insulin responses in normal and diabetic subjects (2). As a low glycemic index cereal, it may be included in the diet of diabetic individuals.

Additional health benefits are mentioned below:

Lowering cholesterol may be beneficial.

Because of its high content of the soluble fiber beta-glucan, oats have been demonstrated in several trials to help lower cholesterol. Oat β-glucan has been shown to play a positive role in lowering blood total and LDL cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein cholesterol) concentrations, but the mechanisms involved are unclear (5).

Small intestinal beta-glucan gels are how beta-glucan works. This gel reduces dietary cholesterol absorption and interferes with bile salt reabsorption, both of which are critical for fat metabolism. 

Oat β-glucan is thought to reduce glycaemic responses by increasing the viscosity of the contents of the upper gut (2). Mechanical processing increases the release of β-glucans from the oat groats by reducing the particle size, and hydrothermal processing reduces the extractability of oat β-glucans. 

Hydrothermal processing increases oat product viscosity, which can reduce glucose and cholesterol absorption in the gastrointestinal tract (3).

It’s possible that this will help with blood sugar regulation.

A person’s ability to manage their blood sugar is critical for good health in general, but it is particularly critical for individuals with type 2 diabetes or those who have trouble making or reacting to the hormone insulin, which does just that.

It’s been demonstrated that beta-glucan may assist reduce blood sugar levels since it forms a gel-like material in the digestive tract when consumed.

How are steel-cut oats made?

Steel-cut oats are made by a sequence of processes including peeling, cutting and rolling the oat grains, which are called groats.

After the removal of the grain husks, steel-cut oats are produced by cutting the whole oat groats into smaller pieces. Mechanical processing increases the extractability of dietary fibers (e.g., β-glucans) from the oat product, so they are minimally processed and have larger particle size (3).

Steel-cut oats are then used to manufacture rolled oats or quick oats, depending on their final form. 


In this article, we answered the question “Can you eat steel-cut oats raw?” and we discussed what is it?


  1. Smulders, Marinus JM, et al. Oats in healthy gluten-free and regular diets: A perspective. Food Res Int, 2018, 110, 3-10.
  2. Wolever, Thomas MS, et al. Impact of oat processing on glycaemic and insulinaemic responses in healthy humans: a randomised clinical trial. Brit J Nutr, 2019, 121, 1264-1270.
  3. Van den Abbeele, Pieter, et al. Different oat ingredients stimulate specific microbial metabolites in the gut microbiome of three human individuals in vitro. ACS omega, 2018, 3, 12446-12456.
  4. Larsson, Marie, et al. Improved zinc and iron absorption from breakfast meals containing malted oats with reduced phytate content. Brit J Nutr, 1996, 76, 677-688.  
  5. Mao, Huijia, et al. The utilization of oat for the production of wholegrain foods: Processing technology and products. Food Front, 2022, 3, 28-45.
  6. Nowak-Węgrzyn, Anna. Food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome and allergic proctocolitis. Aller asthma proceed, 2015, 36.
  7. Verhoeckx, Kitty CM, et al. Food processing and allergenicity. Food Chem Toxicol, 2015, 80, 223-240.
  8. Ahmed, Jameel, Musarrat Riaz, and Rabia Imtiaz. Glycemic index and Glycemic load values. Pakistan J Med Sci, 2021, 37, 1246.

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