What Is The Best Weight Gainer?
The obvious answer is food and a lot of it. Gaining lean muscle mass can be extremely challenging, and for those struggling with it, know first-hand that it’s more of an art-form than a science and highly dependent on your specific body.
It’s no secret; if you are reading this article, you may be in search of that magic supplement that will allow you to pack on the pounds. The truth is, supplements marketed as “weight gainers” provide a massive disservice to the industry and fitness community.
No matter the marketing, you are always better off buying high-quality unflavored protein powder and adding your healthy carbohydrates and fats to turn a protein shake into a mass building caloric powerhouse.
Instant Oats blended to powder is the MASS GAINING winner. Instant whole oats added to AGN Roots Grass-Fed Whey will make the ultimate weight gaining shake for those looking to pack on that lean mass during the bulk season. Other options may similarly add the pounds, however, come at the expense of your health. If possible, stay clear of the super processed standard weight gainer ingredients.
Complete Guide to Supplement Weight Gainers
When it comes to the industry of dietary supplements (powdered protein, fat-burners, pre-workouts, etc.), the most significant margins stem from pills, pre-workouts, & you guessed it, powdered carbohydrates/weight-gainers. When discussing margins, this is about “profit-margins,” a.k.a. “rip-off” alert for consumers.
Our goal in this piece is to provide you the right level of details to leverage a high-quality protein to make the most effective weight gain shake that is healthy, undenatured, and non-processed. If you are a parent supporting your high school son playing sports or you are a college athlete in the off-season, this article is for you!
Are Weight Gainer Powders a Rip Off?
Yes. As far as weight gainer powders are concerned, We have yet to find a product that isn’t designed based on a manufacturer’s bottom line to support healthy and timely weight gain. To put this statement in context, at AGN Roots, we produce the highest quality grass-fed whey protein on the market. When it comes to other ingredients or weight gain powder products, we have no stake or bias in the conversation.
There are only two supplements that a Mesomorph and Ectomorph should be taking if the goal is weight gain. These two powders are -
- Grass-Fed Whey Protein
Our focus today will be the Whey Protein, however, for information on the power of creatine, we invite you to check out Dr. Scott Forbes, Ph.D.
When it comes to weight gainer powders that include whey protein, it’s critical to understand that you can save about 90% of your cash by buying the bulk flours and carbohydrate powders separately from the protein. The giant 8-10 lb bags of weight gainer powders are one of the industry’s most ridiculous scams. They offer you the perception of value and deliver nothing more than bulk cheap carbohydrate powder for the price of protein.
Why is Whey Protein Worth It?
Protein is the most critical piece of building the natural lean muscle mass that is desired by athletes everywhere. Dairy protein, such as whey, is vital for post-workout recovery in that it naturally spikes insulin levels and allows the muscle-building amino acids (BCAA’s) to get to work.
In the isolate form, whey protein powder is hard to replicate and extremely challenging to obtain in quantities that are impactful to promoting growth by chugging milk. At AGN Roots, we believe that if you can get the right nutrition from food, food is then the best solution.
Drinking Milk to Get 1 Serving of Whey Protein?
To consume 30 grams of whey protein by drinking milk is the equivalent of drinking an entire gallon of milk. Whey protein only makes up 20% of the protein from milk, whereas casein proteins make up the remaining 80%.
You can undoubtedly drink that much milk, but there’s a lot of sugar, fat, lactose, and casein in that milk that will drastically diminish your ability to obtain your daily caloric goal. Instead of being able to eat, you will feel bloated and full, which is notably defeating if you are considered a “hard-gainer” (Ectomorph) or are trying to bulk up for the winter.
Learn More: Body Types (Somatotypes Explained)
The Most Popular Supplement Weight Gain IngredientsIn this next piece, we look at the four most popular ingredients sold in combination with whey protein that account for 99% of all weight gainer powder supplements. The four most common and cheapest carbohydrates in weight gainers are -
- Waxy Maize
What is Dextrose?
Dextrose is a natural, simple-sugar classified as a “monosaccharide.” Comparing dextrose to sucrose (table sugar or cane sugar), it’s about half as sweet and slightly more soluble in water-based fluids.
Why is Dextrose Used in Weight Gainers?
Structurally, dextrose is the same as glucose, with the only difference being the origin, corn. Like glucose, dextrose is a high glycemic index carbohydrate that can rapidly spike insulin levels allowing amino acids and other nutrients to fast-track the fueling process of soft tissue repair (building up muscles).
Dextrose is popular in weight gainer powder due to its ability to tack on significant calories yet not take up too much valuable real-estate in terms of volume, in a sense, it naturally has a high caloric density. Another benefit of dextrose is that it is non-destructive when added to a wide range of flavor systems, more often than not enhancing the flavor rather than distorting it.
Is Dextrose Weight Gainer a Rip-Off?
Yes, the retail cost for a pound of dextrose is less than two dollars.
What is Waxy Maize?
Waxy maize is a starch (carbohydrate) extracted from various plants, including barley, corn, and rice. The word “Maize” literally refers to corn, where “waxy” refers to the physical resemblance of wax at the microscopic level.
Waxy starches, in general, are composed of large quantities of highly branched water-soluble polysaccharides. These starches are known as “amylopectin.”
The Truth about Waxy Maize
Waxy maize is exceptionally cheap and is an excellent carbohydrate; however, there are no studies that suggest it’s any better than dextrose or maltodextrin in terms of glycemic index or for weight gain. The science shows the of the three (Dextrose, Maltodextrin, Waxy Maize), maltodextrin spikes the bloodstream with glucose the quickest after ingestion. If this blood sugar spike is your post-workout goal, there are better choices.
Why is “spiking glucose” Levels After a Workout Good?
Spiking glucose levels in the blood elicit a proportional spike of insulin. When insulin is released, the body stops burning fats and starts repairing muscles.
For gaining weight, this is the key. Pairing protein powder like a whey isolate with waxy maize will do the trick if the only goal is optimizing the post-workout furnace that is your body. Fast absorbing whey isolates paired with a very low osmolality carbohydrate (high molecular weight) will ensure a rapid and impactful insulin spike.
Is Waxy Maize a Good Weight Gaining Powder?
There are tons of brands selling Waxy Maize. They have been falsely conflating carbohydrates with high molecular weights known for rapid glycogen restoration with waxy maize as it does have higher molecular weight than both dextrose and maltodextrin. This easily marketed connection is responsible for the buzz around waxy maize and why it sells in 10lb weight gainer tubs, unfortunately, across the world and a community of eager weight gaining enthusiasts falling victim to the hollow promises that come with it.
One of the issues with Waxy Maize compared to a Cyclic Dextrin is that it is less soluble in water.
Is Waxy Maize Worth the Money?
No. Waxy maize is wildly inexpensive to produce and s as a premium carbohydrate marked up insane amounts. To be fair to waxy maize, none of the carbohydrates discussed in this article are worth the cost when buying them as dietary supplements.
If you can find bulk carbohydrate powders from a wholesale ingredient hub and on the simple mission to beef up and put on weight with little concern for general health, yes, at this point, its a solid choice.
What is Maltodextrin?
Maltodextrin is from highly processed plant starch, such as wheat and corn. It contains “glucose polymers,” linked sugar compounds that are easier for the body to breakdown and digest quickly.
Maltodextrin markets as a high-end carbohydrate perfect for gaining weight; however, the effect of this carbohydrate with a high glycemic index (95+) on your insulin levels isn’t much different from the natural results of whey protein anyway. When the insulin hormone is spiked, that’s when you want to feast on high-quality carbohydrates.
Maltodextrin is a very popular additive used in many weight gaining supplements. Unfortunately, instead of working towards your goal of packing on the pounds, maltodextrin’s mainstream use in the food-science industry works towards creating the mouth sensation of drinking something thick and heavy, like a weight gainer.
In the food industry, the primary use of maltodextrin is as a thickening agent; a rheology modifier used to increase the viscosity of a liquid. This mouthfeel provides a sensation and, likewise, a perception of a real heavy-duty substance entering the body, which is a powerful and addictive feeling for a young athlete leaving the gym with a glistening pump.
Benefits of Maltodextrin?
What makes maltodextrin so attractive by brands everywhere is the versatility of the powder to be mixed in just about any recipe and remain stable without carrying a dominating taste. The neutral taste of the dust, along with its white color, stems from the acid treatments, bleaches, and enzymes used in the processing. The result is essentially a dry powder corn syrup that contains all the carbs but less sugar than raw corn syrup.
It’s hard to market the benefits of something so processed as we do not believe there exist health benefits in anything this cooked. The carbohydrate relationship within maltodextrin is best compared to that of natural sugars versus refined sugars. Natural sugar comes with all the minerals and fiber surrounding the glucose; the symphony of components is what makes a slice of fruit beneficial to your health. When we start stripping the fiber and minerals from the corn, rice, potato, or wheat for versatility, we leave too much on the table in terms of the assisting nutrients that exist naturally with carbohydrates.
The real benefits of maltodextrin exist in its uses as a food modifier in the category of food science and also in the health and beauty industry, primarily found on ingredient lists on items such as lotions, balms, creams, and hair care products.
As far as using maltodextrin as a weight gain supplement, this recommendation does not come by any credible nutritionist or dietician on the planet. The reality is that more studies are attributing the overuse of maltodextrin as a weight gaining powder to the rise of irritable bowel disorder (IBD), including Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Is Maltodextrin a Scam?
Bulk maltodextrin sells for the price of sugar, yet when marketing the weight gain supplement to consumers, it sells similar to the amount of a protein, which is about two hundred times more than the cost to produce.
The nutrition industry for decades has laid the ground rules for gaining weight; for a “hard-gainer” focussed on weight gain, the consumption of carbohydrates in abundance is the path to success. The unintended consequence of this recognized pathway to gaining weight is that all attention now falls on the nutrition facts panels of weight gainers looking for the highest possible carbohydrate count, never mind quality or health impacts.
One gram of maltodextrin equates to about four calories, so a fast path to building a high-caloric weight gain shake on paper is to double down on maltodextrin.
Is Maltodextrin Powder Safe?
Yes, Maltodextrin powder is safe to consume and has been approved by the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a safe food additive.
When used as a thickening agent, maltodextrin is harmless. Like many safe additives in small doses, maltodextrin isn’t different in that its wildly unhealthy for the body in the quantities sold per serving bf the typical 10-pound tub of weight gainer. In various studies performed on animals, which is a despicable practice, maltodextrin has connections with intestinal inflammation.
We’ll cover this risk more; however, this risk is what gave credence to cyclodextrin, which has a more engineered interface to work with the gastrointestinal tract with less irritation.
Is Maltodextrin a Sugar?
No. Maltodextrin is a carbohydrate that often gets compared to glucose in terms of how fast it can be absorbed and broken down by the body. From a molecular point of view, there is very little difference between maltodextrin and corn syrup to put things into perspective. The difference is in the sugar content alone where corn syrup will have anywhere between 15% & 40% more sugar.
What is Cyclic Dextrin?
Cyclic Dextrin is another abridged name for highly branched cyclic dextrin.
Cyclic Dextrin vs. Highly Branched Cyclic Dextrin (HBCD)
Cyclic dextrin and HBCD are the same things; the only difference is naming convention.
What is Highly Branched Cyclic Dextrin?
The marketing claims around HBCD are that unlike Waxy Maize and Dextrose, highly branched cyclic dextrin is less susceptible to gastric delays resulting in a slower distribution to the small intestine.
Dextrose, for example, has a higher osmoreceptor response than HBCD, which is responsible for assessing the contents of the stomach to accurately time how long nutrients need exposure to the acids and enzymes within the stomach and large intestine to efficiently breakdown before entering the small intestine.
The Industry pitch is that HBCD is faster absorbing due to less time spent in the stomach compared to Waxy Maize or Dextrose. Paired with claims consisting of being highly soluble and providing a slow and stable release of energy to increase stamina, are among the most popularly marketed.
How is HBCD Made?
Highly branched cyclic dextrins are very-closely related to Waxy Maize. The glucose polymers that form HBCD are the result of waxy maize (Corn starch) exposure with unique branching enzymes that ultimately react to form a cyclical structure.
Up till this point, we’ve discussed the most marketed and commonly used weight gainer components in the industry. They all are deeply processed and known to contribute to serious gut issues, especially in the quantities consumed when committing to the enormous serving sizes required for weight gain.
The reality is, there is one perfect ingredient that no matter how much of it you intake will keep your insides healthy and clean. The best part, it is 100% natural.
The best weight gaining shake will consist of the high-quality grass-fed protein and powdered oats!
The Best Weight Gain Shake Ingredient
There are countless benefits to consuming oats, especially if you want to fuel your muscles to promote lean mass growth. Oats are entirely natural, and a great source of energy (it’s no wonder oats are such a popular choice for every meal).
The goal is to make your whole oat powder from regular whole oats; this will provide you slow-digesting, complex carbohydrates low on the glycemic index. When designing the perfect weight gaining smoothie, let the whey protein do the work of spiking your insulin levels.
When you purchase dry whole oats and create the powder yourself, they remain packed with micronutrients (vitamins & minerals) along with the fiber your body needs to accompany the carbohydrates to aid digestion and optimal nutrient absorption. Whole Oats contain –
- Dietary Fiber (Beta-Glucan)
- Micronutrients (Magnesium, Iron, Zinc, B vitamins)
What is Beta-Glucan?
β-Glucans (Beta-Glucan) represents one of the most beneficial attributes of whole oats. It is considered a dietary soluble fiber proven to reduce LDL cholesterol & blood sugar while delivering the good bacteria in your gut a nice boost.
Comprised of β-D-glucose polysaccharides that naturally occur within the cell walls of cereals, bacteria, and fungi, β-glucans are used in many industries as texturing modifiers as well as the dietary supplement industry in the category of (soluble fiber supplements).
The health benefits of oats due to Beta-Glucan include -
- Promotes regularity
- Lower risk for cardiovascular disease
- Decrease hemorrhoids and diverticulitis
Dietary fiber vs. Functional Fiber – What’s the difference?
An individual can use dietary and functional fiber to meet daily fiber needs. Functional-fiber has known health benefits.
Dietary fibers are the only carbohydrate not digested due to the absence of the necessary enzymes within the gastrointestinal tract. As this fiber moves through the large intestine, the “good” bacteria begin to digest the soluble fiber breaking it down into vitamin K, short-chain fatty acids, and gas. In contrast, the insoluble fiber makes up the foundation of “fecal-bulk” by absorbing and retaining water for fecal material.
The “Total Fiber” found on your nutrition facts labels is the sum of Dietary fiber & Functional fiber together. Unfortunately, the only way to tell if functional-fiber is an additive to your food product or supplement is by paying close attention to the ingredients list below the nutrition facts panel. If you see ingredients such as:
- Wheat Dextrin
What is the difference between soluble (oats) and insoluble fiber in terms of function?
You can always tell the difference by adding water. Soluble fiber will dissolve in water and begin to turn the resulting solution into thick viscous gelatin. Soluble fiber is commonly flavored if you purchase the supplement as a standalone in powder form. Some examples of the fiber used in these supplements include:
Soluble fiber presents itself with several associated health benefits that claim to assist with reducing the likelihood of cardiovascular disease and type-II diabetes.
Insoluble fiber, on the other hand, no matter how long you stir it in water, will not dissolve but rather swell as it does naturally absorb water. Insoluble fiber examples include ingredients like:
Insoluble fibers serve heavy protein powder users and bodybuilders. Although these fibers are not susceptible to be fermented by your natural colon bacteria, they are great for deep cleaning your intestinal walls.
The most popular application of insoluble fiber in the U.S. is after heavy carbohydrate meals, including pizza, pasta, rice, and potato dishes. Insoluble fibers promote regular bowel movements, alleviate constipation, and reduce diverticulosis.
If you are making sizeable hefty protein weight gain shakes, try and incorporate as much natural food fiber as possible. Some of the best high-fiber choices include:
Insoluble Fiber - Seeds, Nuts, Dark Green Vegetables (Leafy), Wheat Bran
Soluble Fiber - Oatmeal, Flax Seed, Barley, Dried Peas, Whole Oranges, Whole Apples, Carrots
Eating Oats For Weight Gain:
Stabilizing Blood Sugar
Foods high with natural fiber will slow the digestion of oatmeal, which gives this powerful carbohydrate a relatively low glycemic index. With a low glycemic Index, the carbs can go to work, giving you sustained energy while not eliciting an insulin spike. There is no need to double-dip, whey protein will already serve to spike insulin levels, oats then provide the perfect complement to a whey protein post-workout recovery shake.
Improved Digestive Health
As you may have noticed, there is a theme associated with the benefits of consuming oats to hit your nutrition macros. The fiber concentration is what sets Oats and Oatmeal above and beyond the likes of the processed weight, gain powders discussed early in the article.
The truth is, you can gain a ton of weight eating processed carbs all the same, and they may even mix better and taste better than oats. The difference isn’t in the weight gain, but rather in the general health associated with eating whole oats versus the processed dextrose, cyclic dextrin, waxy maize, or any other processed carb from corn or rice.
The benefits of fiber are found in abundance online and elsewhere; ensuring incorporation into your diet has been proven to reduce the likelihood of certain cancers, including colon cancer, and help remove waste from building up on your intestinal walls.
Fit & Healthy Heart
While the insoluble fiber works through the digestive system, the smaller soluble fibers found in oatmeal can begin their work on the rest of your body. The net result is a reduced LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and support in preventing your arteries from hardening as a result. The beneficial reduction in LDL is why fiber is said to significantly lower your risk of cardiovascular issues and cardiovascular disease in general.
Compared with other high-in-fiber, heart-healthy foods, oatmeal has several other additional benefits. Specifically, oatmeal contains elevated levels of both potassium & calcium – nutrients that have shown lower blood pressure significantly.
Oatmeal can go both ways. This article focusses on leveraging whole oats as the healthiest carbohydrate to use for weight gain; however in the event, you are trying to lose weight, oats can also help to keep your weight down in many ways, with the two most popular being -
- As the all-powerful fiber, because it sits in your stomach and takes longer to process, the fiber found in oatmeal can keep you feeling fuller longer, especially in not in powder form (faster digesting).
- Oatmeal also contains a super-substance discussed in detail earlier called beta-glucan. Logic states that by increasing the hormone responsible for reducing hunger, the result will most likely include a suppressed craving for food. Yet another reason why instant powdered oats are the best for gaining weight, whole steel cut oats are great for losing weight.
We did cover the main benefits of oats and how it has everything to do with fiber. Here are a few terms that by now should sound familiar -
- Pectin, gum, mucilages and some hemicelluloses
- Digested by fermentation by bacteria in the large intestine
What are the Health Benefits of Soluble Fiber?
- Lowers blood cholesterol levels
- Delays gastric emptying
- Decreases blood glucose levels
- Cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin
- Not able to be broken down too much via chemical digestion
- Passes through the body relatively unchanged
What are the Health Benefits of Insoluble Fiber?
- Decreases intestinal transit time
- Decreases constipation
- Lowers risk for diverticular disease
- Lowers risk for colon cancer
What are the Best Macro Calculators?
If you are ready to start eating and don't quite know how much to eat, you can find some good macro calculators here -
Why Are Powdered Oats the BEST weight Gainer Powder?
We believe that for gaining healthy weight and packing on the mass, oats, and AGN Roots, Grass-Fed Whey will get you there. When you consider 50 grams of protein, 100 grams of Oats, mixed with whole milk, we are talking about real growth and healthy growth at that.
This recipe contains all the right vitamins and minerals needed to have the protein and carbs go to work. There is also a ton of soluble fiber in whole oats, helping keep the unnatural cholesterol spikes associated with just about every weight gainer on the market suppressed.
Why Is Milk Great for Gaining Weight?
Whole milk is mother nature’s fully perfected “get-huge” formula. Consider the purpose of fluid when a mother cow feeds her baby calf. There is plenty of proof that whole milk works when seeing a calf pack on 1200 lbs of mass in 15 short months. A single cup of whole milk is ~ 210 calories.
Just 100g of oat powder made with 2 ½ cups whole milk and 50 grams of AGN Roots Grass-Fed Whey yields 1000 calories with less than 30g of fat (Due to Milk mostly). This combination is simply the base, too, the starting point at which the creatively begins. Consider adding chocolate ice cream for flavor, and almonds (any nut butter works) with a scoop of peanut butter for healthy fats and texture.
Oats contain valuable plant antioxidants called polyphenols, including the type called avenanthramides, thought to help lower blood pressure while increasing the production of nitric oxide.
What Are Avenanthramides?
Without getting deep in the weeds, Oats are by far the best choice for a mass gainer partly because of “Avenanthramides.” Avenanthramides consist of many alkaloids (phenolic). Although primarily in oats, avenanthramides can also be found in cabbage & butterfly eggs to be oddly specific.
Avenanthramides naturally serve as an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-itch, anti-irritant, and antiatherogenic.
Not limited to these properties, however, some studies suggest avenanthramides from oats contribute to the prevention of atherosclerosis through inhibition of smooth muscle cells (SMC) proliferation and increasing Nitric Oxide production.
Oats are one of the most healthy eats, but for whatever reason, instant-oats often get conflated with sugar-filled cereals and pop-tarts. The reality is, a bowl of classic oatmeal serves us a hearty dose of vitamins, protein, and fiber. Although we at AGN Roots pride ourselves in our sustainable focus when it comes to packaging and does not support single-serving packets, the instant oatmeal industry is still playing catch up.
3 Types of Oats Defined -
- Steel-cut oats are simply whole oat groats cut into smaller pieces.
- Rolled oats are the same thing as whole oats but are steamed longer and rolled flat to increase surface area.
- Instant oatmeal consists of rolled oats that are cut into small pieces and pre-cooked by steaming.
Is Oatmeal a Healthy Choice as a Weight Gainer?
Oatmeal can also serve as one of the healthiest and nutrient-rich foods you can choose period. Among the top of the list, broccoli, bananas, and whole grains are right there next to oatmeal. Oatmeal has all the benefits of oats and is high in fiber, which can balance your cholesterol and help keep your gastrointestinal tract moving. For breakfast, in general, oatmeal is known to improve the body’s immune response while stabilizing blood sugar levels.
What’s the Downside of Eating Oats?
The downside of eating any super healthy food is the natural tendency to dress it up with added sugars and other unnecessary ingredients. You can easily avoid the negative associations of oatmeal by sticking to the unflavored brands and counting on your creativity spice it up.
Is there Gluten in Oats?
No, oats themselves are free from gluten in their raw natural form. Just like whey protein, you just have to laugh at brands that market “gluten-free” on things that wouldn’t naturally contain gluten.
Oats, like whey, are naturally wheat-free. There are no warnings or legal statements that can eliminate the risk of cross-contamination disappear, so depending on the allergen severity, know your sourcing. Oats in their raw natural form, do not contain wheat. We are not aware of any flavor systems used to spice up Oats that would contain gluten.
What is the Best Weight Gain Ingredient?
Oats are by far the least processed and healthiest in the class of weight gainers. One of the easiest and fastest ways to get the benefits of oats before training is by adding them to a shake.
Simply put your regular serving of oats (for most athletes trying to grow, this is 50g-100g) in a blender and agitate those oats to a powder. Simply dump that powder into a glass of whole milk and stir in the Grass-fed whey until smooth. As far as any other ingredients, when trying to put on muscle mass, the more, the merrier.
Remember, try not to blend (with a blender) the grass-fed whey protein as this will tend to denature it.
Learn More Here: Denaturing Whey Protein
Oats & Whey is the Best Weight Gainer
Protein paired with oats is not only a great breakfast but is incredibly satisfying anywhere in the day or night. If your goal is to gain weight, you should never feel hungry.
The recipe is simple for protein & oats: prep the oats as you would on the stove or microwave-oven and add whole milk. When the oats are almost ready, to avoid heating your grass-fed whey past 165 deg F, be sure not to add the protein powder to any boiling water.
That is pretty much it! All that’s left is the flavor. To beef things up further, adding 2-3 egg whites three-quarters into the heat before adding protein powder would add texture and additional gains. For flavors or added sweetness, add fresh or frozen fruit as you cook them.
AGN Roots Pre-Workout - Oats & Whey & Coffee
Our go-to pre-workout recipe Powdered Oats & AGN Roots Grass-fed Whey & Coffee! This triplet will provide you the perfect ratio of carbohydrates, protein, and wake-up juice, all free from unnecessary processing and natural sources. Combining oats overnight oats with whey and cold brew is another perfect breakfast alternative to any kind of processed bar or pre-packaged breakfast. To make this, simply place your whole oats in a container with milk (any type of milk) or water, mix, and leave for several hours or overnight.
Instant Oats vs. Whole Oats
Not commonly known, but instant oatmeal is simply dried oats that were already partially cooked, it’s next-level technology. There is no reason to consider instant oats from a preflavored packet as “processed,” it’s simply not true.
Nutritionally, there is no value difference between instant oats and whole oats that have no exposure to water or heat. The only differences are the additives that are typically associated with the flavored single-serving package options.
As you may have read in our sweetener blog, at AGN Roots, we support the consumption of natural sugars; it’s the refined sugars we recommend you avoid if possible.
Learn More Here: Complete Natural Sweetener Guide
What’s the Difference Between Steel-Cut, Rolled, and Instant Oats?
The differences between these three types of oats –
- Level of processing (low temperatures for all types)
- Final Texture
- Time to Prepare
Being that rolled, instant, and steel-cut all stem from whole oats (whole unbroken grain – “Groats”), they all share the same nutrient profile, and fortunately, regardless of their level of processing, these profiles are not diminished or denatured. All these oat types are equally nutritious for you and will undoubtedly help you gain or lose weight depending on your goals.
What is a Groat You ask – In terms of oats, groats are the hulled kernel of the oat, which includes the cereal germ and fiber-rich bran portion of the grain.
Steel-Cut Oats Explained
An Irish favorite, this type of oatmeal is processed by cutting the whole oat groat into multiple pieces, rather than rolled. Steel-cut oats tend to get mistaken for rice sometimes due to the similarities in the look between the cut pieces. Although steel-cut oats have more exposed surface area than a whole oat, the time it takes to cook isn’t “cut” by much. This particular oat type will offer some bite and texture even after cooked compared to rolled and especially instant. Both Steel-cut and rolled oats share a similar glycemic index of <55.
Rolled Oats Explained
Rolled oats are whole oats. The finished rolled oat assumes the shape of a flat, mildly textured round disc. Making rolled oats is a bit of a process and requires a steamer. The whole Oat groat is first made soft via steam. The oat undergoes a pressing process taking the shape of a flat disc before being dried. Both rolled & steel-cut oats can be prepared in advance and used to make overnight oats.
Rolled oats cook faster than steel-cut oats due to the newly developed pearmeability from steam-processing. Rolled oats tend to absorb more liquid, and also hold their shape relatively well during cooking. Besides heating for a warm breakfast bowl, rolled oats are a very common value-add in granola bars, cookies, muffins, and other baked goods.
As far as cooking with rolled oats, the stovetop is ideal and gets the job done in five minutes or less, or if you are in a rush, the microwave works as well. Rolled oats are often used in place of instant oats, although it will require more cook time, the final dish will have more texture.
Instant Oats Explained
Occasionally referred to as “quick-oats,” instant oats are considered the most processed between steel-cut oats and rolled oats. They are pre-hydrated, then dried, and then tumbled and pressed slightly thinner than a just a rolled oat, this process is to ensure an increased surface area and permeability.
The dimensional change of the oat is the main reason why these are considered instant. Instant oats tend to cook more quickly than either rolled or steel-cut oats.
The only downside of instant oats is that they are not as robust tasting and tend to get soggy and retain less rigidity as they sit in the hydrated state. However, for the sake of blending dry instant oats into a powder, these are the key to fast and healthy weight gain. The advantage of instant oats for weight gain is they will not suppress your appetite.
Instant oats are also best suited for a post-workout recipe being that the glycemic index is > 80. Instant oatmeal, in general, without all the added sugars, can be healthy. The glycemic index of old-fashioned oats is 55. In contrast, the GI of instant oats is 85, so instant/quick-cooking oats raise your blood sugar — something of particular concern to people with diabetes and people with other blood sugar issues.
Bottom Line: If you are trying to get big and take advantage of winter to bulk up. The answer is Oats & Grass-Fed Whey.