Rolled oats, steel cut oats, quick-cooking oats, oat groats, oat bran, oat flour, oat fiber… is your head as mushy as oatmeal yet? Oats sure do take many forms and it can all get a little confusing. Today let’s keep things simple and focus in on perhaps the least celebrated oat form of all: oat fiber.
So what is it exactly?
Oat fiber is an insoluble fiber made from grinding the oat hull, which is the shell that surrounds the oat groat (or kernel).
Whole oat groats come from harvesting oats, washing them, and removing their hulls. The groat is the source of most oat products we use. But unlike rolled oats, steel cut oats, and all those other celebrity oat siblings, oat fiber is actually made purely from the husk. Step aside, groat.
Now oat fiber doesn’t have a lot to offer in the way of nutrients, as it’s pretty much non-digestible. But that’s just fine because it isn’t consumed in order to load up on vitamins and minerals — leave that job to blueberries and kale.
Oat fiber shines in other ways.
It can be an oat-standing substitute for wheat flour if you’re looking to keep your tasty baked creations gluten-free or low-carb. Try using it alone or in a homemade flour blend, working in tandem with coconut flour, almond flour, or flax meal. Plus, oat fiber is a superstar at absorbing liquids, so it can be oat-rageously helpful in keeping the texture of your baked goods moist and soft. (Did someone say Maxine’s Heavenly Cookies?)
With a mild taste and a very fine powdered texture, oat fiber can be used in everything from muffins and pancakes to smoothies and cereals. Whatever floats your oat.
It’s all about that fiber. Fiber is excellent for digestion, weight management, lowering cholesterol, and helping to control blood sugar levels. The Institute of Medicine recommends people consume 25 to 38 grams of dietary fiber per day, but most people have trouble reaching these levels. At 9 grams of fiber per tablespoon, oat fiber can be an easy way to add more fiber to your daily diet. Plus it’s calorie free and fat-free, so it won’t mess with any other diet goals you may be committed to.
Tip: yes, oats are a naturally gluten-free grain, but in order to be extra careful about possible contamination, you’ll just want to make sure your oat fiber is certified gluten-free if you have celiac or gluten sensitivity. (You can be sure that the oat fiber we use in our new cookie recipe is safe!)
So while the more famous oat siblings may get all the accolades for being the stars of your morning oatmeal, apple crisps, and granola bars, oat fiber is the humble, unsung secret weapon. And we think folks are starting to take n-oat of it.
…aaaand I’m all oat of bad puns.
OATrageous cookies. Get them right here!