#FoodLabelFriday: Instant Oatmeal

For this #FoodLabelFriday I will be comparing two brands of instant oatmeal.  Oatmeal is a great choice for breakfast or a snack.  It is a fiber-rich whole grain that can help lower bad cholesterol and help you feel more full for longer by curbing appetite.  While steel-cut oats would be the ideal choice, sometimes convenience foods like instant oatmeal are the more realistic choice.

quaker oatmealoatmeal-brown-sugar-474
When comparing any product it is important to read ingredient lists before looking at the nutrition facts.  If you are only looking at the nutrition facts, there is nothing to put those numbers into perspective.  The ingredient list gives the nutrition facts meaning and helps let you know where those nutritents are coming from.

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If just comparing the nutrition facts of Quaker Weight Control and Chex, it would be easy to think that Quaker is the healthier choice.  Calories and fat are comparable, there are only 5 more grams of carbohydrate in Chex, but there are 11 more grams of sugar.  This seems like a significant difference without looking at the ingredient list.  Once you look at the ingredients you will find that the reason why there is such a difference in the amount of sugar is because Quaker is sweetened with 3 sweeteners (maltodextrin, acesulfame potassium, sucralose) compared to Chex which just uses sugar.  I would much rather consume the extra sugar compared to additives and artificial sweeteners.  Remember that even though artificial sweeteners are zero calorie, they can still negatively impact metabolism.

On the food label, total carbohydrates includes sugars and fibers.  There is only a 5 gram difference in carbohydrates between these products, which really is not that much.  The 2 extra grams of fiber and 3 extra grams of protein that is found in Quaker is from the added ingredient whey protein isolate.

So now lets take a look at the ingredients in these two items.

quaker ingredients

There are 21 ingredients in Quaker Weight Control Maple Brown Sugar Oatmeal:
whole grain rolled oats, whey protein isolate, maltodextrin, natural and artifical flavor, salt, oat flour, calcium carbonate, guar gum, caramel color, soy lecithin, acesulfame potassium, sucralose, niacinamide, reduced iron, vitamin A plamitate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin, thiamin, mononitrate and folic acid.

Chex_Gluten_Free_Oatmeal_Maple_Brown_Sugar

Chex Maple Brown Sugar Oatmeal has significantly less ingredients.  Only 4 natural ingredients are used in Chex: whole grain oats, sugar, salt and natural flavor.

Chex is the better choice for individuals with lactose intolerance or sensitive stomachs since Quaker Weight Control contains milk and soy ingredients.  But regardless, I would skip the 17 extra ingredients and choose Chex!  It has a much shorter ingredient list, all the ingredients are pronouncable and the ingredients used make sense for the product.

 

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3 Comments

  1. MattAugust 22, 2015 at 10:20 am

    I go with the steel cut oats. I’m not sure where you stand on artificial sweeteners, but a pinch of that or sugar with some cinnamon helps.

    I’d also rather avoid the 17 extra ingredients and I’ve never found anything that says “weight-control” to be trustworthy.

    Matt

  2. Gina ConsalvoAugust 22, 2015 at 5:27 pmAuthor

    Matt,

    I agree with you 100%! I try to avoid artificial sweeteners whenever possible and like you I will add cinnamon and usually a little brown sugar to my steel cut oats.

    Thanks for sharing!
    -Gina

  3. BrookeOctober 18, 2015 at 9:51 am

    The Quaker weight control makes your pee smell like maple syrup. It’s frightening and makes me think it’s for a crazy amount of chemicals in it.

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About Gina
Gina Consalvo-Hassick, MA, RD, LDN, CDE, NCC is a registered dietitian and is actively involved in various food and nutrition communities. She has counseled and assessed a wide range of patients and has experience in outpatient, inpatient, and consulting. Areas of specialization include weight management, eating disorders, and wellness nutrition.
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Gina Hassick,
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