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Calories in Oats

Here's one for you nutrition experts out there. Now that the weather here in the midwest is pretty cold I've been starting out my day with steel cut oats instead of my regular Fiber One (the orig., with the 57% of the daily value of fiber). Although I should have done this first I decided to check the nutrion value of the oats compared to the Fiber One. To my extreme disappointment the oats come in at a whopping 150 calories for a 1/4 cup serving compared to Fiber One which has only 60 calories for a 1/2 cup serving! Since one serving of oats for me at a standard breakfast is 1/4 cup, but I consume 1/2 cup of Fiber One at breakfast this quantity comparison is valid for me to define my caloric intake for this meal. Although both contain no saturated fats, the quantity of calories from fat is about double for the oats vs. the Fiber One as well. I really don't want to go back to Fiber One during the cold weather, but am totally bummed about the caloric differences. So my question is why such a significant diff. when we're talking just the whole oat grain here? Unless I don't cut back my intake of something else or increase the rate at which I burn calories to compensate I'm afraid I'll pack on the pounds.


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  1. You've noted that your Fiber One yields a larger serving in terms of volume, but have you measured the weight of the two cereals? This is going to give you a truer comparison. Also, there may also be a difference in the way the body treats the two cereals; I believe original Fiber One has an incredible amount of fiber, right? I don't have the knowledge to speak to this issue. I'm sure others are better sources of information on that front.

    Which cereal keeps you feeling full and energized longer? That's the one I would choose. It's not like either is an unhealthful choice.

    1. The health benefits of eating oats (regular thick rolled oats or steel cut/pinhead oats...not any kind of 'instant' oats) outweighs any concerns about calories or carbohydrate content.

      Other than that, eatsbread's advice above is spot on: eat the one that satisfies you best, or even better, switch back and forth.

      1. both eatsbread and THe Professor make valid points. in any case, i don't think you have to worry about "packing on the pounds" from your oatmeal. oats break down slowly and will likely keep you fuller a little longer. your satisfaction from them both physically and psychologically may alter how you eat the rest of the day anyway. give it a week or two, and judge for yourself. you certainly can't "pack on the pounds" in that time. or, if it makes you feel better, alternate your breakfasts, one day oatmeal, one day Fiber One.

        1. I think it would be more appropriate to compare the final, prepared volume of both products, as opposed to comparing Fiber One to unprepared (dry) steel cut oats. I usually prepare oatmeal for breakfast--although I use one cup of oats, the amount I actually end up consuming is something like three cups worth of oatmeal due to the addition of water.

          Emme is right though--you need to see what makes you feel "full" longer. Although oatmeal has a higher caloric content than other breakfast choices, it keeps me fuller longer and with a more even blood sugar level than "lower calorie" cold cereals.

          1. +1 to comparing final cooked volumes, and see which satisfies you more.

            I love steel-cut oats. I usually make 1/3 cup for a serving, which translates to roughly 200 calories, and for that I get a big, steaming hot bowl -- usually at least a cup's worth, cup and a half, maybe -- of hearty, stick-to-your-ribs breakfast.

            Steel-cut oats also have about three times the protein per serving of Fiber One, as far as I know.

            1/2 cup of dry cereal would be unsatisfying to me, even as a light snack -- I'd still be looking for more. If you have even 1/2 cup of milk with your 1/2 cup of Fiber One, you're looking at 140 calories or thereabouts anyway -- so for me, at least, it'd be a no-brainer. Steel-cut all the way.

            1. It's all weight measurement. Ignore volume in this case -- that 1/4 cup of steel cut oats will produce, by volume, just as much cooked oatmeal as 1/2 cup of old fashioned rolled oats or instant oats, once water is added. The minimally processed steel cut grains keep me full much longer than cold cereal, to boot! Nearly every day I eat a breakfast of steel cut oats and two eggs over easy. Less than 300 calories, filling and nutritious.

              1. Stick with the oats. It has more protein and is far less processed. Since it's heartier, it'll last you longer in terms of staving off hunger and prevent you from ingesting extra calories from other, more likely less healthy, sources. I definitely support the weight vs volume measurement. The 1/2 cup of cereal is only 30g while 1/4 of say McCann's Irish oatmeal is 40g.

                2 Replies
                1. re: taiwanesesmalleats

                  I forget and agree about the Oatmeal too, but how much water do you use to cook 1/3 cup of uncooked Regular McCann's Steel Cut Irish oatmeal?

                  1. re: EatNLoveLife

                    I actually don't eat McCann's Irish Steel Cut stuff. I usually don't have the time to make it in the morning and since I live with four other guys, space is a fair premium to soak in Tupperware overnight. I eat Coach's Oats instead which gives a better texture closer to steel cut but cooks fairly quick. For that, I use a 3:1 ratio of liquid to oats. Since it's also smaller pieces than steel cut, I throw some into the protein shakes I drink.

                2. Like others said...

                  1. compare final cooked volumes/weights and see how full each meal keeps you.
                  2. Oatmeal is better for you.
                  3. You can do other things with oatmeal to add bulk without adding many calories, like adding spinach.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: joonjoon

                    Good suggestions, joonjoon.

                    I simply add oat bran prior to cooking. Zero cal.

                  2. 150 calories is "whopping?" What's the calorie count on your fiber one after you add the milk?

                    I think that the 1/4 cup measure is representing the unprepared oats. After you cook that 1/4 cup, the volume will increase 3 - 4 x. I like to cook mine in fruit juice to add flavor. A tablespoon of dessicated coconut (not the sweetened kind) adds a lot of flavor and more fiber to the pot.

                    9 Replies
                    1. re: BeaN

                      A half cup serving size of Fiber 1 is 60 calories, I add 1/2 cup of soy milk which is 45 cals. for a grand total of 105. The serving size for the steel cut oats is 1/4 cup. I believe that's uncooked and what I'm basing my consumption on, since I make 1/2 cup uncooked everyother day and eat half one day, half the next so that's 150 calories for one serving. I cook it up with 1 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup soy milk for another 45 calories and a total of 195 calories. You can see that's almost twice the oats.
                      Despite all the great replies above, no one has answered the original question, which is why do oats have so many more calories than Fiber one?


                      1. re: Jambalaya

                        Well according to the ingredients list, it's mostly the bran portion of various grains. Since a single serving only has 11 net grams with the rest of the carbs being fiber.

                        1. re: Jambalaya

                          The reason is simple if you look at the nutrition label.

                          The primary ingredient in Fiber 1 is corn bran. In a 30 gram serving of fiber 1, Dietary Fiber takes up 14 grams. That's nearly 50%.

                          If you look at a nutrition label for oatmeal, you'll see that it's only about 10% fiber by weight.

                          So there's your answer...when you eat Fiber 1, you're mostly eating Fiber.

                          I guess you can do what FoodFuser suggested and add some bran to your oatmeal to add bulk and eliminsate calories.

                          1. re: Jambalaya

                            Jambalaya, shape up and don't chastise us for not answering the original question, when about 5 of us have requested a gram to gram weight comparison rather than a volumetric one. When we receive that, we'll help. Nutritional label data on gram weight of serving size, along with sugars versus fibers (on a gram basis) for each will also be helpful.

                            1. re: FoodFuser

                              so i looked up the numbers...

                              1/2 cup McCann's Steel Cut oats is 40 g and 150 calories

                              1/2 cup Fiber One is 30 g and 60 calories

                              Have at...

                              1. re: FoodFuser

                                Here's the label data from the two manufacturers, with ingredients on Fiber One. These should provide the info to answer OP's question.

                                Fiber One


                              2. re: Jambalaya

                                Oats are whole grains and whole grains do have nominal amounts of fat. Fiber One is merely the bran, plus added filler (e.g. gums). And the comments asking for a gram-to-gram comparison are correct. You need to supply that information.

                                I don't understand this obsession with the calorie count, since we are talking about a relatively small amount of calories. If it bothers you so much, why not just keep eating the Fiber One?

                                A bowl of air has even fewer calories--zero.

                                1. re: Jambalaya

                                  My point is that your 1/2 cup of processed cereal is only ever going to be 1/2 cup.

                                  The 1/4 cup of steel cut oats is going to at least triple, if not quadruple in volume after cooking. For a negligible amount of extra calories, you get twice as much to fill up on. And you get to eat real, whole food.

                                  I eat some fiber one and I eat steel cut oats. I have breakfast at 6 am and I never eat lunch before 1pm. The oats have more staying power.

                                  1. re: Jambalaya

                                    Fiber One Original actually has 120 calories per half cup. They just subtract the fiber from the total to get 60 calories per half cup serving.
                                    1g fat = 9 cal
                                    25g carbs = 25 x 4 = 100 cal
                                    14g fiber = -14 x 4 = -56
                                    2g protein = 2 x 4 = 8 cal
                                    9 + 100 -56 + 8 = 61 calories.

                                    Most companies use this trick to "lower" their calorie count too.