I once read, on a frugal mom's website, the flavored packets of oatmeal are the same as the large old-fashioned oats, they are just cut down more and of course flavored. I like the idea of checking the fiber content. :) If you like the taste/texture of the packets, you can use a food chopper or processor to cut the larger oats down and then flavor it yourself. I often do this for my children... and myself. :)
Trader Joes sells an instant oatmeal called "Heart Healthy Oatmeal" - blueberry or cranberry flavored w/ no partially hydrogenated oils (so no trans fats). It's quite good - also has plant stanols in it but I think the jury is still out on whether those lower cholesterol.
DON'T EAT THE INSTANT OATMEAL. If you want lower cholesterol, that stuff will push you in the wrong direction. The trans fat in instant oatmeal (seen as partially hydrogenated oil) will RAISE your cholesterol. It not only negates the positive effect of oatmeal, it causes more problems.
Case in point: my husband cut out nothing but trans fat from his diet, after the doctor recommended a statin since his number was pushing 200. Three months later, after changing nothing but trans fat removal, his cholesterol was 134. No kidding. It has remained in the 130-150 range for several years now. We're trans fat-free here. We do eat Quaker oats regularly, the kind you buy plain and cook on the stove.
Please excuse me for not remembering the source, although I do believe it may be the South Beach Heart Program. The author indicated regular oat meal was best and slightly better than the quick cook oat meal. The instant packets have too much sugar and are recommended even less. Both the regular and quick cook oatmeal are labled 100% rolled oats, so I don't know why one might be better than the other.
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