What is the difference between oats, muesli and granola in term of health benefits?

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  1. Ricebowl Food Expert
    October 23, 2019 at 2:48 pm

    Oats are the traditional base for muesli, granola and porridge (Khoo, 2013). Compared with other cereal fibres, oats are high in dietary fibre, which includes cellulose, arabinoxylans, and soluble fibers, especially β-glucan. β-glucans are primarily responsible for the cholesterol-lowering property of oats (El Khoury et al., 2012), improves appetite control and increases satiety (Rebello et al., 2013; Rebello et al., 2014). Not only that, oats are relatively high in protein and unsaturated fats.  Consumption of oat products has been associated with reduction of serum cholesterol, risk of cardiovascular diseases (CVD) and prevention of cancer, diabetes and gastrointestinal disorders (Martínez-Villaluenga & Peñas, 2017). Based on clinical studies, the U.S Food and Drug Administration and European Food and Safety Agency have approved health claims for oat-derived foods regarding the ability of oat β-glucan (OBG) that helps to reduce the serum cholesterol and the risk of CVD (FDA Department of Health and Human Services, 1997; EFSA,2010).
     
    Muesli and granola are both mixture of healthy ingredients like oats, nuts, seeds, dried fruits, and often other grains as well as spices. Combination of these ingredients deliver vital nutrients such as protein, iron, heart healthy fats, fibres and β-glucan (Drayer, 2018). Their biggest difference is that muesli is unbaked while granola is baked along with honey, other sweetener and oils to help the oats stick together in clusters while muesli is more of a loose mixture (Prakash, 2017).
     
    In terms of nutritional value, some variety of granola and muesli contain ingredients such as nuts, seeds and dried fruits which increase the bowl’s protein, omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidant content. However, these goodies that benefit our body will be offset by inclusion of high amount of sugars and unhealthy fats. Raw muesli does not contain the sweetener and oils that is used in granola, which make it a healthier choice over granola (Bob’s Red Mill, 2018).
     
    Yet this is not the end of story, some muesli may contain additional sugars and dried fruits that jack up the calories. In another way round, there are many granolas out there that are unsweetened and contain healthy oils (British Heart Foundation, n. d.). As with any food, the ingredients will vary from brand to brand. Therefore, it is important to always pay attention – read your labels and watch out for the serving size.

     

    References

    • Bob’s Red Mill. (2018). Is Muesli the Same as Granola?
    • British Heart Foundation. (n. d.). Breakfast cereals ranked best to worst.
    • Drayer, L. (2018). CNN health: Is granola healthy?
    • (2010). Scientific Opinion on the substantiation of a health claim related to oat beta glucan and lowering blood cholesterol and reduced risk of (coronary) heart disease pursuant to Article 14 of Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006. EFSA Journal8(12). https://doi.org/10.2903/j.efsa.2010.1885
    • El Khoury, D., Cuda, C., Luhovyy, B., & Anderson, G. (2012). Beta Glucan: Health Benefits in Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome. Journal Of Nutrition And Metabolism2012, 1-28. https://doi.org/10.1155/2012/851362
    • FDA Department of Health and Human Services. (1997). Food labeling: health claims; oats and coronary health disease. Final ruling. Federal Register, 62, 3584.
    • Khoo, R. (2013). Rachel Khoo’s Muesli and Granola. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson
    • Martínez-Villaluenga, C., & Peñas, E. (2017). Health benefits of oat: current evidence and molecular mechanisms. Current Opinion In Food Science14, 26-31. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cofs.2017.01.004
    • Prakash, S. (2017). What’s the Difference Between Muesli and Granola?
    • Rebello, C., Chu, Y., Johnson, W., Martin, C., Han, H., & Bordenave, N. et al. (2014). The role of meal viscosity and oat β-glucan characteristics in human appetite control: a randomized crossover trial. Nutrition Journal13(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/1475-2891-13-49
    • Rebello, C., Johnson, W., Martin, C., Xie, W., O’Shea, M., & Kurilich, A. et al. (2013). Acute Effect of Oatmeal on Subjective Measures of Appetite and Satiety Compared to a Ready-to-Eat Breakfast Cereal: A Randomized Crossover Trial. Journal Of The American College Of Nutrition32(4), 272-279. https://doi.org/10.1080/07315724.2013.816614

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