Calories Schmalories…Just Eat Your Oat Bran

by HEAB on March 8, 2009

Ready to get confused?

After my Oat Bran vs. Rolled oats, many of you emailed or commented that your specific brand of oat bran had different nutritional information listed compared to Quaker Oat’s numbers.  After doing a little research of my own, I found that every single brand I looked at had different stats.

The following table shows all nutritional information for 4 different brands of oat bran based on a 1/2 cup serving size:






Weight 40 grams 58.5 grams 60 grams 47 grams
Calories 150 225 195 120
Fat 3 g 3.75 g 4.5 g 3.5 g
Carbohydrates 25 g 39 g 36 g 31 g
Fiber 6 g 9 g 9 g 7 g
Protein 7 g 10.5 g 10.5 g 8 g
Calories per gram 3.75 3.85 3.25 2.6

The goal of gathering this information was to try and figure out the differences in calories listed.  However, when compiling all the statistics, the discrepancy that stood out to me was the difference in weight per 1/2 cup serving. If you look at calories per gram, there is not a huge difference, except in the Whole Foods bulk bin oats. I weighed my bulk bin oat bran, and found that 1/2 cup actually weighed EXACTLY 60 grams, not the 47 listed.  So who knows if any of the information listed on the bulk bin is correct.


As far as differences in calories go, I did receive an email from Quaker Oats Consumer Relations stating the following:

The FDA has specific guidelines or specifications for hot cereals, and products are analyzed and calculated for nutrients like carbohydrates, fat, and protein as part of these guidelines.  The calories are calculated based on a nutritional analysis of the product which can measure to whole numbers and fractions, i.e. total carbohydrate might be 25.3 grams but rounded rules are applied for simplicity in the nutrition fact label resulting in 25 grams.  With that said, in the Quaker Oats Oat Bran Hot Cereal, the calories are calculated using approved FDA methods including rounding. HOWEVER, the calories assigned to insoluble fiber are omitted as this fiber is not used in the body.

I’m assuming all the rounding of numbers coupled with the fact that insoluble fiber is not counted causes the differences in calorie counts.  Small Bites recently went into great detail on this topic, and you can read about it here. However, I’m still confused with the differences in weight per serving.

Now, I wasn’t going to go out a purchase each brand and weigh them. However, I am curious.  So, if you have any of the above brands sitting in your cabinet, and you own a food scale, please let me know how much 1/2 cup weighs.

That being said, I’ve decided I’m not going to worry about the differences in calories.  Heck, I don’t even know which label to trust even if I wanted to worry.  I’ll admit, I freaked out for about a minute when I realized my usual 3/4 cup oat bran might contain 293 (based on Trader Joe’s numbers) instead of the 225 calories I thought it did, but then I quickly got over it and made myself a big bowl for breakfast. :)

This post got me thinking…why should I care how many calories/fats/carbs/proteins are in my breakfast?  After several weeks of trying out different meals every morning, I’ve learned what works for me.  Breakfasts higher in fat tend to keep me satiated. So, as long as I’m eating nutritious food with a bit of fat in the mix, I’m NOT going to worry about specific numbers.  Life is too short.  Therefore, there will be no more stats listed for my breakfasts, and I challenge all of you to stop calculating.  Simply eat wholesome healthy foods and stop when you’re full…and don’t forget to savor every bite!

On that note, I will leave you with some of my favorite oat bran bowls.  Enjoy my friends!

Oat Bran with raw almond butter and walnuts
Oat Bran with raw almond butter, walnuts, and chocolate soy milk
Strawberry shortcake oat bran
Strawberry shortcake oat bran
Apple pie oat bran
Apple pie oat bran
Blueberry cobble oat bran
Blueberry cobble oat bran
Pom flavored oat bran with cottage cheese and carob chips
POM flavored oat bran with cottage cheese and carob chips
Oat bran topped with raw chocolate pudding and peanut butter
Oat bran topped with raw chocolate pudding and peanut butter
The classic Brick In My Belly double nut butter oat favorite. :)
The classic “Brick In My Belly” double nut butter oat bran…my favorite. :)