Oat Grain Image, Courtesy of Quaker
Is oat bran considered a whole grain?
No, oat bran is not a whole grain. Rather it is a part of a grain (of oats). A whole grain has 3 parts:
- germ (the part the grain grows from, or germinates from)
- bran (outer layer where the fiber is)
- endosperm (starchy middle layer)
A whole grain is considered whole because all 3 parts are intact. When grains are refined, the germ and bran are removed and the starchy endosperm is ground up and then made into crackers, pasta, bread, etc.
So oat bran is simply the outer layer of the oat grain. It's got lots of fiber so it's a good food to eat although it's not technically a whole grain. Whole rolled oats are the whole grain of oats. Which leads to your next question...
Also, do you know/recommend any low-calorie, low glycemic, high fiber cereals because I'm really struggling finding a very good one?
I'd recommend whole rolled oats (not instant) above any cold breakfast cereal.
However, if it's a cold cereal you're yearning for, All Bran and Bran Buds are low cal, high fiber, and low glycemic index. Whether you'll think they're "good" is another story. :)
Keep in mind protein and fat at a meal lower the glycemic index of the total meal. If you have a higher glycemic index cereal sprinkled on nonfat greek yogurt and top it with a sprinkling of almonds, you'll lower the glycemic index of the cereal.
If you're looking to start your day on a high fiber, low glycemic index note, consider moving away from breakfast cereal altogether and thinking about meals like:
smoothie: blend 1 cup water + 1 scoop protein powder + 1/2 cup frozen raspberries + 1/2 cup frozen stawberries + 1/2 banana + 1 Tbsp. ground flaxseeds
1/2 cup lowfat cottage cheese mixed with 1 cup raspberries. Sprinkle with 10 almonds.
Both these meals have ~250 calories (which would be considered a small, low calorie breakfast), 9g of fiber, and are low GI!
Good reading on glycemic index: The New Glucose Revolution by Dr. Jeannie Brand Miller
Thanks for your great questions!