Oats are a grain. They are considered a whole food, meaning that they are not processed or made from some other substance. Whole oats are used to feed livestock, whereas oats that humans consume are cleaned, toasted and hulled.
When oats have gone through the process of cleaning, toasting and hulling, they are called oat groats. From there, oat groats may become rolled oats, quick-cooking oats, instant oats, steel-cut oats or oat flour. The outer portion of the oat is called oat bran. Oats are a healthy food to consume. They are high in soluble fiber and are rich in vitamin B1 and vitamin E.