120. Reading Skills Comprehension: Instant Food

By | September 3, 2022
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Instant Food

Read the passages given below and answer the questions that follow them:                    

Indians can’t go to bed without carbs — we may have had plates of finger foods like tikkas or chaat but until we have rice or roti, we can’t fall asleep. This may be fast changing as the health-conscious are switching to oats for dinner.

 Oats are a coarse grain, traditionally fed to horses, but new wisdom on nutrition has elevated it to a super grain. It is pushing soft rotis and fragrant rice out of the thali. And it helps that they cook fast.

Saurabh Gupta grew up eating rotis but for the past two years, this Delhi-based communications professional has switched to oats khichdi for dinner. “I cook regular oats with vegetables and onions and garnish with jeera tadka. I have it thrice a week,” says Gupta.

Oats are not cultivated in India but they have been popular as a breakfast cereal for more than a decade with various brands selling processed oats that can be consumed like porridge with milk.

 In recent years, both rice and wheat have suffered blows to their reputation as the fitness gurus popularised low or no-carb diets. Development of conclusive tests to diagnose Celiac disease made a villain out of gluten, a protein abundant in wheat. People with Celiac disease are allergic to gluten, which is also responsible for poor gut health.

So what does one have for a meal? Oats recommend nutritionists and health experts. Compared to rice and wheat, oats have an impressive nutrient profile and the unique distinction of having 11 a high concentration of beta-glucan, a fibre that lowers LDL or bad cholesterol. Consuming 70g of oats a day can provide you with the required daily amount of 3g of this magic ingredient.

Oats enthusiasts can dig into oats recipes flooding the internet. From poha to porridge and from dosa to dhokla, there is a way to include oats in a variety of Indian preparations.

 Rahul Mehta, a communications professional in Delhi, adds oats to multigrain atta to amp up the health quotient of rotis and also makes poha with it. “Oats are pretty filling and you tend to eat less,” says Mehta adding that he avoids instant, ready-to-eat oats which are not as healthy as the steel-cut variety.

 “Instant oats have a higher glycemic index,” explains DrShwetaRastogi, chief dietician, Gum Nanak Hospital, Mumbai. However, most consumers may not know the difference and believe all oats are healthy.

Recently, Future Group launched oats atta, which can be used to prepare bread, roti, idli, dhokla and sweets. “It can be integrated into daily food as well as also in all regional cuisines so that everyone can eat healthier meals all day long,” says Devendra Chawla, group president food brands and FMCG, Future Group.

Saffola launched ready-to-eat masala oats five years ago and the product now enjoys a CAGR of 50% and a household penetration of 6-8% in major metros, says Anuradha Aggarwal, chief marketing officer, Marico. Aditya Bagri, vice-president, Bagrry’s, reports a 40% increase in the sales of the brand’s oats in the past year.

Despite the buzz around this ‘third grain’, its market in India is just  350crore or around 26% of the entire breakfast market that stands at 1,300 crores. “In contrast, the instant noodles market is much bigger at around 3,500 crores. So in 15 years oats have not really taken off as it’s not a part of local everyday cuisine which is where we want to work and there’s immense potential for growth,” Chawla points out.

 However, replacing a traditional balanced Indian meal comprising carbohydrates, protein, fibre and micronutrients with just a bowl of oats does not make sense to everyone. Well-known nutritionist RujutaDiwekar argues, “The human body maintains good health when the food is diverse. This remains the cornerstone of maintaining gut bacteria diversity too. Diverse diets are achieved by eating fresh, local and cooking by using regional or time-tested recipes. This works well for small farmers too as they don’t have either  the budget, reach or vocabulary to influence the influencers.”


I. Answer briefly:

1. Whom were oats traditionally fed to?

2. How have oats pipped wheat and rice?

3. Why do nutritionists recommend oats over rice and wheat?

4. Why do diet gurus blame cab-rich rice and wheat?


1. The opposite of the word ‘conscious’ is: (para 1)

(a) subconscious                      (b) unconscious

(c) conspicuous                       (d) unwise

2. ‘Coarse‘ means: (para 2)

(a) not fine                              (b) rough

(c) ugly                                    (d) cheap

3. The word ‘instant food’ means: (para 6)

 (a) ready to eat                      (b) readymade

(c) self-made                           (d) instantly prepared

4. The opposite of ‘macro‘ in the passage is:

 (a) micro                                (b) minimum

(c) maximum                          (d) huge

Download the above Passage in PDF Worksheet (Printable)

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