Oats, like barley, have a hard outer hull that must be removed before its ready for human consumption. Even though the outer hull of an oat kernel comes off easier than a barley kernels hull, its still not within reach of the average consumer to accomplish this. For this reason, if you want whole oats to eat, purchase them already hulled. Hulled oats, called oat groats, look very much like rye or Triticale. Unlike barley which must have its hull sanded off damaging the seed, an oat groat kernels outer bran layer is still intact after de-hulling. This somewhat protects the inner nutrients and also permits it to sprout. From this stage of processing, oats are most often rolled. Sometimes they are cut into two to four pieces before rolling and are called quick rolled oats.