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Barley vs Oat - Health impact and Nutrition Comparison

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Article author photo Jack  Yacoubian by Jack Yacoubian | Last updated on October 26, 2021
Education: Haigazian Medical University
Barley
vs
Oat

Summary

Barley has a lower glycemic index and is lower in calories. It is richer in fibers, and vitamins B2, B3, and B6. On the other hand, oats are richer in phosphorus, zinc, copper, magnesium, iron, potassium, vitamins B1, B5, and folate. Oats are gluten-free.

Introduction

Barley is a grain that was first grown and harvested in Eurasia 10,000 years ago. Since people established and developed agricultural societies, it has become a component of their food cycle.

In this article, we are discussing barley which is hulled, also known as hulled barley. Hulled barley is a complete grain. It goes through a procedure of removing its inedible coating without removing the bran. There are several forms of barley, such as pearly barley, which is less nutritious since it has lost its bran. As a result, it is preferable to ingest hulled barley. The disadvantage of hulled barley is that it takes longer to cook.

The oat grain is a cereal grain that originated in the Near East and expanded to the Middle East and Europe. Oatmeal and rolled oats are the most common forms of processed oats. Oats grow best in temperate climates, and the nations with the most oat farming include Russia and Canada.

Oats are the source of many different meals, including rolled oats, oatmeal, oat flour, oat milk, and others. In addition to human use, oats are utilized in cattle feed.

Oats may also be used to make beverages. One of the most prominent uses for oats is to make oatmeal stout, a dark brew. Oats are used in the production of other alcoholic drinks, including whiskey.

In this article, we will discuss the difference between their general differences, nutritional content, weight loss and diet, and health impacts.

What are the actual differences?

Both these foods have general differences based on taste, shelf life, price, and culinary world usage.

Taste

Barley has a relatively sweeter taste than other cereal grains; in addition to that, it has a nutty flavor. It takes about 30 min to cook barley. On the other hand, oats are relatively bitter and earthy in flavor. They are also associated with fruits or chocolate that come in ready-made packages. Similarly to barley, it takes around 30 min to cook oats. It is important to note that crushed or other oats like oatmeal are quicker to prepare and don't require 30 minutes.

Shelf life

Both are cereal that, if properly kept in a dry and dark area within proper containers, can last for one year, even more.

Price

They have similar prices; in general, barley might be cheaper than oats; however, the difference is irrelevant.

Culinary world

Barley is a cereal grain like oats with a wide range of usages in the culinary world. Barley can be used in cooking, alcohol making. It can be used in stews, porridges, and even bread making. Oats have some common preparations, but one additional importance is that oats are gluten-free and can be used as an alternative to baking and cooking for people who suffer from gluten intolerance.

Nutritional content comparison

In this content comparison, we will discuss the difference between the nutritional content of both these foods according to 100g of each. It is also important that these amounts are for uncooked oats and barley.

Glycemic index

Barley has a lower glycemic index than oats. Barley is categorized as low glycemic index food, whereas oat is categorized as medium glycemic index food. Oat has double the glycemic index of barley.

Calories

Oats are higher in calories than barley, although it is important to mention that both are high calories.

Fibers

Both foods are rich in fibers. However, barley is richer in fibers and contains nearly 1.7 times more fibers than oats.

Protein

Oats contain more proteins than barley. The protein distribution is also high in both these foods. In the case of barley, gluten is the highest protein available, and in the case of oats, it is avenalin.

Fats

Oats contain higher amounts of fats than barley. They are nearly equally distributed among saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fats. Nearly three times more fat is available in oats compared to barley.

Minerals

In this part, we are going to take into consideration 300g of each food when we are giving the % of each mineral concerning the recommended daily value.

Oats are richer in all types of minerals in comparison to barley, and oats satisfy more than 100% of the recommended daily value of the following minerals phosphorus, zinc, copper, magnesium, and iron. Oats are also richer in potassium. However, it is important to mention that barley also satisfies more than 100% of the recommended daily values of the following minerals, phosphorus, copper, and iron.

Below is a diagram that displays the comparative mineral profiles of both foods.

Mineral Comparison

Mineral comparison score is based on the number of minerals by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" chart below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food
Barley
1
:
7
Oat
Contains more Calcium +63.6%
Contains more Iron +31.1%
Contains more Magnesium +33.1%
Contains more Phosphorus +98.1%
Contains less Sodium -83.3%
Contains more Zinc +43.3%
Contains more Copper +25.7%
Equal in Potassium - 429
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper 10% 135% 95% 114% 40% 2% 76% 166%
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper 17% 177% 127% 225% 38% 1% 109% 209%
Contains more Calcium +63.6%
Contains more Iron +31.1%
Contains more Magnesium +33.1%
Contains more Phosphorus +98.1%
Contains less Sodium -83.3%
Contains more Zinc +43.3%
Contains more Copper +25.7%
Equal in Potassium - 429

Vitamins

Barley is richer in vitamins B2, B3, and B6. On the other hand, oats are richer in vitamins B1, B5, and folate.

Below is a diagram that displays the comparative vitamin profiles of both foods.

Vitamin Comparison

Vitamin comparison score is based on the number of vitamins by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" chart below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food
Barley
6
:
3
Oat
Contains more Vitamin A +∞%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +105%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +379.1%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +167.2%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +18.1%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +378.4%
Contains more Folate +194.7%
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Vitamin K 2% 12% 0% 0% 162% 66% 87% 17% 74% 15% 0% 6%
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Vitamin K 0% 0% 0% 0% 191% 33% 19% 81% 28% 43% 0% 0%
Contains more Vitamin A +∞%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +105%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +379.1%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +167.2%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +18.1%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +378.4%
Contains more Folate +194.7%

Weight loss and diets

Barley provides a sensation of fullness due to its high fiber content. This means you may eat less and feel fuller, which might help you lose weight.

Gluten intolerance

The presence of gluten is one of the most significant distinctions between oat and barley. Barley'sBarley's main protein composition is gluten, which gives it its adhesive and sticky properties during cooking processes. On the other hand, because oat does not contain gluten, it is a gluten-free alternative to barley. Because oat flour does not contain gluten, it is an excellent substitute for any flour which contains gluten. However, the gluten-free trait has an impact on the breadmaking process, for example, because gluten is one of the ingredients that hold the bread together and keeps it from crumbling and drying out.

Thus for gluten-free diets, oats can be consumed, whereas barley cannot be consumed.

Vegan

Vegans are not restricted from eating oats or barley.

Vegans can use barley and oat milk as a substitute for dairy milk. Barely milk, like other non-dairy milk, is sweeter and often supplemented with vitamins and minerals.

Barley and oat milk are held alternative milk for vegans since it minimizes bloating, indigestion, and gas, except in the case of gluten intolerance, barley milk causes bloating and gas.

Keto

Barley and oats are high in carbs; thus, they are not part of the keto diet. However, oats can be used in making cookies which is a better alternative to wheat flour.

Barley diet

Some people have tried the barley diet, which mostly consists of barley porridges, and claims to have lost up to 4 kg in 7 days.

However, these diets are restricted and may result in malnutrition.

Lactose intolerance

Lactose intolerant people can consume as an alternative to dairy milk which contains lactose, barley milk, or oat milk.

Baby food

Because it is high in fibers, minerals, and vitamins, it is advised for newborns. It is extremely versatile and may be made into a stew or consistently blended food with other nutritious foods like fruits.

In addition to that, oats are also recommended for babies as soon as they can eat solid foods.

Bodybuilding

Barley carbs are slowly absorbed in the body and do not cause a spike in insulin levels, and these are beneficial for the long release of carbohydrates. In addition to that, barley is richer in fibers which provide better gastrointestinal tract health and digestion. On the other hand, oats are also perfect to be consumed in bodybuilders' diets, and they are advised to be added into blends which are proteins and fruits, to make a well-balanced shake with a fluid consistency.

Health impacts

Cardiovascular health

Barley consumption on a moderate and consistent basis in men and women with mild hypercholesterolemia has been demonstrated to lower LDL levels. As a result, the chances of cardiovascular disease are reduced. (1)

Oat consumption is associated with reduced serum cholesterol and blood sugar levels, lowering the risk of developing hypertension and cardiovascular problems. (2)

Diabetes

Long-term barley eating has resulted in lower blood glucose levels. This is mostly explained by the high fiber content of barley, which reduces glucose absorption. (3)

Consuming whole-grain cereals like oats and barley lowers the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Furthermore, it regulates blood glucose and lipid levels. When compared to other cereal grains, oat-based diets have lower fatty acid absorption. (4)

Digestive tract

Barley consumption improves intestinal microbiota, which provides a wide range of benefits for overall wellbeing. (5)

Oat consumption has been associated with improved gut microbiota functioning. (6)

Fiber-rich foods like barley and oats are linked with decreased risks of developing diverticulitis. (7)

Cancer

Barley grass extract has apoptotic functions on cancer cells. Although the grass is not part of the grain, it is important to mention such a feature. (8)

Oats include beta-glucans, which have anti-cancer capabilities against lung cancer cells. (9)

Celiac disease

Barley protein is mostly composed of gluten, which causes inflammation in celiac disease. As a result, it is critical for celiac disease patients not to ingest gluten. Barley should not be eaten by celiac disease patients. (10)

References

  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15531664/
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/7840076/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4311281/
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32641435/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4616929/
  6. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31638148/
  7. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15471177/
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5449973/
  9. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28756506/
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6647104/
Article author photo Jack  Yacoubian
Education: Haigazian Medical University
Last updated: October 26, 2021

Infographic

Barley vs Oat infographic
Infographic link

Comparison summary table

Pay attention to the most right column. It shows the amounts side by side, making it easier to realize the amount of difference.
Barley Oat
Lower in Sugar ok
Lower in Sodium ok
Lower in price ok
Rich in minerals ok
Lower in Saturated Fat ok
Lower in glycemic index ok
Lower in Cholesterol Equal
Rich in vitamins Equal

All nutrients comparison - raw data values

Nutrient Barley Oat Opinion
Net carbs 56.18g 55.67g Barley
Protein 12.48g 16.89g Oat
Fats 2.3g 6.9g Oat
Carbs 73.48g 66.27g Barley
Calories 354kcal 389kcal Oat
Starch g g
Fructose g g
Sugar 0.8g g Oat
Fiber 17.3g 10.6g Barley
Calcium 33mg 54mg Oat
Iron 3.6mg 4.72mg Oat
Magnesium 133mg 177mg Oat
Phosphorus 264mg 523mg Oat
Potassium 452mg 429mg Barley
Sodium 12mg 2mg Oat
Zinc 2.77mg 3.97mg Oat
Copper 0.498mg 0.626mg Oat
Vitamin A 22IU 0IU Barley
Vitamin E 0.57mg mg Barley
Vitamin D 0IU 0IU
Vitamin D 0µg 0µg
Vitamin C 0mg 0mg
Vitamin B1 0.646mg 0.763mg Oat
Vitamin B2 0.285mg 0.139mg Barley
Vitamin B3 4.604mg 0.961mg Barley
Vitamin B5 0.282mg 1.349mg Oat
Vitamin B6 0.318mg 0.119mg Barley
Folate 19µg 56µg Oat
Vitamin B12 0µg 0µg
Vitamin K 2.2µg µg Barley
Tryptophan 0.208mg 0.234mg Oat
Threonine 0.424mg 0.575mg Oat
Isoleucine 0.456mg 0.694mg Oat
Leucine 0.848mg 1.284mg Oat
Lysine 0.465mg 0.701mg Oat
Methionine 0.24mg 0.312mg Oat
Phenylalanine 0.7mg 0.895mg Oat
Valine 0.612mg 0.937mg Oat
Histidine 0.281mg 0.405mg Oat
Cholesterol 0mg 0mg
Trans Fat g g
Saturated Fat 0.482g 1.217g Barley
Monounsaturated Fat 0.295g 2.178g Oat
Polyunsaturated fat 1.108g 2.535g Oat

Which food is preferable for your diet?

ok
ok
is better in case of low diet
Barley Oat
Low Fats diet ok
Low Carbs diet ok
Low Calories diet ok
Low glycemic index diet ok

People also compare

Vitamin and Mineral Summary Scores

The summary score is calculated by summing up the daily values contained in 300 grams of the product. Obviously the more the food fulfills human daily needs, the more the summary score is.
Vitamin Summary Score
36
Barley
33
Oat
Mineral Summary Score
80
Barley
112
Oat

Macronutrients Comparison

Macronutrient comparison charts compare the amount of protein, total fats, and total carbohydrates in 300 grams of the food. The displayed values show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of food.
Protein
75%
Barley
101%
Oat
Carbohydrates
73%
Barley
66%
Oat
Fats
11%
Barley
32%
Oat

Comparison summary

Which food is lower in Sugar?
Oat
Oat is lower in Sugar (difference - 0.8g)
Which food contains less Sodium?
Oat
Oat contains less Sodium (difference - 10mg)
Which food is cheaper?
Oat
Oat is cheaper (difference - $0.9)
Which food is richer in minerals?
Oat
Oat is relatively richer in minerals
Which food is lower in Saturated Fat?
Barley
Barley is lower in Saturated Fat (difference - 0.735g)
Which food is lower in glycemic index?
Barley
Barley is lower in glycemic index (difference - 31)
Which food contains less Cholesterol?
?
The foods are relatively equal in Cholesterol (0 mg)
Which food is richer in vitamins?
?
It cannot be stated which food is richer in vitamins. See the charts below for detailed information. See the charts below for detailed information. See the charts below for detailed information.

References

The source of all the nutrient values on the page (excluding the main article the sources for which are presented separately if present) is the USDA's FoodCentral. The exact links to the foods presented on this page can be found below.

  1. Barley - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170283/nutrients
  2. Oat - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/169705/nutrients

All the Daily Values are presented for males aged 31-50, for 2000 calorie diets.

Data provided by FoodStruct.com should be considered and used as information only. Please consult your physician before beginning any diet.