Corn grits vs Cream of Wheat - Health impact and Nutrition Comparison
Corn grits are made from crushed or ground corn, while Cream of Wheat is made from ground wheat kernels.
Corn grits contain slightly more calories, net carbs, dietary fiber, fats, and iron, whereas Cream of Wheat is slightly higher in proteins and B-complex vitamins.
On the one hand, Cream of Wheat and corn grits are great iron, B vitamin, and dietary fiber sources which benefit health; on the other hand, they are usually highly processed, which leads to adverse health outcomes.
Table of contents
- Weight Loss & Diets
- Health Impact
Corn grits are made from crushed or ground corn. The most common varieties of this cereal are regular or instant grits, which are made by a process that removes the corn kernel and protein-containing germ.
Cream of Wheat is an American brand of breakfast porridge made from ground wheat kernels that looks similar to ground corn.
This article compares 100g of Quaker’s corn grits (instant, plain) and Cream of Wheat porridge (instant), both prepared with water.
This article compares the cereals using primarily the USDA’s data source.
Macronutrients and Calories
The porridges are not particularly rich in nutrients. Corn grits contain slightly more calories, net carbs, dietary fiber, and fats, whereas Cream of Wheat is slightly higher in proteins.
The water content in Cream of Wheat and corn grits are approximately 84.4% and 81.2%, respectively.
One cup of Cream of Wheat weighs ~240g, whereas corn grits weigh ~220.
Corn grits and Cream of Wheat are low-calorie cereals. A 100g of corn grits provides 74 calories, whereas Cream of Wheat provides 62.
One cup of corn grits provides 162 calories, while Cream of Wheat provides 149.
Cream of Wheat is slightly richer in proteins: 100g of Cream of Wheat and corn grits contain 1.84, and 1.58g of proteins, respectively.
Both cereals are very low in fats.
One cup of each cereal contains a maximum of 1g of fats.
Carbs are the predominant macronutrient in Quaker’s corn grits and Cream of Wheat porridge.
Corn grits contain 15.95g of total carbs, of which 1.1g is dietary fiber. Cream of Wheat contains 13.08g of total carbs, of which 0.6g is dietary fiber. The rest are net carbs.
One cup (serving) of QUAKER’s corn grits contains 35g of total carbs, 2.41g of which is dietary fiber, whereas Cream of Wheat contains 31.6g of total carbs, 1.45g of which is dietary fiber.
Corn grits and Cream of Wheat are good sources of B complex vitamins; Cream of Wheat is richer in all vitamins.
Cream of Wheat is 11 times richer in vitamin B6, 2.3 times richer in folate, and over 1.5 times richer in vitamins B1, B2, B3, and B5. Cream of Wheat is also a great source of vitamin A RAE (232mcg in 100g).
Corn grits and Cream of Wheat are absent in (or contain trace amounts of) vitamins D, E, K, C, and B12.
According to the Cream of Wheat data source, the cereal is enriched with vitamin D (1).
The cereals are not rich in most minerals; however, they’re rich in iron.
One cup of corn grits and Cream of Wheat contains 14.7g and 12g of iron, respectively. The recommended daily amount of iron is 8mg for adult men and 18mg for women aged 19-50 (2).
According to the Cream of Wheat and QUAKER data sources, their cereals are enriched with calcium (1, 3).
Cream of Wheat has a moderate to high glycemic index (GI) value of 67±3. Instant Cream of Wheat has a high glycemic index value of 75±6 (4).
According to two studies, corn grits have a high GI value of 80.36 and 109.64. One of the two studies calculated the GI value of fermented corn grits to be 65.5, considered moderate (5, 6).
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The pH value of Cream of Wheat ranges from 6.06-6.16 (7), whereas corn grits have no calculated pH value.
The PRAL value shows how much acid or base the organism produces from the consumed food. The PRAL values of Cream of Wheat and corn grits are -1.7 and -2.2, respectively, making both alkaline or base-producing.
Weight Loss & Diets
Cream of Wheat and corn grits fit into weight-loss diets; nevertheless, Quaker’s corn grits are comparably a better choice for low-calorie, low-fat, and high-fiber diets.
Cream of Wheat and corn grits are not included in the Mediterranean diet. They are not preferred during low-carb diets such as keto or Atkins, as they cover about 50% of the allowed carb amount.
The cereals may be consumed during the gastroparesis liquid diet.
Rich In Iron
Fortified cereals, such as corn grits and Cream of Wheat, are great for fighting microcytic or iron deficiency anemia. Common causes of anemia include several diets, menstrual periods, iron loss due to gastrointestinal bleeding, and chronic inflammatory diseases (8).
Iron is required for hemoglobin synthesis to transport oxygen, adequate growth, brain development, cellular functioning, DNA, and hormone synthesis (9).
Rich in B Complex vitamins
B complex vitamins are required for energy metabolism, DNA synthesis and repair, methylation, adequate immune and brain functions, and synthesis of numerous neurochemicals and signaling molecules (10, 11).
Rich In Dietary Fiber
Dietary fiber intake is inversely associated with obesity, metabolic syndrome, type two diabetes, cancer, inflammation, depression, and heart disease (12, 13).
Cream of Wheat from whole wheat flour and corn grits from whole corn kernels (not Quaker’s grits) also have potential prebiotic effects that feed and modulate the gut microbiota (13, 14, 15).
The consumption of high-fiber foods, such as corn grits and Cream of Wheat, can help to alleviate functional constipation (16).
Downsides and Risks
Cream of Wheat is made from wheat, meaning it contains gluten. Corn grits are naturally gluten-free, but due to the possibility of cross-contamination, they may contain gluten if they are not labeled as gluten-free.
Consumption of gluten-containing cereals for people with gluten intolerance or gluten sensitivity will likely trigger gluten-related disorders such as Coeliac disease or non-coeliac gluten sensitivity, wheat allergy, dermatitis herpetiformis, and gluten ataxia (17).
Ultra-processing And Cancer
Some corn grits (such as Quaker’s) and Cream of Wheat are highly processed or ultra-processed foods. Consumption of highly processed foods is associated with an increased risk of overall and breast cancer. Available evidence suggests that ultra-processed foods may increase cancer risks by obesity-promoting properties or carcinogenic compounds; however, further research is required (18, 19). Ultra-processed foods are also associated with various adverse health outcomes, such as obesity, metabolic and heart disease, irritable bowel disease, and all-cause mortality.
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- Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025
- pH values of foods and food products
Fat Type Comparison
Carbohydrate type comparison
Comparison summary table
|Lower in Sugar|
|Lower in Sodium|
|Lower in Saturated Fat|
|Lower in glycemic index|
|Rich in vitamins|
|Lower in Cholesterol|
|Lower in price||Equal|
|Rich in minerals||Equal|
All nutrients comparison - raw data values
|Vitamin A RAE||232µg|
Which food is preferable for your diet?
|Low Fats diet|
|Low Carbs diet|
|Low Calories diet|
|Low glycemic index diet|