Oatmeal vs. Porridge — Health Impact and Nutrition Comparison
Porridge and oatmeal are usually referred to as oatmeal in Canada and simply "porridge" more commonly in the United States; however, the term porridge includes whole grains, cereals, and vegetables.
Compared to the original Cream of Wheat, oatmeal is richer in all macronutrients, calories, vitamins, and minerals. Oatmeal is richer in dietary fiber and is lower in net carbs compared to Cream of Wheat.
Both kinds of cereal are considered healthy, with antioxidant, antidiabetic, anti-inflammatory, anti-anemic, and cholesterol-lowering effects; nonetheless, people with gluten intolerance or gluten sensitivity should avoid consuming Cream of Wheat.
Table of contents
Porridge is a dish made by heating or boiling grains, cereals, vegetables, or legumes in water or milk. Oatmeal is one of the most common varieties of porridge made from oats. The oats may be whole (groats), cut into two or three pieces (steel-cut), and rolled (oat flakes).
The terms are sometimes used interchangeably; however, “porridge” is more commonly used in the United Kingdom, whereas “oatmeal” is more commonly used in the United States and Canada.
Other examples of different types of porridge are maize (corn/cornmeal), millet, wheat, rice porridge, quinoa, rye, buckwheat, and potato porridge. Besides, you can add different ingredients, such as honey, maple syrup, fresh fruits, and nuts, or try new recipes
This article compares the nutritional values of oatmeal (instant) and porridge from an American brand, “Cream of Wheat” (regular, 10min). Both cereals are prepared with water and without salt.
Macronutrients and Calories
The cereals are not particularly nutrient-dense: oatmeal consists of 84% water, whereas Cream of Wheat consists of 88% water.
Oatmeal is richer in all macronutrients, vitamins, and minerals compared to Cream of Wheat.
Cereals have a serving size of one cup, equal to 251g of Cream of Wheat and 234g of oatmeal.
Both oatmeal and Cream of Wheat are low-calorie foods. A 100g of oatmeal provides 68 calories (159 calories per serving), and a 100g of Cream of Wheat provides 50 calories (126 calories per serving).
Cream of Wheat and oatmeal are low-protein foods, containing 1.44g and 2.37g of protein, respectively.
One serving of Cream of Wheat contains 3.61g of protein, and one serving of oatmeal contains 5.55g of protein, each covering under 15% of the daily protein need.
The cereals are very low in fats. A 100g of Cream of Wheat contains 0.21g of fats, whereas a 100g of oatmeal contains 1.36g of fats.
One serving of Cream of Wheat and oatmeal contains 0.53g and 3.18g of fats, respectively.
When comparing 100g of each cereal, Cream of Wheat is slightly higher in net carbs, whereas oatmeal is ~1.2g higher in dietary fiber.
A 100g of Cream of Wheat contains 10.52g of carbs, and one serving of Cream of Wheat contains 26.4g of carbs, from which dietary fiber is 1.26g and net carbs are 25.14g.
A 100g of oatmeal contains 11.67g of carbs, and one serving of oatmeal contains 27.4g of carbs, from which dietary fiber is 3.98g and net carbs are 23.42g.
Oatmeal is richer in all vitamins compared to Cream of Wheat.
Oatmeal is notably rich in vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9, or folate, and vitamin A.
Oatmeal is richer in most minerals too.
Oatmeal is notably richer in phosphorus, magnesium, and zinc. Both oatmeal and Cream of Wheat are very high in iron.
The table below shows how much iron each type of original Cream of Wheat and oatmeal contains (1, 2).
|Cream of Wheat, regular||Cream of Wheat, instant||Cream of Wheat, 2 1/2m||Oatmeal|
The recommended daily amount of iron is 8mg for adult men and 50+ women and 18mg for women aged 19-50 (3).
Cream of Wheat has a glycemic index (GI) value of 67±3, which ranges from moderate to high. Instant Cream of Wheat has a high glycemic index value of 75±6.
Instant oatmeal has a mean glycemic index value of 82, which is considered high. Oatmeal made from rolled oats has a mean GI value of 58, and the one made from steel-cut oats has a mean GI value of 52 (4).
Instant cereals have higher GI index values than those with longer cooking times.
You can visit our Glycemic index chart of 350+ foods page to learn more about various foods' glycemic indices.
Both oatmeal and Cream of wheat have an insulin index of 40. To learn more about insulin index and insulin indices of foods, you can visit our Insulin index chart of 140+ foods page.
The pH value for oatmeal ranges from 6.2 to 6.6, whereas the pH value of Cream of Wheat ranges from 6.06 to 6.16. Both cereals can be considered slightly acidic (5).
The PRAL or potential renal acid load value shows how much acid the organism produces from consumed food.
The PRAL value of Cream of Wheat is calculated to be -0.3, making it base-producing, whereas the PRAL value of oatmeal is calculated to be 1, making it acid-producing.
Weight Loss & Diets
Cream of Wheat and oatmeal are good choices for weight loss diets; however, Cream of Wheat is a better choice for low-fat, low-carb, low-calorie diets.
Both foods can be consumed during the DASH diet, oatmeal being the preferred choice. Oatmeal may be consumed during the Mediterranean diet as well.
Cream of Wheat and oatmeal are not preferred during the keto and Atkins diets, as these diets require foods with very low carb contents.
Oatmeal helps in weight loss, as it has been shown to increase satiety and suppress appetite (6).
Cream of Wheat is made from wheat middlings; therefore, it has similar properties to other wheat products, such as containing the protein gluten. Consumption of Cream of Wheat 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 (7).
Pure oats (gluten-free, uncontaminated) are safe for most people with the Coeliac disease; however, some people may trigger an immune response to oats and should avoid consuming them. Nonetheless, oats not labeled as gluten-free are potentially contaminated with rye, wheat, or barley and should be avoided (8, 9, 10, 11, 12).
Dietary fiber on health
Beta-glucan is a soluble fiber derived from cereals, oats being the primary source (13, 14, 15, 16, 17). Beta-glucan has many health benefits, which may help to lower the risk of diseases mentioned below.
- Type two diabetes: lowers blood sugar levels.
- Atherosclerosis, heart disease: lowers blood cholesterol levels and regulates cholesterol metabolism. Oat beta-glucans may as well lead to increased cholesterol excretion.
- Liver disease (such as “fatty liver”) and obesity: the mechanism is similar to the one described above.
- Colon cancer and gastrointestinal disease: stimulates the growth and activity of healthy or beneficial microbes and inhibits the growth of potentially pathogenic microbes, helping with overall gut health. Improved gut microbiota leads to the normal functioning of the gut, prevents inflammation, and lowers the risk of colon cancer.
- Neurodegenerative disease.
- Skin disorders.
In general, Cream of Wheat and oatmeal are good sources of dietary fiber. Dietary fiber acts as a bulking agent or hard stool softener improves regularity, decreases intestinal transit time, and may relieve constipation (18).
Management of Hypertension
Individuals with high blood pressure should adopt healthy eating habits. During the DASH diet, foods with high potassium, magnesium, calcium, fiber, and protein levels and low saturated fat levels, such as oats or oatmeal, should be chosen.
The DASH diet has been shown to lower blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels and enhances the effects of antihypertensive drugs (19, 20).
Effects of Iron on the Organism
Oatmeal and porridge are excellent vegan and vegetarian sources of iron. Iron has various roles in the organism, such as the transport of oxygen in tissues, participation in mitochondrial respiration, synthesis, and repair of DNA, etc. (21).
Iron deficiency is one of the most common causes of anemia, especially microcytic anemia. Some common causes of anemia are menstrual periods, iron loss due to gastrointestinal bleeding, and chronic inflammatory diseases (22).
Accordingly, foods high in iron may prevent anemia and restore iron supply. On the other hand, excess iron leads to tissue injury, death of cells, and oxidative stress (21).
- pH values of foods and food products
Fat Type Comparison
Comparison summary table
|Lower in Sugar|
|Lower in Sodium|
|Lower in Saturated Fat|
|Lower in Glycemic Index|
|Rich in minerals|
|Rich in vitamins|
|Lower in Cholesterol||Equal|
|Lower in price||Equal|
All nutrients comparison - raw data values
|Vitamin A RAE||130µg||0µg|
Which food is preferable for your diet?
|Low Fats diet|
|Low Carbs diet|
|Low Calories diet|
|Low Glycemic Index diet|