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Wheat vs Oats - Health impact and Nutrition Comparison

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Article author photo Jack  Yacoubian by Jack Yacoubian | Last updated on January 24, 2024
Medically reviewed by Astghik Grigoryan Article author photo Astghik Grigoryan
Oatmeal
vs
Wheat

Summary

Oat is higher in calories, fats, and protein and has a higher glycemic index. It is richer in phosphorus, copper, magnesium, magnesium, and vitamins B1, B2, B5, and folate. Comparatively, wheat is richer in fibers, zinc, selenium, iron, and vitamins B3 and B6. Wheat is cheaper.

Introduction

Oat is a cereal grain that originated in the Near East and then spread to the middle eastern regions and Europe. Oat is usually processed and is available mainly as oatmeal or rolled oats. Oats grow in temperate regions, and the countries with the highest cultivation of oats are Russia and Canada.

Oats are the origin of multiple foods such as rolled oats, oatmeal, oat flour, oat milk, and other foods. In addition to human usage, oats are also used in livestock feeding.

Oats can also be used in beverage preparations; one of the most common usages of oat is the preparation of oatmeal stout, which is a dark beer. Other alcoholic beverages use oats for blending whiskey.

On the other hand, there is wheat, a cereal grain that is considered a staple food. Its origin points to the fertile crescent, and archeologists pinpoint the years of wheat cultivation around 9500 BC. Wheat is an essential part of the Western and Mediterranean diets; it is highly spread worldwide. Wheat provides flour, which is the main ingredient in bread making. This shows how essential wheat is to the majority of the world. One of the most famous types of wheat is the durum. It is high in gluten protein which makes this type of wheat flour perfect for breadmaking and pasta preparations, and this is due to the adhesive property of gluten that keeps the dough together.

Varieties and culinary world

There are different types of oat preparations in the culinary world. Oat is the cultivated cereal grain, and different processes are done on these oats to obtain the following foods: overnight oats, oatmeal, rolled oats, masala oats, and porridge oats.

Overnight oats are a breakfast oat; soaking oats overnight has its digestive and gastronomic benefits. Soaking oats are easier to digest, and it makes the oats softer to eat and absorb more flavors.

Oatmeal is made by crushing oats, which makes the preparation of oatmeal easier and reduces the cooking or preparation time of oatmeal to 10 min instead of overnight soaking or hours of cooking of regular oats.

Wheat can be mechanically processed into several other things: flour, semolina, bulgur, and bran. Each can be processed into several other elements like dough, bread, pasta, and breakfast components. Malt, which is used in making beer and whiskey, comes from wheat.

Price

Wheat is cheaper compared to oats. However, in different parts of the world, these prices can vary. In addition to that, the price also varies with the processing done on oats and wheat.

In this article, we will discuss the difference between oat and wheat based on their difference in nutritional content, diet and weight loss usage, and health impacts.

Nutritional content comparison

In this article, we are taking into consideration durum wheat and whole oats. The comparison is based on 100g of each.

An important note is that both wheat and oats are in their pre-cooked stage compared to this article. 100g of cooked wheat or oat is different from 100g of cooked wheat or oat. For the cooking process, the water content and the nutritional values all vary accordingly.

Glycemic index

Wheat has a lower glycemic index compared to oat. Wheat is classified as low glycemic index food, whereas oats are classified as medium glycemic index food. It is important to note that the glycemic index of wheat is 50, meaning that it is in the higher margins of the low glycemic index foods.

Calories

Oats are higher in calories compared to wheat. Oats contain 390 calories per 100g, whereas wheat contains 340 cells per 100g.

Carbs

Wheat is higher in carbs compared to oats. It is important to mention that both wheat and oats are high in carbs. Most of their weight is made of carbs than any other macronutrient or water.

Fats

Oats are higher in fats than wheat. Oats contain nearly three times more fats than wheat. However, mostly these fats are unsaturated fatty acids.

Proteins

Oats are higher in protein than wheat. The main protein of oat is avenalin, and the main component of wheat protein is gluten. Gluten content is important for people who have celiac disease or other gluten intolerances.

Fibers

Wheat is highly rich in fibers. Wheat has 34 times more fiber than oat. The fiber content of wheat gives it high health benefits, which are mostly related to the digestive system's well-being.

Minerals

Oat is richer in phosphorus, copper, magnesium, and magnesium. On the other hand, wheat is richer in zinc, selenium, and iron. They are rich in certain minerals that satisfy more than 50% of the required daily value. These minerals are manganese, copper, iron, and selenium.

Below we can see the comparative diagrams of minerals between oat and wheat.

Mineral Comparison

Mineral comparison score is based on the number of minerals by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" charts below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food.
:
8
Wheat
Contains more Calcium +788.9%
Contains more Iron +238.6%
Contains more Magnesium +84.6%
Contains more Phosphorus +90.9%
Contains more Potassium +168.9%
Contains less Sodium -83.7%
Contains more Zinc +196.8%
Contains more Copper +213.6%
Contains more Manganese +84.6%
Contains more Selenium +538%
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper Manganese Selenium 24% 224% 19% 33% 6% 7% 17% 22% 73% 28%
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper Manganese Selenium 3% 66% 35% 63% 15% 2% 51% 69% 135% 174%
Contains more Calcium +788.9%
Contains more Iron +238.6%
Contains more Magnesium +84.6%
Contains more Phosphorus +90.9%
Contains more Potassium +168.9%
Contains less Sodium -83.7%
Contains more Zinc +196.8%
Contains more Copper +213.6%
Contains more Manganese +84.6%
Contains more Selenium +538%

Vitamins

The vitamin profile of both these is not as rich in content and variability. However, they have their highlights. Oat is richer in vitamins B1, B2, B5, and folate. In comparison, wheat is richer in vitamins B3 and B6.

Below we can see the comparative diagrams of vitamins between oat and wheat.

Vitamin Comparison

Vitamin comparison score is based on the number of vitamins by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" charts below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food.
Oatmeal
11
:
1
Wheat
Contains more Vitamin A +10725%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +173.7%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +616.7%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +31.2%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +314.3%
Contains more Folate +300%
Contains more Vitamin E +242.9%
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Choline Vitamin K 26% 2% 0% 0% 65% 50% 57% 20% 67% 33% 0% 3% 1%
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Choline Vitamin K 1% 5% 0% 0% 24% 7% 44% 0% 17% 9% 0% 0% 0%
Contains more Vitamin A +10725%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +173.7%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +616.7%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +31.2%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +314.3%
Contains more Folate +300%
Contains more Vitamin E +242.9%

Diets and weight loss

One of the most important differences between oat and wheat is the presence of gluten. The major protein content of wheat is gluten which gives it its adhesive and sticky property that is important in pasta dough preparation and breadmaking. On the other hand, oat doesn't contain gluten, making oat a gluten-free alternative to wheat. Oat flour doesn't contain gluten which is a good alternative to wheat flour, mostly semolina. However, the gluten-free property affects the process of breadmaking, for example, because gluten is one of the constituents that keep the bread held together and prevented it from crumbling and drying up.

Consider the consumption of these products during the various diets.

  • Gluten-free diet. Gluten is the main component of wheat; thus, wheat cannot be consumed in gluten-free diets. On the other hand, oats can be consumed in gluten-free diets and are recommended as optional alternatives to wheat.
  • Keto diet. Wheat and oats are high in carbs; thus, they cannot be consumed in keto diets. However, some foods and snacks that have wheat or oats in them can be eaten. It is important to consider the content of wheat or oats, basically the general carb content of these foods—alternatives for either that exist. For example, for wheat or oat flour, almond flour can be used.
  • Dukan diet consists of low carbohydrates, high protein, and low fat. Only four tablespoons of wheat gluten flour are permitted each week in all phases (used in baking to help make desserts). As for oats, around one and a half tablespoons of oat bran are allowed daily.
  • In the Mediterranean diet, wheat and oat are recommended as traditional foods from Greece, Italy, and other Mediterranean Sea countries.
  • In spite of the fact that oats are a non-fattening, healthy food for a more mainstream diet, they do contain anti-nutrients that the Paleo diet is aiming to avoid, such as phytic acid, lectins, and avenin. In contrast, wheat is recommended during this diet.
  • Because intermittent fasting regulates when you eat rather than what you consume, it is more like an eating habit than a diet. It is therefore possible to consume either of these products while following this diet.
  • Vegan diet. Wheat and oat can be consumed in the vegan diet. In addition to that, wheat and oat milk are available as alternatives to dairy milk. In turn, each of them comes with their differences in taste, flavor, and nutritious values. However, both are good alternatives to dairy milk.
  • DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diets also allow them to be consumed.

Health impacts

Vitamins

The vitamins B3 and B6  in wheat are more abundant than those in oat, which is rich in B1, B2, B5, and B9, as mentioned above. Moderate consumption of wheat and oats may prevent a deficiency of these vitamins.

Niacin (vitamin B3) deficiency can lead to pellagra. Symptoms of pellagra include diarrhea, dementia, and dermatitis ("the three Ds"). If not treated, it may cause death.

The most common cause of pyridoxine (vitamin B6) deficiency is isoniazid therapy (this drug is used in the treatment of tuberculosis). Symptoms of vitamin B6 deficiency include sideroblastic anemia, convulsions, cheilosis, and stomatitis.

The most prevalent reason for thiamine (vitamin B1) deficiency is alcoholism. Vitamin B1 deficiency may cause beri-beri (peripheral neuropathy, which may cause prickling or tingling in your feet or hands), confabulation (a patient creates false memories without the desire to deceive), and psychosis.

Riboflavin (vitamin B2) deficiency may cause corneal neovascularization (which is dangerous for vision); its symptoms include cheilosis, stomatitis, and a magenta-colored tongue.

The most common causes of folic acid (vitamin B9) deficiency are alcoholism, pregnancy (body stores are depleted in 3 months), and hemodialysis. A deficiency of vitamin B9 may cause megaloblastic anemia, and a deficiency in early pregnancy causes neural tube defects in the fetus.

Cardiovascular health

Section reviewed by cardiologist Astghik Grigoryan Article author photo Astghik Grigoryan

Wheat germ and oats contain some proteins that may inhibit ACE (angiotensin-converting enzyme), similar to antihypertensive medications (e.g., Captopril, Lisinopril, Perindopril, etc.) (1.2).

Besides this, wheat and oats are high in dietary fibers, which may reduce blood pressure and help control weight (3.4).

According to studies, the regular consumption of wholemeal wheat foods and oat bran may reduce LDL (bad cholesterol) levels in plasma, which is important for people with coronary artery disease (5.6.7).

In addition, high-dose niacin, found in wheat, can be used to treat hyperlipidemia.

In conclusion, consumption of these products may decrease cardiovascular risk.

Digestive Health

The consumption of oats has been linked to improved intestinal microbiota (8).

Wheat consumption is associated with decreased risk of diverticulosis. Diverticulosis is associated with low fiber intake over long durations of time. Full-grain wheat, with its husk and bran, is the optimal source of fibers for the different wheat varieties (9).

Oats have similar properties to wheat regarding the overall reduction of risk of diverticulosis. In addition to that, it reduces lipid absorption having a health-positive effect on overall metabolism (10).

Celiac disease

Section reviewed by gastroenterologist Arpi Gasparyan Article author photo Arpi Gasparyan

Wheat protein is mostly made of gluten, which induces inflammation in celiac disease. Thus, it is highly important not to consume gluten for people with celiac disease (11).

Oats are gluten-free, and most people with gluten-related disorders can consume oats.

Diabetes

In patients with uncontrolled type 2 diabetes, blood glucose, and cholesterol levels were shown to be lower. Oat is linked to the management of hypercholesterolemia and hyperglycemia (12).

Consumption of whole-grain cereals such as oats and wheat reduces the incidence of developing type 2 diabetes. In addition to that, it keeps blood glucose and triglyceride levels in control. Fatty acid absorption is reduced in oat-based diets compared to other types of cereal grains (13).

Cancer

Oats contain beta-glucans; these beta-glucans have anti-carcinogenic properties against lung cancer cells (14).

Wheat class affects the effect of wheat on the risk of developing colon cancer. Whole-grain brown wheat has been shown to have protective properties against the development of colon cancer (15).

Article author photo Jack  Yacoubian
Education: Haigazian Medical University
Last updated: January 24, 2024
Medically reviewed by Astghik Grigoryan

Infographic

Oatmeal vs Wheat infographic
Infographic link

Macronutrient Comparison

Macronutrient breakdown side-by-side comparison
:
3
Wheat
Contains more Fats +63.9%
Contains more Water +28.9%
Contains more Protein +140.9%
Contains more Carbs +136.5%
Contains more Other +19.3%
2% 12% 84%
Protein: 2.37 g
Fats: 1.36 g
Carbs: 11.67 g
Water: 84.03 g
Other: 0.57 g
6% 28% 65%
Protein: 5.71 g
Fats: 0.83 g
Carbs: 27.6 g
Water: 65.18 g
Other: 0.68 g
Contains more Fats +63.9%
Contains more Water +28.9%
Contains more Protein +140.9%
Contains more Carbs +136.5%
Contains more Other +19.3%

Fat Type Comparison

Fat type breakdown side-by-side comparison
:
1
Wheat
Contains more Monounsaturated Fat +365.5%
Contains more Polyunsaturated fat +75.3%
Contains less Saturated Fat -65.9%
22% 37% 41%
Saturated Fat: 0.226 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 0.391 g
Polyunsaturated fat: 0.426 g
19% 21% 60%
Saturated Fat: 0.077 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 0.084 g
Polyunsaturated fat: 0.243 g
Contains more Monounsaturated Fat +365.5%
Contains more Polyunsaturated fat +75.3%
Contains less Saturated Fat -65.9%

Comparison summary table

Pay attention to the rightmost column. It displays the amounts side by side, giving a clearer understanding of the difference.
Oatmeal Wheat
Lower in Sodium ok
Lower in Saturated Fat ok
Lower in Glycemic Index ok
Rich in minerals ok
Lower in Sugar ok
Lower in price ok
Rich in vitamins ok
Lower in Cholesterol Equal

All nutrients comparison - raw data values

Nutrient Oatmeal Wheat Opinion
Net carbs 9.97g 23.3g Wheat
Protein 2.37g 5.71g Wheat
Fats 1.36g 0.83g Oatmeal
Carbs 11.67g 27.6g Wheat
Calories 68kcal 132kcal Wheat
Starch 10.37g Oatmeal
Sugar 0.46g 3.07g Oatmeal
Fiber 1.7g 4.3g Wheat
Calcium 80mg 9mg Oatmeal
Iron 5.96mg 1.76mg Oatmeal
Magnesium 26mg 48mg Wheat
Phosphorus 77mg 147mg Wheat
Potassium 61mg 164mg Wheat
Sodium 49mg 8mg Wheat
Zinc 0.62mg 1.84mg Wheat
Copper 0.066mg 0.207mg Wheat
Manganese 0.558mg 1.03mg Wheat
Selenium 5µg 31.9µg Wheat
Vitamin A 433IU 4IU Oatmeal
Vitamin A RAE 130µg Oatmeal
Vitamin E 0.07mg 0.24mg Wheat
Vitamin B1 0.26mg 0.095mg Oatmeal
Vitamin B2 0.215mg 0.03mg Oatmeal
Vitamin B3 3.025mg 2.305mg Oatmeal
Vitamin B5 0.317mg Oatmeal
Vitamin B6 0.29mg 0.07mg Oatmeal
Folate 44µg 11µg Oatmeal
Choline 4.7mg Oatmeal
Vitamin K 0.4µg Oatmeal
Tryptophan 0.04mg 0.051mg Wheat
Threonine 0.083mg 0.172mg Wheat
Isoleucine 0.105mg 0.22mg Wheat
Leucine 0.2mg 0.432mg Wheat
Lysine 0.135mg 0.161mg Wheat
Methionine 0.04mg 0.097mg Wheat
Phenylalanine 0.13mg 0.3mg Wheat
Valine 0.151mg 0.267mg Wheat
Histidine 0.057mg 0.147mg Wheat
Trans Fat 0.003g 0.002g Wheat
Saturated Fat 0.226g 0.077g Wheat
Monounsaturated Fat 0.391g 0.084g Oatmeal
Polyunsaturated fat 0.426g 0.243g Oatmeal

Which food is preferable for your diet?

ok
ok
is better in case of low diet
Oatmeal Wheat
Low Fats diet ok
Low Carbs diet ok
Low Calories diet ok
Low Glycemic Index diet ok

People also compare

Vitamins & Minerals Daily Need Coverage Score

The summary scores indicate the extent to which this food can fulfill your daily vitamin and mineral requirements if you consume 3 servings, consisting of 100 grams of each (an approximation of 3 serving sizes).
Vitamins Daily Need Coverage Score
25%
Oatmeal
8%
Wheat
Minerals Daily Need Coverage Score
45%
Oatmeal
61%
Wheat

Comparison summary

Which food contains less Sodium?
Wheat
Wheat contains less Sodium (difference - 41mg)
Which food is lower in Saturated Fat?
Wheat
Wheat is lower in Saturated Fat (difference - 0.149g)
Which food is lower in glycemic index?
Wheat
Wheat is lower in glycemic index (difference - 29)
Which food is richer in minerals?
Wheat
Wheat is relatively richer in minerals
Which food is lower in Sugar?
Oatmeal
Oatmeal is lower in Sugar (difference - 2.61g)
Which food is cheaper?
Oatmeal
Oatmeal is cheaper (difference - $0.4)
Which food is richer in vitamins?
Oatmeal
Oatmeal is relatively richer in vitamins
Which food contains less Cholesterol?
?
The foods are relatively equal in Cholesterol (0 mg)

References

All the values for which the sources are not specified explicitly are taken from FDA’s Food Central. The exact link to the food presented on this page can be found below.

  1. Oatmeal - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/171662/nutrients
  2. Wheat - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/169744/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.