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Porridge vs. Oatmeal — Health Impact and Nutrition Comparison

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Article author photo Arpi Gasparyan by Arpi Gasparyan | Last updated on June 02, 2023
Medically reviewed by Elen Khachatrian Article author photo Elen Khachatrian
Porridge
vs
Oatmeal

Summary

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.

Introduction

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

Nutrition

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.

Calories

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).

Protein

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.

Fats

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.

Carbohydrates

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.

Vitamins

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.

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.
:
10
Oatmeal
Contains more Vitamin A +∞%
Contains more Vitamin E +250%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +372.7%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +760%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +481.7%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +346.5%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +2130.8%
Contains more Folate +266.7%
Contains more Vitamin K +300%
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Choline Vitamin K 0% 1% 0% 0% 14% 6% 10% 5% 3% 9% 0% 0% 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 26% 2% 0% 0% 65% 50% 57% 20% 67% 33% 0% 3% 1%
Contains more Vitamin A +∞%
Contains more Vitamin E +250%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +372.7%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +760%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +481.7%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +346.5%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +2130.8%
Contains more Folate +266.7%
Contains more Vitamin K +300%

Minerals

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, regularCream of Wheat, instantCream of Wheat, 2 1/2mOatmeal
100g3.74mg4.96mg4.09mg5.96mg
1 cup9.39mg12mg9.98mg14mg

The recommended daily amount of iron is 8mg for adult men and 50+ women and 18mg for women aged 19-50 (3).

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.
Contains less Sodium -87.8%
Contains more Iron +59.4%
Contains more Magnesium +420%
Contains more Phosphorus +413.3%
Contains more Potassium +281.3%
Contains more Zinc +376.9%
Contains more Copper +65%
Contains more Manganese +∞%
Contains more Selenium +78.6%
Equal in Calcium - 80
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper Manganese Selenium 27% 141% 4% 7% 2% 1% 4% 14% 0% 16%
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper Manganese Selenium 24% 224% 19% 33% 6% 7% 17% 22% 73% 28%
Contains less Sodium -87.8%
Contains more Iron +59.4%
Contains more Magnesium +420%
Contains more Phosphorus +413.3%
Contains more Potassium +281.3%
Contains more Zinc +376.9%
Contains more Copper +65%
Contains more Manganese +∞%
Contains more Selenium +78.6%
Equal in Calcium - 80

Glycemic Index

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.

Acidity

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).

Health Impact

Gluten-Related Diseases 

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).

Article author photo Arpi Gasparyan
Education: General Medicine at YSMU
Last updated: June 02, 2023
Medically reviewed by Elen Khachatrian

Infographic

Porridge vs Oatmeal infographic
Infographic link

Macronutrient Comparison

Macronutrient breakdown side-by-side comparison
Contains more Protein +64.6%
Contains more Fats +547.6%
Contains more Carbs +10.9%
Contains more Other +159.1%
Equal in Water - 84.03
11% 88%
Protein: 1.44 g
Fats: 0.21 g
Carbs: 10.52 g
Water: 87.61 g
Other: 0.22 g
2% 12% 84%
Protein: 2.37 g
Fats: 1.36 g
Carbs: 11.67 g
Water: 84.03 g
Other: 0.57 g
Contains more Protein +64.6%
Contains more Fats +547.6%
Contains more Carbs +10.9%
Contains more Other +159.1%
Equal in Water - 84.03

Fat Type Comparison

Fat type breakdown side-by-side comparison
Contains less Saturated Fat -85.4%
Contains more Monounsaturated Fat +1296.4%
Contains more Polyunsaturated fat +273.7%
19% 16% 65%
Saturated Fat: 0.033 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 0.028 g
Polyunsaturated fat: 0.114 g
22% 37% 41%
Saturated Fat: 0.226 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 0.391 g
Polyunsaturated fat: 0.426 g
Contains less Saturated Fat -85.4%
Contains more Monounsaturated Fat +1296.4%
Contains more Polyunsaturated fat +273.7%

Comparison summary table

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

All nutrients comparison - raw data values

Nutrient Porridge Oatmeal Opinion
Net carbs 10.02g 9.97g Porridge
Protein 1.44g 2.37g Oatmeal
Fats 0.21g 1.36g Oatmeal
Carbs 10.52g 11.67g Oatmeal
Calories 50kcal 68kcal Oatmeal
Starch 10.37g Oatmeal
Sugar 0.03g 0.46g Porridge
Fiber 0.5g 1.7g Oatmeal
Calcium 87mg 80mg Porridge
Iron 3.74mg 5.96mg Oatmeal
Magnesium 5mg 26mg Oatmeal
Phosphorus 15mg 77mg Oatmeal
Potassium 16mg 61mg Oatmeal
Sodium 6mg 49mg Porridge
Zinc 0.13mg 0.62mg Oatmeal
Copper 0.04mg 0.066mg Oatmeal
Manganese 0mg 0.558mg Oatmeal
Selenium 2.8µg 5µg Oatmeal
Vitamin A 0IU 433IU Oatmeal
Vitamin A RAE 0µg 130µg Oatmeal
Vitamin E 0.02mg 0.07mg Oatmeal
Vitamin B1 0.055mg 0.26mg Oatmeal
Vitamin B2 0.025mg 0.215mg Oatmeal
Vitamin B3 0.52mg 3.025mg Oatmeal
Vitamin B5 0.071mg 0.317mg Oatmeal
Vitamin B6 0.013mg 0.29mg Oatmeal
Folate 12µg 44µg Oatmeal
Choline 4.7mg Oatmeal
Vitamin K 0.1µg 0.4µg Oatmeal
Tryptophan 0.02mg 0.04mg Oatmeal
Threonine 0.045mg 0.083mg Oatmeal
Isoleucine 0.063mg 0.105mg Oatmeal
Leucine 0.11mg 0.2mg Oatmeal
Lysine 0.037mg 0.135mg Oatmeal
Methionine 0.027mg 0.04mg Oatmeal
Phenylalanine 0.078mg 0.13mg Oatmeal
Valine 0.07mg 0.151mg Oatmeal
Histidine 0.033mg 0.057mg Oatmeal
Trans Fat 0.003g Porridge
Saturated Fat 0.033g 0.226g Porridge
Monounsaturated Fat 0.028g 0.391g Oatmeal
Polyunsaturated fat 0.114g 0.426g Oatmeal

Which food is preferable for your diet?

ok
ok
is better in case of low diet
Porridge Oatmeal
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
4%
Porridge
25%
Oatmeal
Minerals Daily Need Coverage Score
21%
Porridge
45%
Oatmeal

Comparison summary

Which food is lower in Sugar?
Porridge
Porridge is lower in Sugar (difference - 0.43g)
Which food contains less Sodium?
Porridge
Porridge contains less Sodium (difference - 43mg)
Which food is lower in Saturated Fat?
Porridge
Porridge is lower in Saturated Fat (difference - 0.193g)
Which food is lower in glycemic index?
Porridge
Porridge is lower in glycemic index (difference - 13)
Which food is richer in minerals?
Oatmeal
Oatmeal is relatively richer in minerals
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)
Which food is cheaper?
?
The foods are relatively equal in price ($)

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. Porridge - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/171657/nutrients
  2. Oatmeal - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/171662/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.