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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 July 20, 2022
Education: General Medicine at YSMU
Porridge
vs
Oatmeal

Summary

Porridge and oatmeal are usually referred to as oatmeal; 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 or varieties of porridge are maize, millet, wheat, rice, quinoa, rye, buckwheat, and potato porridges.

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 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" chart below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food
:
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 Vitamin K 0% 1% 0% 0% 14% 6% 10% 5% 3% 9% 0% 1%
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Vitamin K 26% 2% 0% 0% 65% 50% 57% 20% 67% 33% 0% 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, regular

Cream of Wheat, instant

Cream of Wheat, 2 1/2m

Oatmeal

100g

3.74mg

4.96mg

4.09mg

5.96mg

1 cup

9.39mg

12mg

9.98mg

14mg

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" chart 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%
Equal in Calcium - 80
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper 27% 141% 4% 7% 2% 1% 4% 14%
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper 24% 224% 19% 33% 6% 7% 17% 22%
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%
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 time.

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 disorders

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 is shown to lower the risk of diseases mentioned below.

    • Type two diabetes: lowers blood glucose concentrations.
    • 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”), 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. 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 decrease blood pressure, blood cholesterol levels and enhance 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 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).

References

  1. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/173902/nutrients
  2. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/173008/nutrients
  3. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Iron-HealthProfessional/
  4. https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/114/5/1625/6320814
  5. pH values of foods and food products
  6. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26273900/
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK538505/
  8. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30029703/
  9. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27446825/
  10. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12616264/
  11. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27446824/
  12. https://www.coeliac.org.au/s/article/Oats-and-the-gluten-free-diet
  13. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31960663/
  14. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6892284/
  15. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27724985/
  16. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8625765/
  17. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23494974/
  18. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1021949816301429
  19. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11883-003-0039-5
  20. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/education/dash-eating-plan
  21. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31446062/
  22. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28189173/
Article author photo Arpi Gasparyan
Education: General Medicine at YSMU
Last updated: July 20, 2022

Infographic

Porridge vs Oatmeal 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.
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 g 10.37g Oatmeal
Fructose g 0g 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
Vitamin A 0IU 433IU Oatmeal
Vitamin E 0.02mg 0.07mg Oatmeal
Vitamin D 0IU 0IU
Vitamin D 0µg 0µg
Vitamin C 0mg 0mg
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
Vitamin B12 0µg 0µg
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
Cholesterol 0mg 0mg
Trans Fat g 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

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
4
Porridge
27
Oatmeal
Mineral Summary Score
24
Porridge
44
Oatmeal

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
9%
Porridge
14%
Oatmeal
Carbohydrates
11%
Porridge
12%
Oatmeal
Fats
1%
Porridge
6%
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

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. 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.