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Wheat vs Oat - Health impact and Nutrition Comparison

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Wheat
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Oat

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 mostly available as oatmeal or rolled oats. Oats grow in temperate regions and the countries with the highest cultivation of oats are Russia and Canada.

Oats is the origin of multiple varieties of 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, which is 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 important part of the western diet and Mediterranean diet, it is highly spread all around the world. 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, 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 cereal grain that is cultivated, 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 normal oats.

Wheat can be mechanically processed into several other things which are: flour, semolina, bulgur, and bran. Each of these 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 are going to 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 full oats. The comparison is based on 100g of each.
An important note is that both wheat and oats compared in this article are in their pre-cooked stage. 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 in low glycemic index foods whereas oats are classified in medium glycemic index foods. 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 3 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 suffer from celiac disease or other gluten intolerances.

Fibers

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

Minerals

Oat is richer in phosphorus, copper, magnesium, and magnesium. On the other hand, what 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.

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. Whereas, wheat is richer in vitamins B3 and B6.

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 the 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 prevents it from crumbling and drying up.

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

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 take into consideration the content of wheat or oats, basically the general carb content of these foods. Alternatives for either which exist. For example, for wheat or oat flour, almond flour can be used.

Vegan

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.

Health impacts

Digestive system

The consumption of oats has been linked to a greater performance of intestinal microbiota. (1)

Wheat consumption is associated with decreased risks of diverticulitis. Diverticulitis is associated with low fiber intake diets over long durations of time. Wheat husks that have a high fiber content decrease risks of developing diverticulitis. It is important to take into consideration that full-grain wheat with its husk and bran are the optimal source of fibers when it comes to the different varieties of wheat. (2)

Oats have similar properties to wheat when it comes to the overall reduction of risks of diverticulitis. In addition to that, it reduces lipid absorption having a health positive effect on overall metabolism. (3)

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. (4)

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. (5)

Cancer

Oats contain beta-glucans, these beta-glucans have anti-carcinogenic properties against lung cancer cells. (6)

Wheat class affects the effect of wheat on risks of developing colon cancer. Whole grain brown wheat has been shown to have protective properties against the development of colon cancer. (7)

Celiac disease

Wheat protein is mostly made of gluten which is what induces inflammation in celiac disease. Thus, it is highly important to not consume gluten for people who suffer from celiac disease. Wheat should not be consumed for people who suffer from celiac disease. (8)

Summary

Oat is higher in calories, fats, proteins 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.

References

  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31638148/
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26267774/
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15471177/
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26690472/
  5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32641435/
  6. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28756506/
  7. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24820704/
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6647104/
Article author photo Jack  Yacoubian
Profession: Haigazian Medical University
Last updated: August 10, 2021

Infographic

Wheat vs Oat infographic
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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
Wheat
2
:
5
Oat
Contains more Iron +34.1%
Contains more Calcium +58.8%
Contains more Magnesium +22.9%
Contains more Copper +13.2%
Equal in Potassium - 429
Equal in Zinc - 3.97
Equal in Phosphorus - 523
Equal in Sodium - 2
Iron Calcium Potassium Magnesium Copper Zinc Phosphorus Sodium 132% 11% 39% 103% 185% 114% 218% 1%
Iron Calcium Potassium Magnesium Copper Zinc Phosphorus Sodium 177% 17% 38% 127% 209% 109% 225% 1%
Contains more Iron +34.1%
Contains more Calcium +58.8%
Contains more Magnesium +22.9%
Contains more Copper +13.2%
Equal in Potassium - 429
Equal in Zinc - 3.97
Equal in Phosphorus - 523
Equal in Sodium - 2

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
Wheat
2
:
4
Oat
Contains more Vitamin B3 +601.1%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +252.1%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +82.1%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +14.9%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +44.3%
Contains more Folate +30.2%
Vitamin C Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Vitamin B12 Vitamin K Folate 0% 0% 0% 0% 105% 28% 127% 57% 97% 0% 0% 33%
Vitamin C Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Vitamin B12 Vitamin K Folate 0% 0% 0% 0% 191% 33% 19% 81% 28% 0% 0% 43%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +601.1%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +252.1%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +82.1%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +14.9%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +44.3%
Contains more Folate +30.2%

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
37
Wheat
33
Oat
Mineral Summary Score
100
Wheat
112
Oat

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
82%
Wheat
101%
Oat
Carbohydrates
71%
Wheat
66%
Oat
Fats
11%
Wheat
32%
Oat

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.
Wheat Oat
Lower in Saturated Fat ok
Lower in glycemic index ok
Lower in price ok
Rich in minerals ok
Lower in Cholesterol Equal
Lower in Sugar Equal
Lower in Sodium Equal
Rich in vitamins Equal

Which food is preferable for your diet?

ok
ok
is better in case of low diet
Wheat Oat
Low Calories diet ok
Low Fats diet ok
Low Carbs diet ok
Low glycemic index diet ok

People also compare

Comparison summary

Which food is lower in Saturated Fat?
Wheat
Wheat is lower in Saturated Fat (difference - 0.763g)
Which food is lower in glycemic index?
Wheat
Wheat is lower in glycemic index (difference - 9)
Which food is cheaper?
Wheat
Wheat is cheaper (difference - $0.2)
Which food is richer in minerals?
Oat
Oat is relatively richer in minerals
Which food contains less Cholesterol?
?
The foods are relatively equal in Cholesterol (0 mg)
Which food contains less Sugar?
?
The foods are relatively equal in Sugar ( g)
Which food contains less Sodium?
?
The foods are relatively equal in Sodium (2 mg)
Which food is richer in vitamins?
?
It cannot be stated which food is richer in vitamins. See the charts below for detailed information. See the charts below for detailed information. See the charts below for detailed information.

All nutrients comparison - raw data values

Nutrient Wheat Oat Opinion
Calories 339 389 Oat
Protein 13.68 16.89 Oat
Fats 2.47 6.9 Oat
Vitamin C 0 0
Carbs 71.13 66.27 Wheat
Cholesterol 0 0
Vitamin D 0 0
Iron 3.52 4.72 Oat
Calcium 34 54 Oat
Potassium 431 429 Wheat
Magnesium 144 177 Oat
Sugar
Fiber 10.6 Oat
Copper 0.553 0.626 Oat
Zinc 4.16 3.97 Wheat
Starch
Phosphorus 508 523 Oat
Sodium 2 2
Vitamin A 0 0
Vitamin E
Vitamin D 0 0
Vitamin B1 0.419 0.763 Oat
Vitamin B2 0.121 0.139 Oat
Vitamin B3 6.738 0.961 Wheat
Vitamin B5 0.935 1.349 Oat
Vitamin B6 0.419 0.119 Wheat
Vitamin B12 0 0
Vitamin K
Folate 43 56 Oat
Trans Fat
Saturated Fat 0.454 1.217 Wheat
Monounsaturated Fat 0.344 2.178 Oat
Polyunsaturated fat 0.978 2.535 Oat
Tryptophan 0.176 0.234 Oat
Threonine 0.366 0.575 Oat
Isoleucine 0.533 0.694 Oat
Leucine 0.934 1.284 Oat
Lysine 0.303 0.701 Oat
Methionine 0.221 0.312 Oat
Phenylalanine 0.681 0.895 Oat
Valine 0.594 0.937 Oat
Histidine 0.322 0.405 Oat
Fructose

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. Wheat - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/169721/nutrients
  2. Oat - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/169705/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.