Last Updated on December 22, 2021
What is the difference between oatmeal and oat bran, you wonder? We would love to tell you more about these essential oats and explain the differences between them. Knowledge is power, my friend.
Oatmeal is not the same as oat bran. They both come from a plant called Avena Sativa, though, which is also known as common oats or cereal oats. However, oatmeal tends to be more processed than oat bran because it goes through additional steps such as being cleaned, hulled, polished, and chopped.
Oat bran, on the other hand, is only hulled and crushed — it doesn’t go through a cleaning process because it’s used in its whole-grain form.
So what are some of the differences between these two? Keep reading for all of your answers!
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The Difference Between Oatmeal and Oat Bran
Difference #1: How They are Processed
The process of making oatmeal begins by steaming the whole-grain groats (i.e., oat kernels) to soften them, then they are rolled into flakes or steel-cut before being dried and toasted.
Oatmeal is either old-fashioned (rolled oats), quick-cooking (thinner rolled oats), or instant because of how it has been processed, whereas oat bran is made by milling oat groats and then further processing them by grinding, sifting out the coarse outer husk to make a fine bran powder. Here is a little more detail about each.
The process of making oatmeal
Oatmeal is made after removing the outer husk of the oat grains. Then it goes through a process which includes steaming, rolling, flaking, and toasting to give it its final flavor.
After this process, it’s finally ready to be eaten as cereal or included in your favorite baked goods recipes.
We will typically consume oatmeal in one of five ways:
- oat groats
- steel cut oats
- Scottish oats (a/k/a steel cut oats)
- rolled (old fashioned oats)
- instant or quick oats
The process of making oat bran
Oat bran is the outer casing of the oat and it’s high in dietary fiber. It can be made by peeling/braning oats, an alternative to rice bran.
Oat hulls are removed from whole oats, which are processed into oat flour; this ingredient is then divided for different end-use applications such as cereal, bread, instant oatmeal and confectionery. After milling from whole oat groats, the oat bran is carefully removed in order to obtain pure bran flakes with a low fat content. This raw material can then be further processed into various types of dietary fiber products.
Oatmeal is more processed than oat bran because it goes through additional steps such as being cleaned, hulled, polished, and chopped. Oat bran is only hulled and crushed – it doesn’t go through a cleaning process because it’s used in its whole-grain form.
Difference #2: What Nutrients They Contain
The most important difference between oatmeal and oat bran is that oat bran does not contain gluten, while oats do. Gluten can cause inflammation of the intestines for people who have celiac disease.
Oatmeal Has a Higher Carbohydrate Content
One cup of cooked oatmeal contains 27 grams of carbohydrates, while one cup of cooked oat bran contains just 17 grams of carbohydrates. This is because the germ and bran are removed in the processing of oatmeal, which are high in fiber and other nutrients.
Oat Bran is Higher in Fiber
A cup of cooked oat bran contains 7 grams of fiber, while a cup of cooked oatmeal contains only 4 grams of fiber. This is because whole oat groats, or the “rolled oats” used in oatmeal, contain valuable amounts of soluble fiber.
Oat bran has the most fiber of all breakfast cereals with a 14% daily value. Oatmeal, on the other hand, contains only about half that amount at just around seven percent daily value per serving. However, oatmeal contains soluble fiber, which helps control blood sugar and cholesterol levels in your body.
Oat bran contains 3 grams of fiber per serving, while oatmeal only has 1 gram. The reason is that oatmeal is processed and most of the calories come from its carbohydrate content. Oat bran, on the other hand, keeps more of the oat kernel in it which makes up to about 80 percent carbohydrates and 20% fiber by weight.
Oat bran has a much higher concentration of protein than oats do, with 8 grams per serving compared to just 2 grams in oatmeal. This makes it an excellent choice for vegetarians and vegans who don’t get their necessary intake from meat products.
Oat bran contains a good amount of B vitamins, including over 20 percent of your daily intake of thiamine and riboflavin, while oatmeal only has small amounts. It is also high in minerals such as calcium and iron compared to oats which have very little nutrients other than carbohydrates.
Bottom line nutritionally: The differences between oatmeal and oat bran can be confusing. But regardless, you should still remember that they contain high amounts of fiber and protein, as well as beneficial nutrients such as iron, magnesium, zinc, copper, manganese, B vitamins (niacin), and vitamin E. So whichever one you choose, you’ll still be making a healthy lifestyle decision!
Difference #3: What They are Used for
Most people use oat bran to thicken soups or stews, but it can also be used in baking.
Oat bran has more uses than just being consumed as food. It can also be added to other products such as oatmeal cereals, protein bars, beef patties, and ice cream to make them healthier. Oat bran can be added to yogurt or even baked into breads for an extra kick of fiber.
Oatmeal is typically eaten plain with milk and brown sugar to sweeten it up a bit. It also makes a great topping on pancakes or waffles. But oatmeal has many other uses as well. It can be used to make a paste for homemade play dough or putty, or it can even be added to bathwater for some extra soothing effects!
Interestingly, both can be used as substitutes for breadcrumbs or flour when cooking meatballs or other dishes.
Difference #4: Taste and Texture
Oat bran has a nuttier flavor and thicker texture, while traditional oatmeal is creamier with a thinner texture. The texture of oats depends on how they have been processed and may vary from smooth to coarse.
Oat bran is a little different because, even though it has been processed, there are still some who prefer its original texture and enjoy the crunchy feel of raw oats in oatmeal or other products.
Oatmeal is larger than oat bran, which gives it a heartier taste. Oat bran has a milder, slightly sweeter flavor because it is smaller than oatmeal.
Difference #5: Time to Cook
Oat bran can be prepared on the stove top in about 10 minutes.
If you’re preparing a quick cooking oatmeal you can be enjoying your hot breakfast in about 5 minutes.
When you choose steel cut oats, however, you’re going to be letting them simmer for 15 to 20 minutes before they’re ready to consume. It’s worth it, though, to have the taste and texture that you can only get from steel cut oats.
It’s important to note that when youbuy rolled oats that have been pre-cooked and quick cooking, they do not have the same slimming and weight management properties of oat bran.
Oatmeal and oat bran are both derived from the same plant, but they’re each unique in taste, texture, and nutritional value. If you like to cook with oats or eat them every day, you must know how they differ so you can make better choices for your diet.
We hope that by learning the difference between oatmeal and oat bran you can make the best choice for you and your healthy lifestyle!
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