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When it comes to these 2 types of popular grains, many might mistaken that they come from the same source but simply processed differently. As a matter of fact, oats and rice, even though they come from the grass plant family, actually originate from different plants altogether (1).
Other key differences are that oats cannot be refined but rice can be. Meaning that Oats will always stay as a whole grain whilst rice can be refined to remove its germ and bran component. The taste and texture for oats and rice is also different, we will discuss more on the nutritional content between these 2 grain types and justify if one is more nutritionally superior to the other.
Brown rice or white rice?
Brown rice is a whole grain as it is unrefined, therefore, rich in minerals, vitamins and fiber. White rice, on the other hand, is processed brown rice where the husk, germ and bran are removed from its unrefined form, leaving only the endosperm. Along with the processing, white rice is stripped of much of its nutrients and fiber.
Even though brown rice has almost the same calories as white rice, the key difference is that brown rice has 1 to 3 grams more of fiber than white rice and contains essential minerals such as Manganese, Selenium, Magnesium and Folate.
Generally, the benefits of wholegrain brown rice over white refined rice is that the gut friendly fiber content helps in weight management, lower cholesterol and fight chronic illness (2).
Oats and Oatmeal
Before we dwell into the key differences of brown rice and oats, this section will clarify the difference between oats and oatmeal. In fact oats are simply the non-processed version of oatmeal.
Oats are considered to be whole untouched grains, while oatmeal is the processed versions of these grains. Unlike refining brown rice to white rice, the processing for oats still allows it to retain its whole grain status.
Oats processing removes the outer shell of the oats, revealing the oat groat. Through a specific heating process, the oat groats are stabilized to extend shelf life. There are varying versions of oatmeal, which include, steel-cut oats, rolled oats, quick cooking oats and instant oats (3).
Oatmeal vs Brown rice – which is better?
It will be more apt to compare brown rice with oatmeal as both are whole grains (4).
One cup of cooked oatmeal is significantly lesser in calories (145 Kcal) as compared to brown rice, which has 216 Kcals. Much of this is attributed to the lower carbohydrate content oatmeal (25 grams) has as compared to brown rice (45 grams).
As such Oatmeal are considered to be more ideal for those who are on a low calorie / carbs diet.
One cup of cooked brown rice or oatmeal is rich in fiber, approximately 4 grams. This is makes it beneficial for those looking to lose weight as high fiber meals help to make one feel fuller faster. It is also beneficial for the digestive system, overall immunity of the body and help with management or prevention of chronic illnesses.
For those looking to build muscles, both grains are good sources of protein, with about 4 to 6 grams of protein per cup.
Vitamins and minerals
Both brown rice and oatmeal provide B-vitamins that are essential in metabolising energy, and maintains muscle, nerve and heart functions. Additionally, it is beneficial for the skin, immune and digestive system.
Both grains also are rich in minerals such as iron, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese and selenium.
Generally, both brown rice and oatmeal are exceedingly beneficial to the body. With their high fiber content, it helps with those who are seeking to maintain or lose weight through appetite control.The one significant difference between oatmeal and brown rice is the calorie content, with oats having much lesser calories per serving due to lower carbohydrate content. This would make oats an even better option for those who are managing their weight and also those one a carbohydrate restrictive diet (people with diabetes etc).
By : Alvin Ho
B (Eng), MBA, Certified Allied Healthcare/Fitness Professional (EIMS), Master Fitness Trainer / Fitness Nutrition, Resistance & Endurance Training Specialist (NFPT)