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Wheat Bran vs Oat Bran Comparison

Maria Foster
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by Maria Foster

Having a bowl of wheat bran or oat bran for breakfast has its benefits, and while both are similar foods, they have differences that may impact your eating habits. But, what is the difference between oat bran and wheat bran?

Read on to find out more about oat bran vs wheat bran and wheat bran vs oat bran to uncover their main differences to help with your decision. 

See Also: Best Oat Bran Substitutes

Oat Bran vs Wheat Bran Comparison


As far as vitamins go, these two bran types have a lot of the same nutrients. The vitamins present in both wheat bran or oat bran are:

  • Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol)
  • Vitamin K
  • Thiamin
  • Riboflavin
  • Niacin
  • Vitamin B6
  • Folate
  • Pantothenic Acid

Wheat bran has more vitamins than oat bran per serving, by about double the amount.

Oat bran, however, does have three times more thiamin than wheat bran. Thiamin helps cells in the body change carbs into energy.

On the other hand, wheat bran has three times more niacin and vitamin B6 and double the riboflavin amount.

Fiber Type

There are two different types of fiber: insoluble and soluble. Both are important for health, as soluble fiber promotes a healthy heart, and insoluble aids in bowel function.

Wheat bran has insoluble fiber, which adds bulk to the stool, helping food transport through the stomach and intestines. One ounce of wheat bran contains 12 grams of fiber.

Oat bran has soluble fiber, which attracts water, turning into a gel during digestion, which effectively slows digestion, making you feel satiated longer. One ounce of oat bran contains 4 grams of fiber.

A significant difference between oat bran and wheat bran is that oat bran has a beta-glucan, a type of soluble fiber that may help prevent heart disease, lower cholesterol, and manage diabetes. The beta-glucan binds cholesterol-rich bile acids in the intestine, transporting them through the digestive tract and out the body.

Studies have shown the difference in stool composition after consuming wheat bran or oat bran. Wheat bran increases stool concentration of sugars and plant material more than oat bran, but oat bran has more fecal bacteria mass. It was concluded oat bran increases stool weight more than wheat bran. 


Whether you’re eating wheat bran or oat bran, you will get the following minerals:

  • Calcium
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium
  • Zinc
  • Copper
  • Manganese
  • Selenium

The difference between oat bran and wheat bran is the percentage, as wheat bran has more of these vitamins per serving. In particular, wheat bran has more iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, copper, manganese, and selenium. Oat bran has about 10% more phosphorus.

These minerals provide numerous health benefits, such as potassium regulating blood pressure, copper and zinc, to boost the immune system. Selenium acts as an antioxidant. Phosphorus is essential for bone and teeth development. Magnesium helps nerves and muscle functions, as well as blood sugar and blood pressure regulation.

Both are excellent manganese sources, having more than 100% of the daily recommendation, although wheat bran has 60% more manganese. Manganese is for processing cholesterol, which benefits the heart.

Weight Maintenance and Control

Oat bran is high in soluble fiber that raises hormones that make you feel full and reduce hunger hormones such as ghrelin.

Oat bran is more friendly for those who want to gain weight, as it’s a popular breakfast for those who weight train or play sports. Oat bran has more calories and fat than wheat bran.

However, wheat bran has fewer calories and fat, making it a better option for those who want to lose or maintain weight.

One serving of oat bran uncooked contains 231 calories. Cooked oat bran can have 88 to 150 calories depending on the brand and serving size, typically 1/3 cup or 31 grams. On the other hand, one serving of wheat bran has 50 calories, generally ¼ cup or 15 grams.

Disease Fighting Components

Wheat bran or oat bran may have components that can combat diseases and illnesses, such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. Both contain phytochemicals and antioxidant properties. Also, they’re suitable for bowel movement due to their high fiber content, promoting healthy digestion.

Oat bran and its beta-glucan may reduce cholesterol and reduce systolic and diastolic blood pressure. The slow digestion from the soluble fiber may help lower blood sugar levels, as digestion slows down and absorption, resulting in blood sugar stabilization.

An antioxidant called avenanthramides only found in oats may prevent bad cholesterol from oxidation and fight inflammation.

Because wheat bran moves the bowels more than oat bran, it may prevent colon cancer.

Wheat bran may also accelerate the metabolism of estrogen, which may reduce the chances of breast cancer.

Overall, wheat bran has more antioxidants than oat bran, which coincides with its higher vitamin and mineral content.

Who Can Eat Wheat Bran or Oat Bran?

One of the most significant differences between oat bran and wheat bran is that oat bran is gluten-free, while wheat bran is not.

Those with Celiac disease, for instance, would not be able to eat wheat bran despite its nutrients and lower calorie content. Digestive problems also occur with Celiac patients, as gluten ingestion causes damage in the gut.

Wheat bran also contains fructans, which is a carbohydrate that is indigestible and ferments in the colon. This causes gas and abdominal pain. Since wheat bran has insoluble fiber that causes quicker bowel movements, one may think it would be suitable to support IBS, but it’s not.

Oat bran promotes more efficient digestion and is more comfortable for those who cannot consume gluten.

Wheat bran also has an anti-nutrient called phytic acid. Phytic acid may hinder the absorption of nutrients such as zinc, iron, magnesium, and others. However, many other healthy foods contain phytic acid, such as plants, nuts, and seeds. Too much consumption, however, may result in deficiencies.

Final Thoughts

Oat bran vs wheat bran may be up for debate, but various health benefits are consuming these products, such as better digestion, consuming more nutrients, and promoting healthy well-being. 

If you’re looking for more satisfaction with hunger cravings, wheat bran may be better for you. However, if you’re for more digestion, oat bran may be the better option.

If you’re intolerant to gluten, wheat bran may not be for you, but the alternative is oatmeal, which has tons of benefits as well.

About Maria Foster
Maria Foster
Maria Foster is a mother of 3 and she and her husband of 23 years share their home with 2 faithful dogs. Besides being CEO of the household and active in her community, Maria is the lead contributor to Food Champs and loves to try new food ideas and kitchen accessories to make easier and more delicious meals.
Maria Foster
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