Oats Versus Wheat – What’s The Difference?

Published Categorized as Ingredients, Guide

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Whole wheat flour is and always has been a staple ingredient of many well-known recipes. Many baked goods will incorporate whole wheat flour. However, nowadays there are plenty of alternative flour options available. 

Whether you have dietary restrictions such as celiac disease or simply can’t eat gluten, you’ll likely be able to find something. Whilst almond flour and coconut flour can make great gluten-free flour alternatives, oat flour is quickly becoming one of the more popular choices.

However, you may be asking if there’s actually much difference between oat flour and whole wheat flour? If there is, what is the difference and how significant is it?

Table of Contents

Oats vs Wheat: Are oats different from wheat?

Whilst whole wheat flour and oat flour may look similar, the two are very different. Oat flour for example is slightly more silky in texture compared to wheat flour, along with having a slightly oaty taste. Additionally, each flour type has its own health benefits and are made in different ways.

Whole Wheat Flour

Oats Versus Wheat - What’s The Difference?

What is Whole Wheat Flour?

Whole wheat flour is made when wheat kernels are ground into a fine powder. Whilst some wheat powders may not use all parts of the grain, whole wheat flour will contain the ground up bran, germ and endosperm of the wheat kernels. 

Each of these parts of the grain provides its own distinct traits and nutritional benefits. 

  • The Bran: This is the skin of the wheat kernel. Often, the bran is able to be used separately as part of breakfast cereal or nutrient supplement. The bran is rich in both fibre and Vitamin B along with being insoluble in water. As a result, the bran makes for a good way of preventing constipation.
  • The Germ: As it is the fattiest part of the grain, the germ is often removed in other wheat flours. Whole grains, however, will keep the germ as it contains many beneficial nutrients. These nutrients include iron, B vitamins and protein.
  • The Endosperm: This is what the bulk of your wheat flour will consist of. Endosperms usually contain large amounts of carbohydrates, iron and protein.

One aspect of wheat flour however that may be an issue for you is that it contains a large amount of gluten. As such, it is unsuitable for those who require a gluten-free diet.

The Difference Between The Various Types of Wheat flour?

There are two types of whole-grain wheat flour. These are red whole grain wheat flour and white whole grain flour. Whilst both are whole grains, they do have some distinct differences.

Red wheat flour comes from red wheat kernels and is rich in tannins and phenolic acid. These tannins have been linked with improved metabolisms and protein digestion. Meanwhile, phenolic acid is believed to help prevent stroke and heart disease.

Whole grain white flour on the other hand lacks these tannins and phenolic acid. As a result, though, it is generally sweeter. This means that when using it for baking, fewer sweetening agents need to be added.

Refined White Flour

Along with whole-grain flours made from wheat, there are also refined flours. These wheat flours are heavily processed and usually exclude the bran and germ from the flour. 

Often these are referred to as white flour. Additionally, these types of processed white flours are often combined with other ingredients.  Some white flour variations include all-purpose flour, self-rising flour and many other types of bakers flour.

As these types of flour or more commonly seen in the grocery store, they are often referred to as regular wheat flour or simply regular flour. Additionally, whenever a recipe calls for flour such as with pizza dough, quick breads and pie crusts they will often specify a type of white flour.

The upside of using refined white flour is that it tends to be somewhat flavour neutral. This makes it more versatile as a result. However, on the other hand, whole grain wheat flour will provide more nutritional benefits  

The Taste and Texture of Wheat Flour?

Whole wheat flours have something of a slightly nutty or earthy flavour. In addition, the texture is also somewhat yet fairly light.

However, red whole wheat flour tends to have a slightly bitter taste. White whole wheat flour on the other hand tends to be slightly sweet.

Oat Flour

Oats Versus Wheat - What’s The Difference?

What is Oat Flour?

Oat flour is made from ground-up whole oats rather than wheat. Often, oat flour can be slightly trickier to find than wheat flour due to the ubiquitous nature of the latter option. However, like with oat milk, oat flour is generally a go-to for those who require a gluten-free alternative.

The Taste and Texture of Oat Flour?

As you can probably imagine, oat flour has a slightly oaty taste when compared to whole grain or white wheat flour. In addition oat flour also has a heavier and thicker texture when compared to wheat flour.

Oats vs Wheat Grain Nutrition Comparison

Below is a table comparing the nutritional values of wheat flour and oat flour. These are measured as the contents of each nutrient per cup or roughly 145 grams.

Carbohydrates (in grams)102103
Protein (in grams)1326
Fat (in grams)2.711
Vitamins and MineralsIron 5.1 mg, Magnesium 160 mg, Potassium 540mg, B Vitamins 9.7mgIron 7.4mg, Magnesium 176 mg, Potassium 669 mg, B Vitamins 5.3 mg

Are Oats Better For You Than Wheat?

In most scenarios, oat flour will likely be better for you than wheat. This is because oat flour is richer in nutrients whilst being lower in carbohydrates. Additionally, whilst the two are roughly equal in saturated fat content, oat flour has less sugar and is gluten-free. As such it is better for regulating blood pressure and blood glucose levels.

Whilst wheat may not be better for your blood sugar levels, however, it may be beneficial in other ways. For example, if calorie counting, wheat flour is the better choice due to containing fewer calories. Additionally, wheat bread is also richer in B vitamins along with containing significantly more vitamin E.

Which is better: oats or whole wheat flour?

Ultimately, which is better for you will come down to your dietary requirements. Whilst oat flour may be somewhat more nutritious, it is also higher in calories. Meanwhile, wheat flour is richer in certain nutrients but also in sugar and gluten making it less suitable for diabetics and those who require a gluten-free diet.

By James Clarke

James is an enthusiastic home-cooking hobbyist (being very modest) his taste-buds are tuned for flavor profiles that will have you salivating at the thought of what's cooking. As an occasional author at Alice's Kitchen he brings his own unique style to his articles and entertainment through them. You can always check out what he's up to over on his social profiles linked below.