Bread and oatmeal are common sources of carbohydrates consumed in daily meals. However, some nutritional differences make a difference. Therefore, what is better, bread or oatmeal?
Oatmeal is better than bread due to its gluten free and has a superior glycemic and satiety index scores. Oatmeal provides a higher percentage of fiber, protein, vitamin A and minerals than bread. Oatmeal can store longer before going bad and costs less than whole-wheat bread.
This article will include a side-by-side comparison of the nutrients contained in both. In addition, I’ll examine their glycemic index, satiety index, prices, storage methods and health benefits.
Disclaimer: Some links in this article are affiliate links which means I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Bread vs Oatmeal: Nutrients
Thee are a few different types of oatmeal available. I typically use the rolled, quick oats prepared with water. Using water doesn’t change the nutritional information, and this method is used in the comparison below.
Regular white bread, toast and other bakery products are made from all-purpose flour and have similar nutritional quantities. We’ll compare the most common white bread.
Most people know whole-wheat bread is significantly healthier than white bread. When talking about healthy bread, it’s impossible not to mention it. Therefore, the nutrients found in whole-wheat bread are included in the table below.
The following table is a side-by-side comparison of the nutrients contained in a 3/4 cup serving of oats, 2 slices of white bread and 2 slices of whole-wheat bread:
|Oatmeal (3/4 cup)||White Bread (2 slices)||Whole-Wheat (2 slices)|
|Protein||7.9 g||5.2 g||6.7 g|
|Carbohydrates||41 g||27 g||24 g|
|Fiber||6.1 g||1.3 g||3.3 g|
|Fat||3.9 g||2.0 g||1.9 g|
|Sugar||0.60 g||2.92 g||2.40 g|
|Vitamin A||463 IU||0 IU||2 IU|
|Beta-carotene||0 mcg||0 mcg||1 mcg|
|Vitamin C||0 mg||0 mg||0 mg|
|Vitamin B6||0.06 mg||0.05 mg||0.11 mg|
|Vitamin B9 (Folate)||19 mcg||12 mcg||22 mcg|
|Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)||0.27 mg||0.27 mg||0.21 mg|
|Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)||0.09 mg||0.13 mg||0.09 mg|
|Vitamin B3 (Niacin)||0.67 mg||2.59 mg||2.41 mg|
|Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)||0.72 mg||0.30 mg||0.35 mg|
|Magnesium||82 mg||15 mg||42 mg|
|Phosphorous||246 mg||61 mg||115 mg|
|Potassium||217 mg||63 mg||136 mg|
|Iron||2.55 mg||1.83 mg||1.40 mg|
|Copper||0.23 mg||0.07 mg||0.12 mg|
|Calcium||31 mg||115 mg||89 mg|
|Zinc||2.18 mg||0.48 mg||0.96 mg|
Both breads and oatmeal contain many of the same types of nutrients. At first glance it’s difficult to determine which one contains more than the other. Which is healthier, bread or oatmeal?
Oatmeal is healthier than bread due to being gluten free, containing less sugar and having a higher percentage of fiber, protein and minerals. Oatmeal contains vitamin A which bread doesn’t contain. Oatmeal provides over 100% more potassium, phosphorus, copper, zinc and magnesium than bread.
Whole-wheat bread provides more protein, fiber, minerals and vitamins than white bread making it more nutrient dense. Therefore, when comparing whole-wheat bread to oatmeal the difference is closer, but it’s still unequal to oatmeal in nutrients.
Whole-wheat is healthy though and does not have to be avoided the same way white bread should. Bread, especially whole-wheat, contains a higher percentage of B vitamins compared to oatmeal.
If your goal is weight loss, bread may be the better choice over oatmeal due to its fewer calories and carbohydrates. Bread contains 55% fewer calories than oatmeal.
If your goal is to build lean muscle mass and increase physical performance, oatmeal is better than bread. Oatmeal provides more lean calories, protein and carbohydrates. The extra carbohydrates help to increase energy and athletic performance. The extra protein is necessary for muscle repair and growth.
Therefore, if you’re on a low carb or Keto diet, whole-wheat bread is the better choice because it contains less carbs than oatmeal. Check out the Keto tip just below.
Keto Bread Tip: Great News! Did you know, you don’t have to give up your favorite bread, pizza or sandwiches to follow a 100% Keto diet. Find out more in the KetoBreads website by clicking here, Keto Breads.
Important: Although oats are gluten free, they may come in contact with gluten-containing grains in storage or during transportation. Most of the Quaker oat products have solved this issue and label those products gluten free. Always check the label of your oatmeal to determine if its gluten free.
Bread vs Oatmeal: Satiety Index
Satiety is a term used to explain the feeling of being full and the loss of appetite which occurs after eating food. The satiety index is a scale showing how full a person feels after eating a certain food.
The satiety index was developed in 1995 from a study which tested 38 foods. The foods were ranked how they satisfied a person’s hunger. Foods scoring under 100 are considered less filling and foods scoring above 100 are considered more filling 7.
The table below shows the satiety scores of oatmeal and bread.
|Food||Satiety Index Score|
Compared to white bread at 100%, it turns out oatmeal is 209% more satiating. Additionally, it is more satiating compared to wholemeal and grain bread as well.
Of all the 38 foods, oatmeal scored the fourth highest only beat by oranges, ling fish and boiled potatoes. 28 out of the 38 foods scored better than white bread.
High satiety food and oatmeal are likely to have a high satiety score for the following reasons:
- High in protein.
- High in fiber.
- High in volume (foods containing a lot of water or air).
- Low in energy density (foods low in calories for their weight).
Oatmeal seems to fit into three of the four listed above.
- Oatmeal contains 7.9 grams of protein per 3/4 cup.
- Oatmeal provides 6.1 grams of fiber per 3/4 cup.
- Oatmeal weighs a good amount when prepared in relation to its calories.
Find out how oatmeal compared to quinoa in my article, Quinoa vs Oatmeal: Which is Better? Let’s Compare.
Bread and Oatmeal Glycemic Index
Knowing the glycemic index of food is important especially if blood sugar levels are a concern. Avoiding blood sugar spikes is an important part of consuming healthy food.
The Glycemic Index (GI) is a scale measuring how fast a particular food raises the blood sugar in the blood 8. Blood sugar spikes can lead to health complications with the heart, nerves, kidneys and eyes 9.
Foods on the GI scale are categorized as:
- Low-GI foods: 55 or under
- Medium-GI foods: 56-69
- High-GI foods: 70 or over
How blood sugars levels are affected:
- Foods with a glycemic index 70 or more cause a quicker spike in blood sugar levels.
- Foods with a glycemic index 56 to 69 cause a moderate spike in blood sugar levels.
- Foods with a glycemic index 55 or less cause a slow spike in blood sugar levels.
Now we know what the glycemic index is, and how it affects blood sugar, let’s answer, does bread or oatmeal have a higher GI?
The white bread GI index of 100 is higher than oatmeal. Rolled oats have a GI of 55. Instant oatmeal has a GI of 79. Wholemeal bread has a GI in the medium range more similar to rolled oats. Steel-cut oats have a low GI under 55.
Steel-cut oats have a lower GI because they are the least processed. Rolled oats are a little higher because they’ve been partially cooked. Quick oats have been steamed and rolled into thinner pieces to cook quicker. This process increases their GI.
Find out how bread compared to potatoes in my article, Potatoes vs Bread: Which is Better? A Complete Comparison.
Bread and Oatmeal Costs
With the rising prices of just about everything, the cost of food certainly matters to most. The price may sway your decision about which one to use in your meals more often. Therefore, which costs more, bread or oatmeal?
Whole-wheat bread cost more than oatmeal. White bread and oatmeal have a similar price. The average price for 2 slices of whole-wheat bread is $0.20. The average price for 2 slices of white bread is $0.10. The average price for oatmeal with water is $0.11 per 1/2 cup serving.
I conducted a search for oatmeal and bread online.
I checked Shoprite supermarket for the prices of bread and oatmeal:
- Sliced white bread (store brand)
- $0.99 per loaf (20 slices) equaling $0.05 per slice
- Sliced whole-wheat bread (store brand)
- $1.99 per loaf (20 slices) equaling $0.10 per slice
- Oatmeal quick oats (store brand)
- $3.29 per 42 oz container (30 servings) equaling $0.11 per 1/2 cup serving
I compared everything between oatmeal and Cream of Wheat in my article, Cream of Wheat vs Oatmeal: What’s The Difference? We Compare.
How To Store Bread and Oatmeal
Whichever you choose or have on hand, proper storage is crucial. How you store oatmeal, veggies, fruits or bread can affect how long they last before going bad and how they taste. Therefore, how do you store bread?
The best way to store bread is in a bread box or a paper bag. This allows a little air and ventilation which helps keep the crust firm. The bread should be kept away from heat or the sun and in a cool place. Avoid the top of the refrigerator which is a warmer area.
If you don’t have a bread box, they sell ones on Amazon with designs to fit any kitchen. Check them out here, Bread Boxes.
Bread can be frozen to avoid it turning bad before using it. Place it into a freezer bag and remove all the excess air. Write the date on the freezer bag and store it in the freezer up to three months.
To avoid the annoying freezer burn, removing all the air from the bag is crucial.
The best way to remove the excess air, especially with the individual slices, is to use a vacuum sealer. They are one of those items making you wonder how you did without one before purchasing it. Amazon has many affordable ones. Check out their current prices here, Vacuum Sealers.
How do you store oatmeal?
Store unopened dry oatmeal in a cool, dry place away from the heat and sun. Opened oatmeal should be tightly covered in its original container, glass or plastic container or resealable bag. Opened, uncooked oatmeal does not have to be refrigerated.
Opened oatmeal should be stored up to one year. Always check the dates on the packaging. Typically, the “best if used by date” is a quality suggestion 10.
Find out if oatmeal or brown rice has the better satiety index in my article, Brown Rice vs Oatmeal: Which is Better? Let’s Compare.
Bread and Oatmeal Health Benefits
As noted in the nutrient section of this article earlier, the nutrients provided by bread and oatmeal are similar, just in different amounts.
For this reason some of the benefits are the same and the food with more of a particular nutrient offers the better benefit.
To recap, the table below shows the nutrients of each per 100 grams, instead of the 3/4 cup and 2 slice servings used prior.
|Oatmeal (100 g)||White Bread (100 g)||Whole-Wheat (100 g)|
|Protein||13 g||9.43 g||12.30 g|
|Carbohydrates||68 g||49.2 g||43.1 g|
|Fiber||10.0 g||2.3 g||6.0 g|
|Fat||6.50 g||3.59 g||3.55 g|
|Sugar||1.11 g||5.34 g||4.41 g|
|Vitamin A||2,570 IU||0 IU||3 IU|
|Beta-carotene||0 mcg||0 mcg||1 mcg|
|Vitamin C||0 mg||0 mg||0 mg|
|Vitamin B6||0.08 mg||0.09 mg||0.21 mg|
|Vitamin B9 (Folate)||32 mcg||22 mcg||42 mcg|
|Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)||0.44 mg||0.50 mg||0.39 mg|
|Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)||0.05 mg||0.24 mg||0.16 mg|
|Vitamin B3 (Niacin)||1.04 mg||4.76 mg||4.43 mg|
|Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)||1.20 mg||0.54 mg||0.65 mg|
|Magnesium||128 mg||27 mg||76 mg|
|Phosphorous||423 mg||113 mg||212 mg|
|Potassium||366 mg||117 mg||250 mg|
|Iron||24.70 mg||3.36 mg||2.56 mg|
|Copper||0.36 mg||0.12 mg||0.22 mg|
|Calcium||351 mg||211 mg||163 mg|
|Zinc||2.51 mg||0.88 mg||1.76 mg|
Let’s examine how each one of these nutrients benefit health.
Vitamin A per 100 grams:
- Oatmeal 2,570 IU
- Whole-wheat bread 3 IU
- White bread 0 IU
For eye health, oatmeal is more beneficial than bread. According to scientific studies, vitamin A helps the eyes when it comes to dim light vision and dry eyes 11.
Of the six B vitamins listed below, bread provides a higher percentage of four of them.
The B vitamins provided include the following:
- B1 (thiamin)
- B2 (riboflavin)
- B3 (niacin)
- B9 (folate)
B vitamins help support the following:
- Cardiovascular disease.
- Nerve function.
- Red blood cells.
- Brain function.
- Energy levels.
A lack of B vitamins has been associated with oxidative stress and neural inflammation. In a study released in 2018 32 healthy adults were given B vitamin supplementation for six months. The results indicated preliminary evidence B vitamin supplementation reduced oxidative stress and inflammation 12.
Is oatmeal better than eggs? Find out in my article here, Eggs vs Oatmeal – Which Is Better? Let’s Compare.
Fiber per 100 grams:
- Oatmeal 10 grams
- Whole-wheat bread 6 grams
- White bread 2.3 grams
Fiber remains in the digestive tract and provides gut related health benefits. Fiber rich diets have been linked to regular bowel movements and a lower risk of colon cancer 13.
Calcium per 100 grams:
- Oatmeal 351 grams
- White bread 211 grams
- Whole-wheat bread 163 grams
Calcium is important for the heart and blood pressure. Harvard Health reports calcium helps maintain blood pressure by helping in the controlling of the relaxing and tightening of blood vessels 14.
Calcium also helps the following:
- Help the muscles to function properly.
- Build and maintain strong bones.
- Helps nerve function.
Is there a difference between overnight oats and oatmeal? Find out in my article, Overnight Oats vs Oatmeal: What’s The Difference? We Compare.
Phosphorus per 100 grams:
- Oatmeal 423 mg
- Whole-wheat bread 212 mg
- White bread 113 mg
Phosphorus has been shown in scientific studies to help with the following:
- Help the kidneys remove waste.
- Help the body manage and store energy.
- Promote healthy nerve conduction.
- Promote teeth and bone strength.
- Muscle contraction.
- Muscle recovery.
Potassium per 100 grams:
- Oatmeal 366 mg
- Whole-wheat bread 250 mg
- White bread 117 mg
Potassium helps the body get rid of excess sodium reducing fluid build-up. These help keep systolic and diastolic blood pressure lower 15.
According to Harvard Health, a number of studies have shown a connection between low potassium levels and high blood pressure 16. The more potassium, the more sodium your body will lose.
Consuming too much sodium or not enough potassium throws off the delicate balance the kidneys need to remove the excess water 17.
Magnesium per 100 grams:
- Oatmeal 128 grams
- Whole-wheat bread 76 mg
- White bread 27 mg
Magnesium helps keep blood pressure levels stable and balanced. Recent scientific research examined previous studies and concluded magnesium supplementation decreased systolic and diastolic blood pressure 18.
Magnesium helps control the following:
- Nerve function
- Blood pressure
- Blood sugar
One reason many people supplement with magnesium in the evening is because it helps calm the whole body including blood vessels.
In the heart and muscles, magnesium competes with calcium to help the muscles relax after contracting. When the body is low in magnesium, calcium can over stimulate the heart muscle’s cells causing a rapid or irregular heartbeat 19.
Check out the differences between oatmeal and granola in my article, Granola vs Oatmeal: What’s The Difference? Let’s Compare.
Read Next – More Oatmeal vs Food Articles!
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- USDA: Bread, whole-wheat, commercially prepared
- USDA: Bread, white, commercially prepared
- USDA: White Bread
- USDA: Cereals, oats, instant, fortified, plain, dry
- USDA: Oatmeal
- USDA: Cereals, Oates, regular and quick, not fortified, dry
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: A satiety index of common foods
- Harvard Health Publishing: Glycemic index for 60+ foods
- National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases: Know Your Blood Sugar Numbers: Use Them to Manage Your Diabetes
- Michigan State University: Dry oatmeal needs careful handling
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Nutrients for the aging eye
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: The Effect of a High-Dose Vitamin B Multivitamin Supplement on the Relationship between Brain Metabolism and Blood Biomarkers of Oxidative Stress: A Randomized Control Trial
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Mechanisms linking dietary fiber, gut microbiota and colon cancer prevention
- Harvard Health: Key minerals to help control blood pressure
- American Heart Association: How Potassium Can Help Control High Blood Pressure
- Harvard Health: Potassium lowers blood pressure
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: The Effect of the Sodium to Potassium Ratio on Hypertension Prevalence: A Propensity Score Matching Approach
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Effect of magnesium supplementation on blood pressure: a meta-analysis
- National Institutes of Health: Magnesium
- Quaker: How does Quaker make Gluten Free Oats?
- Harvard T.H. Chan: Oats
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Instant Oatmeal Increases Satiety and Reduces Energy Intake Compared to a Ready-to-Eat Oat-Based Breakfast Cereal: A Randomized Crossover Trial
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Celiac disease, wheat allergy, and gluten sensitivity: when gluten free is not a fad
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Oatmeal-Containing Breakfast is Associated with Better Diet Quality and Higher Intake of Key Food Groups and Nutrients Compared to Other Breakfasts in Children
- Oldways Whole Grains Council: Whole Grains A to Z
- University of Nebraska-Lincoln: Oatmeal – Whole Grain Goodness
- Iowa State University: Nutrition Education: Oatmeal
- Oxford University: International table of glycemic index and glycemic load values: 2002
- University of Wyoming: Storing Bread For Maximum Freshness
- North Carolina State: Storing Bread and Baked Products
- Glad: How to Store and Freeze Bread So It Lasts
- Wikipedia: Bread
- University of Idaho: Facts About Bread!
- Britannica: bread
- Wikipedia: Whole wheat bread
- Harvard T.H. Chan: Whole Grains
- Michigan State University: White whole wheat bread – Is it really a whole grain?