Bread vs Oatmeal: Is Oats Better? A Complete Comparison

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. It 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.

Asa Certified Health Coach many of my clients ask about these two foods. I have researched both of them prior to, during and after writing this article.

Kevin Garce prepared cooked oatmeal on the right and whole wheat bread on the left.
Cooked oatmeal on the right and whole wheat bread on the left

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.

Nutrition Comparison

Thee are a few different types of oatmeal available. I typically use the rolled, quick oats prepared with water.

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 is significantly healthier than white. When talking about healthy bread, it’s impossible not to mention it. Therefore, the nutrients found in whole-wheat 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 and whole-wheat bread:

  Oatmeal (3/4 cup) White Bread (2 slices) Whole-Wheat (2 slices)
Calories 227 147 139
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

Nutrient Resources123

All three 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?

Oatmeal is healthier than bread due to being gluten free, containing less sugar and having a higher percentage of fiber, protein and minerals. It contains vitamin A which bread doesn’t contain. It also provides over 100% more potassium, phosphorus, copper, zinc and magnesium than bread.

Wheat 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.

Whole-wheat is healthy though and does not have to be avoided the same way regular sliced bread should. Whole-wheat, contains a higher percentage of B vitamins compared to oatmeal.

Weight Loss and Calories

If your goal is weight loss, whole-wheat bread may be the better choice over oatmeal due to its fewer calories and carbohydrates. Most prepared oatmeals are high in calories, bread contains 55% fewer calories.

If you limit bread to only one slice instead of two, the reduction in calories is magnified more and make losing weight easier.

Bodybuilding

If your goal is to build lean muscle mass and increase physical performance, oatmeal is better than white or whole-wheat bread. It 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.

I’ll frequently eat oatmeal on the mornings I know I’m going to the gym to lift weights. The clean carbohydrates provide me with more energy and make me feel stronger.

The dietitian in the video explains the health benefits of oats.

Low Carb and Carb Manager

If you’re on a low carb or Keto diet, whole-wheat bread is the better choice because it contains less carbs than oatmeal.

While on a low carb diet every gram of carbs adds up pretty quickly. 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.

Gluten Free

If you have celiac disease or gluten is a concern, you’ll want to know which of the two foods is gluten free.

Oatmeal is made from oats which are naturally gluten free, bread contains flour and is not.

Important: Although oats are gluten free, they may come in contact with gluten-containing grains in storage or during transportation. Most of the Quaker products have solved this issue and label those products gluten free. Always check the label of your food to determine if its gluten free.

Fiber

Choosing foods high in fiber may help you lose weight because they make you feel fuller longer. This results in eating less food during the day.

Oatmeal provides more fiber per serving, approximately 12% of the daily value.

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 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 ((National Center for Biotechnology Information: A satiety index of common foods)).

The table below shows the satiety scores of both foods.

Food Satiety Index Score
White Bread 100%
Grain Bread 154%
Wholemeal Bread 157%
Oatmeal w/milk 209%

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, it 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 are likely to have a high score for the following reasons:

  1. High in protein.
  2. High in fiber.
  3. High in volume (foods containing a lot of water or air).
  4. Low in energy density (foods low in calories for their weight).

Find out how quinoa compared in my article.

Sliced wheat bread and a bowl of oatmeal.
Sliced wheat bread and a bowl of oatmeal Pin to Pinterest

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 blood4. This is important for diabetics or people on the border line.

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, which food has a higher GI?

Oats have a lower glycemic index than most breads.

The white bread GI index of 100 is higher than oatmeal. Rolled oats have a GI of 55. Instant has a GI of 79. Wholemeal has a GI in the medium range more similar to rolled oats. Steel-cut has a low GI under 55.

Steel-cut oats oats has 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 potatoes compared in my article here.

bread and oatmeal nutrient comparison

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, let’s take a close look at which one costs more.

Whole-wheat bread cost more than oatmeal. White bread and oatmeal have a similar price. The average price for 2 slices of whole-wheat 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.

To conduct some original research, I decided to visit some of my local supermarkets and compared the prices of both foods.

I visited the Shoprite supermarket for the prices and these were my findings:

  • 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 Cream of Wheat in my article. Check out if it was deemed better by reading about it here.

How To Store

Whichever you choose or have on hand, proper storage is crucial. How you store most foods can affect how long they last before going bad and how they taste. Therefore, let’s examine how to store each one.

Wheat Bread and 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. It 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.

In addition, it can be frozen to avoid it turning bad. 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.

Kevin Garce storing quick oats with breakfast cereal in his kitchen cabinet at home.
Storing quick oats with breakfast cereal in my kitchen cabinet at home

Oats and Oatmeal

Store unopened dry oats in a cool, dry place away from the heat and sun. Opened it should be tightly covered in its original container, glass or plastic container or resealable bag. Opened, uncooked does not have to be refrigerated.

After opening, it should be stored up to one year. Always check the dates on the packaging. Typically, the “best if used by date” is a quality suggestion5.

I store my oats at home in a kitchen cabinet which is in a cool area, away from the heat and sunlight.

Find out if brown rice has the better satiety index in my comparison article.

How to make oatmeal bread.

Health Benefits

As noted in the nutrient section of this article earlier, the nutrients provided by both 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.

Let’s examine how each one of these nutrients benefit health.

Vitamin A

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 ((National Center for Biotechnology Information: Nutrients for the aging eye)).

B Vitamins

Of the six B vitamins listed below, bread provides a higher percentage of four of them.

The B vitamins provided include the following:

  1. B1 (thiamin)
  2. B2 (riboflavin)
  3. B3 (niacin)
  4. B5
  5. B6
  6. B9 (folate)

B vitamins help support the following:

  • Cardiovascular disease.
  • Nerve function.
  • Red blood cells.
  • Brain function.
  • Digestion.
  • 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 inflammation6.

Is eggs better for breakfast? Find out in my comparison article.

whole wheat and various types of bread.
Whole wheat and various types of bread

Fiber

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 cancer7.

Calcium

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 vessels8.

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 regular? Find out in my article, here.

Phosphorus

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

Potassium helps the body get rid of excess sodium reducing fluid build-up. These help keep systolic and diastolic blood pressure lower ((American Heart Association: How Potassium Can Help Control High Blood Pressure)).

According to Harvard Health, a number of studies have shown a connection between low potassium levels and high blood pressure9. 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 water10.

Baking bread at home.
Baking bread at home

Magnesium

Magnesium helps keep blood pressure levels stable and balanced. Recent scientific research examined previous studies and concluded magnesium supplementation decreased systolic and diastolic blood pressure11.

Magnesium helps control the following:

  • Insomnia
  • Muscle
  • 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 ((National Institutes of Health: Magnesium)).

Saturated Fat

Saturated fat is one of the dietary fats. Along with trans fat, it is an unhealthy fat which large amounts should be avoided when possible.

According to The American Heart Association, it can cause problems with bad cholesterol levels which may increase your risk of heart disease.

Both breads and oatmeal don’t contain much saturated fat. All three contain less than .50 grams per serving.

Check out how granola compared in my  in my article.

The following video shows you how to make no knead whole-wheat bread.

If you have any questions about this article don’t hesitate to email us. You can find an email on our contact page.

Read Next – More Food Articles!

Muesli vs Oatmeal – What’s The Difference? Let’s Compare

Instant Oatmeal vs Oatmeal: What’s The Difference?

Oatmeal vs Porridge: Are They The Same?

Oatmeal vs Rice: Which Is More Healthy? (We Find Out)

Grits vs Oatmeal: Which is Better? A Complete Comparison

Steel Cut Oatmeal vs Oatmeal: Which Is Better? Let’s Compare

Oatmeal vs Cereal – Which is Better? Let’s Compare

  1. USDA: Bread, whole-wheat, commercially prepared []
  2. USDA: Bread, white, commercially prepared []
  3. USDA: Cereals, oats, instant, fortified, plain, dry []
  4. Harvard Health Publishing: Glycemic index for 60+ foods []
  5. Michigan State University: Dry oatmeal needs careful handling []
  6. 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 []
  7. National Center for Biotechnology Information: Mechanisms linking dietary fiber, gut microbiota and colon cancer prevention []
  8. Harvard Health: Key minerals to help control blood pressure []
  9. Harvard Health: Potassium lowers blood pressure []
  10. National Center for Biotechnology Information: The Effect of the Sodium to Potassium Ratio on Hypertension Prevalence: A Propensity Score Matching Approach []
  11. National Center for Biotechnology Information: Effect of magnesium supplementation on blood pressure: a meta-analysis []

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