Asa Certified Health Coach many of my clients ask about muesli and oatmeal. Muesli contains oats causing many people to wonder how it’s different from oatmeal. Let’s answer, what’s the difference between muesli and oatmeal?
Muesli is a breakfast cereal containing oats, nuts, dried fruit and seeds while oatmeal is a breakfast cereal made from oats without the added ingredients contained in muesli. Muesli is typically consumed cold while oatmeal is served hot. Muesli contains more calories and sugar than oatmeal.
This article will include a comparison of their nutrients, tastes, textures, glycemic index, satiety index, prices and storage methods. In addition, I’ll examine their health benefits, and which one is better for weight loss.
In addition to coaching clients on both foods, I’ve purchased, researched and consumed both prior to, during and after writing this article. I personally consume both foods at home.
The Differences Between Muesli and Oats
Muesli is typically served cold with milk and/or yogurt. It contains oats, nuts, dried fruit and seeds from the manufacturer.
Muesli is made ready-to-eat whereas oatmeal needs to be cooked.
Some manufacturers add unhealthy ingredients like added sugar or items toasted in oil.
Oatmeal is typically served hot and contains oats from the manufacturer. People will often add fruit, nuts and seeds.
Instant varieties may contain sugar and other unhealthy items.
Typically, they are both considered as healthy breakfast items, in the same food category, depending on how they’re made.
Muesli vs Oatmeal: Nutritional Comparison
They both have the same nutrients, just in different percentages. The differences between the two can affect which one you choose or how you choose to eat them.
For this article I’m comparing cold muesli and cooked oatmeal without added ingredients which is the most common.
The following table is a side-by-side comparison of the nutrients contained in a 100-gram serving of each food.
|Oatmeal (100 g)
|Muesli (100 g)
|Protein||2.54 g||8.6 g|
|Carbohydrates||12.0 g||74.9 g|
|Fiber||1.7 g||7.7 g|
|Fat||1.52 g||5.4 g|
|Sugar||0.27 g||25.1 g|
|Vitamin A||0 IU||157 IU|
|Beta-carotene||0 mcg||12 mcg|
|Vitamin C||0 mg||0.3 mg|
|Vitamin B6||0.005 mg||3.64 mg|
|Vitamin B9 (Folate)||6 mcg||727 mcg|
|Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)||0.07 mg||0.68 mg|
|Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)||0.01 mg||0.76 mg|
|Vitamin B3 (Niacin)||0.22 mg||9.1 mg|
|Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)||0.31 mg||1.08 mg|
|Magnesium||27 mg||67 mg|
|Phosphorous||77 mg||225 mg|
|Potassium||70 mg||324 mg|
|Iron||0.90 mg||8.19 mg|
|Copper||0.07 mg||0.32 mg|
|Calcium||9 mg||36 mg|
|Zinc||1.00 mg||2.59 mg|
Both foods contain the same types of nutrients. It seems muesli has higher protein and nutrient content.
This causes many people to ask, which is healthier?
Oatmeal is healthier than muesli due to its fewer calories, sugar, carbohydrates and total fat. Oatmeal has a better glycemic index score and satiety index. Oatmeal is better for weight control and is digested slower with fewer spikes in blood sugar.
Muesli is healthy also and the type without added sugar from syrups or containing fructose is the better option. The type containing natural sugar from the added fruit or honey is the kind you want to choose.
Muesli provides a high percentage of protein, carbs, B vitamins and minerals. Which one you choose may depend on your particular goal.
One common goal may be to lose weight. Therefore, let’s examine which one is better for weight loss.
Oatmeal is better than muesli for losing weight due to its fewer calories, carbohydrates, total fat and sugars. Muesli contains 400% more calories than oatmeal per 100 gram serving. Oatmeal has a better satiety meaning people feel fuller after consuming it. These results in less calories consumed.
The following video discusses which one is better for weight loss and benefits.
Muesli provides 7.7 grams of fiber per 100 grams while cooked oats provides 1.7 grams.
Muesli provides 8.6 grams of protein per 100 gram serving while cooked oats provides 2.5 grams.
Muesli is better for muscle gain than cooked oatmeal due to its higher percentage of protein, carbohydrates and calories. The extra calories and protein help to build and repair muscle. The extra carbohydrates help to provide energy while lifting weights.
I’ll typically choose natural muesli without added sugar over oatmeal on the mornings I go to the gym. I like the extra carbs which gives me more energy during my workouts.
Muesli contains 74.9 grams of carbohydrates per 100 gram serving while cooked oats contains 12.0 grams. If you’re on a low carb or Keto diet, oatmeal is the better choice.
For more information on the glycemic and satiety indexes keep reading down further.
Muesli contains more sugar, 25.1 grams per 100 gram serving.
Both are considered low fat and saturated fat foods. They both contain less than 1 gram per 100 grams.
Find out how Cream of Wheat compared in my article.
Taste and Texture for Recipes
It’s not always about the nutrients just discussed. Many times, people choose one food over the other in recipes because of its taste or according to their mood.
Since there are some similarities between the two, like both containing oats, many people wonder if one is tastier in recipes than the other.
Muesli is tastier than oatmeal due to its ingredients like fruit, nuts or seeds. Muesli has a nuttier, sweeter flavor than blander and earthier oatmeal. Oatmeal’s texture is not smooth but can be creamy while muesli is harder and crunchier. Muesli is chewier than oatmeal which is more moist or wet.
Muesli tastes good and is a little sweet, fruity and nutty due to the honey, sugar, fruit and nuts added to its oats and flakes. For this reason some people eat it as desserts.
Its taste may change depending on the ingredients added. Its dry and crunchy texture consists of small clusters.
Old-fashioned rolled oats have a chewier texture than the smoother instant variety.
To conduct some original research, I polled some people in food groups, clients and my readers. I asked, which one do you prefer the taste of?
- 51% said they preferred the taste of muesli.
- 40% said they preferred the taste of oatmeal.
- 9% said they had no preference.
To conduct more research, I’d thought it would be fun to have my own taste test at home. That morning there were five people present. Three out of the five chose muesli for its better flavor.
Muesli is more versatile and is used for breakfast, lunch and snacks throughout the day or evening. Oats is mainly used for breakfast.
Find out how brown rice compared to oats in my article.
The Prices of Muesli and Oats
It seems every time I pay at the supermarket the price is higher than the last time. In addition, it seems I have less groceries in my shopping cart.
If you would like to spend less money at the supermarket, then the cost of food certainly matters. The price may sway your decision about which one to use in your meals more often. Therefore, let’s examine the prices of each food.
Muesli costs more than oatmeal per serving. The average price for oatmeal is $0.18 per 40 gram serving. The average price for muesli is $0.27 per 35 gram serving.
I decided to conduct more original research and visit various different stores to compare the price of both.
I first visited the Shoprite supermarket:
- Wholesome Pantry Organic old-fashioned regular
- $2.49 per 18 oz container (13 servings) equaling $0.19 per 40 g serving
- Muesli (Bob’s Red Mill)
- $4.79 per 18 oz package (15 servings) equaling $0.32 per 35 g serving
I then checked Walmart:
- Quaker Old-Fashioned Oats
- $4.98 per 42 oz container (30 servings) equaling $0.17 per 40 g serving
- Muesli (Bob’s Red Mill)
- $6.98 per 40 oz package (32 servings) equaling $0.22 per 35 g serving
Find out how quinoa compared to oats in my article.
The following video explains a simple muesli recipe:
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 3. Blood sugar spikes can lead to health complications with the heart, nerves, kidneys and eyes 4.
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.
Having more knowledge of the glycemic index of food and how it raises blood sugar, many people wonder which one, oats vs muesli, has a higher glycemic index.
Muesli has a slightly higher glycemic index than oats. Regular oats have a GI of 55, and muesli has a GI of 66. Steel-cut oats have a low GI under 55. Instant has a higher glycemic index of 79.
The more added high sugar ingredients muesli has, the more GI.
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.
Granola feature rolled oats. Find out if it had more nutrients in my comparison article.
The satiety index is a scale showing how full a person feels after eating a certain food. It was developed in 1995 from a study which tested 38 foods.
Foods scoring under 100 are considered less filling and foods scoring above 100 are considered more filling 5.
The table below shows the satiety scores of some breakfast foods.
|Breakfast Food w/milk||Satiety Index Score|
Oatmeal will keep you full longer than muesli due to its higher satiety index of 209%. Muesli has a satiety score of 100%.
Of all the 38 total foods, oatmeal scored the fourth highest only beat by oranges, ling fish and boiled potatoes. Of the seven breakfast cereals with milk, it scored the best while muesli scored last.
High satiety food is 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).
Muesli contains many calories for its light weight and doesn’t have as much water. These two factors make them less filling.
Check out the pros and cons of overnight compared to regular in my article.
The nutrients contained in both are similar but are provided in different percentages. The following describes how each one of these nutrients may benefit health.
Muesli contains more calcium, fiber, potassium, B vitamins, magnesium, phosphorus and iron.
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 6.
Calcium also helps the following:
- Helps nerve function.
- Maintain and build strong bones.
- Help the muscles to function properly.
Both foods are high in soluble fiber, which is helpful for many reasons 7. What makes fiber soluble is it dissolves in water.
Soluble fiber is known for the following:
- Helps avoid constipation and have a more regular stool.
- Help overall digestive health.
- Decrease the risk of diabetes by managing the blood glucose levels.
- Aids greatly in weight management because it allows you to feel full faster and eat less.
The doctor in the following video explains the benefits of oatmeal:
Some medical experts recommend the potassium to sodium ratio of 4:1. Consuming too much sodium or not enough potassium throws off the delicate balance the kidneys need to remove the excess water 8.
Potassium helps the body get rid of excess sodium reducing fluid build-up. These helps keep systolic and diastolic blood pressure lower 9.
According to Harvard Health, a number of studies have shown a connection between low potassium levels and high blood pressure 10. The more potassium, the more sodium your body will lose.
Find out the nutrient difference in my article, Instant Oatmeal vs Oatmeal: What’s The Difference?
B vitamins help support the following:
- Energy levels.
- Cardiovascular disease.
- Nerve function.
- Red blood cells.
- Brain function.
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 11.
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 12.
Magnesium helps control the following:
- Blood sugar
- Nerve function
- Blood pressure
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 13.
One reason many people supplement with magnesium in the evening is because it helps calm the whole body including blood vessels.
Is it better than eggs? Find out in my article here, Eggs vs Oatmeal – Which Is Better? Let’s Compare.
Phosphorus has been shown in scientific studies to help with the following:
- Promote healthy nerve conduction.
- Promote bone and teeth strength.
- Muscle contraction.
- Muscle recovery.
- Help the kidneys remove waste.
- Help the body manage and store energy.
Much higher in iron than other grains, muesli and oatmeal is an excellent choice if you need getting your daily value of iron. Iron is essential in the creation of red blood cells and is a necessary part of any healthy diet.
Iron is also vital for growth and development, as some hormones need iron to be appropriately balanced 14.
Oats is a gluten-free whole grain that’s processed into flakes. They are naturally gluten-free and might be a great substitute to other gluten-heavy items of a similar taste.
Sometimes oats may come into contact with gluten products, or cross-contamination is possible with machinery or during storage.
Some muesli may contain ingredients not gluten-free. There are some manufacturers making gluten-free muesli. Always check the labels of your products.
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 products to determine if its gluten free.
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 Oatmeal vs Food Articles!
- USDA: Cereals, oats, regular and quick, unenriched, cooked with water (includes boiling and microwaving), without salt
- USDA: Cereal, muesli
- 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
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: A satiety index of common foods
- Harvard Health: Key minerals to help control blood pressure
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Mechanisms linking dietary fiber, gut microbiota and colon cancer prevention
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: The Effect of the Sodium to Potassium Ratio on Hypertension Prevalence: A Propensity Score Matching Approach
- 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 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: Effect of magnesium supplementation on blood pressure: a meta-analysis
- National Institutes of Health: Magnesium
- National Institutes of Health: Iron