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

Although they come from completely different sources, rice and oatmeal are sources of healthy, starchy carbs. Therefore, which is more healthy, oatmeal or rice?

Oatmeal is healthier than rice because it contains more fiber and fewer calories and carbohydrates. This makes oatmeal healthier for weight control and digestion. Oatmeal provides more vitamins and minerals than white rice including calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, thiamin and folate.

This article will examine the nutritional values in more detail including comparisons will both white and brown rice. In addition, I’ll answer questions for both of them regarding weight loss, body bodying, baby cereals, gluten, vegan and keto.

Is Oatmeal Better Than Rice?

Kevin Garce prepared brown rice on the left and oatmeal on the right.
I prepared brown rice on the left and oatmeal on the right

As a Certified Health Coach many clients ask me about food comparisons including oatmeal and rice. Therefore, I have researched this topic in the past and present. I consume both of them myself. Let’s examine them closely.

Oatmeal is better than white rice because it contains more beneficial unsaturated fats and fiber. Oatmeal contains less calories and carbohydrates making it better for weight control. Oatmeal also provides a larger variety of essential vitamins and minerals than white rice.

Brown rice is better than oatmeal because it provides more essential vitamins and minerals. Brown rice contains 14.25 grams of protein per one cup while oats have 10.65 grams. The extra protein and carbohydrates make brown rice better for building muscle and providing energy during exercise.

Oatmeal vs Rice: Nutritional Values

The table below lists all the nutrients contained in raw oats, unenriched, medium grain white rice and raw brown rice.

It’s important to note many manufacturers enrich white rice with a variety of minerals and vitamins. Adding those nutrients will increase the numbers for those brands. The table below compares the nutrients for raw white rice.

Nutrient Oats, raw
(1 Cup)
White Rice,raw
(1 Cup)
Brown Rice, raw
(1 Cup)
Calories 307 702 688
Fat 5.3 g 1.1 g 5.1 g
Carbohydrates 55 g 155 g 145 g
Protein 10.65 g 12.89 g 14.25 g
Fiber 8.2 g 5.6 g 6.5 g
Thiamin (B1) 0.37 mg 0.13 mg 0.78 mg
Riboflavin (B2) 0.12 mg 0.09 mg 0.08 mg
Niacin (B3) 0.91 mg 3.12 mg 8.18 mg
B6 0.08 mg 0.28 mg 0.96 mg
Folate (B9) 25.92 mcg 17.55 mcg 38.00 mcg
Calcium 42.12 mg 17.55 mg 62.70 mg
Copper 0.31 mg 0.21 mg 0.52 mg
Iron 3.44 mg 1.56 mg 3.42 mg
Magnesium 111.78 mg 68.25 mg 271.70 mg
Potassium 293.22 mg 167.70 mg 509.20 mg
Phosphorus 332.10 mg 210.60 mg 501.60 mg
Zinc 2.95 mg 2.26 mg 3.84 mg

Both white rice and brown rice have a similar number of calories and carbohydrates but after that brown rice outshines white rice in almost every other category. Many of those vitamins and minerals, brown rice also contains more than oatmeal.

Rice is a tremendous source of carbohydrates 1. Oatmeal also provides a good amount of carbs, but a greater percentage of them are from dietary fiber. Fiber makes you feel full faster and helps control body weight. 

A study which included 74,091 women found those who had a higher intake of fiber had a 49% lower risk of weight gain than those with a lower fiber intake 2.

Fiber also helps digestion and prevents constipation. A study on oatmeal shows that dietary fiber, along with butyric acid, propionic acid and acetic acid lower the risk of colon cancer 3.

Oatmeal contains much less calories and carbohydrates than white or brown rice does 4

Brown rice contains more vitamins and minerals than white rice or oatmeal. Other than B2 and iron, brown rice contains more thiamin, niacin, B6, folate, calcium, copper, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus and zinc than oatmeal 5.

When comparing oatmeal and white rice, oatmeal contains more thiamin, riboflavin, folate, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus and zinc.

Oatmeal contains a higher percentage of fat compared to rice. Typically, fats are bad because they contain many calories. This is partially true because saturated fats increase the LDL (bad) cholesterol, which is bad for cardiovascular health.

However, oatmeal doesn’t contain much saturated fat. The monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats 6 in oatmeal have several of the following health benefits:

  • Increase in HDL (good) cholesterol
  • Lower LDL (bad) cholesterol
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Better cardiovascular health
  • Less risk of heart disease

When comparing the two, white and brown rice has to be considered separately.

Therefore, which is more healthy, oatmeal or white rice?

Oatmeal is more healthy than white rice because it contains more vitamins and minerals. Oatmeal also provides less calories, carbohydrates and more fiber than white rice. This makes it healthier than white rice for weight control and digestion. 

Which is more healthy, oatmeal or brown rice?

Brown rice is healthier than oatmeal because is contains a larger number of protein, vitamins and minerals. Brown rice provides more vitamins B1, B3, B6 and B9 than oatmeal. Brown rice contains a larger number of magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, zinc, calcium and copper than oatmeal.

To sum things up:

  • Oatmeal is better than white rice.
  • Brown rice is better than white rice.
  • Brown rice is better than oatmeal.

All three are healthy and beneficial to eat. If you like eating white rice, there’s no reason to stop. Although brown rice and oatmeal provide more bang for the buck. In addition, oatmeal is typically not eaten with dinner like rice is.

Therefore, your choice between the three will differ on the time of day and the meal.

Find out how oatmeal compared to bread in my article, Bread vs Oatmeal: Which is Better? A Complete Comparison.

Kevin Garce's bowl of oatmeal in his kitchen.
A bowl of oatmeal in my kitchen this morning I made it with bananas and blueberries

Oatmeal vs Rice: Weight Loss

Oatmeal is better for weight loss than rice because it contains fewer calories. Raw oats contain 307 calories per one cup. White rice contains 702 and brown rice 688. Oatmeal also contains more fiber than rice which makes a person feel more full on fewer calories.

Oatmeal is good for weight loss because of its high protein and fiber content. The fiber in oatmeal increases fullness and suppresses the appetite which leads to less calories consumed.

Eating whole grains like brown rice have been shown to benefit weight loss. White rice contains less fiber and should be consumed less while looking to lose weight.

White rice should be limited for weight loss. It contains a good amount of calories and is lower in fiber than brown rice which makes it bad for weight loss if to much is consumed. 

To lose weight, more calories need to be burned than consumed. Therefore, any food can increase or decrease weight depending on the amount consumed and the energy expended 7.

While oatmeal is better for weight loss than rice, it still contains a good number of calories and therefore should be consumed in moderation.

Find out how oatmeal compared to quinoa in my article, Quinoa vs Oatmeal: Which is Better? Let’s Compare.

brown rice with beans in a bowl
Cooked brown rice with beans

Oatmeal vs Rice: Bodybuilding

The carbohydrates contained in rice are better for bodybuilding. The carbohydrates in rice are more readily absorbed and provides a quick boost of carbs and energy for bodybuilding workouts. Rice also contains more protein than oatmeal. The protein is beneficial for building and repairing muscles.

While oatmeal is also beneficial for bodybuilding, the carbohydrates in oatmeal are released slower and longer into the body. The carbohydrates in rice are released much faster. Therefore consuming rice just before or after a bodybuilding workout is better.

Pre-workout, the rice can provide a quick energy boost. Eating rice shortly after a workout will help replenish muscle glycogen, helping them recover quicker. The carbs in oatmeal provide sustained energy throughout the day.

If your workouts are more prolonged or if you need to use your muscles for a longer part of the day, the carbs in oatmeal may be more beneficial. Depending on your needs, both rice and oatmeal are beneficial to a bodybuilder.

Check out the differences between oatmeal and granola in my article, Granola vs Oatmeal: What’s The Difference? Let’s Compare.

Are Rice and Oats Gluten Free?

Rice and oats are naturally gluten free and safe for people with celiac disease. People with gluten intolerance should check with the oat or rice manufacturer to ensure their foods are not cross-contaminated. Some oats or rice may be processed with the same machinery used for gluten products like wheat.

In addition, uncontaminated oats are healthy for people who have a wheat allergy. Studies have shown most people with a gluten intolerance, or wheat allergy can safely consume 2-3.5 ounces of pure oats every day without any ill effects 8.

The cross-contamination of oats happens because they’re often grown close to other crops like wheat. The same equipment is often used for both the wheat product and oats. In addition, they may be prepared and packaged in the same facilities.

Studies have examined oat products and found gluten levels exceeding the standard for gluten free foods. Some companies are now using clean equipment for oat processing and designating crop fields gluten free.

Rice may also experience the same cross-contamination. Always double check the labels to make sure you’re buying and consuming a gluten free product. When in doubt, always contact the manufacturer to obtain more information.

Rice is good for gluten intolerance because all types of uncontaminated rice are gluten free. People with celiac disease often consume more rice based products which raise the concern for consuming higher levels of arsenic.

A recent report from Consumer Reports 9 have found rice products contain some levels of arsenic. The rice products include organic rice baby cereal, rice breakfast cereals, brown and white rice. To help eliminate health concerns, consider limiting rice to lower quantities.

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.

Oatmeal vs Rice for a Keto Diet

Oatmeal is better than rice for a keto diet because it contains fewer carbohydrates than rice. One raw cup of oatmeal contains 55 grams of carbohydrates while white rice contains 155 grams and brown rice 145 grams.

Because it contains so many crabs, many people ask, can I eat rice on keto?

White and brown rice should be avoided while following a keto diet. Consuming 1/2 cup of rice in a meal adds 24 grams of net carbs. Eating one serving of rice already fulfills the daily Keto recommendation of 20 to 50 net grams.

Since oatmeal is lower in carbs than rice, is oatmeal keto friendly? Oatmeal is not Keto friendly because one serving contains half the number or carbohydrates a Keto diet plan allows in just one meal.

Oatmeal does provide a good amount of fiber, sometimes difficult to get while following a Keto diet. If you find it necessary to consume oatmeal for the healthy fiber, limiting the serving size to just 1/4 can help achieve the daily goal.

Is there a difference between overnight oats and oatmeal? Find out in my article, Overnight Oats vs Oatmeal: What’s The Difference? We Compare.

Oatmeal vs Rice: Which is Healthier for a Vegan Diet?

Oatmeal and rice can be consumed while following a vegan diet. Sometimes vegans may have trouble tolerating all the fiber provided in a vegan diet. Consuming white rice, which is lowering in fiber than brown rice or oatmeal, may be beneficial.

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

Read Next – More Food vs Food Articles!

Brown Rice vs White Rice: Which is Better? Let’s Compare

Instant Oatmeal vs Oatmeal: What’s The Difference?

Oatmeal Vs. Oat Bran: A Comparison

Grits vs Oatmeal: Which is Better? A Complete Comparison

Oatmeal vs Porridge: Are They The Same?

Sweet Potato vs. Butternut Squash: A Comparison

Pumpkin vs Sweet Potato: A Complete Comparison

  1. Nutrition Value: Rice, unenriched, raw, medium-grain, white[]
  2. National Center for Biotechnology Information: Relation between changes in intakes of dietary fiber and grain products and changes in weight and development of obesity among middle-aged women[]
  3. National Center for Biotechnology Information: Nutritional advantages of oats and opportunities for its processing as value added foods – a review[]
  4. Nutrition Value: Oats, raw[]
  5. Nutrition Value: Rice, raw, medium-grain, brown[]
  6. Harvard Health: Types of Fat[]
  7. 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[]
  8. National Center for Biotechnology Information: Celiac disease, wheat allergy, and gluten sensitivity: when gluten free is not a fad[]
  9. Consumer Reports: Arsenic in your food[]

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