If you are an oat lover, you have probably noticed there are many different oat products available. You may have seen oat flour vs oat bran in the supermarket. You may be wondering what’s the difference, and how are you supposed to use them all?
This article goes over the differences between oat flour vs oat bran and the best way to use each of them.
The two oat products that are compared in this post are oat flour and oat bran.
Oat flour is made from ground whole oats and can be used the same way as other flours are in baking.
Oat bran is the outer layer of the whole oat and is high in protein and fiber. It can be used on its own to make a hot porridge, or as a topping for yogurt and smoothies.
Why Are Oat Products So Popular?
Oat products are very versatile and can be easily incorporated into anyone’s daily eating habits.
They are nutrient dense, offering dietary fiber, protein, and vitamins and minerals such as vitamin B, zinc, iron, calcium, and potassium.
They are also gluten free and keto friendly!
Health Benefits of Oat Flour and Oat Bran
Oats and oat products like oat flour vs oat bran are superfoods. They offer a variety of health benefits including digestion, heart health, blood sugar regulation, weight management, and cancer prevention!
Oat products are great for the digestive system! They are high in fiber, which helps promote healthy digestion and bowel movements, preventing constipation.
Oat products include both soluble and insoluble fiber.
The type of soluble fiber is called beta-glucan, known to help reduce cholesterol levels.
Soluble fiber will bind cholesterol, causing it to be excreted in our stool rather than absorbed into the bloodstream (1).
This is important because a buildup of LDL cholesterol in the bloodstream can cause blockages in the arteries, which puts strain on the heart, putting you at a higher risk for heart disease.
Fiber also helps to control blood sugar levels (2).
Blood sugar refers to the amount of glucose that is found in your blood. When we eat carbohydrates, our bodies break them down into glucose, which is then used for energy.
However, having too much glucose in your blood can be harmful and is a condition called hyperglycemia (or high blood sugar), often seen in those living with diabetes.
Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that passes through our digestive tract without being broken down into glucose. Because of this, it does not raise blood sugar levels.
As mentioned before, fiber also helps to slow down digestion of sugar which can prevent spikes in blood sugar after eating.
Since fiber helps to slow digestion, it helps to keep you feeling full for longer after eating, meaning you will be less likely to overeat.
When combined with other healthy choices, such as exercising, eating more fiber can help maintain a healthy weight.
It has been suggested that a diet with high fiber intake can help to lower the risk of breast cancer as well as colorectal cancer (2).
What Is Oat Flour?
Oat flour is made by grinding whole oats (with the husk removed) into a fine powder. Whole oats are also known as whole oat groats or steel-cut oats.
In comparison to oat fiber, oat flour contains more nutrients aside from fiber since it is made from the whole oat.
And in comparison to regular flour or traditional flour, oat flour contains more nutrients and fiber.
Oat flour contains both soluble and insoluble fiber and nutrients such as calcium, iron, and potassium.
In a serving size of ¼ cup of oat flour (30g)(4):
- 120 calories
- 4 grams of protein
- 2 grams of fat
- 22 grams of carbohydrates
- 3 grams of fiber
Taste And Texture
Oat flour has a mildly sweet and nutty taste. When used in baked goods it gives a softer, chewier texture.
Uses In Cooking And Baking
Oat flour can be used in any baked goods that contain flour and can be used as a substitute for all-purpose flour.
It can be used in recipes for baked goods such as muffins, cakes, pancakes and cookies.
Can It Be Made At Home?
Oat flour can be made at home by blending oats into a powder consistency using a blender or food processor.
Time It Takes To Cook
When using oat flour as a substitute in recipes, the cooking time should remain the same.
Oat flour can be substituted with any other type of flour.
Some other gluten free options:
- Almond flour
- Rice flour
- Buckwheat flour
- Coconut flour
What Is Oat Bran?
Oat bran is the outer part of the whole oat (with the husk removed) which is removed from the rest of the oat and used on its own.
The oat bran is where most of the nutrients in whole oats are found. It contains more protein and fiber when compared to oatmeal.
Oat bran is high in soluble fiber, which absorbs water in the digestive tract, helping with bowel function.
Soluble fiber may also help reduce risk for heart disease and lower LDL cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels (3).
In a serving size of 1 cup (94g)(5):
- 231 calories
- 16.3 g protein
- 6.6 g fat
- 62.2 g carbohydrates
- 14.5 g fiber
- Calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, vitamin B6, thiamin (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), folate (vitamin B9)
Taste and Texture
Oat bran has a smoother and creamier texture compared to oatmeal; however, the taste is very similar.
Uses In Cooking And Baking
Oat bran can be added into baked goods such as muffins and cakes. Or, it can be used on its own to make breakfast cereals like hot porridge, hot cereal or overnight oat bran, similar to how we often use oatmeal.
It can also be used as a topping on yogurt, cereal, or smoothies.
Check out this article on oat bran recipes to lower cholesterol for other ideas of how to use oat bran and even more information on its health benefits.
Can It Be Made At Home?
Oat bran can be made at home using a food processor or blender.
First, take whole oats and pulse them into a coarse powder. Then, sift the powder to separate the bran, which can then be used on its own (6).
- Wheat bran
- Rice bran
- Corn bran
Oat Flour vs Oat Bran: Which One To Use?
Nutritional Values Comparison
Below is a table comparing the nutrient values for the four oat products. Note that the serving sizes differ based on the typical serving size people consume.
|Oat flour||Oat bran|
|Serving Size||¼ cup||1 cup (raw)|
When To Use Oat Products
Oat flour can be used as a substitute for flour or mixed with other flours in baked goods. They should be added according to the recipe, at the same step that the flour would be added.
Oat bran can be used on their own to make hot porridge or overnight oats/oat bran. They can also be added to baked goods, and oat bran can be used as a topping for yogurts and smoothies.
How To Incorporate Oat Products Into Your Diet
My favorite recipes are as follows:
- blueberry cheesecake overnight oats recipe
- Pancakes like this 3-ingredient low sodium pancake recipe
- Muffins like this lentil muffin recipe
- Granola like the steel cut oats granola
- Smoothies like this low cholesterol smoothie
As you can see, oat products have many uses and are great for you, not to mention great tasting too!
I hope this article provided you clarity on the differences between oat flour vs oat bran.
Their fiber, protein and B vitamins contribute to heart health, digestion, blood sugar, and body weight, mainly due to their high fiber content. That’s why oats like oat flour and oat bran are a key ingredient in portfolio diet recipes.
Try adding oat flour or oat bran to your already loved recipes or try out some of the recipes mentioned throughout the article for delicious ways to include more oats in your diet!
Let me know in the comments what was the most interesting thing you learned from the article!
This article was written by Siobhan Tyler, Nutrition Student, and Veronica Rouse, MAN, RD, CDE.