Oats Vs Barley: Both boast impressive nutrients, but which reigns supreme? As a nutritionist, let me help you settle the score.
I delve into the depths of oats vs barley nutrition, benefits and more to help you make a conscious choice.
Oats Vs Barley: Making the Right Grain Choice
Let’s take a quick look at oats vs barley difference across various metrics:
Mild & Nutty
Rich & Nutty
Source: USDA; Quantity defined is 100 g of Raw Oats & hulled Barley
Comparing the Origins of Oats and Barley
The use of barley began about 10,000 years ago somewhere in the region known as Fertile Crescent (modern Middle East). It was one of the first domesticated grains that sustained our ancestors.
Oats, on the other hand, were late bloomers. Europe and Asia were its birthplaces about 3,000 years ago. Oats thrived in harsher conditions, offering sustenance through long winters and fueling warriors on the battlefield.
How Long Does it Take to Cook Barley Vs Oats?
Hulled barley takes time to prepare. It will need about 40-60 minutes on the stovetop or 20-30 minutes in an Instant Pot. If you pick pearl barley, it will cook faster than the hulled version.
Oats are your best friend when it comes to speed cooking. Raw oats take the highest time to cook which is around 30 minutes. Rolled oats take around 10 minutes and instant ones are ready in a couple of minutes.
Difference in Taste of Barley and Oats
Oats are one of my favourite comfort foods. They have a gentle, nutty sweetness with subtle floral notes. It readily takes on the sweetness of fruits, the richness of nuts, or the warmth of spices.
Barley is bolder and earthier in taste. Although you can use them in sweet preparations, it shines in savory dishes, adding depth to soups, stews, and risotto. It also offers a hint of nutty undertones.
How Much of Barley Vs Oats Can You Eat in a Day?
The recommended serving size for adults is around half a cup of oats and one fourth cup of barley. This is around 50-60 grams of dry grains. However, it can vary with your age and gender, activity level and overall health.
Due to their slightly higher protein content, oats can be eaten in slightly larger portions compared to barley, especially within a lower-calorie diet.
Barley Vs Oats: The More Calorie- Friendly Option
If we compare barley and oats, we find that both are moderately high in calories but barley has a much higher calorie density. Let’s track the source of these calories:
- Carbohydrates: 78-80%
- Protein: 10-11%
- Fat: 1-2%
- Water and other: 6-7%
- Carbohydrates: 67- 68%
- Protein: 16-17%
- Fat: 6-7%
- Water and other: 8-10%
Comparing the Quality & Quantity of Carbs in Barley Vs Oats?
If we compare equal quantities of raw oats and barley, we find that barley packs a higher carb dose.
If we talk about quality, the quality is better in the case of oats. The reason is that it is lower in starch and higher in soluble fiber when compared to barley.
However, remember, despite having healthy carbs, they are actually carb dense foods, so I recommend portion control.
Oats Vs Barley: Which One’s Lower in Fats?
The amount of fat in both oats and barley is quite similar and they are both pretty low on this level.
Let’s also talk about what comes frequently up in my sessions – oats vs barley for cholesterol. Both oats and barley are excellent choices for cholesterol management. However, oats may have a slight edge because they contain higher soluble fiber content.
Better Source of Protein: Comparing Quality and Quantity of Barley Vs Oats
While both barley and oats offer a decent amount of protein, the quality and quantity differ.
Barley typically has a slightly lower amount of protein per 100 grams uncooked. If we talk about the quality, oats has an advantage. Oats are considered a “complete protein” because they have a better balance of essential amino acids compared to barley.
Is Barley Better Than Oats for Meeting the Fiber Needs?
Barley has a higher amount of fiber when compared to oats. They both contain beta glucan, a soluble fiber that is associated with many benefits including weight management.
If we look at the barley vs oats beta glucan, oats have a higher concentration of the fiber. So, while barley wins with its higher overall fiber content, oats take the lead with their concentrated dose of this powerful soluble fiber.
Oats Vs Barley: Which Has a Better Micronutrient Profile?
Both oats and barley boast impressive and distinct profiles with varying amounts of vitamins, mineralas and antioxidants.
The vitamin B complex and iron, along with antioxidants, make oats excellent for energy, brain function, and heart health.
Barley with its folate, vitamin E, magnesium, and antioxidant profile benefit cell health, immunity, and muscle function.
Which is Better Suited For People Targeting Balanced Sugar Levels- Oats or Barley?
Both oats and barley are fantastic choices for people targeting balanced sugar levels. Barley generally has a lower glycemic index. This means they cause a slower and more sustained rise in blood sugar levels compared to other foods.
In fact a study found out that the consumption of barley reduced the blood sugar more than the consumption of oats.
Oats or Barley To Keep You Full for Longer
When it comes to keeping you feeling full for longer, both oats and barley do the job pretty well.
Barley is rich in fiber, which slows digestion and keeps you feeling satisfied for longer. Oats too contain fiber and they contain a higher proportion of the soluble fiber beta glucan, which aids in attaining satiety levels faster.
Oats and barley both also contain protein. Protein takes longer to digest and keeps you feeling full for longer.
More Allergy Friendly Grain: Barley Or Oats?
Barley contains gluten, which can trigger allergic reactions in individuals with gluten sensitivity or celiac disease.
Oats are naturally gluten-free. However, they are often grown and processed alongside gluten-containing grains, leading to potential cross-contamination. So, if you are allergic to gluten look for the “certified gluten-free” on the package.
More Easily Digested: Oats or Barley
Oats boast superior digestibility when compared to barley due to several reasons.
- They are gluten free and hence suited for a wider audience.
- They are richer in soluble fiber, particularly beta-glucans which helps regulate digestion.
- The starch in oats has a less complex structure and thus is easy to break down.
- Oats have lower levels of anti-nutrients, such as phytic acid. Anti-nutrients can interfere with the absorption of certain minerals and cause digestive discomfort in some people.
- The protein in oats is complete and is more easily absorbed.
Barley or Oats: The More Versatile Option for Cooking
Barley and oats bring their own unique versatility to the kitchen. Barley’s chewy texture and nutty flavor make it an excellent addition to soups, stews, and salads, while its pearl variety serves as a distinctive alternative to rice in risotto.
On the other hand, oats are renowned for their breakfast versatility. Their adaptability extends to baking, cookies, muffins, and savory dishes like veggie burgers, showcasing a softer, creamier texture when cooked.
In conclusion, we can say that both oats and barley have their unique set of advantages and choosing between the two will be based on your needs.