The choice between oats vs bulgur is difficult especially if you are new to one or both grains. As a nutritionist, let me guide you through the selection.
Oats, the breakfast classic offers comfort and familiarity while bulgur offers flavours and a different experience. I will compare bulgur vs oatmeal nutrition and benefits to help you decide, which is better suited for your needs.
Oats Vs Bulgur: Guide to Choosing the Best Grain
Let’s take a quick look at oats vs bulgur difference across various metrics:
Mild & Nutty
Earthy & Nutty
Source: USDA; Quantity defined is 100 g
How are Oats Vs Bulgur Obtained?
Although both oats and bulgur are popular breakfast cereals, their origins are completely different.
Oats, are obtained from oat groats and are usually grown in temperate regions around the world. Depending on the level of processing (steaming, rolling and flaking), you get oats in the form of rolled, instant or steel cut oats.
Bulgur is a form of cracked wheat made from hulled wheat berries. The wheat berries are parboiled, dried, and then cracked into different sizes. In the market, you will find them in sizes – coarse, medium, or fine.
What takes Longer to Cook: Oats or Bulgur?
Oats, are known for their ease to work with. Within a few minutes you can prepare a warm and comforting bowl of oatmeal. However, time may vary with the type of oats with steel-cut oats taking the maximum time.
Since bulgur has been parboiled and cracked, it is easy and quicker to cook than many other whole grains. You can soak it and use it or cook it for a few minutes on stove top and it is ready to use. Overall, its only a little behind oats in the ease of usage.
How Different Are Oats & Bulgur in Taste & Texture?
Let’s talk about what matters most – flavors!
Oats have a mild, slightly sweet and nutty flavor. The texture can vary based in the variety. While steel cut oats are quite chewy, rolled oats are more creamy.
Bulgur has a more pronounced nutty and earthy flavor. It also has a firm and chewy texture that holds up well in salads, pilafs, and casseroles. Overall, I would say that its more mouthfeel and satisfying.
Difference in the Recommended Daily Intake of Bulgur & Oats
The amount of bulgur and oats you can eat in a day can vary with your needs, dietary preferences and other factors
Ideally, as a nutritionist, I would recommend not consuming more than 1/2 cup raw or 1 cup cooked oats and bulgur. Also, instead of choosing just one type of grain, include a variety of whole grains as part of a balanced diet for optimal nutrition.
Lower in Calories: Oats or Bulgur
Similar quantities of oats and bulgur have very similar calorific values with bulgur being slightly lower in calories. So for people trying to manage their weight and trying to decide between oats and bulgur, bulgur is the better option.
Both these cereals can be considered moderately high in calories. These calories will vary based on brands, cooking method and added ingredients. Opt for plain, unflavored versions – ALWAYS.
How Different Are Oats And Bulgur in their Carbohydrate Levels?
Oats and bulgur are both good sources of complex carbohydrates – the good kind of carbs. The carbs in both these cases primarily come from starches and dietary fiber.
While both have a substantial amount of carbs, oats tend to have a higher concentration. In case of bulgur, more of these carbs come from starch.
Oats Vs Bulgur – Which is Higher in Fat Content?
In general, oats and bulgur are both low fat grains, but there are some differences in the kind and quantity of their fat content.
Oats are naturally low in fat and this is mostly unsaturated fat, the good kind of fat – including both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
Bulgur is also low in fat. Similar to oats, the fat in bulgur is predominantly unsaturated fat. So, if you are on a low-fat diet, both these grains can be included.
Oats or Bulgur – A Better Source of Protein
Oats contain a moderate amount of protein and can be part of a protein and fiber-rich breakfast or incorporated into various dishes.
Oats is also considered to be quality protein as it contains certain essential amino acids, not found in other grains.
Bulgur has a slightly higher protein content compared to oats. It has a more balanced amino acid profile compared to oats making it a slightly better in quality when compared to oats.
Which Has Better Quality & Quantity of Fiber – Oats or Bulgur?
Oats are an excellent source particularly rich in soluble fiber, with hero components called beta-glucans. These are known for their cholesterol-lowering effects and its ability to help regulate blood sugar levels.
Bulgur is also a good source of dietary fiber, and contains a mix of both soluble and insoluble fibers. The insoluble fiber in bulgur adds bulk to stool and helps prevent constipation. They also provide you a sense of fullness and support weight management.
More Nutritionally Dense & Diverse: Micronutrients in Oats Vs Bulgur
Both oats and bulgur contribute essential vitamins and minerals to our diet, which is why I am a big proponent of including them in your meals.
Oats are a good source of various B-vitamins, including thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), and folate (B9).
Bulgur is also rich in B-vitamins, including thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, and pantothenic acid. These vitamins contribute to energy metabolism and overall well-being.
Oats provide minerals such as manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, selenium and zinc.
Bulgur contains minerals such as manganese, selenium, phosphorus, and copper. It also contains a decent amount of calcium.
Oats or Bulgur For Maintaining Blood Sugar Levels
When it comes to maintaining blood sugar levels, the glycemic index (GI) of foods is a crucial factor to consider. It measures how quickly a carbohydrate-containing food raises blood sugar levels.
Oats have a relatively low GI, indicating that they cause a slower and more moderate increase in blood glucose levels. Therefore, they can help in maintaining sugar levels.
Bulgur has a moderate glycemic index, so it also can help you manage blood sugar levels. While both grains can be part of a blood sugar-friendly diet, you must practice portion control.
Which Will Keep You Full Longer: Oats or Bulgur?
Both oats and bulgur are rich in dietary fiber, which helps you feel full.
Oats are rich in soluble fibers that maintain steady blood sugar levels, preventing rapid spikes and crashes that can lead to hunger shortly after eating.
Bulgur also contains a notable amount of dietary fiber. The fiber slows digestion, helping to sustain energy levels and reduce the likelihood of feeling hungry soon after a meal.
More Suited for People With Allergies: Oats or Bulgur
When considering allergies, oats are generally more suitable option for people with dietary restrictions.
Oats are naturally gluten-free, and can be consumed by people with gluten intolerance or celiac disease, Make sure to choose certified gluten-free oats to ensure they are free from contamination.
Bulgur is a wheat product, and therefore, it contains gluten. So, if you have wheat allergies, you must avoid wheat-based products, including bulgur.
Which is Better for Your Tummy: Oats or Bulgur?
Both oats and bulgur can do wonders for your digestive health. They offer fiber that supports regular bowel movements and overall gut function.
Oats contain beta glucans that have been associated with various health benefits, including improved gut health and a positive impact on the microbiome.
Similar to oats, bulgur is also a good source of dietary fiber. It can help you with digestive regularity and can aid in preventing constipation.
Which Has More Diverse Uses Oats or Bulgur?
Oats are a breakfast staple – a easy and convenient way of getting your nutrition from one ingredient. Apart from morning meals, they can also be incorporated in baking, smoothies and I like to add them to my soups.
Bulgur in my opinion offers a slightly more flexibility. You can use it to make porridge or other breakfast dishes. You can also use it in grain salads, pilafs, stuffing for vegetables and side dishes.
Overall, the choice between oats and bulgur ultimately depends on your personal preferences and needs. If you have no issues with gluten, I recommend including them both.