Is Oatmeal Wheat? See Their Differences

If you’re someone who loves to ask questions, you’ve probably wondered if the box of oatmeal in your pantry is made up of wheat or perhaps corn.

Oats are a really popular food eaten in many parts of the world. With the need for more gluten-free food, it is important to find out where oatmeal comes from to know if it’s gluten-free.

Oatmeal is completely different from wheat. They both are a family of Avena sativa plants but oatmeal is gluten-free whole wheat isn’t. Read more about their differences in this article.

What is oatmeal?

Oatmeal is simply oat grain that is ready to eat by boiling in water or milk. Oat scientifically called Avena sativa is a type of cereal whose seeds are harvested and eaten.

Humans consume oats as oatmeal and rolled oats. Livestock like horses and cattle also eat oats as feed. Oat processing involves removing chaffs and debris, separating them into different sizes in length and breadth, and dehulling.

Afterward, the oat groats are classified into whole oat groats, coarse steel cut groats, steel cut groats, and fine steel cut groats before final processing into flakes, flour, or bran.

SEE: Differences Between Oats & Oatmeal

Where do oats come from?

Oat as a cereal originated from the Near East. It then spread into the middle east and Europe. Russia and Canada are the countries with the largest oat cultivation today.

All oats are products of oat groats. Oat groat includes the bran, germ, and endosperm. The type of oat is dependent on the level of cooking and flattening the oat groats go through.

Types of oats

There is a wide range of variety of oats that you can choose from. The level of processing determines the end result. This also influences the use of each type of oats.

Steel-cut oats are groats that are cut in pieces with large steel blades. They are great for breakfast and do not require a long cooking time.

Rolled oats are steamed and flattened by large rollers. Rolled oats cook faster and have a creamy texture.

Quick oats are further processed rolled oats that are cut into smaller pieces and cooked in minutes. Instant oats are cooked fully, ground into a fine powder, and mixed with sugar and coloring. Oat flour is ground dehulled oat germs that are used in making batter for baked foods.

What is wheat?

Wheat is a kind of grass grown for its seed. It is a popular grain and staple food with which we produce flour. Wheat flour is widely commercialized across the world and is useful for making bread, cake, pastries, etc.

The usage of wheat also spans beyond baking alone. The wheat plant is highly fermentable and is therefore good for producing beer. Biofuel is also a byproduct of wheat and its straws are used as thatch for roofing.

SEE: Differences Between Whole Wheat Flour & Bread Flour

Differences between oatmeal and wheat

Oats or oatmeal, and wheat are both cereal grains in the grass family but different species. Triticum Aestivum is the most common wheat strain, however, other wheat strains produce grain too just like oat.

One of the most important differences to note is that oats ate gluten-free while wheat isn’t. There’s a protein in oatmeal called avenin which is kind of related to wheat gluten, however, they are not the same thing.

Avenin is a minor protein with a different amino acid than wheat gluten. Raw oat is highly recommended for those with gluten sensitivities.

Although oats are naturally free of gluten, the environment where it is packaged may not be free of gluten. Oats processed in an environment where wheat is available risk contact with gluten.

To avert this, oat is best packaged in locations and with facilities that are reserved only for oat or gluten-free grains. To be on the safe side, always check the label on oat packages to confirm their content.

SEE: Unique Differences Between Gluten-Free and Wheat-Free

Nutritional differences between oat and wheat

Below are the basic nutritional differences between oat and wheat:

Fiber16.5 g11 g
Carbs103 g72 g
Protein26.4 g13 g
Saturated fat1.9 g0.4 g
Calcium8 %3 %
Total fat10.8 g2.5 g

SEE: Differences Between Wholemeal & Whole Wheat Flour

Benefits Of Oats

Oats are typically eaten as oatmeal or rolled oats by humans. It contains high fiber, as such, it holds up longer in the stomach thereby reducing the feeling of hunger and ultimately daily calorie intake which helps in weight loss.

The available protein and fat in them are also a source of energy for the body. The presence of soluble and insoluble fiber in oats helps to balance cholesterol levels, reduce blood pressure, and improve metabolism.

Oats are free of sugar and gluten. This makes it a safe cereal option for diabetics and gluten intolerant individuals. Also, if you’re struggling with heart disease, eating oats regularly helps to lower LDL levels.

Taking oats as a regular breakfast has been associated with reducing asthma attacks. It also helps to balance vowel movements, thereby improving metabolism and reducing the risk of constipation.

There are vitamins and minerals like magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, manganese, selenium, and iron as well as antioxidants in oats which improve the overall body health.

Oat is food for horses and cattle. Oat hulls may be ground or fed as whole grain to them. It serves as an extra carbohydrate and boosts their energy level.

SEE: Can Diabetics Eat Cornbread

Benefits of wheat

Whole wheat is a grain used to make flours for baking cakes and pastries. The fiber content in wheat helps to lower constipation. It also helps in weight loss.

Wheat is an excellent source of Vitamins B2-riboflavin and B6-pyridoxine. Eating whole wheat helps to reduce the risk of colon cancer and promotes gut health.

More uses of wheat are the discovery of its use for biofuels, for making beer and other alcoholic beverages.

SEE: Is Honey Wheat Bread Good for You


Is oat milk gluten-free?

Oat milk is extracted from oat which is gluten-free. However, oat milk processed in environments where gluten is present cannot be free of gluten.

Moreover, some colorings and additives that manufacturers include in the milk may not be gluten-free.

Which is healthier oats and wheat?

According to research oats diet reduced LDL by 2.5% while the wheat diet increased the value by 8%.

Is oat gluten-free?

Yes. Oat is naturally free of gluten. However, oat may have gluten if it is produced in the same environment and with the same facility as food that has gluten.

Do oats contain protein?

Yes. Oats are a good source of protein. You can find about 17 grams of protein in 100 grams of oats and the good thing is that it’s a better amino acid than those contained in other foods.


From this article, you can tell that oatmeal doesn’t come from wheat. Although they may be cereal from the grass family they are not of the same species.

Moreso, oatmeal is a healthier option than wheat because it contains much more nutrients and is gluten-free. As a result, it’s better for diabetics and gluten intolerant individuals.

Finally, you should read this article to know if oat milk goes bad.

I hope this article helped you. Thanks for reading.