Oat bran is rich in fiber and helps reduce cholesterol levels in the body. Use wheat, corn or rice bran instead of oat bran for cooking with similar end-results to your baked goods, except a slight difference in flavor. But when it comes to actual nutrition and fiber content, substitutions for oat bran differ significantly.
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Bran is the outer layer of grain and a by-product from processing. Bran derived from different grains, such as wheat, corn and rice, do not have the same structure. One difference is the type of fiber they contain. Oat bran and rice bran consist of soluble fibers, which mix with bile acids in the intestine and assist with the elimination of cholesterol, keep blood-sugar levels stable and prevent overeating. Wheat and corn bran consist of insoluble fiber, which passes through the body undigested, adding bulk to the stool, preventing constipation and reducing the risk of colon cancer and diverticulitis. The amount of fiber contained in each type of bran differs. Raw oat bran contains 14 g of fiber per cup. Wheat bran and rice bran contain 25 g of dietary fiber per cup. Fiber content is highest in corn bran with 60 g per cup, according to MyFitnessPal.
Equal amounts of various forms of crude bran differ in their calorie and fat content. Oat bran contains 231 calories per cup with 7 g of total fat. Crude wheat bran contains 125 calories and 2 g of fat. Corn bran contains 170 calories per cup with only 1 g of fat. Rice bran is highest in calories, supplying 373 per cup with the most total fat -- 25 g -- consisting of 5 g of saturated fat.
All raw bran made from grain has a high iron content. One cup of raw oat bran supplies 28 percent of the daily value -- or DV -- for iron, compared to wheat bran, which supplies 34 percent of the DV; rice bran has 122 percent of the DV and corn bran has 12 percent of the DV per cup, based on a 2,000-calorie diet. In comparison to the 5 percent DV for calcium in oat bran, wheat bran supplies 4 percent of the DV, rice bran supplies 7 percent of the DV and corn bran provides 3 percent of the DV. Only corn bran has vitamin A. Rice bran has the highest potassium content with 1,752 mg per cup. Oat and wheat bran have moderately high potassium content, with 532 mg and 686 mg per cup respectively. Corn bran has 33 mg of potassium.
Although all types of bran may contribute to the lowering of cholesterol in the body, various grains have different overall effects. A study was conducted at the Glenthorne Laboratory in Australia to investigate the differences in cereal types with effects on cholesterol. Findings were that the wheat-bran group of rats had a higher level of HDL, the “good” cholesterol, than those fed oat bran or barley. Liver cholesterol was lowest in animals fed oat bran. The results of the study, published in the “Journal of Nutrition,” 1994, may be as a result of difference in water-soluble compounds called D-glucans, known to lower plasma cholesterol. Corn bran was shown to decrease LDL, the “bad” cholesterol, triglycerides, and glycosylate in another study on the effects of consuming fiber from corn bran and other sources, published in “The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,” 1984.