Both brown rice and oatmeal are whole-grain foods that make up part of a healthy diet. They're unrefined, meaning the fiber and nutrients haven't been stripped away through processing. You'll get calories, carbohydrates and a small amount of vegetarian protein from eating either brown rice or oatmeal. They also supply you with essential vitamins and minerals, such as B vitamins and iron.
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Calories, Fat and Protein
Brown rice and oats differ in their calorie content. One cup of cooked brown rice provides 216 calories, while 1 cup of cooked oats provides 145. That means eating a serving of oatmeal as opposed to rice saves you 71 calories. However, even though they differ in calories, rice and oats provide comparable amounts of fat and protein. Brown rice has 2 grams of fat and 5 grams of protein, and oats have 2 grams of fat and 6 grams of protein.
The calorie difference between brown rice and oats comes from the amount of carbohydrates they contain. A serving of rice gives you 45 grams of carbohydrate while a serving of oats gives you only 25 grams. If you have diabetes or are following a low-carbohydrate or reduced carbohydrate meal plan, oats better help you to stay within your daily carb limit. A serving of either grain also provides you with about 4 grams of dietary fiber, an indigestible carbohydrate that aids in digestion, cholesterol regulation and weight management.
Your body relies on an adequate intake of vitamins to support various aspects of your overall health. Eating both brown rice and oats helps you meet your daily need for the B vitamins thiamine, niacin and B-6. However, rice provides more niacin and B-6 than oats, while oats have more thiamine than rice. These B vitamins play a role in energy metabolism and muscle, nerve and heart function. They also help maintain the health of your skin, immune system and digestive system.
You'll also get essential minerals from eating brown rice and oats. Both contain iron, magnesium, phosphorus, maganese and selenium. Oats contain double the iron that rice has. In addition, breakfast cereals made with oats are often fortified, meaning they contain added iron. However, brown rice is slightly higher in the minerals magnesium and manganese, which play a role in muscle and nerve function, blood pressure and blood sugar regulation, and the production of protein, connective tissues, hormones, bones and blood clotting factors.
Both brown rice and oatmeal require cooking to soften the grains. Covering 1 part grain with 1.5 to 2 parts water is adequate to hydrate both the grains. However, rice takes 45 minutes to 1 hour to cook, whereas regular, old fashioned oats take only about 7 minutes to cook. Once cooked, rice can be used as a side to savory entrees or mixed with vegetables, beans or meat as an entree itself. Oats are typically used as a hot breakfast cereal, in granola or in baking, such as in oatmeal bars.
- Bowes and Church's Food Values of Portions Commonly Used; Jean A. T. Pennington and Judith Spungen Douglass
- The University of Arizona Cooperative Extension: Dietary Fiber
- American Cancer Society: Vitamin B Complex
- Office of Dietary Supplements: Magnesium
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Manganese
- Better Homes and Gardens: How to Cook Brown Rice
- Better Homes and Gardens: How to Cook Oatmeal