The Health Benefits of Cream of Wheat Vs. Oatmeal Cereal

Cream of Wheat is a rich source of iron.
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Along with obvious differences in flavor and texture, Cream of Wheat and oatmeal each have different nutritional advantages. If you need to boost calcium, go with Cream of Wheat. If you’re looking for more fiber, magnesium or zinc, oatmeal is the better choice. No matter which one you prefer, you can count on getting B vitamins and iron.


Regular oatmeal consists of pure whole-grain oats, but instant-cooking varieties are usually the only ones enriched with nutrients. Cream of Wheat is made from ground wheat and defatted wheat germ. Most types of Cream of Wheat are not whole-grain products. Unlike oatmeal, both the regular and instant varieties of Cream of Wheat are fortified with vitamins and minerals. Nutritional values provided are for regular oatmeal and Cream of Wheat prepared using water. One cup of oatmeal has 166 calories and 5.9 grams of protein, while the same portion of regular Cream of Wheat has 126 calories and 3.6 grams of protein.


One cup of cooked oatmeal has 4 grams of fiber, or 11 percent of men’s and 16 percent of women’s daily allowance. You’ll only get 1.3 grams of fiber from 1 cup of regular Cream of Wheat, but you may find a special whole-grain variety that has the same amount of fiber as oatmeal. Oatmeal contains double the amount of soluble fiber, including a type called beta glucan. Eating at least 3 grams of beta glucan daily may lower cholesterol by 5 to 10 percent, according to a review published in the June 2011 issue of “Nutrition Reviews.”


Both cereals provide all of the B vitamins except for vitamin B-12, which doesn't occur naturally in plant-based foods. You’ll consume 3 to 4 percent of your recommended daily allowance of niacin and folate from 1 cup of oatmeal, but Cream of Wheat has at least double the amount of both. One cup of Cream of Wheat supplies 45 milligrams of folate, or 11 percent of your recommended daily allowance, and 1.3 milligrams of niacin, or 8 percent of the daily allowance. The same portion of oatmeal only has 14 milligrams of folate and 0.5 milligrams of niacin.


Oatmeal is a good source of iron, but Cream of Wheat is better. One cup of regular oatmeal provides 2 milligrams of iron, or 12 percent of women’s and 26 percent of men’s recommended daily allowance. Cream of Wheat supplies 9 milligrams, which is 52 percent of women’s and 117 percent of men’s daily allowance. Be aware that iron becomes toxic in high amounts, so you shouldn’t consume more than 45 milligrams daily. Regular oatmeal has five times more magnesium and seven times more zinc than you’ll get from Cream of Wheat. However, Cream of Wheat contains 10 times more calcium.

Enriched Cereal

Regular Cream of Wheat is fortified, but the instant-cooking types are enriched with even larger amounts of nutrients than you'll get from the regular types. Oatmeal is different because most oats, including steel cut, regular, rolled and quick cooking, are not enriched; only instant-cooking oatmeal is required to have nutrients added. In Cream of Wheat and oatmeal, the instant cereals have significantly more of some minerals, B vitamins and vitamin A is added. The amounts of individual nutrients vary, so check the nutrition facts label to see what's in the brand you buy.

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