Difference between Oat Bran and Rolled Oats

There are a number of differences between oat bran and rolled oats, it’s important to understand these so as to assess which type best suits your nutritional needs and which texture you may prefer.  Let’s look more closely at the differences between the two.


Oat Bran:

Oat Bran

The germ or endosperm has been removed during the process of procuring oat bran and so it is not considered a whole grain.  After dehusking an oat the groat remains  – the outer layer of this is the bran which is scraped away from the oat – this is oat bran.

Rolled Oats:

Rolled Oats:

Rolled oats (also known as ‘old fashioned’ or ‘oatmeal’) are oat groats that have been dehusked and the bran removed before steaming and rolling into flat flakes under heavy rollers before being stabilized through a light toasting.   This process stabilizes healthy oils so they stay fresher longer and cook faster due to their greater surface area.

Comparison chart

Below is a summary of the differences above for a quicker compare and contrast of the two different types of oats:

Rolled Oats Oat bran
Large flat surface area Small pieces similar to a grain of sand
Chewy texture Creamy and mushy when cooked
High in beta-glucans Higher in beta-glucans, antioxidants, calcium, magnesium, zinc and protein
Lowers cholesterol Blocks calories from being absorbed by the intestine promoting weight loss
Long shelf life Can go rancid over time
Higher in calories Lower in calories

Oat Bran vs Rolled Oats

What is the difference between oat bran and rolled oats?

  • Where rolled oats have a large, flat surface area, oat bran is far smaller and you couldn’t pick up one piece individually;
  • While both contain beta-glucans which contribute to the maintenance of normal blood cholesterol levels, oat bran is generally considered more nutritious than rolled oats as it is a 50% higher source of the fiber;
  • Oat bran, unlike rolled oats are unique in that they have the ability to block absorption of calories from the intestine meaning calorie dense components pass through your body naturally rather than being absorbed;
  • 20g of rolled oats is 184 calories in comparison to the lesser amount of 124 calories in the same size bowl of oat bran;
  • Overall oat bran is the healthier choice as it also contains more antioxidants, protein, iron, calcium magnesium and zinc than its rolled oat counterpart;
  • Due to the way rolled oats are processed they have increased longevity in their shelf life to oat bran which unfortunately can potentially go rancid if left too long;
  • Oat bran generally cooks faster than rolled oats and has a creamy, mushy texture in comparison to rolled oats’ chewy and more bulky consistency.


This is a basic, short video showing the difference between, not only oat bran and rolled oats but all different types with a short explanation of their fiber content: