What is Oat Bran?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Oat bran is the outer husk of the oat grain. The bran of grain is normally discarded during the milling process, which is unfortunate, since it contains the bulk of the dietary fiber of the grain, along with a large amount of useful minerals. When the bran is left on, the grain is marketed as “whole grain,” and in the case of oat bran, the bran is also sold separately, for people who want to up their fiber intake. There are a number of ways to use this bran, and it is typically readily available in most markets.

Bag of oat bran.
Bag of oat bran.

There are three main parts to cereal grains: the bran, germ, and endosperm. The endosperm is the part of the grain used to make things like white flour, and it is the largest part of the grain. The germ is a small, nutrient rich area which is often extracted along with the bran, the fiber-rich outer husk of the grain. The bran is designed to protect the grain until it can sprout, providing fiber and nutrition to the growing plant until it can support itself.


One common use of oat bran is as an additive in baked goods like muffins, where it adds a very distinctive texture and rich, nutty flavor. It is also added to breakfast cereals or used alone as a cereal. Oat bran is also added to breads, increasing their fiber content, and many whole wheat or mixed grain breads may be dusted with the bran before they are baked to create a flavorful topping. Enterprising cooks also add it to pancakes, scones, and even cookies.

Whole oats, including the bran.
Whole oats, including the bran.

Several medical organizations support the integration of oat bran into the diet. The high fiber content is very beneficial, and several studies have shown that regular consumption of it may decrease cholesterol levels. It may also be a preventative for some forms of cancer, especially when integrated into a balanced, healthy diet with plenty of exercise. Groups like the American Heart Association even have oat bran recipes on their websites to encourage people to integrate this food into their diets.

Bran cereal is a nutritional option for people who are watching calorie intake.
Bran cereal is a nutritional option for people who are watching calorie intake.

Oat bran does carry a risk of going rancid, although it is processed in a way which is designed to prolong its shelf life. It should be kept in a cool, dry place, and not exposed to moisture. If you only use a little at a time, you can keep it in the freezer, which will extend the potential usability period of this grain product dramatically. When buying products which contain oat bran, read the label carefully, as many cereals and other packaged products use the grain as a marketing technique to conceal the fact they are high in sugars, saturated fat, and other unhealthy ingredients.

Oat bran can be added to whole wheat bread to boost its fiber content.
Oat bran can be added to whole wheat bread to boost its fiber content.
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments


Did you know you can make your own oat bran crackers? I was surprised by the simplicity of this recipe.

You just take half a cup of boiling water, half a teaspoon of seasoning salt, one and a half tablespoons of unsalted butter, and a cup of oat bran and mix them together. Then, you shape them into balls and mash them down until they are as thick as a typical cracker.

You bake them at 350 for twenty minutes. This is enough time for them to dry out but not so much time that they will burn.


@OeKc05 – That's how I feel about oat bran muffins. They contain so much more in the way of nutrition and in flavor than regular blueberry muffins.

I had my first oat bran blueberry muffin two years ago, and I was astounded at the taste. I figured it would taste like cardboard, but instead, it had a rich, nutty flavor and a hint of molasses.

The blueberries added a sweetness that I thought I could only find in a muffin made with regular flour. I will never go back to the old prepackaged muffins.


I recently switched from white bread to oat bran bread. There is so much more flavor in this bread, and if I had known long ago what I was missing, I would have switched then and there.

Turkey, chicken, and even hot dogs taste so much better when paired with a slice or two of oat bran bread. It's nice to know that I am getting fiber instead of clogging my insides with sticky white bread, too.


I use an oat bran powder instead of eating the stuff whole. I dislike the texture and flavor, but I can get all the oat bran nutrition from the powder.


Wheat bran nutritional information per 100g :

Calories 348, Carbohydrate 52.5g, Protein 16.5g, Fat 8g.


I'm 63 year old lady and I take one and a half tablespoon of oat bran in an omelet.

My question is: How much oat bran can I take daily?


Be wary of following extreme "food diets" which may make you lose weight initially but you will always put it back on, and more, when you stop "dieting". Forget "dieting"! Eat healthily, small portions, lots of fruit and veg, pulses, soy (edamame beans are yummo), restrict red meat and animal fats.

Best "diet" advice? Eat less, move more. Your granny would say the best "diet" exercise is to move your chair away from the table!


Buy oat bran in bulk at sprouts farmers market food stores.


Sorry but you're wrong about the oat bran. Oat bran comes from the outer layer of the grain itself, not the husk. The husks can be used to make oat fiber.


I would not not give a baby oat bran as it is sometimes uses for dieting. It fills you up making you eat less. Not good for a growing baby.


Where do you buy oat bran? I have tried GNC and they don't carry it.


I need Oat Bran quick. Van I make it with oatmeal in the food processor?


I would like to add oat bran to my diet as I occasionally have constipation issues. Most grains cause me to bloat and make the problem worse, should I expect the same from oat bran?

Also, what is the carbohydrate content of oat bran and can I eat oat bran raw? or does it have to be cooked?


how do i implement exercise into my high fiber diet also?


Oats and oat bran are indeed gluten free but you can only eat the ones that have a gluten-free marking on it. It's not gluten in the oats that make you have a reaction, it's the cross-contamination that happens when processing in plants with the wheat being processed in the same facility. Bob's Red Mill and Glutino have great Gluten-Free Oat products. - fellow Celiac


Oat bran contains more fiber and absorbs more liquid than wheat bran. Oat bran is the cereal of choice for anyone who is overweight or suffering from high cholesterol. Oat bran is as suitable for celiacs, as are any other kind of oats. There are some celiacs who tolerate oats and many who don't. If you can eat oats without ill effects then oat bran is suitable for you.

If you are underweight, you should limit your oat bran intake to 2 tablespoons daily as it can reduce your appetite for other foods. Oat bran has a very low GI rating, which means that it excellent for anyone at risk of diabetes.


I have eaten oat bran twice (am following Dukan diet) however I am a coeliac and have reacted badly after each intake. Other coeliacs watch out for adverse reactions!


Oat bran is not marketed gluten-free, and may not be safe for celiacs. But I am wheat-sensitive and eat it every day! It never hurts me or makes me react!

I avoid all other wheat and this stuff is priceless to me! So yummy, filling and healthy!


is there gluten in oat bran?


where is the best place to buy oat bran, say in larger quantities?


Oat bran can be mixed with instant oatmeal. Here's a way to add some Asian flavors to instant oatmeal as alternative recipe, if you're tired of the old regular oatmeal.


can celiacs have oat bran?


in my point of view oat bran is better than wheat bran.


Is it safe to give my 14 month old baby oatbran, he has problems with constipation and I am unsure if this has anything to do with him being unable to retain moisture in the colon. He is on regular laxatives, but I am seeking a healthier alternative, his diet is well balanced and fluid intake is very good. I have been recommended this by a friend.

Thankyou, Lyndsey


What bran is better for you, oat or wheat?

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