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The difference between cream of wheat & farina

Updated February 21, 2017

Cream of Wheat and farina are often confused. Both are porridge-style hot cereals but differ slightly in contents. Farina is a milled cereal grain which is typically made from wheat germ and the inner parts of wheat kernels (also known as endosperm). Similar in texture and colour to grits, Cream of Wheat is made with the same wheat germ in farina, however it's finely ground, making it smoother in texture and lighter in colour.

Cream of Wheat Nutrients

Cream of Wheat is similar in texture (smooth) and colour (white) to hominy grits . Nutritionally, it contains just 120 calories per cup and a moderate amount of carbohydrates (23 gm per cup). In one serving of Cream of Wheat, you can get almost half of the recommended daily amount (RDA) of iron. One serving also provides 20 per cent of the RDA for calcium. When prepared with fat-free milk, the calcium intake is bumped up to 70 per cent. Cream of Wheat is also a great nutritional choice for pregnant women, who are often encouraged to up their folic acid intake to boost vitamin B levels and help reduce the risk of birth defects. A serving of Instant Cream of Wheat provides 25 per cent of the daily value of folic acid. It also contains vitamin C, which aids in increasing the amount of iron the body absorbs.

Cream of Wheat Nutritional Weaknesses

While it may be a decent iron source, your fibre consumption needs will not be met with Cream of Wheat, as it contains none. During processing of the cereal, the bran is stripped from the wheat, which results in the elimination of the natural, soluble fibre present in wheat. Another drawback is the lack of fibre causes the elevation of blood glucose and insulin levels, which is dangerous for diabetics or others who need to sustain steady blood sugar levels.

How Farina Compares

Those concerned about cholesterol intake will be happy to learn farina has a zero cholesterol count. Like Cream of Wheat, farina provides some iron -- 15 per cent of the RDA) and while Cream of Wheat is empty on fibre, farina provides 13 per cent of the RDA in each cup (one serving). Rougher in texture and darker in colour (slightly more brown), farina also provides a number of healthy minerals; potassium, in particular, makes up the most with a content of 5 per cent.

Where Farina Falls Short

Farina has was far more calories than Cream of Wheat; 549 per serving. And while Farina packs the fibre missing in Cream of Wheat, it also has way more carbohydrates, 46 per cent (compared to 13 per cent for Cream of Wheat). Farina is also not a good source of vitamins A and C, containing none.

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About the Author

Jamila Daniel has over 15 years of journalism experience. In addition to having worked as a writer/producer with Premiere Radio Networks for the last several years, her freelance writing experience includes work for Essence the New York Village Voice and Wired.