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All-purpose flour vs Barley: How Do They Compare?

This article explains the key similarities and differences between all-purpose flour and barley, foods from the grains food group. Read on to learn more about the all-purpose flour vs barley comparison.
Catherine Toledo, Journalist

Written by Catherine Toledo, Journalist. Updated on January 30, 2023.

All-purpose flour and barley belong to the grains food group, one of the staple food groups for people on a plant-based diet.

Grains and grain products are an affordable source of carbohydrates, as well as essential vitamins and minerals, including B vitamins (such as thiamin, riboflavin, and niacin), iron, and zinc, minerals that are usually harder to get on a plant-based diet.

They also provide a small amount of protein and healthy fats.

However, it is important to note that whole grains are generally a better source of these nutrients than refined grains.

This article will thoroughly compare all-purpose flour and barley and help you learn more about their similarities and differences.

All-purpose flour

All-purpose wheat flour (Triticum aestivum) is a type of flour that is made from hard or soft wheat. It is called ‘all-purpose’ because it can be used in various baking applications, including bread, cakes, pastries, and more.

All-purpose wheat flour is a good source of carbohydrates, small amounts of protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. It is also gluten-rich, allowing it to rise and develop a structure in baking.

All-purpose wheat flour is widely used in baking and cooking and can replace other flours in most recipes. It is also a staple ingredient in many traditional dishes such as bread, pastries, and cakes.

All-purpose wheat flour is not gluten-free and unsuitable for people with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease. It can be enjoyed as a balanced diet combined with vegetables, lean protein sources, and healthy fats.

All-purpose flour is not an excellent source of any particular vitamin.

However, it contains a good amount of Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) and some Vitamin B3 (Niacin), Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid), and Vitamin B9 (Folate).


Barley (Hordeum vulgare) is a cereal grain widely grown in many parts of the world and has been a staple food for thousands of years. It is closely related to wheat and oats.

Barley is a good source of carbohydrates, dietary fibers, and small amounts of vitamins and minerals like magnesium, phosphorus, and B vitamins. It is also rich in antioxidants and protein, making it a valuable food for vegetarians and vegans.

Barley is commonly used in brewing beer, animal feed, and as a food grain. It can be used in soups, stews, and as a side dish, either whole or ground into flour. It is also gluten-free and easy to digest, making it a great option for people with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease.

Barley is considered a functional food, as it has been shown to positively impact health when consumed regularly as part of a balanced diet. It is also a sustainable crop, as it can be grown in poor soil conditions and is resistant to pests and diseases.

Barley is an excellent source of Vitamin B1 (Thiamine), and Vitamin B3 (Niacin).

It also contains a good amount of Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), and Vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine) and some Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid), Vitamin B9 (Folate), and Vitamin E.

All-purpose flour vs Barley Nutrition

Now that we’ve described the origin, taste, and usage of these foods, we can move to the most interesting part – comparing all-purpose flour vs barley.

This comparison will start by comparing the caloric value of all-purpose flour and barley and their macronutrients and then go more in-depth by analyzing their vitamin and mineral content.

All-purpose flourBarley
Energy364 kcal354 kcal
Carbs76.3 g73.5 g
Sugar0.27 g0.8 g
Fiber2.7 g17.3 g
Protein10.3 g12.5 g
Fat0.98 g2.3 g
Saturated Fat0.155 g0.482 g

All-purpose flour vs Barley Calories

Most calories in grains come from carbs.

Comparing barley vs all-purpose flour for weight loss, barley is slightly lower in calories, with 354 calories per 100 grams, compared to 364 calories per 100 grams of all-purpose flour.

However, both all-purpose flour and barley can and should be a part of a healthy diet, and neither one shouldn’t be avoided if you’re looking to lose weight.

All-purpose flour vs Barley Protein

Grains and most grain products, including all-purpose flour and barley, are important sources of plant-based protein.

However, it should be noted that most grains, with the exception of quinoa and buckwheat, for example, are low in lysine and methionine.

That said, you can combine grains with legumes to get a complete protein.

Barley offers around 18% more protein than all-purpose flour.

Barley has 12.5 grams of protein per 100 grams, while all-purpose flour has 10.3 grams of protein per 100 grams.

All-purpose flour vs Barley Carbs

Counting carbs can be important for some people for different reasons, including blood sugar control, weight management, or athletic performance.

It’s also important for people on a keto diet, so let’s compare the carbs content in all-purpose flour and barley.

The total amount of carbohydrates is around 4% higher in all-purpose flour than in barley. It has 76.3 grams per 100 grams, compared to 73.5 grams in barley.

There’s less sugar in all-purpose flour than in barley, 63% precisely.

That said, 100 grams of all-purpose flour contains 0.3 grams of sugar, while the same amount of barley contains 0.8 grams.

Lastly, let’s take a look at the dietary fiber in all-purpose flour and barley.

Dietary fiber keeps the digestive system healthy and helps with weight management by promoting a sense of fullness.

With 17.3 grams of fiber per 100 grams, barley is a better source of fiber than all-purpose flour which offers 2.7 grams per 100 gram portion.

All-purpose flour vs Barley Fats

Like most other grains, all-purpose flour and barley are low in fat.

Fats in all-purpose flour and barley are mostly healthy unsaturated fats. They are naturally cholesterol-free and trans-fat-free.

Total fat in all-purpose flour and barley:

  • All-purpose flour: 1 grams per 100 grams
  • Barley: 2.3 per 100 grams

Speaking of saturated fats, all-purpose flour is 60% lower in saturated fats.

All-purpose flour and barley contain 0.2 grams and 0.5 grams of saturated fat per 100 grams, respectively.

All-purpose flour vs Barley Vitamins Content

This section will discuss the vitamin content of all-purpose flour and barley.

Vitamins are micronutrients, meaning we need only a small amount. However, they are very important for many processes in our bodies.

All-purpose flour has a higher amount of vitamin A, vitamin B1 (Thiamine), vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), vitamin B3 (Niacin), vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine), vitamin E, and vitamin K.

However, barley has a higher amount of vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid), and vitamin B9 (Folate).

All-purpose flour and barley contain the same amount of vitamin C, vitamin D, and vitamin B12 (Cobalamin).

The following table shows the exact amount of vitamins all-purpose flour and barley contain side by side, so you can easily compare them.

All-purpose flourBarley
Vitamin A022 IU
Vitamin C00
Vitamin D00
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)0.12 mg0.646 mg
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)0.04 mg0.285 mg
Vitamin B3 (Niacin)1.25 mg4.6 mg
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid)0.438 mg0.282 mg
Vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine)0.044 mg0.318 mg
Vitamin B9 (Folate)26 µg19 µg
Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)00
Vitamin E0.06 mg0.57 mg
Vitamin K0.3 µg2.2 µg

All-purpose flour vs Barley Minerals Content

Minerals are important for our body to function properly. We need only a small amount of minerals, so they are called micronutrients.

Some minerals, like iron, calcium, zinc, or iodine, are relatively hard to get on a plant-based diet, so it’s important to choose your foods thoughtfully. This part of the all-purpose flour and barley comparison focuses on their mineral content.

All-purpose flour is a better source of calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sodium, and zinc than barley.

All-purpose flour and barley contain the same amount of fluoride.

Check out the table below to learn how all-purpose flour and barley compare when it comes to mineral content.

All-purpose flourBarley
Calcium15 mg33 mg
Copper0.144 mg0.498 mg
Iron1.17 mg3.6 mg
Magnesium22 mg133 mg
Manganese0.682 mg1.94 mg
Phosphorus108 mg264 mg
Potassium107 mg452 mg
Selenium33.9 µg37.7 µg
Sodium2 mg12 mg
Zinc0.7 mg2.77 mg

The Final Word

This article highlighted the similarities and differences between all-purpose flour and barley.

Grains, also known as cereal grains, are an important source of nutrition for many people around the world. They are a rich source of carbohydrates, which provide energy for the body.

Whole grains contain important vitamins and minerals, such as B vitamins and iron. Whole grains, in particular, are high in dietary fiber and can help with digestion and weight management.

They may also have other health benefits, such as reducing the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer.

Grains are also a staple food and an important source of food security in many parts of the world.


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