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Barley flour vs Cornstarch: How Do They Compare?

This article explains the key similarities and differences between barley flour and cornstarch, foods from the grains food group. Read on to learn more about the barley flour vs cornstarch comparison.
Dennis Gillett, Health & Fitness Writer

Written by Dennis Gillett, Health & Fitness Writer. Updated on January 28, 2023.

Barley flour and cornstarch 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 barley flour and cornstarch and help you learn more about their similarities and differences.

Barley flour

Barley flour (Hordeum vulgare) is made from ground barley, which is a type of cereal grain that is grown in many parts of the world.

It 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 flour is commonly used in baking, particularly in traditional dishes such as bread and porridge. It has a slightly sweet, nutty flavor and can be used as a substitute for wheat flour in most recipes. It is also gluten-free and easy to digest, making it a great option for people with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease.

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

It also contains a good amount of Vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine) and some Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), and Vitamin E.


Cornstarch (Zea mays) is a type of carbohydrate derived from the endosperm of the corn kernel.

It is a good source of energy, providing a high amount of carbohydrates and small amounts of protein, vitamins, and minerals. It is pure starch and has a very low nutritional value compared to whole-grain cornmeal.

Cornstarch is commonly used as a thickening agent in cooking and baking, as it can absorb liquids and increase the viscosity of sauces, gravies, and puddings. It is also used as a coating for fried foods to provide a crisp texture. It is a gluten-free ingredient and can be used as a thickener for people with gluten sensitivity or celiac disease.

Cornstarch is typically used in small amounts and is not a significant source of nutrition in the diet. It is often used as a thickener in combination with other ingredients, and when consumed in moderation, it can be included as part of a healthy diet.

Cornstarch is not an excellent source of any particular vitamin.

Barley flour vs Cornstarch Nutrition

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

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

Barley flourCornstarch
Energy345 kcal381 kcal
Carbs74.5 g91.3 g
Sugar0.8 g0 g
Fiber10.1 g0.9 g
Protein10.5 g0.26 g
Fat1.6 g0.05 g
Saturated Fat0.335 g0.009 g

Barley flour vs Cornstarch Calories

Most calories in grains come from carbs.

Comparing barley flour vs cornstarch for weight loss, barley flour is slightly lower in calories, with 345 calories per 100 grams, compared to 381 calories per 100 grams of cornstarch.

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

Barley flour vs Cornstarch Protein

Grains and most grain products, including barley flour and cornstarch, 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 flour offers around 98% more protein than cornstarch.

Barley flour has 10.5 grams of protein per 100 grams, while cornstarch has 0.3 grams of protein per 100 grams.

Barley flour vs Cornstarch 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 barley flour and cornstarch.

The total amount of carbohydrates is around 18% higher in cornstarch than in barley flour. It has 91.3 grams per 100 grams, compared to 74.5 grams in barley flour.

There’s less sugar in cornstarch than in barley flour, 100% precisely.

That said, 100 grams of cornstarch contains 0 grams of sugar, while the same amount of barley flour contains 0.8 grams.

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

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

With 10.1 grams of fiber per 100 grams, barley flour is a better source of fiber than cornstarch which barley flour offers 0.9 grams per 100 gram portion.

Barley flour vs Cornstarch Fats

Like most other grains, barley flour and cornstarch are low in fat.

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

Total fat in barley flour and cornstarch:

  • Barley flour: 1.6 grams per 100 grams
  • Cornstarch: 0.1 per 100 grams

Speaking of saturated fats, cornstarch is 100% lower in saturated fats.

Cornstarch and barley flour contain 0 grams and 0.3 grams of saturated fat per 100 grams, respectively.

Barley flour vs Cornstarch Vitamins Content

This section will discuss the vitamin content of barley flour and cornstarch.

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

However, cornstarch has a higher amount of vitamin B1 (Thiamine), vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), vitamin B3 (Niacin), vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid), vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine), vitamin B9 (Folate), vitamin E, and vitamin K.

Barley flour and cornstarch contain the same amount of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D, and vitamin B12 (Cobalamin).

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

Barley flourCornstarch
Vitamin A00
Vitamin C00
Vitamin D00
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)0.37 mg0
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)0.114 mg0
Vitamin B3 (Niacin)6.27 mg0
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid)0.145 mg0
Vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine)0.396 mg0
Vitamin B9 (Folate)8 µg0
Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)00
Vitamin E0.57 mg0
Vitamin K2.2 µg0

Barley flour vs Cornstarch 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 barley flour and cornstarch comparison focuses on their mineral content.

Barley flour is a better source of sodium than cornstarch.

On the other hand, cornstarch is a higher amount of calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, and zinc.

Barley flour and cornstarch contain the same amount of fluoride.

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

Barley flourCornstarch
Calcium32 mg2 mg
Copper0.343 mg0.05 mg
Iron2.68 mg0.47 mg
Magnesium96 mg3 mg
Manganese1.03 mg0.053 mg
Phosphorus296 mg13 mg
Potassium309 mg3 mg
Selenium37.7 µg2.8 µg
Sodium4 mg9 mg
Zinc2 mg0.06 mg

The Final Word

This article highlighted the similarities and differences between barley flour and cornstarch.

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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