Barley flour vs Soy: Which Is Better?

This article explains the key similarities and differences between barley flour and soy, foods from the grains and legumes food groups. Read on to learn more about the barley flour vs soy comparison.
Esther Bumpus, Health Writer

Written by Esther Bumpus, Health Writer. Updated on February 19, 2023.

Although barley flour and soy belong to different food groups, while barley flour belong is a grain, and soy belong to legumes food group, and it’s not that common to compare foods from different groups, people are often interested in these comparisons as well.

That’s why we decided to create an in-depth article that compares barley flour and soy, their nutritional values, similarities, differences, macronutrients, and micronutrients – vitamins and minerals.

Generally speaking, foods from grains and legume food groups are both high in carbs and protein and valuable addition to a plant-based diet.

Now, let’s see how barley flour and soy compare specifically.

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.


Soybeans (Glycine max) are a type of legume native to East Asia.

They are a popular ingredient in many vegan and vegetarian dishes due to their high protein and fiber content. Soy protein is one of the complete sources of a plant-based protein.

Soybeans can be enjoyed in a variety of dishes, including tofu, soy milk, and soy-based meat substitutes, and can also be ground into flour and used in baked goods such as bread and cookies.

In addition to being a tasty and nutritious food, soybeans have been shown to have many potential health benefits.

They are a good source of antioxidants and have been linked to lower cholesterol levels and improved blood sugar control.

Soybeans are also a good source of several important minerals, including iron, zinc, and magnesium.

Soy are an excellent source of Vitamin B1 (Thiamine), Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), Vitamin B9 (Folate), and Vitamin K.

They also contain a good amount of Vitamin B3 (Niacin), Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid), and Vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine) and some Vitamin C, and Vitamin E.

Barley flour vs Soy 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 soy.

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

Barley flourSoy
Energy345 kcal446 kcal
Carbs74.5 g30.2 g
Sugar0.8 g7.33 g
Fiber10.1 g9.3 g
Protein10.5 g36.5 g
Fat1.6 g19.9 g
Saturated Fat0.335 g2.88 g

Barley flour vs Soy Calories

Most calories in raw grains and legumes come from carbs. Peanuts are an exception here, but they are often considered a nut instead of a legume because of their nutritional profile.

Comparing barley flour vs soy for weight loss, barley flour is slightly lower in calories, with 345 calories per 100 grams, compared to 446 calories per 100 grams of soy.

However, both barley flour and soy 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 Soy Protein

Legumes and most legume products, including barley flour and soy, are important sources of plant-based protein.

Soy offer around 71% more protein than barley flour.

Soy have 36.5 grams of protein per 100 grams, while barley flour has 10.5 grams of protein per 100 grams.

Barley flour vs Soy 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 soy.

The total amount of carbohydrates is around 59% higher in barley flour than in soy. It have 74.5 grams per 100 grams, compared to 30.2 grams in soy.

There’s less sugar in barley flour than in soy, 90% precisely.

One handful of barley flour (28 grams) contains 0.2 grams of sugar, while the same amount of soy contains 2.1 grams.

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

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

With 2.8 grams of fiber per portion, barley flour is a better source of fiber than soy which barley flour offers 2.6 grams per portion.

Barley flour vs Soy Fats

Like most other grains and legumes, with the exception of lupins and peanuts, barley flour and soy are low in fat.

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

Total fat in barley flour and soy:

  • Barley flour: 1.6 grams per 100 grams
  • Soy: 19.9 per 100 grams

Speaking of saturated fats, barley flour is 90% lower in saturated fats.

Barley flour and soy contain 0.3 grams and 2.9 grams of saturated fat per 100 grams, respectively.

Barley flour vs Soy Vitamins Content

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

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

Barley flour has a higher amount of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B1 (Thiamine), vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid), vitamin B9 (Folate), vitamin E, and vitamin K.

However, soy have a higher amount of vitamin B3 (Niacin), and vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine).

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

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

Barley flourSoy
Vitamin A022 IU
Vitamin C06 mg
Vitamin D00
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)0.37 mg0.874 mg
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)0.114 mg0.87 mg
Vitamin B3 (Niacin)6.27 mg1.62 mg
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid)0.145 mg0.793 mg
Vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine)0.396 mg0.377 mg
Vitamin B9 (Folate)8 µg375 µg
Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)00
Vitamin E0.57 mg0.85 mg
Vitamin K2.2 µg47 µg

Barley flour vs Soy 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 soy comparison focuses on their mineral content.

Barley flour is a better source of calcium, copper, fluoride, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc than soy.

On the other hand, soy are a higher amount of selenium, and sodium.

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

Barley flourSoy
Calcium32 mg277 mg
Copper0.343 mg1.66 mg
Fluoride02.2 µg
Iron2.68 mg15.7 mg
Magnesium96 mg280 mg
Manganese1.03 mg2.52 mg
Phosphorus296 mg704 mg
Potassium309 mg1800 mg
Selenium37.7 µg17.8 µg
Sodium4 mg2 mg
Zinc2 mg4.89 mg

The Final Word

Barley flour and soy are highly nutritious and a great addition to a plant-based diet.

Both barley flour and soy are high in specific vitamins and minerals, and including them in your diet will give you the most benefits they offer.

Antioxidants found in grains and legumes can help to protect cells from damage and may reduce the risk of certain diseases and the effects of aging.

Additionally, the fiber and other nutrients in these foods can support the health of the digestive system and may even help to prevent certain digestive cancers.

Legumes and grains are a versatile food that can be incorporated into any meal of the day, including breakfast, lunch, or dinner. They can be served hot or cold, making them a convenient and tasty addition to a variety of dishes.


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