Barley vs Miso: Which Is Healthier?

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

Written by Michael Whaley, Health Writer. Updated on February 23, 2023.

Although barley and miso belong to different food groups, while barley belong is a grain, and miso 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 and miso, 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 and miso compare specifically.


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.


Miso (fermented soybean paste) is a traditional Japanese condiment made by fermenting soybeans with salt and a type of fungus called koji.

It is a thick, paste-like substance that adds flavor to various dishes, such as soups, sauces, and marinades.

Miso is an important part of Japanese cuisine and has been used for centuries to preserve and enhance food flavor.

One of the main health benefits of miso is its high protein content. Miso is made from soybeans, a good source of plant-based protein, making it a popular choice for vegetarians and vegans.

Miso also contains many nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. The fermentation process used to make miso also helps to increase the bioavailability of these nutrients, making them easier for the body to absorb.

In terms of health benefits, miso has been shown to have many positive effects on the body.

It is a good source of probiotics, which are beneficial bacteria that help balance the gut microbiome.

Miso may also help to reduce the risk of certain health conditions, such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol, due to its high content of antioxidants and other beneficial compounds.

Miso is not an excellent source of any particular vitamin.

However, it also contains a good amount of Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), Vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine), and Vitamin K and some Vitamin B1 (Thiamine), Vitamin B3 (Niacin), Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid), and Vitamin B9 (Folate).

Barley vs Miso Nutrition

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

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

Energy354 kcal198 kcal
Carbs73.5 g25.4 g
Sugar0.8 g6.2 g
Fiber17.3 g5.4 g
Protein12.5 g12.8 g
Fat2.3 g6.01 g
Saturated Fat0.482 g1.02 g

Barley vs Miso 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 miso vs barley for weight loss, miso is slightly lower in calories, with 198 calories per 100 grams, compared to 354 calories per 100 grams of barley.

However, both barley and miso 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 vs Miso Protein

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

Miso offers around 2% more protein than barley.

Miso has 12.8 grams of protein per 100 grams, while barley has 12.5 grams of protein per 100 grams.

Barley vs Miso 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 and miso.

The total amount of carbohydrates is around 65% higher in barley than in miso. It have 73.5 grams per 100 grams, compared to 25.4 grams in miso.

There’s less sugar in barley than in miso, 88% precisely.

One handful of barley (28 grams) contains 0.2 grams of sugar, while the same amount of miso contains 1.7 grams.

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

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

With 4.8 grams of fiber per portion, barley is a better source of fiber than miso which barley offers 1.5 grams per portion.

Barley vs Miso Fats

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

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

Total fat in barley and miso:

  • Barley: 2.3 grams per 100 grams
  • Miso: 6 per 100 grams

Speaking of saturated fats, barley is 50% lower in saturated fats.

Barley and miso contain 0.5 grams and 1 grams of saturated fat per 100 grams, respectively.

Barley vs Miso Vitamins Content

This section will discuss the vitamin content of barley and miso.

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

Barley has a higher amount of vitamin A, vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid), vitamin B12 (Cobalamin), and vitamin K.

However, miso has a higher amount of vitamin B1 (Thiamine), vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), vitamin B3 (Niacin), vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine), and vitamin E.

Barley and miso contain the same amount of vitamin C, vitamin D, and vitamin B9 (Folate).

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

Vitamin A22 IU87 IU
Vitamin C00
Vitamin D00
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)0.646 mg0.098 mg
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)0.285 mg0.233 mg
Vitamin B3 (Niacin)4.6 mg0.906 mg
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid)0.282 mg0.337 mg
Vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine)0.318 mg0.199 mg
Vitamin B9 (Folate)19 µg19 µg
Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)00.08 µg
Vitamin E0.57 mg0.01 mg
Vitamin K2.2 µg29.3 µg

Barley vs Miso 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 and miso comparison focuses on their mineral content.

Barley is a better source of calcium, and sodium than miso.

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

Barley and miso contain the same amount of fluoride.

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

Calcium33 mg57 mg
Copper0.498 mg0.42 mg
Iron3.6 mg2.49 mg
Magnesium133 mg48 mg
Manganese1.94 mg0.859 mg
Phosphorus264 mg159 mg
Potassium452 mg210 mg
Selenium37.7 µg7 µg
Sodium12 mg3730 mg
Zinc2.77 mg2.56 mg

The Final Word

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

Both barley and miso 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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