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Whole-grain cornmeal vs Lentils: How Do They Compare?

This article explains the key similarities and differences between whole-grain cornmeal and lentils, foods from the grains and legumes food groups. Read on to learn more about the whole-grain cornmeal vs lentils comparison.
Dennis Gillett, Health & Fitness Writer

Written by Dennis Gillett, Health & Fitness Writer. Updated on February 12, 2023.

Although whole-grain cornmeal and lentils belong to different food groups, while whole-grain cornmeal belong is a grain, and lentils 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 whole-grain cornmeal and lentils, 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 whole-grain cornmeal and lentils compare specifically.

Whole-grain cornmeal

Whole-grain cornmeal (Zea mays) is made by grinding whole corn kernels into a fine or coarse powder. It is considered a whole grain because it contains all three parts of the corn kernel: the germ, bran, and endosperm.

It is a good source of carbohydrates, dietary fibers, and small amounts of vitamins and minerals like vitamin B3, iron and zinc. It also contains antioxidants, such as carotenoids, flavonoids, and phenolic acids, that have been linked to various health benefits, including improved heart health and blood sugar control.

Whole-grain cornmeal is commonly used in traditional American cuisine, such as cornbread, polenta, and grits. It can also be used as a coating for fish and meats, as an ingredient in baking, and as a thickener in soups and sauces. It is a healthier option than refined cornmeal as it retains all the nutrients from the corn kernel and provides more fiber.

Whole-grain cornmeal is an excellent source of Vitamin B1 (Thiamine).

It also contains a good amount of Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), Vitamin B3 (Niacin), and Vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine) and some Vitamin A, Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid), and Vitamin B9 (Folate).


Lentils (Lens culinaris) are a type of legume that are native to the Middle East and have been consumed for thousands of years.

They are small, round, and come in various colors, including green, brown, red, and yellow. Lentils are a popular ingredient in many cuisines worldwide and are highly valued for their nutritional content.

One of the main health benefits of lentils is their high protein content. In fact, lentils are one of the highest plant-based protein sources, making them a popular choice for vegetarians and vegans.

Lentils are also high in fiber, which can help to improve digestion and lower cholesterol levels.

They are rich in nutrients such as iron, potassium, and B vitamins. They also contain many plant compounds that have been shown to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.

Regarding versatility, lentils can be easily incorporated into various dishes, such as soups, stews, and salads.

They are also budget-friendly ingredients that can be used in place of meat to add protein and nutrients to meals.

Lentils are an excellent source of Vitamin B1 (Thiamine), Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid), Vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine), and Vitamin B9 (Folate).

They also contain a good amount of Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), and Vitamin B3 (Niacin) and some Vitamin C, and Vitamin K.

Whole-grain cornmeal vs Lentils Nutrition

Now that we’ve described the origin, taste, and usage of these foods, we can move to the most interesting part – comparing whole-grain cornmeal vs lentils.

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

Whole-grain cornmealLentils
Energy362 kcal352 kcal
Carbs76.9 g63.4 g
Sugar0.64 g2.03 g
Fiber7.3 g10.7 g
Protein8.12 g24.6 g
Fat3.59 g1.06 g
Saturated Fat0.505 g0.154 g

Whole-grain cornmeal vs Lentils 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 lentils vs whole-grain cornmeal for weight loss, lentils are slightly lower in calories, with 352 calories per 100 grams, compared to 362 calories per 100 grams of whole-grain cornmeal.

However, both whole-grain cornmeal and lentils can and should be a part of a healthy diet, and neither one shouldn’t be avoided if you’re looking to lose weight.

Whole-grain cornmeal vs Lentils Protein

Legumes and most legume products, including whole-grain cornmeal and lentils, are important sources of plant-based protein.

Lentils offer around 67% more protein than whole-grain cornmeal.

Lentils have 24.6 grams of protein per 100 grams, while whole-grain cornmeal has 8.1 grams of protein per 100 grams.

Whole-grain cornmeal vs Lentils 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 whole-grain cornmeal and lentils.

The total amount of carbohydrates is around 18% higher in whole-grain cornmeal than in lentils. It have 76.9 grams per 100 grams, compared to 63.4 grams in lentils.

There’s less sugar in whole-grain cornmeal than in lentils, 67% precisely.

One handful of whole-grain cornmeal (28 grams) contains 0.2 grams of sugar, while the same amount of lentils contains 0.6 grams.

Lastly, let’s take a look at the dietary fiber in whole-grain cornmeal and lentils.

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

With 3 grams of fiber per portion, lentils are a better source of fiber than whole-grain cornmeal which offer 2 grams per portion.

Whole-grain cornmeal vs Lentils Fats

Like most other grains and legumes, with the exception of lupins and peanuts, whole-grain cornmeal and lentils are low in fat.

Fats in whole-grain cornmeal and lentils are mostly healthy unsaturated fats. They are naturally cholesterol-free and trans-fat-free.

Total fat in whole-grain cornmeal and lentils:

  • Whole-grain cornmeal: 3.6 grams per 100 grams
  • Lentils: 1.1 per 100 grams

Speaking of saturated fats, lentils are 60% lower in saturated fats.

Lentils and whole-grain cornmeal contain 0.2 grams and 0.5 grams of saturated fat per 100 grams, respectively.

Whole-grain cornmeal vs Lentils Vitamins Content

This section will discuss the vitamin content of whole-grain cornmeal and lentils.

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

Whole-grain cornmeal has a higher amount of vitamin C, vitamin B1 (Thiamine), vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid), vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine), vitamin B9 (Folate), vitamin E, and vitamin K.

However, lentils have a higher amount of vitamin A, and vitamin B3 (Niacin).

Whole-grain cornmeal and lentils contain the same amount of vitamin D, and vitamin B12 (Cobalamin).

The following table shows the exact amount of vitamins whole-grain cornmeal and lentils contain side by side, so you can easily compare them.

Whole-grain cornmealLentils
Vitamin A214 IU39 IU
Vitamin C04.5 mg
Vitamin D00
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)0.385 mg0.873 mg
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)0.201 mg0.211 mg
Vitamin B3 (Niacin)3.63 mg2.6 mg
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid)0.425 mg2.14 mg
Vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine)0.304 mg0.54 mg
Vitamin B9 (Folate)25 µg479 µg
Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)00
Vitamin E0.42 mg0.49 mg
Vitamin K0.3 µg5 µg

Whole-grain cornmeal vs Lentils 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 whole-grain cornmeal and lentils comparison focuses on their mineral content.

Whole-grain cornmeal is a better source of calcium, copper, iron, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc than lentils.

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

Whole-grain cornmeal and lentils contain the same amount of fluoride.

Check out the table below to learn how whole-grain cornmeal and lentils compare when it comes to mineral content.

Whole-grain cornmealLentils
Calcium6 mg35 mg
Copper0.193 mg0.754 mg
Iron3.45 mg6.51 mg
Magnesium127 mg47 mg
Manganese0.498 mg1.39 mg
Phosphorus241 mg281 mg
Potassium287 mg677 mg
Selenium15.5 µg0.1 µg
Sodium35 mg6 mg
Zinc1.82 mg3.27 mg

The Final Word

Whole-grain cornmeal and lentils are highly nutritious and a great addition to a plant-based diet.

Both whole-grain cornmeal and lentils 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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