Wheat Germ Vs. Wheat Bran - The Differences You Need To Know

Wheat Germ Vs. Wheat Bran - The Differences You Need To Know

same same, but different

Although wheat germ and wheat bran may sound like exactly the same thing (we totally excuse you if you thought this!), and contain many of the same nutrients, they are actually two different ingredients with distinct properties, benefits, and uses.

Wheat germ and wheat bran are by-products of milling wheat to produce fine, smooth white flour. However, these two by-products are not good for nothing; they are often used in cooking and baking thanks to their high nutritional profiles and the benefits they offer. 

But which one is best for you? Which one works best for baking? 

Let's compare wheat germ vs. wheat bran below to find out!

wheat germ vs. wheat bran - The differences


Wheat bran

Wheat bran is the outer layer or shell of the wheat kernel removed during milling, making up about 14% of the whole grain's composition.

Wheat germ

The wheat germ is the heart (or embryo) of the wheat kernel that grows into a new wheat plant. It is the smallest part, making up only about 3% of the grain's composition.

Flavor and Texture

Wheat bran

Wheat bran has a distinctly sweet and nutty flavor with a flaky texture.

Wheat germ

Wheat germ has a nutty, roasted flavor and crunchy texture.



Nutritional Composition

Wheat bran

Wheat bran is three times richer in fiber and has more niacin than wheat germ.

It also contains phytochemicals, vitamin B6, riboflavin, potassium, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus.

Nutritional values for 50g of wheat bran:

Calories: 108

Fat: 2.1 g

Carbohydrates: 32 g

Dietary fiber: 21 g

Sugar: 0,2 g

Protein: 7.8 g

Wheat germ

Wheat germ is the healthiest and most nutrient-rich part of the kernel among the three main layers - germ, bran, and endosperm.

It is richer in protein than wheat bran and contains fiber, healthy fats, antioxidants, and various vitamins and minerals, including vitamin E, vitamin B1 (thiamin), folate, and zinc.

Nutritional values for 50g of wheat germ:

Calories: 180

Fat: 4.9 g

Carbohydrates: 26 g

Dietary fiber: 6.6 g

Protein: 12 g

Sodium: 6mg

Health Benefits

Wheat bran

Being a rich source of dietary fiber, particularly insoluble fiber, wheat bran can:

  • Help promote digestive health and prevent constipation.
  • Prevent or reduce the risk of colon diseases, stomach and breast cancer, gallbladder disease, and hemorrhoids.
  • Wheat bran can also assist with high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes.

Wheat germ

  • Thanks to its vitamin B content and zinc, it can boost immunity and fight viruses.
  • Wheat germ also promotes heart health and healthy cholesterol levels due to its lower fat content than other plant food types.
  • Vitamin E provides antioxidants that help fight free radicals that speed up aging.
  • Its fiber content also assists with healthy digestion and constipation.


Wheat bran

Due to its sweet taste, wheat bran is often used in bread and other baked goods like muffins and cookies. The increased fiber will make you feel full and satisfied for longer periods. 

Wheat germ

Being high in protein, it is often added to smoothies, yogurt, oatmeal, pancakes, meatballs, or topping for salads and other dishes to increase protein intake.


Since wheat germ and bran come from the same plant, their flavors are very similar. They can be used interchangeably in recipes and dishes.

Just keep in mind wheat bran is less flavorful than wheat germ, so you might have to adjust other ingredients in your recipe to compensate for the loss of flavor.

If you struggle to find these two products in your local shop, have celiac disease or gluten allergies, or are on a low-carb diet, you may search for alternative options.

Substitutes for wheat germ and wheat bran include:

  • Oat bran
  • Rye bran
  • Rice bran
  • Wheat bran
  • Ground flax seed or flax meal (the best for baking recipes)
  • Almond meal
  • Cornmeal