Difference Between Cereals And Pulses

Cereals and pulses are two different types of food. In some countries, the term pulses (legumes) is synonymous with vegetables or greens. Therefore, it’s a time to talk about cereals and pulses. Cereals and pulses have been the basis of different civilizations and cultures, i.e. rice, wheat, and corn. Cereals and pulses are often confused with each other, yet they are very different. The major difference between cereals and pulses is that the cereals are the harvested grasses, which are cultivated for their starch component. The type of fruit and botanically are known as a caryopsis. On the other hand, pulses are the leguminous crop, which is harvested as the dry seed in a pod. Here is a list of the key differences between Cereals and Pulses along with the table.

Difference Between Cereals and Pulses In Tabular Form



Composed of high levels of carbohydrates but are a good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, B6, B12, C, Calcium, Phosphorus, amino acids, and other minerals. Composed of lower contents in carbohydrates but are rich in other nutrients like proteins, amino acids, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
They are the harvested grasses, which are cultivated for their starch component. They are the leguminous crop, that is harvested as the dry seed in a pod.
Cereals are plants that can be characterized by the fact that different types of flours can be made from their grains. Cereals have some common uses such as fermentation is part of the production of different alcoholic beverages. Pulses are a food group that is characterized by containing antinutrients, which interfere with the correct absorption of nutrients. Because of this, legumes must be prepared correctly.
Cereals are rich in starch. They are rich in protein and carbohydrates.
The excessive consumption of cereals is the cause of different diseases such as obesity and overweight, diabetes, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular diseases. Pulses have been of great importance in the history of man while they have been the basis of human nutrition since prehistoric times.
Examples: Oats, rice, barley, rye, corn are cereals. Examples: Beans, lentils, peas, chickpeas, lima beans, green beans, kidney beans, soybeans, and peanuts are pulses.

Cereals Vs. Pulses – Overview

Cereals are rich in carbohydrates and are majorly produced in several countries. Whereas, pulses (legumes) are highly rich in proteins that have been yielded in less quantity than cereals. Cereals belong to the Poaceae family (monocot). Cereals are the grasses.

On the other hand, pulses are leguminous crops that produce pods. Cereals belong Poaceae family, while pulses belong to the legume family, also called the Fabaceae family. Both cereals and legumes are classified as grains that are produced for human and animal consumption.


Cereals come from the Poaceae family of monocots that are harvested for their starchy grains. Cereals are grasses and are generally made up of endosperm, germ, and bran. When we compare it to other types of crops, cereals are the largest suppliers of energy and are grown in larger quantities worldwide.

They are rich in vitamins. Also contain high minerals, carbohydrates, fats, oils, and proteins. After being refined by removing the bran and germ, the remaining part of the endosperm contains mainly starch.

Some countries consume it in the form of rice, wheat, and millet as their main diets. While in several countries the cereal consumption is moderate compared to developing countries.

Rice, wheat, and corn account for 88.5% of all cereal production worldwide, whereas other varieties like barley, sorghum, millet, oats, triticale, rye, buckwheat, etc. represent the rest of 12% of the production.

What are the common cereals?

  • Oats
  • Rice
  • Barley
  • Rye
  • Corn


Pulses are also known as legumes or vegetables, used as food for living things throughout the world. Pulses produce pods of one to twelve seeds. When we compare it with cereals, pulses are rich in protein and essential amino acids. Pulses are also involved in crop rotation, due to their ability to fix nitrogen. The FAO has recognized eleven primary pulses that are given below:

Examples of Pulses

  • Dried Beans
  • Dried Peas
  • Dried Broad Beans
  • Chickpea
  • Fried Cowpea
  • Pigeon Pea
  • Lentils
  • Bambara Peanuts
  • Peas
  • Lupins
  • Minor Legumes

Key Difference B/w Cereals and Pulses

  • Cereals are grown in all types of soil except desserts and cold areas, whereas pulses can be grown in pods, which can produce from one to twelve dry seeds.
  • Cereals are classified asĀ  Kingdom: Plantae; Order: Poales; Family: Poaceae. while pulses are classified as Kingdom: Plantae; Order: Fabales; Family: Leguminosae.
  • Examples of cereals are barley, corn, wheat, millet, rice, oats, sorghum, and corn whereas lentils, dried beans, golden gram, chickpeas, and cowpeas are few varieties of pulses.

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