Difference Between Cereals and Pulses

Cereals vs Pulses

Grains are considered as small, hard, dry seeds consumed by humans or animals. Grain producing plants are often called grain crops. The main types of grains are cereal grains, pseudocereals, pulses, whole grains and oil seeds. Out of these five types, cereals and pulses are considered as the main two types of commercial grains due to the high demand of their nutrient content and huge consumption worldwide. The main advantages of dry grains over other staple foods are that they can be stored for a long time and easy to handle and transport. Their properties allow cereals and pulses to harvest mechanically, transport by rail or ship, mill or process using large scale machines, and industrial agriculture.


Cereals are the grasses which come under the monocot family Poaceae, and are harvested for their starch rich grains. Cereal grains are composed of endosperm, germ, and bran. When compared to other type of crops, cereals are the largest energy providers and are grown in greater quantities worldwide. When consider the nutrient value of cereals, as a whole grain, they are rich in vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, fats, oils and protein. However, after refined by removal of bran and germ, the remaining endosperm part contains mainly starch. Most of the developing countries consume cereals such as rice, wheat, and millet as their major diets. But, in most developed countries, their cereal consumption is moderate when compared to developing countries. Rice, wheat, and maize make 87% of all grain production worldwide while other varieties such as barley, sorghum, millet, oats, triticale, rye, buckwheat etc. represent the rest of 13% production.


Pulses are also known as legumes, used as a food for humans and other animals worldwide. They are annual leguminous crops yielding from pods with one to twelve seeds. When compared to cereals, pulses are rich in proteins and essential amino acids. They are also used in crop rotation, due to their ability of fixing nitrogen. There are eleven primary pulses present, namely; dry beans, dry broad beans, dry peas, chickpea, dry cowpea, pigeon pea, lentil, bambara groundnut, vetch, lupins, and minor pulses.

What is the difference between Cereals and Pulses?

• Pulses are rich in proteins, whereas cereals are rich in carbohydrates.

• Unlike the cereals, pulse grains are found within a pod.

• Cereals are grown in larger quantities than pulses.

• Cereals act as the largest energy provider than pulses.

• Examples for cereals are rice, barley, wheat, millet etc, whereas examples for pulses are beans, peas cowpea etc.