White Bread vs. Wheat Bread
I know whole wheat bread and white bread are different, but how exactly?
There are two big differences: how they’re processed and how healthful they are. The flour
for both is made from wheat berries, which have three nutrient-rich parts: the bran (the outer layers), the germ (the innermost area) and the endosperm (the starchy part in between). Whole wheat is processed to include all three nutritious parts, but white flour uses only the endosperm. When put head-to-head with whole wheat bread, white is a nutritional lightweight. Whole wheat is much higher in fiber, vitamins B6 and E, magnesium, zinc, folic acid and chromium.
*Simply switching from white to whole wheat bread can lower heart disease risk by 20 percent, according to research from the University of Washington reported in the April 2, 2003
*Fiber has long been known to aid digestive health too.
*Fiber can help you lose or maintain weight because eating fiber-dense wheat bread helps you feel full.
But a lot of white bread is enriched. Doesn’t that take care of the nutrients lost during refining?
Nope. When flour is refined, it loses the most nutritious parts of the grain—the fiber, essential fatty acids, and most of the vitamins and minerals. In fact, about 30 nutrients are removed, but by law only five must be added back (though others often are): iron, niacin, thiamin, riboflavin and folic acid. There’s so little fiber left after processing that you’d have to eat eight pieces of white bread to get the fiber in just one piece of whole wheat bread.
Other foods besides whole grains have fiber and nutrients. Can’t I just get what I need from them and still enjoy my dinner rolls?
How can I tell if bread is really whole wheat?
Color used to be a clue, but no more. Although white bread is white because it’s been bleached, some dark bread has just had caramel coloring added to it. Look for “whole grain” or “whole wheat” as the first ingredient on the label. If any other ingredient is first, put the loaf back and keep looking.