White Bread vs. Wheat Bread

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 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association.

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.
 
But of all these nutritional goodies, fiber is the star:

*In a 10-year Harvard study completed in 1994, men and women who ate high-fiber breads had fewer heart attacks and strokes than those whose tastes ran to bagels and baguettes.


*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
issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association. 


*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?

Whole grains provide health benefits that other foods don’t. In a Harvard study of 75,000 nurses, those who ate at least three servings a day of whole grains cut their heart attack risk by 35 percent and were less likely to get into weight or bowel trouble. By contrast, those who ate more processed foods—such as white bread, white rice and sodas—were more than twice as likely to develop diabetes. “Science continues to support the key role of whole grains in reducing chronic illnesses,” says Len Marquart, professor of nutrition at the University of Minnesota and author of the first health claim for whole grains approved by the US Food and Drug Administration.


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.


Is bread a vegan food?

Not usually. Many of the breads sold in grocery stores contain non-vegan ingredients, including milk, eggs, honey, shortening or whey—not to mention sodium stearyl lactylate, glycerides, emulsifiers, natural flavorings, artificial flavorings and lactase, all of which may be derived from animals. Vegans often have better luck at bakeries but still need to ask if the bread pans are greased with animal fat. If you like to bake, you can make your own bread. But if that doesn’t interest you, try Rudi’s Organic, Nature’s Path or Brownberry’s—they all produce vegan breads available nationwide.

you might also like



comments

Can I eat whole wheat or whole gain bread if I have a problem with glutin

Lana - 2014-04-05 19:59:16

which one is helthier

Claire - 2014-03-28 13:48:18

is there gluten in white bread? is gluten in wheat bread? is gluten bad for you?

don evere - 2014-02-15 01:12:37

good stuff

haley - 2013-10-07 19:28:12

now i'm reading whole wheat is causing excess belly fat and you say whole wheat is better than white. people make up your minds already.

boops - 2013-09-21 20:02:18

Bread was advertised and sold during the depression as an alternate food product to fill your belly when you can not afford real food like veggies, fruits, (meat)/eggs, etc... it is a processed food that is not natural. Wheat bread was advertised as being healthier than white since the 70's/80's and today more info is out demonstrating how processed foods are NOT good for us at all, no matter what type of flour is used. Flour is unhealthy.

Beverly - 2013-08-29 23:43:44

Yes, please read Wheat Belly. This article above is so filled with manipulated information. "Nutritious" is used way too often and is completely subjective from the author. There is no nutritional difference between white bread and wheat bread. In fact, the glycemic index of two pieces of wheat bread is MORE than a snickers bar. It's nice to know my hypoglycemia is in good hands with whole wheat (sarcasm).

Sarah - 2013-03-14 16:28:26

Some years ago I swtiched from white to wheat bread due to the benefits listed in this article. However, after reading about the harmful effects of wheat bread (such as in the book "Wheat Belly"), I'm now buying wheat-free and gluten free breads. And while these are supposedly better for you, they are quite expensive. So, when it comes to bread, I don't know what the right answer is anymore.

Ray Smith - 2013-01-29 18:42:43

verry good

jennifer - 2013-01-09 17:59:33

I love the soft, spongy, squishy texture of bleached white wonder bread. whole wheat or any kind of bread that isn't wonder white is disgusting. I eat all my sandwiches on wonder bread and I never toast it.

Mackle Mackay - 2012-09-22 21:33:33

I heard from a friend that whole wheat bread can give chronic pain in legs and cramps. Is this true. I get alot of cramps in legs at night, not all day only nights. Can u help me.

catherine ippoilitui - 2012-09-01 12:26:44

My nutritionist told me that whole wheat bread is just white bread with added color and is no better for you. She said you need to eat pumpernickel or rye. Is this true?

Pat - 2012-07-23 01:21:48

I always bahe my own bread. I use 5lbs of wholle wheat flower , 2 lbs of corn flower, and 2 lbs of white flower. . I add some 2% milkk , 4 eggs, amd 1 cup of olive oil. and about 1 cup of sugar, .My husband and I love this bread. Where am I going wrong?

Fragoso , Luciano - 2012-06-23 08:05:15

I'm a diabete and have an allergy for wheat. I'm not suppose to eat white bread but now brown bread contants wheat. What must I eat now.

Elsa Van Zyl - 2012-06-07 11:13:09

Wheat in all forms is very bad for you. Read "Wheat Belly" by Dr. William Davis. Wheat has a higher glycemic index than table sugar, so if your end game is diabetes eat another slice of either white or wheat. The science is overwhelmimg against wheat.

Mark - 2012-06-05 03:56:20