White Bread vs Wheat Bread
Discover the key differences between white bread vs wheat bread. Learn about the nutritional impact of each type of bread and how to make healthier eating choices.
Is Wheat Bread Really Healthier Than White Bread?
Most people know that white bread and whole bread is different, but is whole bread really healthier than whole bread? Here we will examine some of the key differences between these two types of breads. We will also look at the difference between whole wheat and whole grain bread. Find out some of the common misconceptions about these three different types of breads and which is the healthiest eating choice.
The Key Differences Between White, Wheat And Whole Grain Bread
The flour for each type of bread is made from wheat berries, it is during process that they take on different nutritional qualities. Wheat berries are made up of three parts: the bran which is the outer layer, the germ which is at the inner most part of the wheat berry, and the endosperm which is the starchy layer between the germ and the bran. When whole grain is processed all three of the parts, the germ, the bran and endosperm, are retained. For whole wheat during this process some of the kernel will be removed which results in the germ being removed. In the case of white bread the germ and the bran are lost, leaving only the endosperm. The retention of these three nutritional components of the wheat berry is why whole grain bread is higher in zinc, folic acid, magnesium, fiber and vitamins B6 and E.
The Role Of Dietary Fiber
Fiber, also sometimes referred to as roughage, is the indigestible part of plant foods. As fiber works it’s way through our digestive system it absorbs water and makes bowel movements easier. There are two main types of fiber, insoluble and soluble. Soluble fiber dissolves in water and change as it passes through the digestive track. As it passes through the digestive system it is fermented by bacteria and become gelatinous. Insoluble fiber in contrast does not change form as it passes through the digestive tract. Whole wheat grains still contain all of the grain kernel. In contrast, refined grains such as the flour which is used to make white bread have had fiber stripped from it.
The Glycemic Index Of Wheat vs Whole vs Whole Grain Bread
One of the key ways to measure the dietary impact of carbohydrates is it’s glycemic index. When you eat carbohydrates they are broken down during the digestive system and are converted into glucose, which in turn enters the blood stream. The fiber content contained in the food dictates in part the rate at which glucose enters you blood stream. This is called the glycemic index of the food. The Glycemic index of a particular food is rated from between 0 and 100.
When whole wheat and white bread are compared their is virtually no difference between their glycemic index. However there is a significant different between the glycemic index of whole grain bread versus white bread. Whole grain has on average a glycemic index of 30 to 40% lower than that of white bread.
Scientific Studies On The Health Impact Of Different Breads
In one ten year study conducted by researchers at Harvard University those men and women who ate high fiber breads and fewer strokes and heart attacks compared to those who ate lower fiber alternatives. In another University of Washington study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, it was found that by switching from white bead to whole grain lowered the risk of heart disease by 20 percent.
According to another study published in The American Journal Of Clinical Nutrition people who ate whole grains not only weighed less on average, they also had lower cholesterol levels and body mass indexes and a small waist circumferences, compared to those who at the least amount of whole grains
Other Health Benefits Of Whole Grains
The high fiber content in whole grain breads also help with digestion. This keeps bowel movement more regular. This can reduce the chance of diverticulitis which is the occurrence of pouches in the colon wall. These pouches can lead to constipation, diarrhea and other digestive pain. There is also some suggestion that because whole grains contain lactic acid which promotes good bacteria inside of the intestine, it assists with nutritional absorption and may help the body’s immune system.
Whole grains are also assist the body in avoiding the absorption of bad cholesterol and lower triglyceride levels. These are both linked to the incidence of heart disease. In one study it was shown that women who ate between two and three servings of whole grains a day were a third less likely to die from heart disease, compared to women who ate one serving a week.
How To Differentiate Between Whole Wheat Grain And White Bread
Of course the easiest way to ensure that you are eating healthy whole wheat grain bread is to bake it yourself! But, if you don’t have a loaf of whole wheat grain ready you may need to purchase one. Finding real whole wheat grain bread doesn’t sound too difficult, but it is actually easier to make a mistake that you may think. Wheat bread is obviously usually darker than white bread. However, often white bread will have coloring added to eat to give it a darker hue. The best way to make sure that you are buying real whole wheat grain is to check the ingredients on the back of the loaf. If 100% whole grain or sprout whole grains aren’t the first ingredient then put it back on the shelf and finder a healthier loaf. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) have defined whole grain as any grain product in which 51% of it grains are whole. That’s why it’s important to look for 100% whole grain food when shopping. This ensure that each portion of bread contains the entire grain.
Making Healthier Eating Choices
The difference in the health impact of whole grain and white bread is fairly well known and indisputable. However, many people are still making the mistake of confusing whole grain with whole wheat. Evidence suggests that the nutritional and dietary benefits of whole wheat and white bread are negligible. If you want to make healthier eating choices then make sure that you stick to real 100% whole grain breads.