Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Myth: White bread is the same as whole wheat white bread and whole wheat bread.

Answer: BUSTED!

wheat spears laying across slice of whole wheat bread
Whole wheat bread and wheat spears
The difference between whole wheat white bread, whole wheat bread and white bread is in the type of wheat used.

Whole wheat bread is made with red wheat, which is darker in color. It has a slightly bitter taste and a coarser texture.

Whole wheat white bread is made with white wheat, which lacks the brown color. It has a milder flavor and softer texture. It differs from white bread because the wheat used in whole wheat bread still contains the bran, germ and endosperm of the wheat grain.

White bread is made with refined flour, which goes through a process that strips out the fiber-dense bran and the nutrient-rich germ, leaving only the starchy endosperm. This means that refined grain is not as rich in essential fatty acids, vitamin E, magnesium and zinc.

Some flour and bread manufacturers enrich their bread by adding back in extra vitamins, but it is always a better choice to eat whole grains. The fiber and protein from the bran and germ provide a more constant source of energy, which will keep you going long after the energy from refined grain is gone.

When selecting bread, choose breads that list "whole" grain as the first ingredient, such as "whole wheat," "white whole wheat" or "whole oats." If the label does not say "whole" first, it is not a whole-grain product.

Additional nutrition information can be found at:

Contributor: Maude Harris, Nutrition and Health Education Specialist, University of Missouri Extension,, 573.545.3516

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