There is nothing like biting into the crunchy goodness of toasted bread to start your day. However, the type of bread you consume can have a significant impact on your overall daily nutrition. Different types of bread are not equal – you probably already know that. Looking at the nutritional labels of white bread and whole wheat bread might be a tad bit confusing. So, how do you determine which bread is healthier for you?
This article will help you understand the differences between white bread and whole wheat bread, and decide which one is better for you.
Whole Wheat Bread vs. White Bread: Major Differences
The main difference between these two types of bread is the way they are processed. The flour used for both of them is created with wheat berries, which include three main nutrient-rich elements – the endosperm (starch), germ (inner area), and bran (outer layer).
When making white bread, the bran is removed during the milling process of the wheat grain. All the minerals and vitamins also get removed in this step, which only leaves behind the endosperm. The starch is loaded with calories. It is utilized as available energy that is broken down in the body to turn into fat and sugars.
On the other hand, whole wheat is made using all three parts. It has a higher amount of nutrition, including chromium, folic acid, zinc, magnesium, vitamins E, and B6. The best nutritional goodie you consume with whole wheat bread is fiber.
Fiber helps improve your digestive health, thereby assisting in maintaining and losing weight since it keeps you full for longer.
The Differences in Nutritional Value
Aside from having a higher amount of fiber, whole grain bread also includes more protein and healthy fats. When it is made with 100% whole grain wheat, the bread also has a higher amount of iron, vitamins and other antioxidants.
According to the USDA, a single slice of whole wheat bread has:
- Fiber: 2.16 grams
- Carbohydrates: 15 grams
- Fat: 1 gram
- Protein: 4.48 grams
- Calories: 91
- Iron: 0.88 mg
- Magnesium: 27 mg
On the other hand, a single slice of white bread has:
- Fiber: 0.5 gram
- Carbohydrates: 14 grams
- Fat: 1 gram
- Protein: 2 grams
- Calories: 75
- Iron: 1.55 mg
- Potassium: 22.5 mg
As compared to whole wheat bread, white bread offers less nutritional value. In many cases, the white flour is artificially enriched with vitamins, but this doesn’t restore the nutritional value.
Pros and Cons of Whole Wheat Bread and White Bread
To help you understand the differences more clearly, here are the advantages and disadvantages of both types of bread.
While it is a commonly known fact that white bread is not as healthy as whole wheat bread, it is still rather popular. Let’s look at the reasons why:
- White bread is more accessible and affordable. You can easily find this bread anywhere for a couple of bucks.
- It usually is tastier than other kinds of bread, and is often the main feature in numerous bakeries and restaurants.
- This bread is fortified to enhance its nutritional value, most of which is lost during its processing. Folic acid, riboflavin, thiamin, niacin, and iron are artificially added to the bread. It somewhat adds to the overall nutrition.
- It is much softer as compared to whole wheat bread.
- It makes more mouth-watering sandwiches.
- It may contain a lower carbs
Let’s have a look at the cons of consuming white bread:
- As already mentioned before, the lack of nutrition is a significant disadvantage.
- Since it is low in fiber, the carbohydrates present in the bread increase the possibility of a blood glucose spike.
- You are more likely to gain weight consuming white bread in comparison to whole wheat bread.
Whole Wheat Bread
Here are some of the major benefits of consuming whole wheat bread:
- It includes a higher amount of nutritional value even after processing. This means you will get the majority of minerals and vitamins.
- Whole wheat bread is rich in fiber, making it healthier for your digestive system.
- Its fiber content also keeps you fuller longer, which helps in maintaining or losing weight.
Although whole wheat bread is a relatively healthier option, it still has a few cons:
- Even with a high amount of nutrition, various brands include plenty of preservatives and chemicals to extend the shelf life of the bread.
- It is often not easily available in the market in some areas.
- Whole wheat bread can be expensive.
- Some brands also add a certain amount of sugar during the processing step to make it more appealing to the masses. It improves the overall taste of the bread but reduces its health benefits.
- Not all whole wheat bread available on the market is 100% whole wheat. That means you don’t get the full benefits of this bread.
Tips for Buying 100% Whole Wheat Bread
The last con of whole wheat bread highlights the importance of eating 100% whole wheat bread. There is a wide range of bread on the market claiming to be made with pure whole wheat but includes a high amount of refined flour. You must be careful about the one you select.
Here are a few tips that will help you ensure you are picking the right whole wheat bread:
- The color of the bread is the initial clue. The color is what the majority of the people check to distinguish between white bread and whole wheat bread. However, just the color can’t help you in picking out a 100% whole wheat bread.
- Don’t fall for what’s written on the bread’s front packaging. Various brands only label the bread as “whole wheat” at the front to make it appear healthy. These brands often use deceitful terms, like “stone-ground wheat flour,” “enriched,” “multi-grain,” “unbleached wheat flour,” or “wheat flour.”
- Check the first ingredient on the product label. Make sure it mentions 100% whole grain flour or whole wheat flour on the top. It should not just be the first, but also the only flour ingredient listed.
- Be on the lookout for vegetable oils or added sugar, which many brands sneakily add.
- Aside from the ingredients of the bread, check out the nutritional value label as well. Make sure that each slice of the bread has 100 or lower calories, at least 2 grams of fiber, and a maximum of 225 mg of sodium.
Easy Recipe for Whole Wheat Bread
The best and healthiest bread is homemade bread. If you love to bake or are extremely health-conscious, then you can use this recipe to make whole wheat bread at your home.
Here is a simple recipe to make delicious, nourishing and wholesome bread:
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
- Whole Wheat Flour – 4 cups
- Instant yeast – 1 tbsp
- Salt – ½ tsp
- Maple Syrup – 2 tsp
- Warm water – 2 cups
- Take a bowl and mix the yeast, salt, and flour. Make sure that you use the exact measurements for both the flour and the yeast.
- In a smaller bowl, pour warm water into it. Stir the maple syrup until it gets completely dissolved.
- Pour the maple water mixture slowly into the flour bowl. Gently mix it.
- Once you have added all the liquid, use your hands to mix it. Keep in mind; you are only supposed to mix, not knead the dough. Mix until you get a well-combined, sticky dough.
- Now, line a loaf pan with a parchment paper.
- Transfer the dough to the loaf pan. Cover the pan using a food wrap and leave it for at least 20 minutes.
- The flour will start rising. In the meantime, preheat your oven at 390°F (200°C).
- After 20 minutes, place the pan inside the oven.
- Bake the bread for 40 minutes.
You can now enjoy the most delicious whole wheat bread. It is good for about two days when kept in a closed container. After that, store it in the fridge for a few days and make yummy toasted slices as needed.
Agave nectar, honey, or other sweetener syrup can be used in place of maple syrup. In case the dough doesn’t rise, leave it for a few minutes more. However, avoid leaving it for too long as it will rise too much, and you will end up with a muffin top loaf!
Whole wheat bread is undoubtedly the healthier option, but only if it is 100% whole wheat. Moreover, your choice of bread also depends on your personal preferences. While whole wheat bread is loaded with nutritional value, white bread is tastier and softer.
White bread makes the most delicious sandwiches and can instantly pump your energy levels, which is great for athletes. Whole wheat bread is better if you want to stay fit and lose weight. Just make sure you thoroughly read the product label to ensure you are selecting the right bread.