Whole grain bread has higher nutritional value than wheat bread
In recent years, bread has received a bad rap for being filled with junky carbohydrates and containing little nutritional value. For many breads and baked goods, this reputation is well deserved because of the cheap, poor quality options consumed by most people. But all bread is not created equal! When shopping for breads, look for the key word whole grain bread, not just wheat. When you see the term “wheat”, you should not assume that the product contains whole wheat. Whole grain bread nutrition includes more essential vitamins that your body needs.
Whole grain bread nutrition is a great source of fiber, zinc, iron, folic acid, minerals, and B vitamins. Grains are also a rich source of proteins. In most cultures, most of the protein in people’s diet comes directly from grains.
Getting whole grain bread nutrition
How do you know if the bread you are eating contains these good grains? Well, breads can be grouped into three categories:
- Best breads are 100 percent whole grain. Whole wheat flour is the first ingredient on the label. Enriched flour does not appear in the ingredients list. If it doesn’t say “whole wheat” it’s not. Wheat flour, as listed on labels, officially should mean 75 percent white and 25 percent whole wheat, but it may not. All white bread is “wheat flour,” so this term is misleading, at best. A truthful label would state what percentage is whole wheat.
- Better breads list “whole-grain flour” as the main ingredient but may include white flour, too.
- Worst breads list “bleached, enriched four” first in the ingredients list.
Testing the bread you buy
Another quick test when choosing bread is to simply pick it up. As a general rule, the heavier the bread, the more nutrition it contains. When shopping, compare breads by holding a loaf in each hand. The loaf that weighs more is more likely to be loaded with whole grain bread nutrition. Bread made with whole grains is naturally heavier, firmer, and more nutrient dense than airy white bread. (This is a great activity to get kids involved when shopping!)
A word of caution when shopping for bread is to always look at the ingredients list first, not the color. Brown colored bread is not always more nutritious than white bread. In fact, the brown color is often just a marketing gimmick, and the bread is just white bread with coloring added.