Is Wheat Bread Healthy?

Whether you’re all-in on Sunday morning French toast or you like crusty bread to serve with pasta, bread probably makes regular appearances in your meals. But all breads are not created equaland some are healthier than others.

Here’s everything you need to know to answer the question, “is whole wheat healthy?” and how to choose the healthiest bread you can possibly enjoy.

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What is the difference between whole wheat bread and white bread?

While whole wheat bread and white bread are made with wheat flour, there is a difference in the makeup of the flour used for the bread.

The flour used for white bread (and even some wheat bread) is refined, which removes some of the healthy parts of the wheat grain. The bran (which has a ton of fiber) and the germ (which contains a lot of nutrients) are removed and only the starchy endosperm remains.

Whole wheat flour is made from the whole kernel, including the bran and germ, which makes a more filling and nutritious flour for bread, pasta, and baked goods.

Health benefits of whole wheat bread

While whole wheat bread may not pack the same nutritional punch as a superfood, it still offers plenty of nutritional benefits if you eat it especially if you replace more refined baked goods with whole grain options that this.

Wheat bread is higher in fiber

It is not surprising that a whole wheat bread will offer a lot of fiber, since the wheat bran remains part of the flour. In general, a slice of white bread provides less than one gram of fiber, while you can find wheat breads with up to four grams of fiber per slice. (This will get you closer to the 25 to 30 gram fiber goal for your daily diet.)

Wheat bread has more nutrients

Whole wheat flour features nutrients you won’t find in refined white flour if it isn’t enriched to add those vitamins and minerals back. You’ll find higher levels of magnesium, selenium, and folate in whole wheat bread.

Wheat bread has more protein

Whole wheat bread contains 25 percent more protein than white bread which can help slow digestion in addition to providing a building block for improving muscle mass.

Whole grains can be key to an anti-inflammatory diet

Eating whole grain foods can be key to reducing inflammation in the body. Studies have found that adding whole grain foods to your diet can significantly reduce inflammatory markers especially in those with pre-existing conditions.

Whole grains can help regulate blood sugar levels

Whole wheat bread contains complex carbohydrates that take longer for your body to process, and don’t result in the blood sugar spikes and crashes that you get with refined carbs.

Whole wheat bread may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease

Eating more whole grain foods such as whole wheat bread may help reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, such as heart attack and stroke, especially in older adults. (You can thank the anti-inflammatory properties.)

Be careful with wheat bread if you have certain medical conditions

Although wheat bread is relatively healthy, that is definitely not the case if you have certain digestive conditions, such as celiac disease, gluten sensitivity or allergy, or irritable bowel syndrome. In those cases, whole wheat bread can trigger symptoms, such as diarrhea or constipation, abdominal pain, bloating, and gas.

How to know if you are getting whole wheat bread

You want to look for the word “whole” in the ingredient list (ie, whole wheat flour). Another easy sign? Look for a whole grain stamp on packaging, indicating that the product contains whole grain either a 50%-plus stamp for products containing at least half of a serving of whole grains per serving, or a 100% stamp for products containing a full serving of grain.

Your best bet is to look for wheat bread that states the amount of whole grains such as 100 percent whole grainsvs. only those that say it contains whole grains. And look for whole wheat or whole grain to be named at the top of the ingredient list, not below refined or white flour.

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