We have all heard that we should ditch the wonder bread and go for the grains, but is whole wheat really that much healthier for you?
The flour of both white and wheat bread is made from wheat berries. Whole wheat bread contains all three parts of the wheat berry, the bran, the germ, and the endosperm, while white bread contains only the innermost layer (the endosperm). White bread is a refined (or processed) grain, which means that many of the naturally occurring beneficial nutrients have been stripped away during processing.
What are the health benefits of whole wheat bread?
Whole wheat bread is an excellent source of fiber and other nutrients like B vitamins. White bread is refined, which means it contains significantly less fiber, making it less nutritious. Foods high in fiber, such as whole grains, help to slow digestion, leading to a steady release of blood sugar. Fiber is key for good health for a variety of reasons, from lowering cholesterol to increasing satiety (or the feeling of fullness), high fiber diets have been linked to decreased risk of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. Fiber also helps keep bowel movements healthy and regular, and aids in reducing constipation.
To boost your fiber intake, aim to make at least half of your daily grain intake whole grains. By eating a variety of whole grains, you will naturally lower your intake of refined foods, such as white bread, crackers, cake, cookies, and candy. For optimal health, aim for 25 to 35 grams of dietary fiber per day.
Wheat bread is good for your gut and your waistline!
Switching to whole wheat bread will not only keep you regular, but it will also help you feel full longer, so you may eat fewer calories. Including whole grains in your diet plan may help you lose weight as well as maintain a healthy weight.
What are good sources of fiber?
CareZone Tip: When looking for a healthy whole wheat bread option, it’s important to read the ingredients listed on the food label. Look for “whole grain,” or “100% whole wheat” or the “100 % Whole Grains Council” stamp.
Article by Kim Denkhaus, a nutritionist and registered dietitian with a master’s degree in nutritional science. She’s CareZone’s contributing nutrition writer, and privately counsels clients in San Francisco and Los Angeles.