White bread and whole wheat bread are both made from wheat which is a cereal grain. The difference between the two is in the milling process of the wheat grain.
Wheat grains have three parts namely; endosperm, bran and germ. When making white bread, bran and germ are removed leaving only endosperm. Whole grain products on the other hand have all three. This happens to other foods too, like rice and oats.
So, why are the bran and germ removed from white bread? Germ removal extends the shelf life of bread, while bran removal gives bread the white color and fluffy texture. Refined grains also cook faster than whole grains.
Let’s look at the contribution of the three parts of a wheat grain to our body.
The endosperm is mostly carbohydrate and during digestion our body breaks down carbs into glucose which is absorbed into our bloodstream and is an important source of energy for us and our organs.
Bran contains significant quantities of proteins, vitamins and minerals.
Germ is also a terrific source of nutrients e. g Vitamin E, Protein, Magnesium and more.
Bran and germ are both rich in fiber. Fiber is essential for reducing constipation and helping the body manage and stabilize blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Refined grains like white bread and white rice lack bran and germ therefore they lack all fiber benefits.
It is also great to note that both refined and whole grains give us energy. In addition, whole grains are rich in nutrients and fiber which helps our digestive system work properly and stabilizes our blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
Point to note;
If a product is described as whole grain, whole wheat or brown rice it probably is a whole grain. However if it has words like enriched or color, it’s probably not.
White bread contains added chemicals for the bleaching process namely; chlorine dioxide gas, potassium bromate and benzoyl peroxide.
Whole wheat bread is richer in zinc, iron, magnesium, vitamin E and B6 and fiber. White bread may have some of these nutrients fortified into them by the manufacturer during the baking process.
The American journal of clinical nutrition claims that those taking whole wheat versus white bread have a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease, and tend to have lower body weight.
Did you know?
- Bread has a high glycaemic index (the scale of how fast a food turns into sugar and raise your blood sugars). Bread turns into sugar pretty fast so if you’re trying to lose weight it may not be good for you.
Both whole wheat bread and white bread are the same when it comes to high glycaemic index. None is better.
- Whole wheat bread has more preservative than the white bread. Due to the fact that whole wheat bread is less refined, it requires more preservatives to make it have a longer shelf life. If that is not done, mould will set in faster.
- Bread has gluten. Gluten is the protein wheat that destroys the intestine causing diseases like celiac, diverticulitis and other digestive inflammatory conditions. Gluten is highly inflammatory and can affect your joints and arthritis.
- Whole wheat has Phytic acid; a chemical that prevents absorption of minerals like calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron etcetera.
According to Dr Berg, a chiropractor who specializes in weight loss through nutritional and natural methods, sprouted bread is a better option if you have to eat bread. This is a type of bread made from whole grains that have been allowed to sprout that is to germinate. There are a few different types of sprouted grain bread. Ezekiel bread is common, but if you’re trying to lose weight hold off.
The process of sprouting of the grains to make Sprouted bread, rids the grain of Phytic acid. Phytic acid is a chemical that prevents absorption of minerals like calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron etcetera.
Sprouted bread also has less gluten and lower in glycaemic index.