We’ve all been told from someone or another how much better whole-wheat bread is than white bread. It has been so ingrained into our brains that pretty much anyone you ask will tell you not to eat white bread and to eat whole-wheat bread instead. Despite the common belief, while whole-wheat bread may be technically healthier than white bread, it still isn’t necessarily healthy.
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First, let’s take a look at what supposedly makes whole-wheat bread so much healthier than white bread. If so many people believe white bread should be avoided at all costs, yet wheat-bread is an actually healthy alternative, this information must have some basis in fact, however skewed. So what exactly makes whole-wheat bread better than white bread, nutritionally?
The main difference between white bread and whole-wheat bread is how the grain is broken down into the flour from which the bread is made. Long before the dough is made and put into the oven, the grains are broken down into flour, and the type of flower used for white bread is different than that used for whole-wheat bread, involving a totally different process upon the grain.
With white bread, the grain is broken down more, which removes some very appealing nutrients. With whole-wheat bread, the process is much simpler, and this breaking down doesn’t remove the nutrients. What this tells you is that whole-wheat bread contains more vitamins and nutrients than white bread. However, there is more to this story than meets the eye. Whole-wheat, or whole grain, bread does contain more nutrients, but they are still not easily digestible by our body. In effect, this means that the main difference between whole-wheat and white bread is barely perceptible by our human physiology.
Fiber is a key nutrient in all healthy lifestyles. One of the great things about fiber is that it makes you feel fuller longer and prevents spiking of the blood sugar. However, it seems to be the case that while whole-wheat bread contains more fiber on paper, that extra fiber isn’t making its way into your body, leaving whole-wheat no healthier in this respect than white bread.
Whole-wheat bread features what is know as “bran”, which can actually work to deprive the body of other nutrients. Effectively, it binds itself to positive nutrients and makes it so that the body cannot process them.
So while whole-wheat bread may have more nutrients, what good is it if whole-wheat bread also prevents your body from processing said nutrients? Regardless of the health hype, few people can deny that whole-wheat bread is tasty. So even if whole-wheat bread isn’t exactly the healthy alternative it’s made out to be, it’s still a tasty snack, and, in moderation, it has it’s place. What we need to realize is that bread should have a very limited role in our diet, regardless of what kind of bread it is.
Whole-wheat bread is not much healthier in effect than white bread, but neither one will kill you every once in a while. So, make your choice, but do it for taste, not for health. If you want to be healthy, just practice moderation.