Whole-Grain Bread Vs. White Bread

Fresh bread loaf
A loaf of freshly baked white bread. (Image: DejanKolar/iStock/Getty Images)

Next time you're in the grocery store, pick up the whole-grain bread instead of the white bread. Whole-grain bread provides more essential nutrients and more health benefits than white bread because it is less refined and still contains the nutrient-rich bran and germ, both of which are removed when making white flour.

Macronutrient and Fiber Content

A slice of whole-grain multigrain bread has fewer calories than a slice of white bread, with 69 compared to 74. The multigrain bread is also lower in carbohydrates, with 11.3 grams compared to 13.7, and higher in fiber, with 1.9 grams of fiber per slice compared to just 0.8 gram in white bread. While a slice of the whole-wheat bread is slightly higher in fat, with 1.1 grams compared to 0.9 gram, it is also a better source of protein, with 3.5 grams compared to 2.6 grams in a slice of white bread.

Vitamins and Minerals

White bread is often enriched with some of the nutrients removed during the refining process, so it contains more thiamine and folate than whole-grain multigrain bread. Whole-grain multigrain bread, however, is a better source of selenium and manganese, providing 26 percent of the daily value for manganese and 12 percent of the DV for selenium compared to less than 10 percent of the DV for each of these minerals in a slice of white bread. Thiamine helps turn the food you eat into energy, and folate is important for forming DNA. Selenium acts as an antioxidant, and you need manganese for healing wounds.

Potential Health Effects

People who eat the most whole grains tend to weigh less and have lower cholesterol and body mass indexes and smaller waist circumferences than those who eat the least whole grains, according to a study published in "The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition" in December 2007. Whole grains may also help lower your risk for heart disease and Type 2 diabetes, according to a review article published in "The Journal of Nutrition" in May 2011.

Other Considerations

If you don't like the taste of regular whole-grain bread or whole-wheat bread, try white whole-wheat bread. It's made with a different type of wheat that has a lighter taste but still provides all of the same nutrients. Look for breads labeled "100 percent whole grain" or "100 percent whole wheat," otherwise bread, including multigrain bread, may only contain a small amount of whole grains.

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