British call it wholemeal bread and American call it whole wheat bread. That is not the discussion today. What I intend to do is to find out which one is better, wholemeal bread or the normal white bread.
First of all, we have 2 types of wheat flour, white flour and wholemeal flour. To produce wholemeal flour, whole grain is used. Nothing is removed during milling for whole meal whereas white flour is refined.
Wholemeal or whole wheat bread has about the same calories with white bread. However, wholemeal bread contains more fiber which fills up stomach quickly. Therefore, eating it more often can help us consume less calories because it helps fill the stomach quicker. So, we end up eating less bread. In addition to that, eating foods high in fiber helps speed up the movement through the digestive tract. That means less time for fatty acids to be absorbed before it is eliminated resulting in less calories absorbed.
The only good thing about white breads – they often have more calcium, especially if they are made with milk.
So, what kind of bread should you choose?
Whether it is white bread or wheat bread, find one that is high in fiber, high in calcium (for kids and elderly) and which tastes good. The healthy choice will be a 100% whole wheat bread (remember to check the ingredients) that is fortified with calcium.
How Can I Tell If Bread Is Really Whole Wheat?
- Colour used to be a clue, but not really anymore. Although white bread is white, because it has been bleached, some dark bread has just had caramel coloring or molasses added to it. Neither of these ingredients offer much in the way like fiber. The trick is, read the nutrition label and look for “whole grain”, “whole meal” or “whole wheat” as the first ingredient on the label. If some other ingredient comes first, put the loaf back and keep looking.
- Also, pay attention to the fiber content of the bread and go for the highest amount possible. If possible, get the one with 3 to 4 grams of fiber per slice.
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