So what is the big deal with the nutrition of whole wheat bread? As far as calories go, refined white bread and whole wheat bread are very similar. Both breads contain approximately 70 calories per slice. The difference is what kind of calories you are getting. Whole wheat bread gives you many important nutrients. Many processed breads add vitamins to the flour, but it is best to get your nutrients from the grain itself and not artificially through the refining process. It is important to note that white bread can come from “whole wheat” and wheat bread can become as processed as white breads. The key is to make sure you are buying bread that says whole grain wheat. This article discusses the nutritional components of whole wheat bread.
Unlike processed white bread, whole wheat bread contains bran, which contributes to its high fiber content. Processed white bread has undergone a refining process which strips it of fiber. White bread contains approximately .5 grams of fiber per slice, whereas whole wheat bread contains approximately two grams of fiber per slice. Fiber is beneficial for many reasons. Fiber will leave you feeling satisfied for a longer period of time. Fiber decreases low-density lipo-protein cholesterol, and contributes to a healthy heart.
One slice of whole wheat bread contains just less than five grams of protein. The protein concentration varies in whole wheat breads. As a general rule, the more “hard” the wheat bread is, the more protein it contains. Processed bread contains less than two grams of protein per slice. The protein found in whole grain can contribute to the daily recommended amount, without adding saturated fat. The protein in whole wheat bread comes from wheat gluten.
The carbohydrates in whole wheat bread can provide your body with the energy it needs. One slice of whole wheat bread contains approximately 30 grams of carbohydrates. The carbohydrates in whole wheat bread can actually contribute to weight loss, so don’t fear them. These carbohydrates are low on the glycemic index, so they won’t increase your blood sugar, like many simple carbohydrates.
Whole wheat bread still contains the wheat germ. Wheat germ is a part of the seed of the grain. Wheat germ contains many nutrients like vitamin E and folate. These vitamins are important for a healthy heart. Vitamin E promotes healthy skin and hair. Wheat germ also contains essential omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3’s protect against heart disease by lowering cholesterol and blood pressure. Omega 3 fatty acids have also shown to contribute to brain function.
As you can see whole wheat bread can be an important source of nutrition and part of a balanced diet. If you prefer the sweeter taste of white bread, don’t worry. You can buy whole wheat “white” bread which is actually wheat bread that is made from an albino grain, instead of the red grain from which traditional whole wheat bread is derived. The albino wheat grain, which resembles the taste of “white” bread contains as many nutrients as the red grain wheat bread.