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Articles Fitness Nutrition

The Nutrition of Whole Wheat

Jun 21, 2010

The term whole wheat refers to a grain that still includes the endosperm, bran and germ. Whole wheat comes from grinding the entire wheat berry. Whole wheat is a commonly used flour to make baked goods, cereals and pastas.

Health Benefits

Whole wheat products have increased fiber and nutrients compared to their refined wheat counterparts. Fiber is essential to your health because it has shown to reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease, lower blood cholesterol, control blood sugar levels and help relieve constipation. Whole wheat is rich in B vitamins, vitamin E and only has approximately five percent fat.

Whole Wheat Flour

The most common method to use the whole wheat grain is through whole wheat flour.  Whole wheat flour has a coarse texture and contains the endosperm, germ and bran.  The bran reduces the elasticity of gluten, which makes whole wheat bread denser and heavier than refined wheat breads, which do not include the bran. 

One ounce of whole grain wheat flour has the following nutritional value:

  • 95 calories
  • 1 g fat
  • 0 mg cholesterol
  • 1 mg sodium
  • 20 g carbohydrates
  • 3 g fiber
  • 4 g protein

This one ounce serving provides that body with 1% of its daily recommended dose of calcium and 6% of its daily recommended dose of iron.

Wheat Kernels

The second most common way to consume the whole wheat grain is in the form of kernels. Wheat kernels usually can be purchased at your local supermarket or health food store. It is often sold in bulk bins. It is sold in a raw, dry form, or in a frozen, precooked and frozen form. 

One ounce of dry wheat kernels has the following nutritional value:

  • 42 calories
  • 0 g fat
  • 10 g carbohydrates
  • 2 g fiber
  • 0 mg cholesterol
  • 50 mg potassium
  • 8 mcg selenium
  • 6 mcg folate
  • 1 mg niacin

Whole Wheat vs. Refined Wheat

When refined wheat is processed, it is stripped of certain parts of the grain, specifically the bran and the germ. The average slice of refined wheat bread, or white bread, has approximately 66 calories, 0.6 g of fiber and 1.9 g of protein. Compare this to a slice of your average whole wheat bread, which has 69 calories, 1.9 g of fiber and 3.6 g of protein. The whole wheat bread has over three times as much fiber and almost double the amount of protein for only three more calories.

Weight Loss and Whole Wheat

The fiber in whole wheat does more than lower your risk of heart disease and diabetes; it can also help with weight loss. Dietary fiber, or roughage, is hard to digest by the human body. It takes the body longer to expel, which makes most people feel full soon and for longer. The satisfaction caused by fiber tends to help most people eat fewer calories later in the day. By eating few calories per day than you burn, then you will lose weight.

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