Which one is better for us, whole grain vs whole wheat? Though they look similar, there is a vast difference. The taste and texture are different, but most importantly the health benefits differ. So which of these delicious loaves are healthier? Why all the confusion when you try and buy a loaf of bread?
Whole grain is the terminology used when all of the grain is used, it must include all of the endosperm, bran and germ whether it is rolled, cracked, cooked or extruded. The food should have the same nutrients as they did when in their whole and natural state. Whole grain encompasses all grains such as oats, barley, corn, wheat, rye, rice, quinoa and millet.
Whole Grain vs Whole Wheat
When processing whole grain into whole wheat flour the bran and germ are removed and only the endosperm is left. This takes away a majority of the nutrients and vitamins. With these nutrients depleted, whole grain is definitely the healthiest choice when it comes to whole grain vs whole wheat. Whole grains contain fiber, vitamin B1, B2, B5, B6, iron, manganese and phosphorous.
While the flours may look close whole grain will have a richer taste and is denser in texture. This heavier texture also helps you to feel fuller for a longer period of time than any wheat flour products.
Refined grains have been linked to weight gain and also increase the risk of developing diabetes and other ailments.
Whole Wheat vs White Flour
White flour is on the bottom of the list as far as nutritional value. During processing almost 80% of the nutritional values are removed. White flour only has slight traces of fiber.
Fiber in your diet has many important benefits. It helps lower cholesterol, keeps your system regular, and may even help you lose weight. Half a cup of whole wheat flour contains 6.4 grams of fiber while white flour contains only 1.3 grams. In this case whole wheat would be the healthier pick. The number of calories for wheat and white flour are about the same, at about 400 per cup.
White flour is so deficient in nutrition that in 1934 The US Government ruled that white must be enriched with thiamin, niacin, and riboflavin. In 1998 they stated that folate must also be added. This flour is known as enriched but even with the added ingredients it is far less nutritional than whole grain. Some have stated that when white flour is bleached it can even be hazardous to our health.
Healthiest Way to Eat Grains
Once grains have been processed they begin losing their nutritional value. The best way to use grains is to grind them fresh and use them that day. When buying flour if you place it in a plastic bag and store it in your freezer it will slow down the loss of nutrients.
Read the labels close to make sure that you are getting the best flour for your family. They can be deceiving when they start describing all the added items. Remember when it comes to whole grain vs whole wheat that whole grain is the best and healthiest pick. Whole wheat flour is next but lacks much of the nutrition, and white flour is the least desirable for healthy eating.
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