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Nutrition

Which is Better? White Bread vs Wheat Bread

Vegan Club Sandwiches

Vegan Club Sandwiches

We have heard for years that wheat bread is superior to white bread, but many people wonder why. Well, we’re here to break it down for you. Let’s take a closer look at the difference between white bread and wheat bread to clear it up once and for all.

What is the difference?

The main difference between the two really just comes down to the way that each is processed. With wheat bread, the processing leaves the most nutrient-rich components intact: the bran, the germ, and the endospermEssentially, these are the layers of the wheat berry, which hold all of the vitamins and minerals originally found in wheat bread.

White bread, on the other hand, is processed so that only the endosperm is intact. This basically strips the wheat berry of the majority of its nutrition so that all you’re left with is the starchy layer that gives bread that deliciously addicting effect.

Now let’s look at a breakdown of the pros and cons.

White bread

White bread is still so popular even though we know that it’s not quite as healthy as wheat bread. Despite its popularity, it may not be the best choice.

Pros

  • The best part about white bread is its taste, affordability, and accessibility. You can find white bread anywhere in the world and for a few bucks.
  • It typically tastes good and is often the bread featured at fast food restaurants and bakeries.
  • White bread is also often fortified in order to compensate for the lack of nutrition due to the processing. Though this is true, only five nutrients are put back into the bread: iron, niacin, thiamin, riboflavin and folic acid. This sounds promising but when compared to the nutritional content of wheat bread, it is less than stellar.

Cons

  • As you can guess at this point, white bread is not a nutritionally sound food.
  • It is also very low in fiber, making it a carbohydrate likely to cause a spike in blood glucose. As a result, white bread is likely to cause weight gain without the added benefit of nutrition.

Wheat bread

Now, let’s take a close look at wheat bread. 

Pros

  • Wheat bread maintains most of its nutritional integrity throughout the processing so that you still have the majority of vitamins and minerals by the end.
  • It is also loaded with fiber, which is linked to weight loss and a healthy digestive system.
  • Wheat bread also can help lower your risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes, unlike white bread.

Cons

  • Though wheat bread has much of its nutrition intact it is still, unfortunately, full of a lot of the same chemicals and preservatives that white bread has in order to extend its shelf life.
  • Wheat bread is also often made with a lot of sugar in order to appeal to the masses. While this may make the taste better it also sort of cancels out the original health benefits.

There you have it! Wheat bread is the clear winner as far as nutrition goes but is often times full of the same chemicals and sugars as white bread. The best choice is an all-natural whole wheat bread that is freshly baked and free of preservatives—which may take some hunting or innovation at home. 

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4 Comments

  • Reply
    Sway
    February 19, 2018 at 6:36 pm

    Is this referring to wheat bread or 100% WHOLE wheat bread? A huge difference. Is this white vs wheat or white vs WHOLE wheat?

    • Reply
      Katie Trant
      February 20, 2018 at 7:15 am

      It’s true, the difference is big. I believe we’re referring to 100% whole wheat here.

  • Reply
    Mike
    January 8, 2020 at 11:27 pm

    your White versus Wheat distinction makes no sense. Most white breads are wheat breads. What you mean is WHOLE wheat bread. If you don’t even know what you are talking about, why would anyone take you seriously?

  • Reply
    Elbert Boothby
    August 9, 2020 at 11:48 pm

    This is very much in dispute. I have heard for the contrary for almost a decade from trusted doctors and nutritionists. See https://www.bonappetit.com/story/whole-wheat-is-no-healthier-than-white-bread/amp

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