White or wheat is a question we’ve all heard before. At the deli or cafe it seems we can never escape the ultimate question and decision of ordering white or wheat bread. At this day and age where knowledge of healthier food is becoming more publicized, many of us have heard that wheat is the healthier option, but not many of us know why.
In this post we’re going to break down the two grains and look at why wheat proves to be a better nutritional alternative to white.
All flour is made from wheat berries, which have three nutrient-filled parts: the bran (the outer layers), the germ (the innermost area) and the endosperm (the starchy part in between). White flour only uses the endosperm.
Wheat flour uses all three nutrient-filled parts of the wheat berry: the bran, the germ, and the endosperm. Hence the term “whole-wheat”.
See the Comparison in nutritional information here:
SO, WHY ARE THESE FACTS IMPORTANT?
When we look at nutritional labels it’s easy to feel lost. Is the average shopper just supposed to know if it’s good or bad to have more grams of zinc in their bread? Or the roles these vitamins and minerals play in our bodies?
Let’s take a look at what these puzzling facts can add to our health:
Fiber helps aid in digestive health. It also helps the body maintain a healthy weight because it keeps you feeling fuller longer.
Vitamin B6 is in the family of B vitamins. B vitamins are known to convert food into energy and helping the body metabolize! Therefore, foods with higher vitamin B levels could keep your kids more energized than foods that contain less.
Vitamin B6 in particular support proper brain development/function and is needed to make the hormones seratonin and norepiniphrine that affect a person’s mood. These nutritional benefits are surely important for our little students.
Vitamin E aids in immunity. It helps fight off bacterial infection as well viruses that may enter the body. It acts as an antioxidant that kills off potential threats of diseases such as cancer. Additionally, it balances cholesterol, promotes healthy skin, hair, and eyes, and increases physical endurance— important for growing kids!
Magnesium plays a role in maintaining healthy bones, controlling blood/glucose levels, and transporting energy throughout the body. It also aids in digestion by absorbing and metabolizing proteins, carbs, and fats.
Zinc has many health benefits. To name a few, Zinc increases immunity and fights colds, as well as acts as an anti-inflammatory/antioxidant. Antioxidants help oxidize, or fight off potential threats of diseases such as cancer. Zinc is also known to balance hormones, aid in nutrient absorption and digestion, and promotes muscle growth.
Now that you’re more familiar with what these vitamins and minerals do for us, you can see from the table above, that the nutrients in white bread pale in comparison to nutrient-dense whole wheat products.
- Simply switching from white to whole wheat bread can lower heart disease risk by 20 percent, according to research from the University of Washington reported in the April 2, 2003 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association.
- Selecting foods that contain wheat flour helps you reach your dietary fiber intake goal – 28 grams daily if you follow a 2,000-calorie diet, according to Colorado State University.
Based on the nutrition facts alone, wheat bread packs in much more nutritional value for less calories. Products made with white flour, on the other hand, are sometimes called “empty carbs” — foods that add extra calories but offer little nutritional value.
When we look at nutritional labels numbers and percentages may seem small, but in the grand scheme of things these nutrients play a vital role in our body’s overall health. Now, when it comes to being faced with the frequent question of choosing white or wheat, we can do so with the understanding of what each option offers.
Here at Smart Lunches, we know that kids are incredibly active during the school day. For this reason we aim to provide high nutritional value in each of our meals. At Smart Lunches, most of the bread products on our menu are whole wheat.
Now, the initial change from white to wheat may be difficult for picky eaters with sensitive taste buds, and it’s much more important for your little ones to eat their lunch, than push it aside. Try introducing whole wheat into your kids’ diets slowly. Many of Smart Lunches’ top meals are classic kid favorites made with whole wheat products, so the change in taste isn’t too scary for your little ones. For example, try our hot dogs, pizza bagels, wraps, or subs, which are all served on whole wheat bread products!
Over time, these subtle changes will help your child become familiar with the taste of whole wheat and enjoy the change. The extra nutrients might give your kids an extra boost to tackle the school day.
“Vitamin E Benefits, Foods & Side Effects.” Dr Axe. N.p., 19 Jan. 2015. Web. 25 July 2016.
“List of Functions of Magnesium.” Livestrong.com., 26 Dec. 2015. Web. 25 July 2016.
“What Does Fiber Do for Your Body?” Livestrong.com, 03 Feb. 2014. Web. 25 July 2016.
“The Benefits of Vitamin B6.” EverydayHealth.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 July 2016.
“Bread, Whole-wheat, Prepared from Recipe Nutrition Facts & Calories.”Bread, Whole-wheat, Prepared from Recipe Nutrition Facts & Calories. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 July 2016.
“Bread, White, Prepared from Recipe Nutrition Facts & Calories.”Bread, White, Prepared from Recipe Nutrition Facts & Calories. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 July 2016.
“Healthy Facts About Whole-Wheat Flour Vs. White.” Healthy Eating. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 July 2016.
“White Bread vs. Wheat Bread.” Vegetarian Times. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 July 2016.