South Denver Cardiology Answers the Age Old Debate: Wheat Versus White Bread

When you go to the grocery store, there are those items you just are always looking for. Bread is typically among them, and the majority of health professionals will tell you to always choose wheat over white if you can help it. At South Denver Cardiology, we would like to reinforce that point by explaining the health benefits, especially for the cardiovascular system, of buying wheat over white.

The most significant reason for wheat bread’s rise to glory has everything to do with how it is processed relative to white bread. Both types of breads are produced from wheat berries, which contain three nutrient-rich sections: The bran, the germ, and the endosperm. While wheat bread includes all three of these sections, white bread production only uses the endosperm, vastly reducing the nutritional content available to you. That’s an extremely significant reduction in fiber, vitamin B6, vitamin E, magnesium, zinc, folic acid, and chromium. These are nutrients that are essential for good heart health. In a ten-year study at Harvard in 1994, researchers found that people whose diets consisted of more fiber-rich breads were less likely to have heart attacks or strokes than people who sought out white breads.

While white bread these days is required by law to be nutritionally enriched, the nutrients added back into the bread aren’t nearly as bountiful as what was removed. Even with nutritionally enriched white bread, it would require you to eat eight slices of white bread to match the fiber content in one slice of wheat bread. Statistically speaking, frequent consumers of white bread are twice as likely to develop diabetes.

So if it’s so unhealthy relative to wheat bread, why is there even a debate? Well the unfortunate reality is that white bread is processed specifically so that its lack the bitter flavor that wheat bread maintains. The idea is to make the flavor of bread more attractive to the average consumer, and the results speak for themselves: On average more people buy white bread over wheat bread. The taste of wheat bread takes some getting used to, but the reality is, it is a better nutritional product overall.

How To Use This Information

While it is undisputed that white bread typically tastes better than its whole grain cousin, the opportunity cost incurred from the lack of nutritional value in white bread is significant. You are essentially eating empty calories with white bread, and that can be damaging to your heart health. If you want a more in-depth analysis of why wheat bread trumps white in heart health, then schedule an appointment with South Denver Cardiology today.