Food Fight: Multigrain vs. Whole Wheat Bread

by in Food Fight, September 20, 2012

bread
Terms like “whole wheat” and “multi-grain” are often used interchangeably, but they aren’t actually the same thing. Here’s a closer look into each, plus the winner of this food fight.

Understanding Whole Grains
Before delving into this battle, we need to settle on the term whole grain. All grains are made of 3 parts: the large endosperm (with protein and carbs), the germ (with fat and B-vitamins) and the outer bran (with fiber and vitamins). When a food is labeled as 100% whole grain, this means that the entire grain (all 3 parts) is left intact. When the food is refined or milled (like in white bread), this means the bran and most of the germ has been removed during processing.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that at least half the grain you consume daily should come from whole grains. To do so, choose 100% whole grain over refined bread varieties.

Multigrain
When bread is labeled as “multigrain” it means it’s made from multiple (or many) types of grains. When browsing through the bread aisle, you’ll come across 7-grain, 9-grain and even 12-grain bread. But don’t be duped by smart marketing– more grains don’t mean it’s healthier or even whole grain. Read the fine print (the nutrition facts panel and ingredient list) and make sure those grains are WHOLE grains and that the bread has at least 3 grams of fiber per slice. Some companies will market their bread as “multigrain” but use numerous refined or processed grains giving you not much fiber or nutritional benefit over white bread.

Whole-Wheat Bread
The same deal goes for whole wheat bread. You must read the label to make sure it’s made from whole grain. Some bread manufacturer’s will label a bread a “wheat” but may only use part of the grain to make the bread. Look for the words “100% whole wheat” in the ingredient list and make sure the fiber is up to par (at least 3 grams per slice).

Healthy Eats Winner: The result of this food fight is a dead even tie. Whether choosing multigrain or whole wheat bread, you need to read the ingredient list to make sure you’re REALLY getting whole grains.

TELL US: Who gets your vote: multigrain or whole wheat bread?

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Comments (60)

  1. Susan says:

    Neither. Grains are unhealthy and not fit for human consumption. *Wheat Belly* by Dr. William Davis explains why, and many of us who have eliminated wheat from our diets are happily experiencing what it feels like to be healthy!

    • 4Yahshua says:

      9~27~5994 Yom Kippur Day of Atonement

      This is NOT according to the Bible which equals
      "Best Instructions Before Leaving Earth!"
      Yahshua multiplied barley loaves for the hungry crowds in John 6:11. The saved are compared to wheat in Matthew 3:12. Sprouted grain bread has even MORE nutrition!

      • jsl says:

        copied from below, in case you didn't notice, a good piece of info:
        In the 1950s wheat was genetically changed- technically made GMO according to "Wheat Belly". It describes how the chromosomes were actually changed from 28 to 42. A human has 48. So, the wheat contained in products today is NOT the "Staff of Life" that the Bible discusses nor that Jesus ate. There are actually some (very few) people who have ancient heirloom seeds- NO large companies in some pockets of the country. The yield is less, but it's healthy, but frankly don't expect to find any. Many proplems people experience today might be from undiagnosed celiacs disease. My MD also told me to stay away from it- lost 30 lbs. and feel good.

      • 4Yahshua says:

        12~20~5994

        I actually eat very little bread now. The last bread I bought was Ezekiel Sprouted Grain.
        For decades I have toasted most all of the bread I eat because this changes the starch making it much more easy to digest. Readers CAN lose weight doing this!

  2. linda says:

    My family loves Multi grain breads and also breads that include seeds. So delicious and nutritious.

  3. andromeda says:

    Well i don't know much about grains, but I do know that historically, the romans loved wheat enough that their army only ate wheat and water for food. The roman believed that their diet was superior to any other army, and for a while the wheat diet worked really well.

  4. Jean says:

    Wheat has long been known as the Staff of Life. And Jesus was known to "break bread" with his disciples. But I'm sure that bread wasn't denatured then had vitamins, etc. added to it. It was the real deal. Thank you for telling us what to look for. The alternative to grinding our own and baking it from scratch.

  5. J. Johnston says:

    I buy either Trader Joe's sprouted wheat or sprouted 7 grain. Absolutely the best low cal bread on the market. Calories: 60, Fat: 1g, Fiber: 3g, Protein: 5g

  6. Nikoma says:

    My surgeon requests me to stay away from bread PERIOD and I feel better

  7. Carolyn says:

    Some flour is labelled Whole Wheat, and others are labeled Whole Grain Whole Wheat. I buy (even thought it's more expensive) the later, figuring it's better. Based on the article, I'm questionning, are they the same?

    • dfenton says:

      maybe..maybe not…probably though. when choosing bread look for the least number of ingredients, 100% whole wheat as the first ingredient, and high fiber…according to the article its a tie BUT in my years spent reading labels (im a weirdo, i know) I have found that 90% of the time anything labeled multi-grain is just a ruse to cover a product that may as well be in the white bread section…while some wheat breads also fit that description, I havent found a multi-grain yet that was up to par…..its pretty wild what companies are allowed to print on the front of the package to mislead us…

  8. Lakyshia says:

    I like home pride wheat bread the best. When I started my diet I switched to whole grain. I found that it tasted pretty good. I would choose whole grain bread.

  9. Georgeann says:

    In the 1950s wheat was genetically changed- technically made GMO according to "Wheat Belly". It describes how the chromosomes were actually changed from 28 to 42. A human has 48. So, the wheat contained in products today is NOT the "Staff of Life" that the Bible discusses nor that Jesus ate. There are actually some (very few) people who have ancient heirloom seeds- NO large companies in some pockets of the country. The yield is less, but it's healthy, but frankly don't expect to find any. Many proplems people experience today might be from undiagnosed celiacs disease. My MD also told me to stay away from it- lost 30 lbs. and feel good.

  10. Northerner says:

    The first ingredient in the nutrition area of the label identifies the main ingredient (more of this item than any other on the list), and it is often 100% whole wheat flour, but it is important to read the whole list. Refined white flour is often included further down the list. I think the healthiest bread is 100% whole wheat with whole grain, and with a very short ingredient list of common items you'd have in your home kitchen.

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