Perhaps you’ve heard things like, “You should NEVER eat white bread, it’s so bad for you.”
Or maybe you grew up with the white Wonderbread and simply don’t know any other kind.
My childhood consisted of mainly white bread too, which really was delicious on a bologna and cheese sandwich. I didn’t realize there was any other kind of bread until much later in life.
But is white bread really bad for you? Is whole wheat better? What are the differences, anyway? I’m hoping to shed some light into this today and help you make more informed decisions on what to eat!
What’s the difference between white bread and whole wheat bread?
Put on your science hats, because I’m getting technical for a second!
Wheat consists of 3 different parts: The bran, the germ, and the endosperm. The bran is harder and has most of the fiber, and the bran and germ have some protein, fat, vitamins, and minerals. The endosperm is mostly starch.
White bread (or refined grains) has been stripped of the bran and germ- most of the nutritious stuff. And all that’s left is the endosperm, which is basically carbs without the nutrients.
And since the fiber’s been stripped away, the surge of your blood sugar is stronger- which means you may get a ton of energy for a short while, then crash soon after.
While white bread isn’t necessarily UNhealthy, you can certainly find more nutritious options to eat most of the time!
Can I eat bread every day?
Any “diet” that says I can’t have bread needs to be thrown right out! Bread can totally be part of a healthy lifestyle and CAN be eaten every day. I LOVE buttered toast with breakfast, and a side of freshly baked Italian bread just can’t be beat.
Everything in moderation, of course. I wouldn’t eat sandwiches 3 times a day (although that sounds lovely) because I need to make room for other nutritious items; but I’ll certainly include it once, maybe twice a day at times.
What is the healthiest bread to eat?
The absolute healthiest bread is the kind you make yourself, without any hidden ingredients. I love this recipe for Whole Wheat Loaf; but in reality, sometimes we just can’t bake a fresh loaf of bread every few days.
If you’re looking for more nutritious bread, look for the ones that say “100% Whole Wheat”. There are plenty of breads that say “Wheat bread”, but the ingredients list shows “Refined flour”. If you don’t see “100%” on there, it’s not really whole wheat bread.
And make sure that ingredient is toward the top of the list! The higher up on the list it is, the more of that ingredient is in there. So I should hope that wheat/flour is one of the top ingredients as opposed to say… sugar.
Most stores carry their own version of 100% whole wheat bread, and it’s just as cheap as white bread. I love the larger slices myself; the ones that are 100 calories per slice rather than the smaller ones at 60 calories per slice. But experiment and see what you like!
When should I use white bread vs. whole wheat bread?
Believe it or not, sometimes I prefer white bread to whole wheat at certain times. Whole wheat bread can sometimes be more dense and chewy, and sometimes I just want something soft.
This is just my personal list and isn’t medically suggested or anything; but this is what I prefer when it comes to bread.
I like white bread best:
- In grilled cheese sandwiches. Especially thick soft slices, like the Sara Lee Artesano loaves.
- As a side for soups, like a freshly-baked French loaf.
- On sub sandwiches.
I like whole wheat bread best:
- In french toast or french toast casserole. They’re doused in eggs and milk anyway, and the density of the bread helps keep it together.
- As toast with butter or peanut butter.
So, is white bread bad for you?
In and of itself, white bread isn’t necessarily BAD. It has fewer nutrients than whole wheat bread and lacks the fiber to help keep you full longer; but it’s still delicious and can be used in many different ways.
If all you eat is white bread, try switching to whole wheat bread for a week and see what happens. You can do the same with white rice vs. brown rice too- the stripped nutrients are basically the same concept.
I go more into depth on this in my NEW course, Weight Loss Kickstart! Originally a group program, I modified it into a self-paced course (and at a lower price, too!) so you can take your time with it and learn the healthy habits that come with weight loss.
Want more like this? Check out the other posts in my Healthy Habits, Healthy Life series!