There are so many options of sliced bread in the aisles at the grocery store, so which one do you choose? Vermont Bread Company is one of my top choices, making this a Supermarket RD’s Pick.
The whole grain bread conundrum can get very confusing for shoppers as they walk down the aisles looking at all the different kinds of sliced bread. Sitting next to each other on the shelves are whole wheat bread, whole grain bread, multi grain bread, 15 grain bread, light whole wheat bread, etc. They are all brown in color, so they must all be a healthy choice, right? Wrong!
Following is the official definition of whole grains, approved and endorsed by the Whole Grains Council in May 2004:*
Whole grains or foods made from them contain all the essential parts and naturally-occurring nutrients of the entire grain seed in their original proportions. If the grain has been processed (e.g., cracked, crushed, rolled, extruded, and/or cooked), the food product should deliver the same rich balance of nutrients that are found in the original grain seed.
This definition means that 100% of the original kernel – all of the bran, germ, and endosperm – must be present to qualify as a whole grain.
So, is whole wheat the same as whole grain? Whole wheat is one kind of whole grain, so all whole wheat is whole grain, but not all whole grain is whole wheat.
Another key item to look at when you are choosing whole wheat bread is the ingredient list. The first word that should be listed is the word “whole”. That is ensuring that the bran, germ, and endosperm (pictured above) are all present.
Look out for the word “enriched” that often creeps in before the word “whole” on the ingredient list. This means that niacin, thiamine, riboflavin, folic acid, and iron are added in because the key nutrients coming from the bran and germ were stripped out in the first place during the refining process. Enriched bread offers benefits over your standard white bread, but going for a less processed option with it’s natural nutritious ingredients is your best bet.
I like Vermont Bread Company’s whole wheat bread, because like all other ingredient lists, the shorter the list the better! Plus, it is made from ingredients that I know what they are and I can pronounce, while it’s competitor whole wheat bread has a laundry list of ingredients, with ingredients that I don’t even know what they are, plus 5 ingredients that are added sugars.
Sadly, some “wheat breads” have added molasses, brown sugar, or even dye to create a rich brown color, to get the consumer to assume that it is a whole wheat choice.
The bread it soft and fluffy making it perfect for sandwich making, sturdy for french toast, or great for a sunbutter & jelly sandwich.
Disclosure: Vermont Bread Company did not sponsor this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own to share healthy items found in your grocery store to RDelicious Kitchen readers.
references: whole grain council