Whole Wheat Flour Versus Wheat Bread

by Vera Hall
(Fitzgerald )

Visitor Question:

I see that 100% whole wheat flour is on the low G.I. list but wheat bread is on the high G.I. list. How is it that 100% whole wheat flour is okay but (whole) wheat bread is not?

Lifetime Fat Loss Answers:

You've asked a very important question about something that I think confuses people. I hope you don't mind that I edited your question and title a little bit to clarify because unless a product says 100% whole wheat it is NOT whole wheat and yes it IS high glycemic because it has been stripped of nutrients and fiber. This goes for the flour which, if it is whole wheat flour it is the whole or entire grain or kernel that has been ground for baking. Otherwise it will be called wheat or white flour.

The labeling of breads is confusing. When manufacturers started processing grains for mass production, the first thing they did was strip out most of what makes grains healthy. They removed most of the berry which is called the kernel. Grains are the fruits of grasses and they have a seed (berry) called a wheat berry that is the kernel of the grain. It is this kernel or seed that gives a new plant life and it's where all the nutrition and goodness is stored.

The wheat berry provides the complex carohydrates, protein, a tiny amount of fat, many of the B-complex vitamins and some essential minerals. This wheat berry is comprised of the nutrient dense germ (you can buy just the wheat germ to sprinkle on your cereal,) the endosperm which has carbs and protein and the bran which is the high fiber outer layer. All grains have these berries and rice, barley and oats also have an outer husk which is not edible.

So, the food manufacturers take out everything but the endosperm! This is then ground into white flour. Ok, so now they make white bread which is easy enough to identify. But what about wheat bread which is brown but it is NOT 100% whole wheat? Sometimes it has been enriched which means they add back in some vitamins and minerals but this is not the same as being made from the whole grain. I am not sure but I believe that they can call it "wheat" bread because they used the endosperm which is a part, albeit a small part, of the wheat kernel which if used in it's entirety can be labeled 100% whole wheat!

Now is that clear? I know, I know it requires us to be really on our toes. It's important to understand the difference because there is a difference in the glycemic index and of course in the nutrition. Using the entire wheat kernel provides the fiber and much more of the nutrients so that means it takes a little longer for the slice of 100% whole wheat toast to convert into glucose. Not to mention you are getting much healthier bread when you get 100% whole wheat and if it has more grains in it like the 7 or 9 grain breads, all the better!

However, to get the wheat products that are truly low glycemic you can stick to sprouted whole grain products. They will be in the refrigerated section of your grocery store. Ezekiel and Food for Life are two brands that make sprouted grain breads. Sprouted grain products are made from the whole grain kernel that has actually sprouted and could grow a new plant if it were in nature. There are significantly more nutrients and fiber in these products!

If you're baking use whole wheat flour or the low glycemic grain flours, like quinoa or oat. You may need to do quite a bit of experimenting to get a good loaf of bread.


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