If you’re still eating white bread, shame on you White bread is a nutritional wasteland made from refined or enriched flour absent of the essential vitamins and nutrients found in whole grain bread. When the germ, bran, and endosperm are stripped away from the whole grain to make refined white flour, it loses most of its fiber content. Slap two pieces of white bread together smeared with jelly, and you’re pretty much eating a diabetic time bomb that is digested quickly and floods your bloodstream with a rush of sugar.
If you find yourself standing in front of the bread aisle at the grocery store perplexed by all the choices, you’re not alone. A lot of people still eat white bread because that’s what they ate when they were kids. But it’s clearly not a nutrient-rich food. Harvard’s Healthy Eating Plate even reminds people to eat more whole grains and limit refined grains like white bread. So if you make one dietary change today, resolve to give up white bread for good. You don’t have to go all low-carb-crazy and give up bread entirely, just pick something healthier like whole grain bread or sprouted-grain bread.
Health Benefits of Whole Grains
Before digesting the differences between whole grain and sprouted-grain bread, it’s important to know that both types of breads are much healthier than white bread. They’re both made from whole grains and offer some important health benefits compared to white bread.
Whole grains are a rich source of fiber and other nutrients your body needs for good health.
Fiber from whole grains aids in digestion, helps lower bad cholesterol levels, and reduces the risk for chronic diseases like obesity, heart disease, and certain types of cancer, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Fiber also aids in weight management, because it helps you feel fuller longer.
The average adult should eat about 25 to 38 grams of fiber per day, according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. There are about 2 to 3 grams of fiber in a slice of whole grain or sprouted-grain bread. Other good sources of fiber include fruits, vegetables, nuts, and legumes.
The Sprouted-Grain Difference
While sprouted-grain and whole-grain breads are similar in many ways, there are a few key differences between these two healthier-than-white-bread options.
Sprouted-grain bread has the upper hand on whole grain bread in terms of nutritional value by a small margin.
Here’s what makes sprouted-grain bread different from whole-grain bread:
Wait For It…To Sprout
Sprouted grain and whole grain come from the same seed of grain. But there’s a difference. Whole grains are harvested and dried, and then used to make whole-grain flour used in breads, pastas, and cereals.
But there’s an extra step to produce sprouted grains. To produce sprouted-whole grains, whole grains are first harvested and dried. Then they’re subjected to perfect conditions with just enough moisture and heat to sprout. At this point, sprouted grains are either dried and used to make breads, or they’re harvested while still moist, ground up, and added as a kind of wet flour to the rest of the ingredients needed to make breads.
Easier To Digest
When whole grains are conditioned to sprout, it creates a chemical reaction that makes starch in the endosperm of the grain easier for the growing plant-embryo to access. That metamorphosis from whole grain to sprouted grain also makes it easier to digest for people. Instead of a hard-shelled seed, a sprouted grain becomes a bit of a cross between a whole grain and a plant, according to the Whole Grains Council.
Increased Nutritional Value
Small nutritional changes occur in the whole grain when it’s conditioned to sprout. It’s similar to changes that can occur in certain vegetables when they’re cooked or chopped. For example, chopping garlic and letting it stand for a few minutes before heating, activates natural cancer-fighting enzymes. And cooked vegetables like carrots, peppers, and cabbage, offer more antioxidants than when served raw, according to a study in the Journal Agriculture and Food Chemistry.
When whole grain is sprouted, marginal nutritional changes occur that increase levels of vitamin C and other vitamins and nutrients.
Made Without Preservatives
You won’t find sprouted-grain bread on the same aisle at the grocery store as whole-grain bread. That’s because it’s made with all-natural ingredients without any preservatives like high-fructose corn syrup, and other ingredients. The pure ingredients used to make sprouted-grain bread makes it lower in calories per slice than most whole-grain breads. And you’ll have to go to a specialty freezer section to find sprouted-grain bread, because it won’t stay good for long without those added preservatives.