How can bread be labeled as both white and whole wheat? Is white whole-wheat bread a healthy choice?

Answer From Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.

It may seem like it doesn't add up, but white whole-wheat bread is made with whole grains, just as is regular whole-wheat bread. White whole-wheat bread is made from the whole grain — bran, germ and endosperm — similar to that of regular whole-wheat bread.

The difference between white whole-wheat bread and regular whole-wheat bread is in the type of wheat used. White whole-wheat bread is made from white wheat, which lacks bran color. It also has a milder flavor and softer texture.

In contrast, regular whole-wheat bread is made from red wheat, which is darker in color. It has a slightly bitter taste and a coarser texture. So even though both types of bread are made with whole grains, they have a different color, taste and texture.

Regular white bread is made with refined grains, which go through a process that strips out certain parts of the grain — along with some of the nutrients and fiber. Although refined grains are enriched — they have some of the nutrients added back — they may not have exactly the same composition as whole grains.

If you prefer the taste and texture of white bread but want the natural nutritional benefits of whole wheat, choose white whole-wheat bread. But be sure to read the label.

Choose breads that say "100% whole grain" or list "whole wheat" as the first ingredient. If the label doesn't say "whole" first, it isn't a whole-grain product. For example, a product label may simply say "white wheat," which is not the same as white whole wheat.

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Jan. 18, 2020 See more Expert Answers