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Difference Between White and Whole Wheat

White vs. Whole Wheat

These days, consumers are becoming more and more conscious with what they eat. Preference is now diverted to what’s healthy and nutritious, rather than what merely tastes good. A good example would be in the case of bread. A lot of people probably grew up with commercial white bread at home. However now, a good number is beginning to switch to what we call whole wheat bread, claiming it’s a healthier alternative to the doughy, thick white bread everyone got used to. But what gives us the notion that it whole wheat bread is indeed more nutritious? How else does it differ from white bread? The four major differences between white bread and whole wheat bread are the type of flour used, the processing, the nutritional value, and the physical properties.

The most crucial factor in distinguishing white from whole wheat would be the flour involved. The type of flour used for each kind of bread is quite easy and rather commonsensical to distinguish- white flour for white bread, whole wheat flour for whole wheat bread. Flour basically comes from wheat berries. Wheat berries comprise of three nutrient-rich parts-the bran, the germ, and the endosperm. In the production of whole wheat flour, all these parts are used. In the case of white flour, only the endosperm which would be the starchy inner layer is consumed. Milling and segregation of white flour thus takes more resources as compared to that of whole wheat bread. It is for the same reason that many pro-earth organizations support whole wheat over regular flour. In terms of baking, white flour rise much faster than whole wheat does. The latter is stiffer and requires more liquid than the latter.

Both whole wheat and white breads are high in complex carbohydrates and low in fat. White bread is enriched with the four major B vitamins – niacin, thiamin, folic acid and riboflavin – and iron to equal or exceeded amounts of whole wheat flour. Fortification of bread with calcium is optional and effective January 1, 1998, all enriched grain flours must be fortified with folic acid, which helps protects against spina bifida. However, because a huge portion of the wheat berry is discarded in white bread, more or less 30 nutrients that could have been beneficial to health, including B vitamins and iron, are also taken away. Furthermore, whole wheat bread retains four times as much fiber as white bread does. Fiber helps the digestive and excretory systems to function well. Higher fiber intake reduces the risk of heart attack and related diseases by 20%. Conversely, studies show that those who eat white bread have higher probability of diabetes than those who eat whole wheat bread.

As far as physical appearance and texture are concerned, whole wheat bread has a distinctive flecked appearance, often a slightly bitter taste, and is heavier. Ground portions of the wheat bran and germ are apparent, making the bread coarser. In contrast, white bread usually has a white, even texture. It is light and relatively sweeter than whole wheat.


  1. White and whole wheat bread are primarily distinguished by the flour used in baking them- white flour for the former, whole wheat flour for the latter.
  2. White flour is made only from the endosperm part of the wheat, while whole wheat from all three parts, including bran and germ.
  3. Whole wheat has more nutrient and fiber content as compared to white.
  4. In baking, whole wheat is stiffer and requires more water.
  5. To most, white bread tastes better as it is lighter, finer and relatively sweeter than whole wheat.

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