Lisa Dunbar is a Dundalk-based health and nutrition coach
Bread is a staple in most homes across the country. But which is better for us – white bread or brown/wholemeal bread? Most people would instinctively know that wholemeal bread is better than white bread, but I find that they usually don’t know why they believe that to be the case! So, let me explain!
Bread is made from wheat. Wheat is a really nutritious grain, full of vitamins, minerals and fibre (which we need for good digestion and a healthy gut). Wholemeal bread is made using wholemeal flour, which has been produced by milling down the WHOLE wheat grain. It, therefore, contains much of the fibre, vitamins and minerals that are found in wheat.
White bread, on the other hand, is made using white flour, which has been produced by milling down only PART of the wheat grain, rather than using all of the wheat grain. As a result, white flour, and white bread contains much less fibre, vitamins and minerals.
To illustrate this difference, I’ve mentioned before that we need roughly 30g of fibre a day. One slice of white bread has about 1g of fibre, whereas one slice of wholemeal bread has about 3g of fibre. Tripe the amount! So I would need to eat 30 slices (!!) of white bread to hit my daily fibre target, versus eating just 10 slices of wholemeal bread.
Now, of course I’m not suggesting or recommending you eat that much bread! We should get our daily fibre through various sources such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and grains. This is just to illustrate the big difference between these types of breads and to show why wholemeal bread is indeed much better for us.
So, when it comes to bread (and rolls, wraps, pittas, etc), if you can make it yourself at home using wholemeal flour all the better, but if you are buying it in the supermarket, like the majority of people do, choose wholemeal over white. If you are not sure about a bread, simply look at the ingredients and ensure that the first ingredient, therefore the main ingredient, is “wholemeal wheat flour”.
Lisa Dunbar is a Nutrition and Health Coach based in Dundalk. Having used diet and lifestyle changes to help recover from physical and mental health challenges, Lisa is now on a mission to motivate others to live a healthier life.