By now, many of us know to avoid white bread whenever possible. But what about all of the other options in the bread aisle? It often seems like you need a science degree to figure out which type of bread is best for your sandwich.
The biggest key, nutrition experts say, is to look for the word “whole” on the label. According to the FDA, “Whole grains are cereal grains that consist of the intact, ground, cracked, or flaked kernel, which includes the bran, the germ, and the innermost part of the kernel (the endosperm).”
On the other hand, to call something wheat bread “merely means the product is made using wheat flour, which is another term for refined white flour,” dietitian Katie Cavuto told Real Simple. On top of that, words like “refined” and “enriched” should be red flags.
The next time you’re stumped at the grocery store, use these tricks to figure out what kind of bread you’re really looking at:
Whole Wheat vs. Whole Grain
In a blog post, Cleveland Clinic dietitian Laura Jeffers writes, “Whole wheat is a whole grain.” There are different kinds of whole grain breads, including whole wheat, barley or oats. It’s like how all squares are rectangles, but not all rectangles are squares. Jeffers says either option is a great choice.
Be Wary of “Multigrain”
Remember to make sure the word “whole” describes the grains you’re looking at if you want the biggest nutrition bang for your wheat intake. Buzzwords like “multigrain” sound appealing, but you’ll have to take a closer look to see how nutritious that multigrain bread really is. “Multigrain means that more than one type of grain has been used, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that any of them are whole grains,” dietitian Rebecca Scritchfield told SELF.
Check the Percentage
Cleveland Clinic’s Jeffers wrote that 100 percent whole grain or 100 percent whole wheat are your best options. If you just see a phrase like “contains whole wheat” without a number attached, you might be eating white bread in disguise. “Wheat flour is 75 percent white flour and only 25 percent whole wheat,” Jeffers explains.
All this bread talk makes us hungry! Check out 10 of the best sandwiches in America for inspiration, and then hit the grocery store!
[h/t: Travel + Leisure]