We all know we should be eating more whole grains in place of our refined grain intake. However, it doesn’t make shopping for bread much easier. Is whole grain the same as multigrain? How about whole wheat? Multigrain, whole grain, and whole wheat are all different. Below are some useful facts in understanding how to differentiate between the three.
Multigrain products may get tricky since there are no standardized regulations for this label. Products may be labeled as such as long as they contain more than one type of grain. However, the “multigrain” label may be used for products that are processed, refined or bleached which removes most of the nutritional benefits. While this label doesn’t necessarily mean a product is bad for you, you may just need to read the product label more closely. If the ingredient list says quinoa, barley and whole wheat, then it is a healthy product made of multiple - or “multi” - whole grains.
Whole Grain products are made from the entire whole-grain kernel. This includes the germ, bran, and endosperm, leading to increased vitamin, mineral and fiber content compared to refined grains. There are a variety of whole-grains such as wheat, rice, oats flax or barley. However, a label with “whole grain” or “bread made with whole grain” without details may mean the product may contain only minimal amounts of whole grains. Always read the labels.
Whole Wheat products are similarly made from the entire whole grain but specifically using the wheat kernel. Healthy components like the endosperm and bran are left intact contributing to more fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Do not confuse this with “100% wheat” - without the word “whole” it may indicate that parts of the grains are missing and with it the benefits of a whole-grain product.
Many types of bread are labeled “multigrain” or “wheat”. Those words alone can be misleading. When buying bread, look for the word “whole.” It is not unlikely to find white, enriched or refined flour at the top of the list on a product. Flip it over to double-check the ingredients to include “whole wheat” or “whole grain” among the first listed to ensure the healthiest pick.