You are at the store, juggling your kiddos, bribing them to stay seated, wondering when they learned to undo the safety buckle and you turn down the bread aisle. Suddenly, as if the two year-old wasn’t enough, you are now faced with all kinds of packages that are screaming:
100% whole wheat!
What gives? Is it all good for you? How do you know what to choose?
The only way to really check is to pick it up, turn it around, and read the ingredients. If the ingredients start with the word, “enriched” put it back down like a hot potato. Despite its advertising, it is not made from a whole grain, but from enriched flour.
What’s the difference? Why is enriched flour bad for you?
Whole wheat is comprised of the 3 good parts of the wheat kernel:
Endosperm – rich in protein and starch
Bran – rich in fiber and nutrients
Enriched flour, enriched whole wheat flour – whatever they want to call it – has been processed so much that it no longer uses the good parts of the whole grain. Because of this, it has been enriched with some of the nutrients that it lost during the milling process. It has been improved, but not enough.
Despite this white flour being enriched, 100% whole wheat products are STILL better for you than enriched products. Whole wheat products don’t need to be enriched, they’ve got all the nutrients you and your family need from whole grains: fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals, iron, folate, Vitamin B, and more.
So, if the first ingredient says whole wheat flour — BINGO! Drop in your basket.
If it is a dark bread does that mean it is made from whole grains? NOPE! The food manufacturers are great at adding molasses or other dyes to simulate healthy – but its, alas, it is not.
Remember this when you are shopping:
enriched = BAD, BAD!
I dug through my bread cupboard and freezer to see what I had around the house. We have been 100% whole wheat for quite some time now. My husband held out for a few weeks when it came to tortillas, but quickly learned to appreciate the hearty flavor of a whole wheat tortilla when that’s the only option he had.