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February 18, 2024

Brown bread vs white bread: Is one healthier than the other?

Filed under: Fitness — Tags: — admin @ 7:02 pm

From white to brown, wholegrain, rye, wholemeal: we’re spoiled for choice when it comes to the bread available on the shelves.

One on hand, this is great as it caters to everyone’s preferences and taste buds. But on the other hand, it can make it harder to know which loaf is best for you – and buying bread shouldn’t be a challenging task.

One type that has gained a not-so-great reputation is the white variety, with many “nutrition professionals” recommending switching to brown bread instead.

But is there any truth to the idea that brown bread is healthier? Let’s find out.

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Crusty loaf of finest bread on a bread board with a platter of butter in the background and the knife that sliced it in the foreground. Good sharpness through the image.

The nutritional facts

Kicking things off with the facts, let’s compare the nutritional value of white vs brown bread. A medium slice of brown bread has:

  • Calories: 74

  • Carbohydrates: 15.1 grams

  • Protein: 2.9 grams

  • Fat: 0.7 grams

  • Fiber: 1.2 grams

A medium slice of white bread, on the other hand, has:

  • Calories: 98

  • Carbohydrates: 18.7 grams

  • Protein: 3.7 grams

  • Fat: 0.8 grams

  • Fiber: 0.9 grams

  • Sugar: 1.2 grams

Close-up of woman cutting sourdough bread on board. Midsection of female is with knife and baked bread. She is in kitchen.

So is one healthier than the other?

We can see that brown bread and white bread have pretty similar nutritional profiles. However, the manufacturing process for making these breads isn’t the same.

Naturally, both require some human intervention, but white bread uses a lot of extra processing to achieve a perfectly fluffy and buttery soft texture. This means two things:

  1. The grain from whole grains is removed to create refined flour. In this process, a lot of the nutritional goodness that we get from whole wheat or brown bread, such as fibre, vitamins and minerals, is eliminated.

  2. White bread typically has extra preservatives and sugar, as a way to improve the taste and extend the shelf life. As a result, it usually has a higher glycemic index, meaning it spikes blood sugar levels faster.

Having said that, there is a place for both white bread and brown bread in your diet. Remember, there’s no such thing as ‘bad foods’. It’s all a matter of listening to your body, making mindful choices and eating a balanced, nourishing diet. 

Which type of bread is better for weight loss? 

When it comes to weight loss, carbs have long been demonised – and wrongly so. Again, no such thing as ‘bad foods.’

Woman eating a sandwich that has been plated on a wooden heart shaped board.

“All kinds of bread can definitely be included as part of a healthy diet, and when the end goal is weight loss, there are just a few considerations to keep in mind,” Amelia Bandera, a dietitian at Juniper, tells 9Honey.

First, you want to look at how much fibre your chosen bread contains.

“Fibre not only promotes healthy bowel movements, but it’s an important nutrient that helps keep us fuller for longer, meaning we can have smaller portions and feel more satisfied – helping to reduce overall calories,” Bandera explains.

“Grainy breads will typically be higher in fibre than white breads, but you can find white breads that are fortified with more fibre.”

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An extreme close up end view of a homemade loaf of seeded bread.

Additionally, you want to opt for bread with high protein content.

“Like fibre, protein helps you feel fuller more quickly and for longer – making it a great nutrient to stabilise appetite,” she says. “Protein is also essential for maintaining and building lean muscle which is helpful for maintaining weight loss success. 

“Ideally, we should be aiming for ~30g of protein per main meal, so if you’re having toast or a sandwich, looking for a higher protein bread will help boost this goal.”

“Grainy bread can have up to 4g per slice, but there are also high-protein breads available that have up to 10g per slice!”

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