Is Brown Bread equal to Whole Grain Bread?

Is Brown Bread equal to Whole Grain Bread?

Being brown doesn’t make bread necessary whole wheat or whole grain! Some brown bread indeed is added with brown coloring. You may find it listed on the label usually as “caramel coloring”!!! Also, some manufacturers add caramel colour to the dough to make the bread brown.

So, the next time you buy a pack of brown bread, remember, it could be brown just because of some colour added to it. So specify that you want “whole wheat bread”. Also, check the ingredients at the back of the pack.

In addition, the term “multi-grain” bread, “rye” bread, “5 grain” or “7 grain” bread also doesn’t mean that they always use whole grain in their formulation. In few countries, only bread labeled with “whole wheat” truly uses whole wheat flour in their processing. Other “wheat bread” may simply use a combination of white refined flour and whole wheat flour. The key word to look for is “whole”!!

Pure Whole Wheat

If you read about the list of ingredients at the back of a whole-wheat bread pack, you will find that the manufacturers use whole-wheat flour as well as wheat flour.

Wheat flour is actually maida, and this is a normal practice. So, don’t think the manufacturers have cheated you because all whole wheat bread is usually made with some amount of wheat bread.

Also you may find the colour of the bread changes according to brand. This is because some brands use a little “caramel colouring” to give the bread a dark shade of brown. So Dont get fooled by the different shades of brown.

What are lost when whole grains are refined when making whole grain bread?

Whole grains contain fiber, antioxidants such as Vitamin E and selenium, iron, magnesium, zinc and B vitamins. When whole grains are refined, all of the above are completely or partially removed. Among the above, more than 50% of Vitamin B1 (Thiamine), Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), Vitamin B3 (Niacin), Vitamin B5 (Pentothenic Acid), Vitamin 6, Folate and Vitamin E are lost during the milling process. In addition, whole grains also contain lignans, phenolic acids, phytoestrogens, and other phytochemicals may help reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.

By law, the flour manufacturers must fortify white flour with Thiamine, Riboflavin, Niacin, Folate and Iron to replenish the loss during the refining process.

The Amazing Fiber

One of the beneficial nutrient fiber is removed in the refining process and hence can be found in abundance in whole wheat bread but not white bread. Fiber not only promotes health, it also help reduce the risk for some chronic diseases. For instance, fiber prevents constipation, hemorrhoids and diverticulosis. Fiber is also linked to prevent some cancers especially colon and breast cancer. In addition, fiber may help lower the LDL cholesterol (the Bad cholesterol) and the total cholesterol therefore reducing the risk of heart disease. Furthermore, fiber can help lower blood sugar therefore help better manage diabetes. Last but not least, fiber may help keep you trim as it contains 0 calories and often keeps you feeling full.

Sanjana M Shenoy is a A dietitian from Mangalore, Karnataka, India. Having worked as a Dietitian for the Manipal Group of Hospitals namely KMC hospital Mangalore, India. She is also a consultant for corporate's like Infosys and others, conducting talks and presentations for various associations and local television shows. She consults at her Diet and Nutrition clinic "Nutrihealth" in Mangalore. Also is a visiting consultant to various hospitals in and around Mangalore and also runs an active online consultation.

14 Replies to “Is Brown Bread equal to Whole Grain Bread?”

  1. Hi,
    I am Geeta and i weigh 55kgs would like to reduce my weigh and wants my boby in a shape and some tonning is required.
    My a working girl but still not yet married .Plz can you suggest me some exercise which will help me to reduce minimum 2–3 kgs.


  2. Hi Geeta,

    You havent mentioned me your height.So I cannot tell your ideal body weight.

    The best exercise I suggest is to walk for 30- 40 minutes daily. You will surely lose the extra flab very easily and tone up too.

    Even yoga is very good as it does not need any instruments or weights. It can help you lose weight and tone as well and can be done any where. All you will need is a nice mat.

    Good luck and let me know the results!!!

  3. Sanjana – excellent post. I’ve been trying very hard to steer people away from white bread as it seems like the biggest problem that is contributing to obesity these days.

    This is a great site, and keep up the great work.


    Mr. Healthy

  4. HI,
    Is it possible for u to give the recipe for baking Whole wheat bread at home? Also my Baby is just 5 months old, so what healthy weanining practices could u suggest? Is there any nutrition in Rava {as many people have told me to give him rava sheera}


  5. Hi I do not know the recipe for making whole grain bread as I have never thought of making it. Find it easier to pick it up from a supermarket. Rava can be included. Buy whole or thick rava as it is more nutritious. At this age, thin vegetable soups, dals soups, seasonal fruits juices can be given. I suggest citrus fruit juices and do not forget to give soups which have green leafy vegetables. Your baby’s iron stores in the body will start decreasing hence add greens. Do not over-dilute as this will decrease the nutritional value. Rava kheer with milk and jaggery, ragi kheer, rice kheer can be given. The cereal can depend on your staple diet. Other than porridges, starchy vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, yams, sweet potatoes can be given. do not forget to add fats such as ghee, butter or oil in the food. Avocados are very good as they contain good fats and this can be prepared along with milk. It can become a complete meal with carbohydrates, proteins and fats.
    Try out these and let me know. Contact me for further advice.

  6. hi Sanjana,

    great post.. good to see people from Manipal doing good here 🙂
    I have a small question. People say that too much of bread is not good for health. What is the optimal quantity that one could have in a day?? And if too much of bread is not good for health then how come Roti, which is an irreplaceable part of indian diet, is good for our health??


  7. Hi Sanjana,

    Great post. I wanted to know whether what Kellogg’s wheat flakes are marketed are they whole grain wheat bran cereal? is there any other brand you would recommend

  8. My height is 5.4′ and my wt. is 72. Am married and facing PCOD problems. kindly help for diet n exercises to reduce wt. Am a working women also.

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  10. Hi,

    My height is 5’9 and weight is 55 kg. i am very slim & weak because of my bed habits of childhood, i feel very laziness on afternoon and don’t like to work on this time please help me and give me some suggestion for my diet and exercise for gaining weight and stamina.

    Thank you

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