Nutrition

What’s the Difference Between Whole Grain and Whole Wheat?

By now, many individuals have become privy to the negative effects of consuming white breads or enriched products. As awareness continues to rise people’s curiosity has as well. Many want to know if they are kicking white breads to the curb, which grains are best to consume? Are there any notable differences between them?

What is Whole Wheat?

‘Whole wheat’ is a type of ‘whole grain’ that contains all three components of a grain kernel (the bran, germ, and endosperm).

What’s the Difference Between Whole Grain and Whole Wheat?

What makes a Grain a Whole Grain?

‘Whole grain’ is the umbrella term for grains that have not been refined and contain all three components of a grain kernel (the bran, germ, and endosperm). They are extremely beneficial to one’s health due to their abundance of anthocyanins, lignans, and flavones phytochemicals (compounds that help fight disease), antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and insoluble fiber.

Popular Whole Grains:

  • Wheat
  • Rice
  • Millet
  • Rye
  • Barley
  • Sorghum
  • Oats
  • Maize

Possible Benefits:

Due to their richness in antioxidants, phytochemicals, insoluble fiber, and vitamins ‘whole grains’ can provide anti-inflammatory benefits and lower the risk of breast-cancer, diabetes, obesity and heart disease. 

Pay Attention to Labels!

It is important to look for the “100% whole grain/whole wheat” label when shopping for these healthy grains because some products can be advertised as such and only contain a minimal amount of actual whole grain.

Summary  

‘Whole grain’ is the umbrella term for ‘whole wheat’ and both contain all components of the grain kernel. Switching from refined grains to whole grains can potentially result is a vast amount of health benefits.

Tip: when shopping for your whole grains or whole wheat foods, remember to check the labels and ingredients list!

Sources used:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6723813/

https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/whole_grain_vs_multigrain_vs_whole_wheat

https://wholegrainscouncil.org/whole-grains-101/whole-grains-z

Written by: Hillaris Pozo, Dietetic Intern, Lehman College

Reviewed by: Nazirber Maduro, RDN, CDN, CDCES

Nazirber Maduro, RDN, CDN, CDCES

Nazirber Maduro is a bilingual registered dietitian and nutritionist who believes that healthy and delicious food should be enjoyed at any stage in life. She helps people transform the way they eat and find joy in food through the practice of food and lifestyle medicine.

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