Whole Wheat vs. Whole Grain: What’s the Difference?

whole wheat vs whole grain

46% of Americans want to eat healthier but hesitate because they think it’s more expensive.

Unlike what most people think, you don’t need to break the bank or make drastic changes to be healthier. Sometimes, all you need is a little more mindfulness in the food choices you make. Many people achieve their health and fitness goals without adhering to a strict diet.

Whole foods are rich in crucial nutrients that your body relies on to function. Opting for whole foods is the overall healthier choice, as they remain natural and unprocessed.

However, it can get confusing when food labels use whole wheat and whole grains in the packaging. From cereals to bread, what makes them different? Continue reading to discover the differences between whole wheat vs. whole grain.


You may have encountered “whole wheat” and “whole grain” labels while shopping for bread. Most people ignore these labels and think nothing of it, but your choice could have a greater impact than you think.

Whole wheat and whole grain bread consist of grain kernels, which carry three components: bran, germ, and endosperm. Each layer provides nutrients your body needs. The difference lies in the other ingredients.

The production of whole wheat products only involves wheat kernels. It does not get stripped, altered, or mixed with other grains. Whole wheat bread uses pure whole wheat flour.

Unlike whole wheat, whole grain products contain other types of grains. This may include amaranth, barley, or rye. In this case, whole grain bread can have whole wheat flour with barley.

People also use whole grains in various ways while cooking. They either use it as an ingredient or make food out of it. Brown rice, quinoa, and oatmeal are some of them.

With this, you can say that all whole wheat products are whole grain. Yet, not all whole grain products can be whole wheat.

Types of Grains

Are you aware that wheat is a type of grain? Remember, wheat and grain have three components of grain kernels. However, the production of whole wheat products differs from whole grain products.

The flour used for whole wheat bread does not undergo any alterations. Whole-grain bread can contain other grains aside from the kernel. Common grains used in making whole grain products include barley, corn, and rye.

As a whole grain, many people use barley in drinks, bread, stew, and other dishes. It is a cereal grain that provides consumers with vitamins, minerals, and fibers.

When harvested mature and dry, corn is a grain. People often mill it and use it on foods like cornbread and tortillas. However, many consider it a starchy vegetable when harvested fresh.

Corn can offer different nutrients depending on its maturity level upon harvest. Although rich in nutrients, rye often goes unnoticed. It is another cereal grain related to barley and wheat.

Eastern Europeans often use rye when making crackers, bread, and beer. For products, rye flour is the most popular because it is low in gluten yet high in fiber.

Nutrient Content

Whole wheat vs. whole grain, what makes them different? Another difference between these whole foods is their nutrient content. Despite using grain kernel, the amount of nutrients you can get is not the same.

The nutritional breakdown of whole wheat products consists of calories, protein, fat, carbohydrates, fiber, sodium, calcium, potassium, and iron. It is rich in nutrients that fuel your body with energy to keep functioning. In addition, whole wheat provides minerals humans need for growth and development.

Although nutritious, whole wheat is not as nutrient-dense as whole grains. Because whole wheat only consists of grain kernels, it lacks the nutrient diversity found in other types of grains.

On the other end, whole grain products have more nutritional value, thanks to the extra grain. The amount of nutrients you can get from whole grain products depends on the added grain.

For instance, oats are rich in fiber. It is a nutrient that helps you regulate sugar intake. Fiber keeps your blood sugar and hunger in check.

Another example is quinoa. It is a good protein source because it contains all the amino acids our body needs. This can be a good option for those who want to build muscle.

Flavor and Texture

Have you tried comparing the flavor and texture of whole wheat vs. whole grain?

Flavor is essential in bread and pastries. It enhances the aroma and taste of baked goods. Texture affects the tenderness, resiliency, and crumb structure.

Flavor and texture, which are essential in the quality of baked goods, can be influenced by the type of flour used while baking. So, what happens when you use whole wheat or whole grain flour?

Whole wheat bread has more of a nutty flavor and a dense texture. The flavor and texture of whole-grain bread can differ depending on the extra grain used. For example, brown rice has a more distinct flavor and texture than whole wheat bread.

Dietary Fiber

Fiber is an essential nutrient in improving gut health, managing weight, and reducing the risk of diseases.

So, what happens when you have low fiber? Lacking fiber in your diet deprives you of the nutrients you need. When this happens, you can suffer from fatigue and constipation.

You also become more prone to getting sick. In a study, researchers found that only 7% of Americans get enough fiber.

Baked goods are excellent sources of fiber, whether made of sourdough, white, or wheat flour. From different sources, whole wheat and whole grains offer more fiber content.

Despite containing dietary fiber, whole wheat products offer a lower amount of fiber. As mentioned prior, whole wheat products do not undergo any type of alteration. This means that its fiber content remains the same.

On the other hand, many whole grains are rich in fiber, including barley, oats, and quinoa. To boost fiber in your body, consider eating whole-grain bread or whole-wheat bread.

Benefits of Whole Grain

Switching to whole grain is one of the best choices you can make for your health. Here are the benefits of adding whole grains to your diet.

Control Blood Sugar

Do you often feel moody or unable to control your emotions? You might have irregular blood sugar levels. You may even feel fatigued, shaky, or confused if your blood sugar levels are too low or high.

Maintaining your blood sugar at the recommended level is a practice most crucial to diabetic patients.

You can maintain regular blood sugar levels by including whole-grain bread in your diet. Many experts claim it can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The chromium and magnesium content in whole grains can lower blood sugar levels and insulin concentrations.

However, beware of the different types of sugar used in baking. Some whole-grain bread has a certain amount of sugar to enhance its taste. To control blood sugar levels, watch over the food you take.

Make it a habit to check the label whenever you go grocery shopping. Manufacturers often include a nutritional breakdown of their product on the packaging. Experts recommend eating 1.5 servings of whole grain products every day.

Reduce Cardiovascular Disease

Along with fruits and vegetables, whole-grain products can reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. A study claims that including this type of food can lower risk by 30%. Remember, they are rich in nutrients, including antioxidants, fiber, and minerals.

When consumed as part of your diet, whole grain products can reduce weight. In turn, this can help you lower cholesterol levels and blood pressure.

Cholesterol is an essential fat that the body needs to function. However, excessive amounts encourage the development of fatty deposits in the blood vessels. When not addressed, this can lead to heart disease, heart attack, or stroke.

An increase in blood pressure often results from stressful situations. Everyone has comfort foods that they indulge in when they’re feeling low or stressed.

However, excessive stress-eating can lead to hypertension. Like blood sugar and cholesterol, you must maintain this at a certain level.

When your blood pressure goes beyond your target rate, seek medical attention. High blood pressure indicates a hypertensive crisis. Failing to address it can lead to a heart attack, stroke, or other life-threatening disease.

With fiber present, you can maintain a healthy level of cholesterol. This prevents the formation of fatty deposits in the blood vessels, allowing you to keep your cardiovascular system in good health. Moreover, the potassium found in whole grains keeps blood pressure low.

Assist in Weight Management

Do you like spicy food? Although heat burns calories, some experts link eating spicy food to obesity. Like other habits, moderation is a must when eating or drinking.

If you struggle with weight management, incorporating whole-grain foods into your diet can help. The fiber it contains can fill you up fast, preventing you from overeating. Moreover, it can reduce calories retained during digestion, while speeding up metabolism at the same time.

With this, consider incorporating whole grain products into your diet. Eating whole grains helps in controlling weight. It also makes it easier to maintain a healthy weight.

Consuming more whole grain products reduces body mass, prevents abdominal pain, and improves body fat percentages. Experts recommend eating three servings of whole grain products a day to lower your BMI.

Reduce Chronic Inflammation

Many chronic diseases begin with chronic inflammation. It is a condition where your body continues to send inflammatory cells despite no outside danger. Failing to address the issue encourages the development of severe illnesses.

Whole grain products contain dietary fiber, antioxidants, and phytochemicals. Each nutrient and chemical can aid in reducing inflammation.

Fiber in whole-grain bread lowers body weight, reducing inflammation. On the other end, antioxidants protect body tissues from damage. It stops or prevents inflammatory responses from taking place.

The phytochemicals present in whole grain products often act by regulating molecular mechanisms. It synergizes the anti-inflammatory pathways and interferes with reducing pro-inflammatory cytokines.

With all its benefits, it’s no wonder that more people are incorporating whole grains into their diet. Eating the right amount can control blood sugar, reduce diseases, and manage weight.

Benefits of Whole Wheat

All whole wheat products are whole grain. However, not all whole grain products are whole wheat. This is a helpful tip to keep in mind during your next grocery shopping trip.

Whole wheat products share the same health benefits as whole grains. They are products of whole-grain wheat, possessing the three components of grain kernel. Whole wheat can regulate blood sugar, reduce the risk of diseases, and manage weight, but how do they differ in terms of benefits?

The grain used in whole wheat products can affect its composition and nutrients. Less of these factors reduce the effectiveness of the products. However, this does not make whole wheat less nutritious than whole grain.

Which Is Better?

Whole grain and whole wheat are both healthier options than refined grains. You can pick either of the two depending on the weight of their benefits. Diversifying your choices can enhance your nutrition.

For instance, incorporating whole-wheat cereals, crackers, bread, or pasta is a good start. To achieve the minimum amount of nutrients your body needs, add brown rice, buckwheat, or barley. You can also find wheat and gluten-free products with similar benefits, depending on your dietary needs.

When choosing between products, check the “whole” label before the grain ingredients. It often shows a higher amount of whole grains, while the “made with whole grains” labels contain less whole grain content.

Practicing mindfulness in your diet does not only improve your health. It can upscale your dining experience as well. With this, be smart in choosing between whole wheat and whole grain.

Whole Wheat vs. Whole Grain: Knowing Their Differences

Choosing between whole wheat vs. whole grain can be challenging if you don’t know what to look for. Yet, some features make these types of bread different. Whole wheat and whole grain differ in composition, nutrients, and dietary fiber.

Despite the differences, both are great options if you’re looking to eat cleaner and healthier. Want to take control of your health with delicious and more nutritious meals? Contact us at Craveble to discover delicious, affordable, and improved meals!

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