Whole Wheat vs. Whole Grains: Dietitians Explain The Difference
Navigating the grocery store can be overwhelming, and one of the major points of confusion often lies in the bread and grain aisle. Pastas, breads, and crackers are often labeled “whole grain” and “whole wheat.” But what do these titles actually mean, how are they different, and is one healthier than the other?
To help clear up the confusion, mbg spoke with registered dietitians and functional medicine doctors to see what they had to say.
What’s the difference between whole wheat and whole grain?
The difference between whole wheat and whole grain is a matter of specificity, registered dietitian Maggie Moon, M.S., R.D., says. “Whole wheat is always whole grain, but whole grain doesn’t always mean whole wheat.”
Whole grains are grains that are minimally processed or completely unprocessed and still contain all three components of the grain’s kernel. “The kernel contains the bran, endosperm, and germ,” functional medicine doctor and registered dietitian Elizabeth Boham, M.D., M.S., R.D., tells mbg. “These germ and bran are rich in fiber, minerals, vitamins, and phytochemicals.”
According to Moon, “These healthy components of whole grains make all the difference, and they’re what’s missing in white bread and pasta.”