Bread has become an important part of our plate. A wide variety of options to select from in the market confuses us. White bread, brown bread, multi-grain bread are just few to choose from. An aware consumer should know the difference between white and brown bread before purchasing one.
In order to understand the difference between the two we must understand the wheat grain. A wheat grain consists of 3 layers-
- Innermost endosperm – rich in carbohydrates like starch
- Middle germ – rich in proteins, fats and minerals
- Outermost bran – rich in fiber
The color of bread and its nutritional value depends upon how many layers have been removed during the manufacturing process of the bread.
In case of white bread, the outermost bran and middle germ layer are removed leaving behind carbohydrate rich endosperm. This gives the bread its white color. Since nutritious layers have been removed, the white bread is left with less nutrients. Some companies also add some bleaching agent to give the bread its color. White bread is thus highly processed bread which majorly contains starch.
Brown bread is also known as whole wheat bread. Since the grain is taken as such with all 3 layers intact, it is more nutritious. The bran provides fiber, Germ provides protein and vitamin E. They do also provide vitamin B, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, potassium and zinc. Whole wheat bread also contains a phytonutrient called plant lignans. Lignans are known to have protective effect against breast cancer and heart diseases.
White bread is usually softer than brown bread. Brown bread is less soft because of bran. Bran is harder and thus pops off the bubbles during baking process.
To enhance the flavor of white bread, sometimes milk and sugar is added to it during the manufacturing process. This not only improves the flavor but makes it softer as well.
Consumer VOICE decoded the food labels of 8 brands of white breads and atta breads and checked the Traffic Light Ratings of the best bread brands of India to see if the fat, salt and sugar levels are in safe limits for consumption.