Decoding Bread Labels

August 12, 2020

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More than three-quarters of Americans know that whole grains are better for their health than refined ones, and 62% say they purposely opt for whole grain versions of certain foods. However terms used on the packaging can be confusing and in many cases what you think is a healthy whole grain bread is actually a refined product!  So here is a rundown of the claims that are on the label of bread bags. You can't go wrong with 100% whole grains. This indicates that a bread's flour is made from the entire grain kernel—the bran, endosperm, and germ. Refined grains, such as white flour, contain only the endosperm. The bran and germ are where most of the healthy stuff—antioxidants, B vitamins, fiber, and other nutrients—is found. Go a bit further with a 100% whole grain stamp, which indicates it has at least 16 grams of whole grains per serving. A 50%+ stamp means at least half are whole grains, and a stamp without a percentage means less than half are whole grains. Made with whole grains is a phrase that can be confusing as it does contain whole grains but also contains refined grains which are less nutritious. Same for multigrain as you really don't know how many grains are used or whether they're refined or whole. As for the number of grains, 21 whole grains and seeds sounds good, you'll need to look at the nutrition label to see where they appear in the ingredients list. If they're buried far down on the label, they may just be sprinkled in or added as a topping.
 

SOURCE: Consumer Reports

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