Is your bread actually made with whole grains?
Whole wheat, multigrain, 12-grain, “Made with whole grains”—there are many labels you can put on bread to make it sound healthy. What really counts when it comes to buying better bread? Fewer ingredients, key labels, and basic weight math.
Marion Nestle, author of the San Francisco Chronicle’s Food Matters column, does a great job making common sense of the myriad labels and marketing blather on bread…
To decide whether these have anything in them worth eating beyond their calories, you must inspect labels to make sure the first ingredient is whole grain, the total number of ingredients is small and devoid of unpronounceable chemicals, the fiber content is at least 2 grams per 1-ounce serving and the label says 100 percent whole wheat. Anything less is reconstituted white bread with occasional pieces of the original grain added back.
Nestle explains the basics of what makes bread whole wheat, as opposed to just white, then offers up a simple, if not exactly easy, method of comparing apples to apples in terms of wheat content:
Food labeling rules do not make it easy to figure out fiber content. Some white breads list 1 gram of fiber, but watch out for serving size. It takes two slices to reach half a gram, which can be rounded up to 1.
Whole wheat bread with 2 grams of fiber per 1-ounce slice may have four times as much fiber as white breads. But watch out for breads listing 3 grams fiber; their slices may weigh nearly 2 ounces.