Choosing the Better Bread: Sourdough vs Whole Wheat

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Choosing the best bread can depend on a variety of factors. Whether you’re following a certain diet plan, or prefer the taste of one over the other, the great thing is that there’s always a type of healthy bread to cater to your needs. When choosing between eating sourdough bread and whole wheat bread, people often wonder which of the two is healthier than the other. Could both provide equal health benefits? Let’s find out.

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Sourdough Vs Whole Wheat

Table of Contents

Benefits of Whole Wheat Bread

Whole wheat bread contains whole grains that are super beneficial to your body, making them an essential part of a healthy diet. These whole grains are loaded with nutrients that help eliminate the risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and obesity, as opposed to white bread.

Let’s take a look at some of the beneficial factors that make whole wheat bread a good choice

High in Fiber

Fiber is an essential component for any balanced diet, as it helps keep you fuller for longer. It can also regulate blood sugar levels and assist in the prevention of diabetes.

Whole wheat bread generally contain a much higher fiber content than white bread. In fact one slice of whole wheat bread contains 2 grams of fiber.

Rich in B Vitamins

Whole wheat bread is naturally rich in a variety of B vitamins, which sets it apart from other breads. These vitamins encourage your body’s cells to function properly by converting food into energy, creating new blood cells, and maintaining healthy skin cells.

Here’s a little breakdown for you:

  • Vitamin B1 – Also known as Thiamin, this helps our bodies make appropriate use of carbohydrates
  • Vitamin B2Riboflavin is an essential vitamin that improves the development of skin, brain functionality, blood cells, and digestive lining.
  • Vitamin B3 – Known as Niacin, which is generally good for overall health
  • Vitamin B9 – Folic Acid or Folate, which is required to help create new healthy cells in the body.

Lower GI

Having a low glycemic index is what makes whole wheat bread a good choice, as this is what contributes to the stability of blood sugars.

This means that you’re less likely to crave sugary foods, because you’ll be full from your sandwich, that was made using slices of whole wheat bread.

baked wheat bread in basket

Benefits of Sourdough Bread

Though sourdough bread is made with the same ingredients as conventional bread, the fermentation process is the key element that separates the two of them, therefore improving its nutritional value.

Here are some more reasons to consider sourdough bread in your diet.

Prebiotic Content

Sourdough bread is easier to digest, reducing the chances of bloating and other digestive problems, and promoting a happy, healthy gut. This is due to its prebiotic content or non-digestible fibers that feed the beneficial bacteria in your stomach.

Incorporating foods with prebiotic content consistently can improve your gut health, i.e. digestion and boost your immune system.

Better Source of Minerals

Sourdough’s fermentation process is what enables us to absorb the beneficial minerals from sourdough.

These minerals include:

  • Magnesium
  • Zinc
  • Copper
  • Iron

Another component that separates sourdough from other bread, is its increased level of antioxidants, due to the lactic acid present in the dough.

Antioxidants

The lactic acid bacteria in sourdough bread plays a key role in the increased quantity of antioxidants in the bread, compared to regular bread.

These antioxidants boast a good variety of health benefits, such as protecting cells from damages that can cause fatal disease such as cancer, heart disease, and more.

This is probably why many love this healthy bread so much!

Low Glycemic Index

White sourdough bread has a lower glycemic index compared to regular white bread because the fermentation process decreases the total sugar and starch content in the bread.

The total glycemic index in sourdough bread is roughly 50, which is deemed as low GI.

Choosing The Best Bread

Sourdough vs Whole Wheat Bread

Choosing the best bread can be a little difficult. But now that we’re aware of the independent health benefits both types of bread contains which of the two is better for you?

When making sourdough bread you have to use a starter, which is a fermented mixture of flour and natural yeasts that help the dough rise, and produce tangy flavors that are quite delicious.

This process is what makes sourdough bread more digestible than regular bread because the fermentation process breaks down gluten that can cause bloating and other digestive problems. So if you’re someone who suffers from celiac disease, sourdough bread might be the better choice for you.

Although sourdough bread is often made using the same flour as regular bread, the fermentation process is what makes it so special. The fermentation process improves the overall nutritional value of this bread, including B vitamins, antioxidants and lactic acid which aids mineral absorption.

While there is no doubting the status of sourdough bread and its healthful contributions to your diet, is it better than whole wheat?

Whole wheat bread comes with a variety of qualities that are good for your body. For instance, whole wheat bread contains resistant starch, which is a component found in certain foods. So when they’re consumed, they produce short chain fatty acids which are beneficial to our bodies.

Whole wheat bread is rich in B vitamins, some of which enable our body to use carbohydrates for energy, break down proteins, create healthy new cells in our body, and ensure a healthy nervous system that doesn’t fail you.

Both whole meal bread and sourdough bread have a lower glycemic index or GI of 50. This is fairly low compared to regular breads GI of 70. This means that both breads can help maintain healthy, stable blood sugar levels in your body.

sourdough or wheat for health

Types of Healthy Bread

There are plenty varieties of healthy bread lining supermarket shelves ready for picking, though some are healthier than others. With some types of bread being higher in fiber, vitamins and minerals there are others that are made from refined grains and barely contribute in terms of nutritional value.

So if you’re wondering what other breads are the healthiest after sourdough and whole wheat bread, then take a look at the list below:

Sprouted Whole Grain

Sprouted whole grain bread are made from whole grains that have begun to sprout due to excess exposure to heat and moisture. Sprouting has been revealed to increase the quantity of certain nutrients. This means that they are high in fiber, vitamins and minerals.

Sprouted grains also contain less starch making it easier to digest, especially for those who are sensitive to grain breads.

Oat Bread

Oat bread is made from a combination of oats, whole wheat flour, yeast, water and salt. Oats are incredibly high in fiber, and beneficial nutrients including vitamin B1, iron and zinc.

The fiber content in oat bread is known to help decrease cholesterol levels, and decrease high blood pressure.

While oats in this bread make it a healthy treat, some oat breads can have a small amount of actual oats. Instead they’re made of refined flours, additional sugars and oils, which minimizes its nutritional value.

Flax Bread

Flax bread which is typically made from whole grain flours and flax seeds is probably one of the healthiest breads you could eat.

This is because flax seeds are incredibly nutritious. They offer a good variety of health benefits, lower risks of heart disease, prevent certain cancers, and improve digestive health.

100% Sprouted Rye Bread

Rye is a little darker than wheat and traditionally made from rye flour without wheat flours. However, modern rye bread is made with a combination of the two.

Compared to whole wheat bread rye bread is deemed highly nutritious, and can help keep you fuller for longer.

Gluten-Free Bread

Gluten free bread are made without the use of glutenous grains like wheat, rye or barley. They’re a safe option for those who suffer from celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. Gluten free loaves are made using a mixture of gluten free flours such as brown rice, almond, coconut, or corn flours.

However, this doesn’t mean that gluten free bread is any healthier than gluten bread. Most gluten-free varieties are made from refined flours with added sugars and other additives. (For example, while gluten-free dumplings might exist, where they’re prepared can make them unsafe to consume for those with gluten issues.)

Though the varieties that are made from almond or coconut flours are lower in carbs and calories. They’re also higher in fiber and protein, keeping you fuller for longer.

sourdough or whole wheat

Sourdough vs Wheat

Sourdough bread is packed with beneficial nutrients that are adopted during the fermentation process. This makes it easier for your bodies to absorb the essential minerals such as zinc and magnesium that are often obscured by phytic acid in other breads.

Wheat bread on the other hand contains fewer calories, carbs and sugars compared to sourdough bread. This may become the missing edge for those on the hunt for the perfect healthy bread.

Bottom Line

Knowing the distinct health benefits provided by both sourdough and whole wheat bread, it’s fair to assume and confirm that sourdough is a healthier bread. At least, in certain aspects compared to whole wheat bread.

Though similarly, whole wheat bread can be deemed healthier than – say – white sourdough bread.

Don’t forget to take into account what you also eat with sourdough bread!

Sourdough vs Whole Wheat – FAQs

Is Sourdough Bread Healthier than Whole Wheat?

Sourdough bread is healthier than regular white or whole wheat bread, simply because it is digestible and nutritious.

Is Sourdough the Healthiest Bread?

Health experts agree that naturally fermented sourdough bread is healthier than commercial bread, because it is more nutritious, has a lower glycemic index, and contains less gluten compared to other types of bread.

Is Sourdough or Whole Wheat Bread Better for Weight Loss?

Whole grain bread is the healthiest option for weight loss. It has all the bran which makes it extremely nutritious.

Is Sourdough Bread Better for Weight Loss?

Sourdough-leavened whole meal bread can assist in weight loss due to the combined glycemic index and glycemic load.

By Anna

Hey, I’m Anna; writer, editor and amateur cook extraordinaire! Food has been my life and my passion for the most of my life – it’s crazy to think I didn’t pursue a career in cooking. I’m obsessed! However, keeping cooking as an obsessive hobby has worked for me – my passion grows as the years pass by – maybe I wouldn’t say the same if it was also my day job! I hope you find cooking inspiration, entertainment and “stop and think interesting tid-bits” throughout my writing – and I’d love to hear from you if you’ve got anything you want to share. Food feeds the soul – so get eating!

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