It’s undeniable for decades that whole wheat bread is the healthiest bread available. But now there is a new top on the list — and it came 3rd spot in Google’s global trending recipe searches in 2020. I’m talking about none other than… Sourdough bread! Well, it’s not really new, it’s an old favourite that’s soured in popularity. Many people believe that in a sourdough vs whole wheat competition, sourdough is much tastier and better for you.
So, are these two bread types comparable? Is sourdough healthier than whole wheat? And are there any better options available?
Sourdough bread is much better for us than conventional bread. It has a low Glycemic Index, increased nutritional value, and better digestibility. Whole wheat bread, on the other hand, has more health benefits. It has higher fibre content, a low-calorie count and is packed full of nutrients.
So I’m curious to know if whole wheat bread is that much healthier for my body, that’s why I’ve conducted some research and I’m eager to share it with you. Below are the nutritional benefits each bread has to offer and a comparison between them. I also included a quick guide that will help you choose which one is better for your dietary needs.
Sourdough bread has a similar nutritional profile to other types of bread. But it has a few unique properties that make it more nutritious.
We all know that making sourdough bread requires a very long fermentation process. This method reduces the amount of starch and sugar in the bread, which is why sourdough bread has a lower Glycemic Index.
Sourdough bread has a GI of 53 — making it a low-glycemic-index food. Lower GI food means it will make you feel full for longer and help you maintain a steady blood sugar level. Later on, we will see its comparison with wholemeal bread.
The extended fermentation process of sourdough allows us to absorb nutrients better. Minerals like copper, iron, magnesium, and zinc are absorbed easily when eating sourdough. There is also a high level of antioxidants that straight-dough loaves of bread do not have. This is due to the presence of lactic acid in sourdough.
Resistant starch is a fibre that has been recently discovered to be beneficial to our health. It can help us with many health factors such as:
Sourdough’s fermentation process increases the resistant starch content of bread by about 6%. But sadly, this is far from the amount that whole wheat bread can provide.
Sourdough bread contains probiotics which are non-digestible fibres. This is a type of fibre that feeds the good bacteria in our gut. And of course, having a healthy gut means a healthy body! The presence of probiotics also makes sourdough bread easier for the body to digest.
Now, let’s look at wholemeal’s overall benefits. Let’s also find out why it’s the healthiest bread for most people.
Wholemeal bread has significantly more fibre than regular bread. This is because it contains the bran component of wheat, which is the primary source of fibre.
Fibre is beneficial to our health as it can keep us feeling full for longer and help improve our blood sugar levels. A single slice of wholemeal bread provides around 2g of fibre.
If you want to keep your sugar level stable, wholemeal bread is a better option than regular bread. Wholemeal bread contains a GI of around 50, while regular white bread can have a GI of 70 or higher.
Along with fibre, wholemeal bread is rich in a variety of B vitamins that are essential in our body. These include:
Resistant starch is not commonly found, but whole wheat bread can have up to 14% of it. When we consume resistant starch, our bodies produce short-chain fatty acids which play an important role in our health.
After looking at the benefits of each bread type, let’s see how they compare to each other. Below is the table I made to make it easy for us to see its difference:
|Sourdough Bread(100 grams)||Wholemeal Bread(100 grams)|
|Carbohydrates||57 grams||41 grams|
|Fat||1.8 grams||3.4 grams|
|Fibre||2.4 grams||7 grams|
|Protein||10 grams||13 grams|
|Sugars||2.6 grams||6 grams|
Based on the data above, here are some of my conclusions. You can also use this as a guide on which bread is more suitable for your health needs:
In many ways whole wheat bread is better than sourdough:
Importantly sourdough bread is much better at absorbing minerals. I find it amazing that even though whole wheat bread contains more minerals, they are not well absorbed by our bodies. With sourdough bread, despite having fewer minerals, we actually benefit more as our bodies can absorb them better.
Both bread types come in their own individual benefits and advantages. But if you ever need to choose one, which do you think is the best?
While both types of bread have a low glycemic index, whole wheat outperforms sourdough in fibre and resistant starch levels. But, because of sourdough’s bioavailability, it is a more nutritional powerhouse than other bread.
I’d choose sourdough over whole wheat if I was looking for the healthiest bread.
I’m fascinated by the health benefits of both whole wheat and sourdough bread. So, instead of picking just one, why not go for WHOLE WHEAT SOURDOUGH BREAD? If you want to get the benefits of both types of bread it’s an excellent choice. If you’d like to make one for yourself, you can try this recipe fromThe Perfect Loaf. Also, explore my beginner’s guide to sourdough bread baking and basic wholemeal bread.
Hi, I’m Gareth Busby, a baking coach, head baker and bread-baking fanatic! My aim is to use science, techniques and 15 years of baking experience to help you become a better baker.
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