Whole Grain Bread: The Guide To Buying

What is the difference between a whole grain bread and a multi-grain bread? How will I know if I’m getting the right grains in my bread?

Food labels can be confusing. Here’s a clear guide to help you purchase your intended whole grain bread.

The difference between whole-grain, wholemeal and other descriptors.
Wholemeal refers to whole-grains that have been milled to a finer texture, but still have their three layers (bran, endosperm and germ) intact. This means that wholemeal food products are also whole-grain.

If a loaf of bread is described as multi-grain, softmeal or enriched, however it doesn’t necessarily mean that it contains whole grains.

Recognizing whole grain breads.
The sure fire way to ensure that your bread contains a good or optimal amount of whole grains is to look out for the U.S. Whole Grain stamp.

There are two different varieties of Stamp, the Basic Stamp and the 100% Stamp.

If a product bears the 100% Stamp, then all its grain ingredients are whole grains. There is a minimum requirement of 16g (16 grams) – a full serving – of whole grain per labeled serving, for products using the 100% Stamp.

If a product bears the Basic Stamp, it contains at least 8g (8 grams) – a half serving – of whole grain, but may also contain some refined grain. Even if a product contains large amounts of whole grain (23g, 37g, 41g, etc.), it will use the Basic Stamp if it also contains extra bran, germ, or refined flour.

Each Stamp also shows a number, telling you how many grams of whole grain ingredients are in a serving of the product. Even though the image above shows just four different numbers (8g, 23g, 16g, 47g), when you look on your grocery shelves you’ll see a wide range of numbers, reflecting the whole grain content of a serving of that specific product.

Find out more from the U.S. Whole Grains Council website:

Note that every one of Sunshine wholemeal breads bears the Whole Grain Council stamp and the Health Promotion Board’s HCS stamp.