Whole Wheat vs Whole Grain

You may have heard that whole wheat and whole grain are healthier alternatives to their refined cousins if you’re attempting to eat healthily. But how do the two differ from one another? Even while they can appear to be equivalent, there are some significant differences to be aware of.

fresh bread and wheat

Although there are many different kinds of whole grains, whole wheat is one of them.

Products made from whole grains include the bran, germ, and endosperm of the grain kernel.

In contrast, the bran and germ have been eliminated from refined grains, leaving only the starchy endosperm.

Additionally, many of the vitamins, minerals, and fiber present in whole grains are lost during this process, making them less healthful overall.

There are certain nutritional distinctions between whole wheat and whole grain to take into account when making your decision.

In comparison to other whole grains, whole wheat tends to be higher in protein and lower in fat.

It is also an excellent source of fiber, B vitamins, and minerals like iron and zinc.

To identify the whole grains you prefer best, explore with others like quinoa, brown rice, and oats as they may give different advantages.

Key Takeaways

  • Whole wheat is a type of whole grain, but not all whole grains are wheat.
  • Whole grain products contain the entire grain kernel, while refined grains have had the bran and germ removed.
  • Whole wheat is higher in protein and lower in fat than other whole grains, but different whole grains may offer unique nutritional benefits.

Whole Wheat: An Overview

It’s crucial to comprehend the distinctions between whole wheat and whole grain goods before making this decision.

Wheat grain in the composition with cooking items

Whole grain is any grain that has all three of its original components: the bran, germ, and endosperm. Whole wheat is a form of grain made from the wheat kernel.

The whole wheat kernel, which comprises the bran, germ, and endosperm, is used to make whole wheat goods.

In comparison to refined wheat products, which have the bran and germ removed, whole wheat products have higher levels of fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

Complex carbs, which provide you sustained energy and help you feel full and satisfied, are another excellent source of nutrition in whole wheat products.

Additionally, they are an excellent source of protein, which is necessary for maintaining and repairing muscle tissue.

To make sure a product is created entirely from whole wheat flour, carefully read the label when purchasing whole wheat items.

Even though a product may be marketed as “wheat bread” or “multi-grain bread,” whole wheat flour may not be present in it.

In conclusion, whole wheat products are a wholesome option that can bring about a number of health advantages.

They are a good source of complex carbs, fiber, vitamins, and minerals as well as protein.

To make sure you are purchasing a product manufactured entirely from whole wheat flour, carefully check the label when purchasing whole wheat items.

Whole Grain: An Overview

It’s critical to comprehend the differences between whole wheat and whole grain before making a decision.

Healthy ingredients for rolls and bread with whole grains

Any grain that includes the brain, germ, and endosperm is referred to as a whole grain. Along with wheat, this also refers to grains such brown rice, quinoa, and oats.

Because they contain critical nutrients like fiber, protein, and B vitamins, whole grains are an integral element of a healthy diet.

Additionally, they have a low glycemic index, which enables them to control blood sugar levels and prolonged feelings of satiety.

Look for the term “whole grain” on the label when purchasing products made with whole grains. This shows that all three components of the grain kernel are present in the product.

Other phrases like “enriched” or “multi-grain” may not always imply that the food is prepared with whole grains.

Typical whole grain goods include:

  • Whole grain bread
  • Whole grain pasta
  • Brown rice
  • Quinoa
  • Oats
  • Barley
  • Buckwheat
  • Millet

It’s simple to increase the amount of whole grains in your diet. Replace refined grains with their whole grain equivalents, such as white pasta and bread.

Try varying the whole grains you use in your meals, such as brown rice in a stir-fry or quinoa in a salad.

In conclusion, whole grains are a wholesome and functional component of any diet.

To benefit from these nutrient-rich foods, look for the term “whole grain” on labels and experiment with various whole grains in your meals.

Nutritional Differences

There are some distinctions between whole wheat and other whole grain products in terms of nutritional value.

assortment of baked bread on wood table

Both are regarded as healthy choices, but whole grains are typically thought to be the more nutrient-dense option.


The fiber content is one of the primary distinctions between whole wheat and whole grain.

Because whole grains comprise the bran, germ, and endosperm as well as the other two portions of the grain, they have a higher fiber content than goods made from whole wheat.

In addition to being beneficial for heart health and lowering cholesterol levels, fiber also supports digestive health.

Vitamins and Minerals

In comparison to whole wheat products, whole grains are a richer source of vitamins and minerals.

They have higher concentrations of nutrients like magnesium, potassium, and zinc, which are crucial for keeping bones, muscles, and organs in good condition.

In addition, B vitamins, which support the body’s ability to turn food into energy, are included in whole grains.

Glycemic Index

Their glycemic index is another distinction between whole wheat and whole grain.

How quickly a food boosts blood sugar levels is determined by the glycemic index.

When compared to whole wheat products, whole grains often have a lower glycemic index, which means that blood sugar levels rise more gradually.

For those seeking to control their blood sugar levels or those who have diabetes, this may be helpful.


Both whole wheat and whole grain items have low calorie counts, although whole grain products have fewer calories than whole wheat products.

This is so that you can feel full and satisfied for extended periods of time because whole grains contain more fiber.

Overall, whole grains are regarded as the healthier option because of their higher fiber content, superior vitamin and mineral profile, lower glycemic index, and somewhat lower calorie count.

Whole wheat and whole grain items, however, can also be healthy choices when included in a balanced diet.

Taste and Texture Differences

There are some discernible distinctions between whole wheat and whole grain goods in terms of taste and texture.

assorted cereals in small baskets

Whole Wheat

Products made from whole wheat have a nutty and somewhat sweet flavor. They are denser in texture than items made from refined wheat.

This is because whole wheat flour has a rougher texture because it contains the bran and germ in addition to the rest of the wheat kernel.

For instance, whole wheat bread has a heartier flavor and chewier texture than white bread. It is also slightly denser and heavier.

Compared to conventional pasta, whole wheat pasta has a harder texture and a slightly nutty flavor.

Whole Grain

Compared to whole wheat goods, whole grain products have a more nuanced flavor profile.

Depending on the grains used, they may taste nutty, earthy, or sweet. Products made from whole grains also have a chewier texture than those made from refined grains.

This is so because they include the endosperm, bran, and other grain components.

For instance, the flavor of whole grain bread can vary depending on the grains used.

Some whole grain loaves could taste nutty, while others might taste a little bit sweet. In comparison to conventional pasta, whole grain pasta may taste slightly nutty and have a harder texture.

In conclusion, whole grain products have a chewier texture and a more varied flavor profile than whole wheat products, which have a nutty and slightly sweet taste.

Both kinds of items have nutritional advantages and are wonderful additions to a balanced diet.

Culinary Uses of Whole Wheat and Whole Grain

Whole wheat and whole grain both have a wealth of culinary applications. You can use them in your cookery in the following ways:

The hands of a farmer close-up holding a handful of wheat grains in a wheat field.

Whole Wheat

  • Baked Goods: Whole wheat flour can be used in place of all-purpose flour in most baked goods, including bread, muffins, and cakes. It has a slightly nutty flavor and a denser texture than all-purpose flour.
  • Pasta: Whole wheat pasta is a healthier alternative to traditional white pasta. It has a similar taste and texture but is higher in fiber and nutrients.
  • Crackers: Whole wheat flour can be used to make homemade crackers. They are a great snack option and can be flavored with herbs and spices.

Whole Grain

  • Salads: Whole grains such as quinoa, bulgur, and farro make a great base for salads. They add texture and flavor and are a good source of protein and fiber.
  • Side Dishes: Whole grains can be used as a side dish instead of rice or potatoes. Try cooking brown rice, quinoa, or barley and seasoning with herbs and spices.
  • Breakfast: Whole grains such as oatmeal and whole grain cereal are a healthy breakfast option. They are high in fiber and can be topped with fruit and nuts for added flavor and nutrition.

Overall, including whole wheat and whole grain in your diet is a terrific method to enhance the amount of fiber, vitamins, and minerals you consume.

They are a healthier alternative to processed grains and can be used in a number of meals.

Frequently Asked Questions

Bread rye spikelets on an old background

What is the difference between whole wheat and whole grain?

Whole wheat and whole grain are both types of grains, but they are not the same thing. Whole wheat is a type of grain that is derived from the wheat plant. It contains all three parts of the grain: the bran, the germ, and the endosperm. Whole grain, on the other hand, can refer to any type of grain that contains all three parts of the grain. This includes grains like oats, barley, and brown rice, in addition to wheat.

Is whole wheat healthier than whole grain?

Neither whole wheat nor whole grain is inherently healthier than the other. Both types of grains provide important nutrients like fiber, vitamins, and minerals. However, the specific nutrient content of each type of grain can vary depending on the specific product. For example, a whole wheat bread may contain more fiber than a whole grain bread, while a whole grain cereal may contain more vitamins and minerals than a whole wheat cereal.

Can you eat whole wheat or whole grain if you have a gluten intolerance?

Whole wheat contains gluten, which can be problematic for people with gluten intolerance or celiac disease. However, there are many naturally gluten-free whole grain options available, like quinoa, brown rice, and amaranth. Additionally, there are many gluten-free whole wheat products available that are made with alternative flours like rice flour or potato flour.

How can you tell if a product is whole wheat or whole grain?

When looking at a food label, it’s important to check the ingredients list to determine if a product is whole wheat or whole grain. Look for products that list a whole grain as the first ingredient, like “whole wheat flour” or “whole oats.” Additionally, products that are certified by organizations like the Whole Grains Council or the Whole Wheat Council have met specific criteria for whole grain or whole wheat content.

fresh bread and wheat on the wooden


In conclusion, whole grain and whole wheat products are nourishing and good for your health. There are, however, some significant differences between the two.

A number of grains, including barley, oats, sorghum, buckwheat, or wheat, are used to make whole grain goods.

They include the bran, germ, and endosperm, the three components of the grain, all of which are rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

While made exclusively from wheat, whole wheat goods contain all three components of the grain, albeit in differing ratios than whole grain items.

It’s crucial to carefully read the labels when deciding between whole wheat and whole grain products.

In order to ensure that you are receiving all of the grain’s nutritious benefits, look for items that are marked as “100% whole grain” or “100% whole wheat.”

Avoid items with “enriched” or “refined” labels since these products have undergone processing that has stripped them of many vital nutrients.

It’s crucial to know that while many whole grain products are naturally gluten-free, whole wheat products do contain gluten if you have a gluten sensitivity or intolerance.

However, there are also lots of whole wheat goods on the market that are devoid of gluten.

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Written by Brian Nagele

Brian has over 20 years experience in the restaurant and hospitality industry. As a former restaurant owner, he knows about running a food business and loves to eat and enjoy cocktails on a regular basis. He constantly travels to new cities tasting and reviewing the most popular spots.