Difference Between Whole Wheat And Whole Grain (With Table)

There is a growing consciousness among the food choices that we make every day. Various products claim to be healthy and are widely consumed by people. The two such products are whole wheat and whole grain. Both the products have health-promoting properties and help in the management of weight and blood sugar levels.

Whole Wheat vs Whole Grain

The main difference between whole wheat and whole grain is that whole wheat does not contain any grain while whole grain contains different types of grains. Whole wheat solely contains wheat kernel while whole grain does not contain solely wheat kernel.

Whole wheat is a term that refers to specific products. The whole refers to the wheat kernel which comprises the bran, endosperm, and the germ in intact condition. There are various products available of whole wheat are – flour, oatmeal, bulgur (cracked wheat), brown rice, and cornmeal.

On the other hand, whole grain is a term that refers to a wide range of products. The grain types which are present in whole grain are barley, rye, teff, amaranth, millet, quinoa, corn, sorghum, triticale, rice. There are three main products of whole-grain – cereals, minor cereals, and pseudocereals.

Comparison Table Between Whole Wheat And Whole Grain

Parameters of ComparisonWhole WheatWhole Grain
Constituents Whole wheat is solely made of wheat kernel Wholegrain contains different types of grains other than the wheat kernel
Nutritional valueRich source of fiber, healthy fats, minerals like iron and multiple vitamins like vitamin B6Rich source of carbohydrate, dietary fiber, healthy fats, minerals like iron, magnesium and vitamin B
Health benefits Can reduce the risk of diseases like coronary heart diseases, stroke, cancer, type 2 diabetes, and other chronic diseases Can reduce the risk of diseases like heart diseases, obesity, cognition, cancer, diabetes, and other chronic diseases and has an effect on gastrointestinal health
Term specificity The term is used for a specific range of products The term is used for a wide range of products
Grain types It does not contain any grain Contains grains like barley, rye, teff, amaranth, millet, quinoa, corn, sorghum, triticale, rice

What is Whole Wheat?

Whole wheat refers to the bread which is made from wheat kernels entirely. The wheat kernel is left completely intact. Whole wheat is not mixed or altered with other types of grains. The flour of whole wheat is often used to bake bread and other goods. The flour of whole wheat is known as wheatberry.

The term whole is used for products that contain entire wheat kernel. The wheat kernel is whole wheat that contains all three components that are bran, endosperm, and germ of the kernel. In many breads of white and wheat, the germ and the bran are often filtered out which reduces the nutritional value of the bread.

Whole wheat is a rich source of vital nutrients like protein, fiber, and various minerals and vitamins. Whole wheat is boosted with micronutrients. Researches have proven that whole wheat has decreased the risk of several chronic health conditions like stroke, diabetes, cancer, and other heart diseases.

Whole wheat is a type of whole grain. The original parts of the kernel are retained in whole wheat. For example, in whole wheat bread, the manufacturers would use an entire wheat kernel. Some whole wheat products even contain gluten which can trigger coeliac diseases.

What is Whole Grain?

Whole grain refers to cereals and pseudocereals that consist of endosperm, bran, and germ. Whole grain contains other grains in the products like barley, rye, teff, amaranth, millet, quinoa, corn, sorghum, triticale, rice, and even wheat. Whole grains are products that contain multiple nutrients, dietary fibers, and vitamins.

Whole grain is found in main three types of products cereals, minor cereals, and pseudocereals. The serials can further be divided into wheat rice, barley, maize, rye, and oats. The minor cereals can be divided into millets, teff, job’s tears, sorghum, canary grass, fonio, wild rice, Asian millet, and black fonio. And the category of pseudocereals is divided into quinoa, Amarnath, buckwheat, and Tartary buckwheat.

Whole grains are used in daily servings and are mainly recommended for children and adult consumption. Wholegrain helps children during their period of growth. Some forms of whole grains even contain casein that is the main protein in milk and many essential amino acids.

Since whole grain is an umbrella term, various products fall under the category of whole grain. The American Association of Serial Chemists defines wholegrain as “that shall consist of the intact, cracked, ground or flaked caryopsis, whose principal anatomical component – the starchy endosperm, germ, and bran – are present in the same relative proportions as they exist in the intact caryopsis”.

Main Differences Between Whole Wheat And Whole Grain

  1. Whole wheat only contains wheat kernels while whole grain contains different types of grains like barley, rye, teff, amaranth, millet, quinoa, corn, sorghum, triticale, rice, and even wheat.
  2. Whole wheat is used for a specific product while whole grain is an umbrella term and consists of a range of products under the term.
  3. Whole wheat is a rich source of vitamin B6 while the whole grain is a rich source of vitamin B.
  4. Examples of whole wheat products are whole wheat flour, oatmeal, bulgur (cracked wheat), brown rice, cornmeal, and others while examples of whole grain products are cereals, minor cereals, and pseudocereals which can further be classified.
  5. All whole wheat products are types of whole-grain but all whole grain products are not whole wheat.

Conclusion

Depending upon the type of grain used, the legal allowance of the term whole is granted to the manufacturer. Both the products contain three constituents of grain kernel which are brand, germ, and endosperm. These are together known as a caryopsis.

Both the products are equally nutritious. They contain a high amount of nutrients as the germ and the brand are not removed which keeps the nutrients and fibers in the product. Both the products have proven to lower risks of health conditions like heart disease, cancer, diabetes which is usually chronic.

There are many products available in the market which contain small amounts of whole wheat or whole grain to claim the product healthy and nutritious. It is important to check the compositions and constituents of the products before buying and consumption, to make healthy food choices.

References

  1. https://www.publish.csiro.au/cp/AR05098
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