I know enough about food to know that whole grains and whole wheat products are better for you than their white flour counter parts. But until today I had never quite knew why. And when I started thinking about it I realized couldn’t even tell you actual difference between ‘whole grain’ and ‘whole wheat’.

A little research later and now I have answers! And because you are here – you do to.

Let’s start with the basics – grains are seeds. These seeds (or kernels) have three parts: the bran, the endosperm and the germ. Each part contains fiber, vitamins and nutrients that are important to a healthy diet. Whole grains and whole grain products contain all three parts. When flour is made the bran, the endosperm and the germ are normally separated to make different types of flour – but if your flour is labeled ‘Whole Grain’ then all three parts are in the flour.

Whole Wheat on the other hand is flour (or products made from whole wheat flour) that has had a substantial amount of the germ removed. Why remove the germ? Well it makes the product, and items made with it, easier for some people to digest. As well it extends the shelf life as the germ is the first part of the seed to turn rancid.

Plain white flour, for those who wonder, is flour that has had the germ and the bran removed. This results in a loss of fiber, vitamins and minerals. In Canada producers have to enrich white flour to replace what is lost when the germ and bran are removed, but why bother? Just start with whole grains in the first place and you can get the benefits naturally.

So there you have it – Whole Grain vs. Whole Wheat the whole story.