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HomeNutrition CenterHealthy White Breads Are Good for You

By Dr. Karin Kratina, PhD, RD, LD/N

Help! My kids don’t want to eat whole grain bread! Is white bread so bad? I grew up eating white bread and I am quite healthy. Always have been. What should I do?
There is so much negative press about carbohydrates and refined grains it is no wonder you are concerned! Sometimes I even stop and question what I have learned, and I am a nutritionist with a PhD! But let me reassure you, there is nothing wrong with having white bread in your diet.

Think about it…the traditional Italian meal has almost no whole grains, yet we often hear how healthy the Italian diet is. White flour has gotten a bad name because it is refined. But that same process is what produces a light bread that children enjoy eating. It is easy to digest and provides a good source of energy to keep children properly fueled. It is important that your children have plenty of energy and maintain a steady growth curve. Occasionally, however, whole grains can interfere with this process.

As you know, whole grains are a good source of fiber and complex carbohydrates; but, because of that, they have the potential to fill up your child before he or she has consumed enough fuel. It might sound odd to hear this in a world that is so concerned with calories and weight, but unless your child is properly fueled, he or she will become preoccupied with, and overly interested in food, which can wreak havoc with weight.

Research has shown again and again that children can self-regulate their food intake. This means they know when they need fuel (are hungry) and they know when they are full, and they can intuitively regulate their food intake to successfully manage their weight. An excellent resource for understanding this process is Secrets of Feeding A Healthy Family by leading expert Ellyn Satter.

Another reason refined grains may benefit your child is that an intake high in whole grains can interfere with the absorption of iron and calcium.

As you can see, there are positive benefits to both white and whole grain breads and other grain products. A balance of white and whole grains provides both a healthy and enjoyable diet. Both are inherently nutritious. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines concur, recommending that among children between the ages of 8 and 13, girls should eat 3 to 5 servings of grains a day and boys should eat 3 to 6 grains per day, with at least half of them whole grains. This means several servings of refined grains each day can be part of a health enhancing diet. See the table below for recommendations for all children.

But my children won’t eat any whole grain foods and I worry they are not getting enough fiber!
Whitewheat BreadYour child is actually getting some fiber from refined grains. Two slices of Nature’s Own Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread has 2 grams of fiber. One cup of white rice also has 2 grams of fiber. (Children 4 to 8 need 25 grams of fiber a day.) So, if your child is eating refined grain foods such as breads, cereals and pasta, they are getting fiber. However, if they need to take in more fiber, and if they do not like the stronger taste of the traditional whole wheat products, there is another excellent option, Nature’s Own Whitewheat® bread and buns.

Whitewheat® bread has the softer texture and mild taste of white bread. And 2 slices of Whitewheat® has 3 grams of fiber! This means that one sandwich with Whitewheat® bread will provide your child with some of his or her daily requirements for fiber with a taste they will enjoy!

Plus Whitewheat® is fortified with nutrients, such as calcium and iron, to help build strong bones and teeth. A breakfast with 2 slices of Whitewheat toast has as much calcium as an 8 oz glass of milk! And, as another bonus, two slices of Whitewheat® contains 5 grams of protein!

Whitewheat® is perfect for children (and parents) who prefer the taste and texture of white bread, but who want more fiber in their diet.

What about high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS)? I hear so many bad things about it lately.
Though the jury is still out on HFCS—some say it’s bad, some say it’s not—you no longer have to worry about it because all Whitewheat® and Nature’s Own baked foods contain no HFCS. In response to consumer requests, Nature’s Own eliminated HFCS from all its breads in 2009.

So feed your children bread they will enjoy, and rest assured that you are providing them with healthy white bread that is a great source of fiber, protein and other nutrients!

2010 US Dietary Guidelines for Grain Consumption for Girls and Boys
2 - 3 years
1.5 to 3 servings
1.5 to 3 servings
4 - 8 years
2 to 4 servings
2.5 to 5 servings
9 - 13 years
3 to 5 servings
3 to 6 servings
14 - 18 years
3 to 6 servings
3.5 to 7 servings

The food and nutrition information found in our Nutrition Center is not intended to be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or substitute for consulting a licensed health professional.
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