White Bread & Buns
Also known as Enriched Grains
- Since 1998 enriched grains, such as white bread and buns, have been fortified with folic acid and other nutrients, such as B vitamins and iron, and may contain more of these nutrients than whole grain foods that haven’t been fortified. 7,26,27
- To get the most nutrients and benefits, you should include both whole grains and enriched grains as part of your balanced diet.
- Enriched grains are the primary source of folic acid in the American diet. 3
- The USDA Dietary Guidelines recommends 6 servings of grain foods daily. Three servings should be whole grain foods; the other 3 servings can be either whole grain or enriched. 12
Did you know?
For many generations, eating white bread was considered a sign of status, and peasants ate wheat bread. Around 150 B.C., upper-class Romans insisted on the more exclusive and expensive white breads, while darker whole wheat and bran breads were for the general public. This persisted well into the 20th century in Europe and North America. 46
- Most white breads and buns are enriched with B vitamins, including thiamin (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), and niacin (vitamin B3).1,3
- These B vitamins play an important role in metabolism by helping your body produce and release energy from protein, fat, and carbohydrates.1,28,29,30,31,32,33,34,35,37
- These B vitamins help your nervous system function properly, 1,3,29,31,32,33,35 and are involved in producing red blood cells that carry oxygen all over the body. 30,31,35,36
- B vitamins are necessary for healthy skin, hair, eyes, and liver. 32,35,41
- The body does not store B vitamins, so they need to be replenished daily. 31,32,33,36,38
- Folic acid is also known as vitamin B9. 27,29,41
- Sometimes the terms “folic acid” and “folate” are used interchangeably; however, folate is a naturally occurring vitamin found in foods like dark leafy greens, citrus fruits and liver. 35,41
- On the other hand, folic acid is a man-made form of the vitamin that is used to fortify enriched grain foods like bread. 41
- Folic acid is easier for the body to absorb and use than folate. 41
- Folic acid is necessary to make new cells in your body, especially red blood cells, 1,29,35,41 and it plays a key role in making and maintaining your DNA, which are the building blocks of our genetic blueprint. 27,29,35,41
Folic Acid and Neural Tube Defects
- Healthful diets with adequate folic acid may reduce a woman’s risk of having a child with a birth defect of the brain or spinal cord.
- The FDA recommends an intake of 400mcg of folic acid daily.
- Since 1998, when the FDA first required that grain-based foods, cereals, and dietary supplements be enriched with folic acid, neural tube birth defects have dropped by 20-30 percent. 27
Did you know?
Most whole grain foods are not fortified with folic acid or other vitamins and minerals – just one more reason to enjoy enriched grain products. 11
- The 2 types of iron that you get from food are heme and non-heme. 43
- Both whole and enriched grain foods are sources of non-heme iron in the American diet. 1,3,43
- One of iron’s major functions is to carry oxygen in the blood. 1,43
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