By Alanna NuñezShape

9. Enriched Wheat

Whole grains can be part of a healthy diet, providing essential nutrients such as fiber and minerals, but unless that package of bread you’re holding has “100 percent whole-grain” listed as the first (and ideally only) ingredient, it probably only includes a a few whole grains mixed in with enriched wheat flour as the main ingredient.

“The key word to watch out for is ‘enrichment’,” Christine Gerbstadt, M.D., R.D., says. “The means niacin, thiamine, riboflavin, folic acid, and iron are added after these and other key nutrients are stripped out in the first place during the refining process, whether it’s wheat, rye, or other grains.”

While enriched unbleached wheat flour beats out refined white flour nutritionally speaking, the benefits are minimal since the germ and bran of the are still stripped out during the refining process. Essentially, enriched flour is refined flour that has had a few nutrients re-added to it, but not enough to make it worth the calories. For example, two slices of white bread has about 150 calories and 1.5 grams of fiber, while the same serving of whole-wheat bread provides about 140 calories and four grams of fiber, plus more of pretty much every vitamin and mineral found in bread. So go for the grain, the whole grain.

This excerpt is Part 9 of a list compiled by Alanna Nuñez, published in Shape Magazine.  Photo by Beth Kirby/Flickr.

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