Ask Peggy

Is white whole wheat healthy, even though it's "white"?

DEAR PEGGY: Our family tries hard to eat healthy. We eat lots of fruits and vegetables and little fat or fried foods. However, one area we have trouble with is whole grains. We love white bread for sandwiches, but we just don't care for the taste of whole wheat. We've been eating bread made with white whole wheat flour. Does this really count as a whole grain? Is it really any healthier than regular white bread? —S.G., Morganton, North Carolina

Yes, white whole wheat flour is a whole grain and has more fiber and nutrients than refined white flour. Made from a naturally occurring albino variety of wheat, white whole wheat doesn't have the tannins and phenolic acid in its outer bran that gives regular whole wheat its hearty, slightly bitter taste. Products made from white whole wheat flour have the same healthy benefits with a naturally sweet flavor.

Beyond bread, you could boost whole grains in other ways. Try brown rice pilaf, buckwheat pancakes, air-popped popcorn, baked oatmeal, corn muffins, barley soup, whole grain pasta, wheat flakes cereal or bulgur (cracked wheat) salads.

The Whole Grains Council has a very nice web site that you might want to check out for more information at www.wholegrainscouncil.org