Sprouted Grains vs. Whole Grains


Jon Snow vs Ramsy Bolton. Bain vs. Batman. Troy vs Sparta. Sprouted Grains vs Whole Grains. All epic battles. Sprouted grains have become super popular lately and for good reason;  ask a nutritionist or dietitian and they will most likely recommend sprouted over whole grains. Let's break down the reasoning. 

So, the Achilles' heel of regular bread is that it contains something called phytic acid, a known mineral blocker or enzyme inhibitor. This acid prevents your body from digesting the minerals like magnesium and calcium that are present in whole wheat bread. So you can think, “yay, I’m getting allll these healthy benefits from whole grains!” But, you’re really not, because it’s bound up in phytic acid. #GreekTragedy   

Do not fear though, all is not lost; the way you eliminate phytic acid is by soaking the grains and then sprouting them. Soaking kills off phytic acid, which essentially unlocks the nutrients to where now, you can absorb iron, zinc, magnesium, phosphorus and all these nutrients you find in whole grains.

When compared to breads that are made with whole, non-sprouted grains, sprouted grain breads are the following:

  • A form of complete protein: Ezekiel bread contains 18 amino acids, the building blocks of proteins, including all nine essential amino acids.
  • Increase their digestibility: This happens because sprouting breaks down starches in grains and turns them into more easily digested simple sugars.
  • Increase how well their vitamin and minerals can be absorbed: Sprouting breaks down antinutrients like phytic acid
  • Increase the vitamin and mineral concentration: Vitamin C, the B vitamins and vitamin E all become more concentrated 
  • A high source of dietary fiber: Sprouted breads are made with ingredients that have high fiber contents, making you feel full

Something to consider:
Ezekiel and other sprouted breads are not gluten-free because they're usually made using sprouted ancient wheat grains, barley and rye, all of which contain the protein gluten. However, many gluten-free products are still very highly processed and refined, while being devoid of nutrients. Because of this, consuming packaged gluten-free whole grain products doesn’t usually solve the root of most digestive problems.

Bottom Line:
Quoting doctor of natural medicine, chiropractic and clinical nutritionist, Dr. Axe: 
"My final answer to, “Are sprouted grains healthy, or is Ezekiel bread or other sprouted grain bread healthier?” — they’re healthier. I still don’t consider them to be a healing food or the best food, but they’re definitely healthier than regular grains, and in moderation or in small amounts, they can be part of a healthy diet."

So, here's my take away from this:  for those who are sensitive to gluten but who aren’t truly allergic to it, spouted grains are the way to go. That being said, Ezekiel bread and other sprouted grains still contain gluten and aren’t meant for those with a true allergy to gluten (such as celiac disease). 


What To Look For at the Grocery Store:
Because the term “sprouted grain” has become such a popular marketing tool (that isn’t actually regulated) it’s likely that not all brands are created equal. You can look for breads with the majority of their grains listed as "sprouted" on the ingredient list (i.e: sprouted barley, sprouted millet etc). Some brands sell varieties that are made with 50% sprouted grains to retain the texture of conventional bread, but they won’t have all of the benefits of a true sprouted grain bread.

Many of the 100% sprouted versions, like Ezekiel, will be found in the refrigerated section, while some of the non-refrigerated versions may be more likely to contain preservatives that allow them to last longer at room temperature.

**For people currently living in the US: a company called Barely Bread has developed a bread that is 100% grain-free AND gluten-free AND low carb.. Unfortunately, it's not available in Canada yet #jeal. I've been looking for a similar product here but have yet to find it. If anyone knows of a similar brand , pleaseee let me know!**