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Whole Grain vs. Whole Wheat: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Published on January 22, 2024
Whole grain includes all parts of the grain kernel (bran, germ, and endosperm). Whole wheat refers specifically to grains and products made from the complete wheat kernel.

Key Differences

Whole grain refers to the entire seed of a plant used for food, containing the bran, germ, and endosperm. Whole wheat specifically denotes a whole grain that comes exclusively from wheat. Both are considered healthier than refined grains because they contain more fiber and nutrients.
The term whole grain is an umbrella category that includes wheat, but also other grains like oats, barley, and rye. Whole wheat, conversely, is a type of whole grain that exclusively refers to wheat products in their unrefined form. Both whole grain and whole wheat retain nutrients lost during the refining process.
Nutritionally, whole grain foods, including whole wheat, are superior to refined grains. They provide more fiber, B vitamins, and minerals like iron and selenium. Whole wheat is a specific kind of whole grain, thus sharing these nutritional benefits, but is limited to wheat-based products.
In terms of culinary uses, whole grain can refer to various grains used in bread, cereals, and other food products. Whole wheat specifically pertains to products made entirely from wheat, such as whole wheat bread. Both offer a nuttier flavor and denser texture compared to refined grains.
From a health perspective, consuming whole grain, including whole wheat, is linked to reduced risks of heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers. Whole wheat, as a subset of whole grain, offers these health benefits specifically in wheat-based products.

Comparison Chart


Any grain's entire seed (bran, germ, endosperm).
The whole seed of the wheat plant.


Includes wheat, oats, barley, etc.
Limited to wheat.

Nutritional Content

High in fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
Similar to whole grain but specific to wheat.

Culinary Use

Used in various food products.
Primarily used in wheat-based products.

Health Benefits

Reduces risk of chronic diseases.
Similar health benefits as whole grains.

Whole Grain and Whole Wheat Definitions

Whole Grain

"Whole grain" denotes any grain in its complete form.
Oatmeal made from whole grain oats is nutritious and filling.

Whole Wheat

It includes the bran, germ, and endosperm of the wheat kernel.
Whole wheat pasta offers more fiber than regular pasta.

Whole Grain

It encompasses all edible parts of the grain.
Whole grain bread contains more nutrients than white bread.

Whole Wheat

It's used in products like bread, pasta, and cereals.
I made a sandwich with whole wheat bread for lunch.

Whole Grain

Whole grain foods retain their bran, germ, and endosperm.
Whole grain pasta has a different texture than refined pasta.

Whole Wheat

"Whole wheat" refers to wheat in its unrefined, complete form.
Whole wheat flour is better for baking hearty bread.

Whole Grain

Whole grains are integral to a balanced diet.
Nutritionists often recommend adding whole grains to your diet.

Whole Wheat

Whole wheat is a type of whole grain specific to wheat.
Whole wheat crackers are a healthy snack option.

Whole Grain

It's a category that includes varieties like wheat, barley, and rye.
I prefer whole grain cereals for breakfast.

Whole Wheat

Whole wheat retains nutrients lost in refining wheat.
Whole wheat bagels have more nutritional value than white bagels.

Whole Grain

Alternative spelling of wholegrain

Whole Wheat

Made from the entire grain of wheat, including the bran
Whole-wheat flour.

Whole Wheat

Made with whole-wheat flour
Whole-wheat bread.

Whole Wheat

(of flour) Prepared from all the constituents of the wheat grain.

Whole Wheat

(of bread etc) Made from whole-wheat flour.

Whole Wheat

Of or relating to or derived from wheat;
Wheaten bread


What is whole grain?

Whole grain includes all parts of the grain kernel.

Is whole grain healthier than whole wheat?

They are both healthy; whole wheat is just specific to wheat.

Are whole grain and whole wheat the same?

No, whole wheat is a type of whole grain specific to wheat.

Can celiacs eat whole wheat?

No, whole wheat contains gluten, which is harmful for celiacs.

Does whole wheat have more fiber than refined wheat?

Yes, whole wheat retains more fiber than refined wheat.

What does whole wheat mean?

Whole wheat refers specifically to the complete form of wheat grain.

Are whole grain foods gluten-free?

Not all; it depends on the grain. Wheat, including whole wheat, contains gluten.

Is whole wheat more caloric than refined wheat?

They are similar in calories, but whole wheat is more nutritious.

Is whole grain good for weight loss?

Yes, its high fiber content can aid in weight management.

Why choose whole grain over refined grains?

Whole grains offer more health benefits due to their nutrient content.

Can whole wheat help in controlling blood sugar?

Yes, its high fiber content helps in regulating blood sugar.

Is whole grain bread better than white bread?

Yes, it generally contains more nutrients and fiber.

Can whole wheat reduce heart disease risk?

Yes, its nutrient profile can contribute to heart health.

Do all whole grain products contain whole wheat?

No, whole grain includes various types of grains.

How to store whole wheat products?

Keep them in a cool, dry place, preferably in airtight containers.

Can whole wheat help with digestion?

Yes, its high fiber content aids in digestion.

Are whole grain cereals more nutritious?

Yes, they retain more vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

Does whole wheat taste different from white wheat?

Yes, it has a nuttier and denser texture and flavor.

Is whole grain suitable for all diets?

Mostly, but those with gluten intolerance should avoid wheat-based grains.

Are there gluten-free whole grains?

Yes, options like quinoa and rice are gluten-free.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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