LiveStrong says that bran flakes are nutritionally comparable in health to shredded wheat. However, bran flakes contain sugar, while shredded wheat does not. I don't work in the area of life sciences, and googling for health information yields all manner of rationale of why each of two options is good. Can those with an understanding of diet and physiology provide some pro/con considerations for each option?

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    Bran flakes and shredded wheat are products made by various companies that contain various added stuff, usually sugar. We can't assess unnamed products.
    – Carey Gregory
    Feb 21, 2018 at 5:13
  • I've closed your question as unclear what you are asking, if it can be clarified the question can be nominated for reopening. However, your base question seems to be "Should I switch to shredded wheat over bran flakes?" which is very much a personal opinion.
    – JohnP
    Feb 21, 2018 at 14:42
  • food is not "healthier" or not. You need to establish your criteria. If you want lower sugar in your breakfast, read the labels to see which has less sugar. If you value fibre, read the labels for fibre content. You may feel that filling you up, or tasting nice, or "lasting" until lunch so you don't want a donut at 10am all make a breakfast "healthy". On SE sites you can't ask others to make decisions or judgements for you, just ask about facts. And I can't imagine what facts you need to know about commercially available cereal that are not printed on the boxes. Feb 22, 2018 at 14:55
  • An ingredients list alone is useful, but only to a limited extent to someone not in the life sciences. Especially when comparing two food options that have comparable (if unequal) healthiness. I'm hoping that someone with expertise in the area can provide an answer based on health science. I get that even science can yield gray conclusions -- after all, it's only a method of inquiry, and health is a complex topic.. But a technical rationale, dumbed down for those of us from other walks of life, would allow us to understand and assess the reasoning and uncertainty for ourselves. Feb 23, 2018 at 1:05
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    @user2153235 That's all true, but what you're asking is far more complex than you think it is. It is literally impossible for anyone to answer this question with authority. In fact, any question that begins with "Which food is healthier" is unanswerable for the general population unless it's trivially obvious. The question you need to ask is "Which is healthier for me?" but that question is off topic here. The best answer would probably be, "Doesn't matter much. Eat some of everything and quit trying to micromanage your diet."
    – Carey Gregory
    Feb 23, 2018 at 2:00

1 Answer 1


The European Union has only accepted two health benefits from the consumption of wheat bran

Increase in faecal bulk The claimed effect is ‘intestinal health: faecal bulking’. The target population is assumed to be the general population. The panel considers that an increase in faecal bulk might be a beneficial physiological effect. In weighing the evidence, the panel took into account that the majority of the human intervention studies showed a consistent effect of wheat bran fibre on faecal bulk and that no threshold dose for the effect can be established. A linear dose dependent relationship was demonstrated in several studies. The claimed effects are ‘gut health’ and ‘intestinal transit time, intestinal health’. The target population is assumed to be the general population. In the context of the clarifications provided by Member States, the panel assumes that the claimed effect refers to a reduction in intestinal transit time. The panel considers that a reduction in intestinal transit time within the normal range might be a beneficial physiological effect. In weighing the evidence, the panel took into account that the studies provided consistently indicated that wheat bran fibre consumed at an amount of at least 10 g/day decreased intestinal transit time.

The claim for nutrients provided by wheat bran would likely have been rejected on account of the anti-nutrient phytic acid which is tightly bound to minerals

Most of the minerals in wheat kernels are present as complexes with phytic acid. Mature wheat grain has high phytase activity, hydrolysing phytates and making the minerals nutritionally available (Brinch-Pedersen et al. 2002). However, the presence of phytate has been considered as an anti-nutrient in humans because of its effect on the bioavailability of iron, magnesium, zinc and calcium. While the mechanism is not entirely understood, it is suggested that phytic acid binds strongly with these mineral cations to form phytate–mineral complexes, changing their solubility, functionality absorption and digestibility (Rickard and Thompson 1997). Consequently, the complex cannot be absorbed or easily hydrolysed by the human body and so there is an adverse effect on bioavailability of minerals (Harland and Harland 1980).

so the status of nutrient access from wheat bran remains unclear.

Those issues don't apply so much to shredded wheat which is the whole grain being cooked and shredded as the amount of phytic acid is much less.


  • Please explain " issues don't apply to shredded wheat" a bit more. Isn't shredded wheat whole grain, at least partially, containing also phytate? (I have no clue about these products) Mar 4, 2018 at 23:39
  • Yep, added a correction. Mar 4, 2018 at 23:52
  • Thank you, Graham. Barring any other information, this informs preference in the future. Mar 6, 2018 at 1:49

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