Wraps have become a popular lunch product in the U.S. The term ‘wrap’ is used to describe the outer shell and finished product of a food item.
They are typically made of flour and come in a few different varieties. Some of them have a flavor or color added to them like spinach or tomato, and they are usually available in either whole wheat or gluten-free options. While these products are similar to sandwiches, many wonder if a wrap is considered bread?
Bread Versus Wrap
Both a slice of bread and a wrap hold the same nutritional values. They contain many of the same ingredients except a loaf of bread has a leavening agent called yeast and a wrap is flat.
Checking the nutrition facts label on both of these items, you will notice they show similar nutritional benefits:
One large whole-wheat wrap contains:
6 grams of protein
5 grams of fat
450 mg of sodium
5 grams of fiber
Two slices of whole-wheat bread contain:
12 grams of protein
4 grams of fat
240 mg of sodium
6 grams of fiber
*This article may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Please take that into account.
Why a Wrap is Considered Bread
Wraps are made round and contain carbohydrates that will vary from one type to another. The wrap bread does not contain yeast, which is one argument against it being classified as a bread. But the lack of yeast is what makes it appealing to some as a bread. The tortilla wrap has been deemed a bread by many due to it being made from whole grain much the same way as a loaf of bread is made.
Another argument for a wrap being considered a bread is its history. Ancient bread, which is almost identical to the current-day wrap, was prepared by the Spanish. To this day, they consider the wrap-like product a bread. With a background going back so far into history has some people fully believing the wrap is bread.
Why Wraps are Not Considered Bread
Many claim the defining ingredient in bread is the leavening agent. Wraps do not contain this ingredient; therefore, it cannot be bread.
Just because they have the same remaining ingredients does not qualify a wrap as bread any more than pasta can be considered bread.
Pasta products too have the same ingredients as bread without the leavening agent. For this reason, it is the belief by some that wraps are wraps, bread is bread, and pasta is pasta.
It appears through the different arguments that knowing if a wrap is considered a bread comes down to personal belief. There are arguments on both sides, which make complete sense; it is just a matter of opinion whether or not you feel the leavening agent, yeast, defines a difference between the two products.
Some people can make wraps with all sorts of ingredients but not with flour.
Ingredients of the Wrap
An area to look at on the wrap package is the ingredient list. Wraps without hydrogenated oil or other trans-fat will be your healthier choice.
The whole-wheat variety tends to contain a more nutritional value than a plain flour wrap. You want to look for wraps which are 100% stone-ground wheat, 100% whole wheat, or just whole wheat.
You are not going to receive any additional nutritional benefits from the wraps made with a colorful tomato or spinach. These wraps are made with a negligible amount of spinach powder or tomato powder and are just intended to give you a hint of a different flavor.
These wraps have only a trace of spinach or tomato and are typically made from refined grains. You will not save on calories or carbs, and they do not have additional fiber. Load a wrap with fresh spinach and tomatoes if you are looking for real nutrition and flavor.
How to Make a Healthy Wrap
Many people are mistaken with the idea of ordering a wrap versus a sandwich as being a healthier choice because they do not have large slices of bread holding their food inside.
This idea can lead one down the wrong nutritional path. The wrap is definitely more beneficial to your health than a slice of pizza or a regular sandwich, but you can find yourself with an unhealthy wrap just as easily as with a bad sandwich choice.
It is not the wrap itself, which is unhealthy; it is the fillings inside. A survey done on comparing wrap-style sandwiches to other lunchtime favorites showed a wrap contained on average over 250 calories, and run as high as 1,000. These calorie counts would be equal to having a twelve-inch pizza, or a super-sized fast food meal.
During the study, researchers checked more than 200 takeout wrap sandwiches from more than 80 stores. What they discovered were the wraps themselves contained only about 140 calories, which is similar to two slices of white bread at 150 calories.
Even with these numbers, people are convinced the wrap makes a healthier choice than bread for a lunch sandwich. Results from this study do reflect the truth that it is not the wrap or the bread; it is what you put inside.
According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, the nutritional value of the wrap will depend on whether it is made from whole grains and healthy fats. Instead of using wraps made purely from enriched flour, look for ones made from whole grain options such as whole wheat or corn.
Just as a slice of bread will give you more fiber and the necessary nutrient package, a wrap can also provide all the same health-protecting plant compounds.
If you are looking to create a healthier wrap, start by not loading them with high-calorie fillings. Packing them with leafy greens and colorful vegetables will make a healthier meal than if packed with oil, mayo, or cheeses.
If you are ordering one from a restaurant, choose one made with grilled chicken instead of tuna. You can also reduce the fat in your wrap by asking for half or no cheese. Swapping out the french fries for a green leafy salad will complement the healthier wrap.