Background and objectives To evaluate possible changes in wheat composition due to breeding practices, the composition of thirty historical and modern hard red spring (HRS) wheat cultivars (released between 1910 and 2013) that were grown in North Dakota, USA, was determined. Findings Cultivars showed significant differences (p < .05) in the lipids, arabinoxylan, and dietary fiber contents; however, such differences were not related to the release year. The arabinose/xylose (A/X) ratio showed significant differences (p < .05), and this parameter was genotype-dependent and related to the release year. Minerals showed significant differences (p < .05) between genotypes, and phosphorus, potassium, and zinc, which were significantly (p < .001) correlated with the release year. Conclusions Overall, only A/X ratio and the minerals phosphorus, potassium, and zinc were related to the release year among genotypes. Our findings indicate that wheat breeding strategies did not seem to affect the composition of modern cultivars as compared to historical wheat cultivars. Significance and novelty The results obtained in this study will help to refute negative claims about wheat breeding practices and the healthfulness of wheat. The study of the composition of these historical and modern wheat cultivars supports the hypothesis that wheat breeding has not caused changes to the wheat, which would negatively influence human health.