Just like rice, pasta & potatoes, bread gets a bad name when it comes to weight loss.
We are being conditioned to believe that if we want to lose weight that we need to eliminate bread from our diet. This is not true! When it comes to fuelling our bodies, carbohydrates are what fuel the engine room.
The truth is there are better types of bread that have greater nutritional value for your digestive system & for your waistline.
Don't fear bread!
Bread is a good source of carbohydrate; it is low in fat, fairly low in cost & very convenient for a quick lunch or even snacks.
When having bread in your diet, it's all about choosing breads that encourage a steady release of glucose to avoid a rapid insulin spike & that have retained most of their natural nutrients.
Which bread is best?
Wholegrain breads (including rye & sourdough) & wholemeal breads; including flatbreads, loaves & rolls have up to 4 times the amount of fibre for your body to work through as it breaks the carbohydrates down than white bread, making them the healthier options when looking for good quality nutrition, better digestion & sustaining energy.
You hear it all the time, whole foods are always best as they are closest to their natural form...
So anything that is wholemeal or whole grain is always better for you than processed white bread as these breads have not had the outer husk & germ removed (these are the nutritious elements found in bread!).
Refined (high processed) white flour used in most breads &
also pasta's, biscuits & cereals have had the outer layer
removed, which means it is far less nutritious & it is almost
useless when it comes to keeping our bowels 'regular'. This means
that the starch contained in these types of breads & foods are
more rapidly converted to glucose in the body & they behave
more like sugar; they will give you instant energy but don't
sustain you in terms of energy or satiety for long periods of
Furthermore the additives also added to white bread to make the dough rise more rapidly mean that the energy you consume from eating white bread is quick releasing.
Good quality bread contains fibre which helps to keep you feeling full, helps with bloating & as it passes through your gut without being broken down it helps other foods move through your digestive system more easily.
Where to buy good quality?
Local bread shop vs Supermarket
Unfortunately there are too many variables to be considered when making a judgement call on this but if you prefer to support a local bakery - ask them whether there has been any additional additives or artificial flavours added to their baking.
Loaves made in commercial bakeries also use commercial yeast to enable the bread to rise more quickly but there is however a few ways you can suss what you are buying!
What to look for when buying bread from the Supermarket?
Check out the labels!
Look for something that is low in salt and has carbohydrates with a low Glycaemic Index.
Generally speaking a cheaper loaf of bread will have a high salt content. Look for breads that contain less than 500mg of sodium per 100g.
Don't be scared of breads that contain slightly higher levels of total fat.
Healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are found in the seeds & nuts added to wholegrain types of breads are great.
If you prefer store-bought bread, it's best to aim for bread with 4g of sugar (per 100g) or less..
Most commonly consumed types of bread
This is made from wheat that has had the germ and bran removed - meaning it basically has very low nutritional value, reduced fibre content & is typically loaded with preservatives. It is the bread that has the least amount of nutrients of all breads.
As the name states, it contains the entire grain - the bran (rich outer layer), endosperm (middle, starchy layer) and germ (nutrient-rich inner core).
Wholegrain bread is a rich source of carbohydrates, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, protein, iron, selenium, magnesium and vitamin E.
Always choose products that contain at least 51% wholegrains
If you wanted to eat bread every day this one is at the top of the list for every day consumption!
Wholemeal bread is made from wholegrains; it contains all the
components of the grain, meaning that wholemeal foods are also
wholegrain. Watch out as some wholemeal breads sold in supermarkets
contain a mixture of wholemeal & refined white flour, so they
are not as high in fibre & other nutrients as they first
appear. Be sure to read the ingredients list & compare between
brands. Wholemeal will usually be higher in fibre than in white
Multi-grain bread can contain grains from various different sources such as flax, oats, or buckwheat. In terms of nutrition its slightly better than white bread. Multigrain bread can be prepared using whole, unprocessed grains, although commercial varieties do not necessarily always contain whole grains.
Rye is made with flour from rye grain and can be light or dark in colour, depending on the type of flour. It is classified as a wholegrain bread & is another good option if you are wanting a high-fibre, lower-GI bread.
Sourdough is not made with yeast, but with a 'starter' batter of flour and water, filled with living yeast and bacteria. This bread also has a low GI & is an indigestible form of carbohydrates which means it simply travels to your large intestine undigested, where it mimics the effects of dietary fibre & is excreted by the body.
To help you out, here are a few good options available in most well-known commercial stores are:
*Disclaimer: Individual results vary based on agreed goals. Click here for details.
Coles, Woolworths & IGA Supermarkets:
Nobel Rise Wholemeal, Wonder Wholemeal + Iron, Burgen Soy & Linseed, Helga's Continental Mixed Grain, Viva White with Omega-3, Burgen Oatbran & Honey.
Chia Omega 3 Wholemeal Block Loaf, Wholemeal Vienna, Wholemeal Rye Vienna, Authentic Sourdough Vienna, Authentic Mix Seed Sourdough Vienna , Authentic Mix seed Sourdough Loaf, Soy & Linseed Loaf, Authentic Sourdough Rye, Continental Rye Loaf.
If you really enjoy eating bread, don't eliminate it altogether from your diet - as we have learnt, we need to eat the foods we enjoy to make permanent positive life style change, instead just try to eat bread in the morning or for lunch so your body will be sure to use it for energy throughout the day & make sure the type of bread you buy is good quality.
If you are someone who enjoys a good a serve of bread or pasta like I do, make it wholemeal to get more nutritional bang for your buck!