One of my favorites : BREAD.
I’m honestly the kind of person who would crave bread for days at a time, and then would just eat bread and nothing else in that period of time. Additionally to that, I cannot go through a few days without consuming some type of bread. Be it croissants, toasts, bagels, cakes. Anything bread. In fact, i’m actually munching on some chocolate cake as i’m typing this right now.
Throughout all this obsessive one-sided love i have for breads, i constantly hear about how bad it is for humans. How it’s all basically just “empty calories” and that “it doesn’t have any nutritional value to it”. To be honest, i’ve actually wondered how much of it is true myself. So without further ado, let’s get right into it.
What is Bread Made Out Of?
While there are many kinds of bread, such as : sourdough, sweet bread, soda bread and etc, generally all breads are made the same way. Most breads, like the ones most of us know and love –– white bread –– are made out from a wheat-flour dough that is cultured with yeast, allowed to rise, and finally baked in an oven.
Containing Nothing but Carbs
With the current Keto trend that seemed to have taken over the internet, a lot of people are starting to view all carbohydrates as bad. And if that is the case, that makes bread one of the evilest foods out there seeing that it mostly contain nothing but carbs. A slice of bread contains up to 13 grams of carbohydrate, sure, that might not mean a lot if all that we’re going to have is one slice. But you already know once you taste that fluffy softness, you just can’t seem to want to refrain from grabbing another slice whilst convincing yourself that you’re going to stop after that slice.
The healthiest sources of carbohydrate comes from natural foods such as : fruits, veggies, beans and minimally processed grains. Bread on the other hand –– especially white bread –– are made of highly processed, simple carbohydrate. Those types of carbs can cause blood sugar to spike soon after eating and are digested quickly without really providing any benefits or nutritional value to our bodies.
Some research also suggests that eating foods with high glycemic index (GI) –– a measure of how quickly foods increase blood sugar levels –– can lead to increased hunger and a greater risk of overeating. This is due to the fact that consuming foods that are highly processed like pasta, cakes, donuts, and candy bars lack fiber, causing the person to not feel full. Since the foods are digested quickly, we will crave more food again when the blood sugar drops.
Bread Contains Gluten
Most if not all of the products that are made with wheat contains gluten –– a specific type of protein that helps dough rise and gives it an elastic texture. Although most people digest gluten easily and without problem, some people should avoid bread because of an allergy or intolerance as gluten can be dangerous for someone with celiac disease. For those individuals, it is suggested to avoid any products that contains gluten altogether to prevent from the negative side effects.
With that said however, if you do follow the gluten-free diet and are looking for breads that does not contain gluten, there are gluten-free breads –– made from tapioca, brown rice, or potato flour –– that are also available.
Are There Any Healthy Breads?
Now that we’ve talked about just how bad bread is for humans, you’re probably starting to wonder : should i really quit eating so much bread if they’re so unhealthy? Are there no other healthier options?
Rest be assured, there are.
Whole wheat bread.
To start with, whole-wheat bread is a much better option that white bread as it provides us with a higher amount of fiber and protein, which will help slow the absorption of sugar in our bloodstream and keep our blood sugar steady. In addition to that, consuming whole grains have been proved to be able to lower heart disease, diabetes, obesity and even colorectal cancer.
How to Know If It’s Whole Grains?
When choosing store-bought bread, the word “whole” should be the first word in the ingredient list. For example : “whole wheat flour,” “whole grain rye flour,” or “whole grain pumpernickel flour.” The word “whole” ensures that all three parts of the grain are contained in the product.
The following labels do not guarantee a whole-grain product:
- Wheat bread
- Organic flour
- Wheat germ
- Unbleached wheat flour
- 100 percent wheat
Besides ingredients, here are some guidelines for picking a loaf that is healthy and nutritious. Look for these Nutrition Facts:
• Calories: 100 or fewer per slice
• Fiber: 2 grams or more per slice
• Sodium: 225 mg or less per slice
• 100% whole wheat flour as the first ingredient
What Types of Bread Should You Avoid?
The highly-processed flour and additives in white, packaged bread can make it unhealthy. Consuming too much white bread can contribute to obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.
Many types of bread have added sugars or sugar substitutes. Avoid those with corn syrup or any ingredient ending in “-ose” listed at the beginning of the ingredient list.
Also avoid these bread if their ingredients contain :
- Potassium Bromate
- Partially Hydrogenated Oil
- Monoglycerides and Diglycerides
- Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA)
Tips on Buying the Best Bread
Commercial breads are industrially processed foods that often contain ingredients that benefit a product’s texture, taste and shelf life, but have the potential to negatively impact human health. Certain antioxidants and dough conditioners are deemed possible carcinogens by a variety of governmental agencies, and yet they are still approved for use in food. Not to mention, sweeteners and certain fats are linked to weight gain, heart disease and diabetes.
It’s important to note that not all unfamiliar ingredients are dangerous. For example, lecithin may be difficult to pronounce, but the compound is found in egg yolks and soybeans and contains the nutrient choline. So, just because you don’t recognize an ingredient name doesn’t mean it’s harmful.
Still, for optimal health, it’s best to choose whole, homemade or bakery-fresh breads as often as possible. You will easily identify their ingredients (flour, yeast, water, salt) as those common to bread and you won’t have to worry about additives — you just might have to consume it quicker or freeze it to prevent spoilage.