There Are Many Types Of Bread – Which Ones Are The Healthiest?
While bread may have received some bad press over the recent years, there are many that can be included as a part of a healthy diet. Generally low in fat and a great source of fibre, tastes great and fills you up quickly to stop you snacking on other ‘naughtier’ foods.
From whole grain and wholemeal through to gluten free and other bread alternatives, there are now so many more choices available than just your traditional white loaf. Rather than avoiding bread, take the time to understand what it contains, how it is made and then make an educated decision based on your individual dietary requirements.
Read on to find out more about the different types of bread you can buy.
White flour used to make white bread is achieved by stripping the wheat of the germ and the bran. This strips the wheat of approximately 80% of it’s nutritional value, leaving only the ‘endosperm’ to create the white flour. While often fortified with Vitamin B, folic acid and iron before it is placed on the shelf, it is still low in fibre and is missing key anti-oxidants and phyto-nutrients.
Wholemeal bread is made using flour that is made from all components of the wheat: the germ, the bran and the endosperm. For this reason, wholemeal breads do have a naturally higher nutritional value than most white breads. Beware of products claiming the use of ‘reconstituted’ whole grain flour which may also have reduced nutritional content. Reconstituted flour contains wheat endosperm that has been stripped down to white flour, with the germ and the bran being added in afterwards.
Whole Grain Bread
In addition to the wheat flour, whole grain bread contains the nutritional benefits of the whole grains they contain. Not all whole grains are a good source of fibre, so be sure to check the label for the exact nutritional content
Gluten Free Bread
Unless you have Celiac disease or have a known gluten intolerance, there is really no need to avoid eating gluten, so take a look at other types of bread. Gluten free diets are sometimes associated with weight loss, however this is more likely attributed to improved diet quality (increased fresh produce and decreased processed food) rather than the ‘elimination’ of gluten itself. While gluten free alternatives are available for those who need it, be aware that gluten free breads may be made from corn starch or rice starch which have a naturally higher glycaemic index (GI) and a low fibre content.
Rather than traditional ‘wheat’ flour, there are now many other flour options. Educate yourself on the different nutritional qualities of the different types of flour to find the one that best suits your need. For example, oat flour and chickpea flour tend to have a high nutritional value and flours such as tapioca flour are basically pure starch.
In summary, there are many types of bread that can be enjoyed in moderation as a part of a healthy, balanced diet. When you’re selecting, be sure to read the nutritional label and choose bread that is high in fibre. Avoid those that seem to have a long list of ingredients – this is a sure fire sign that extra additives have been included. The main ingredients should be flour, water, yeast, salt and not much else!