Choosing a healthy bread should be easy, but it’s not. In fact, knowing what healthy breads to eat is a real challenge.
Should I choose bread with seeds?
What about ‘cracked wheat?’ That sure sounds healthy!
And then there’s ‘whole grain’ bread. But, is it really healthy bread?
Healthy bread, it’s a simple choice
The decision shouldn’t be all that difficult. But, the shelves are amass of cellophane-wrapped bewilderment!
And there’s definitely a lot of confusion with labelling claims these days. The more info they give us, the more confused we seem get!
Read the packaging to find a healthy bread
But, if you really want to get to the heart of a product’s contents, forget all about the front of pack claims, and go straight to the small print on the back.
Now, herein is your challenge! You must be able to make sense of what that’s all about…
1. Whole wheat bread
In an effort to eat well, many health conscious shoppers have been duped into thinking that a product stating ‘whole wheat’ was the best option.
However, a ‘whole wheat’ label is no guarantee that the bread is made from whole grains. Often it’s simply white bread with a little extra whole wheat added.
Try looking for bread stating, ’100% whole wheat’ - this should also be the first ingredient listed, and the only flour mentioned in the ingredients.
2. Whole grain bread
A whole grain has three components: the bran, germ, and endosperm. For a grain to be considered whole it must have all three parts present.
During the processing stages, the bran and germ get stripped away. This is a problem because most of the nutrients, fibre, essential fats, and disease-fighting compounds are found here.
A true whole grain bread will be high in fibre, containing at least 3 grams per slice.
Find out if your bread contains a majority of whole grains by looking at the ingredients list. ‘Whole grain’ should be the first ingredient listed.
These names indicate whole grain products, in accordance with the US government:
- Whole wheat bread
- Whole wheat rolls
- Whole wheat buns
- Whole wheat flour
- Cracked wheat
- Crushed wheat
- Graham flour
- Entire wheat flour
- Bromated whole wheat flour
- Whole durum flour
- Bulgur wheat
Is there a difference between whole grain and whole wheat bread?
Just to clarify – whole grain means that the grain flour used to prepare the product has not been refined, therefore nutrients are still intact.
Often when you see a product labelled ‘whole wheat,’ it means that the bread is 100% wheat flour, but not necessarily 100% whole grain flour.
3. Take care with multi grain and seeded breads
Breads containing mixed grains and seeds can appear to be a healthier option. While these are nutritious, adding to the nutritional value of the bread, many of them do fall short when compared to 100% whole wheat or whole grain bread.
This is mainly because they largely consist of white flour, with the grains and seeds making up only a small proportion.
4. Avoid white bread
This is an easy one. Simply put, it’s unhealthy! Your goal should be to get most of your carbohydrates from foods that are high in fibre, and as close to a whole food as possible.
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