Which bread is healthier?

Written by MARABOND on April 19, 2012

I hope this article clarifies some of the issues to be considered, when you choose your bread, as it can be very confusing with so many options.



In the past it was much easier, as most people made their own bread at home, and knew exactly what ingredients were present, and how long it lasted; however this is impractical with our busy lives. So many people have a home bread making machine but do not use it.


First I would like to explain a WHOLEGRAIN


The exterior part is called BRAN, and this is where the fibre covers the grain. Fibre is not only important for our intestines, but also to digest other nutrients, and to excrete fat such as excess cholesterol. The seed of the grain is called GERM, and this is where most of the vitamins and minerals are, such as iron, zinc, vitamin B and so on.


When the grain is refined, like white rice or wheat flour, the bran and the germ is mostly eliminated, and what remains is the ENDORSPERM, or the part that holds some protein (gluten in many grains) and also starch (carbohydrate) which turns to sugar when we eat.


Sometimes the flour is enriched after being refined, but the absorption is not the same as with the original grain.



In theory, wholemeal bread should be mostly made of wholemeal grain flour, however here in Australia (and many countries), this is not regulated, so some bread is only 20% wholemeal and the manufacturer can still label it as wholemeal. You need to be label savvy, and read the ingredient list, being especially careful about its order. For example, if the first ingredient is wheat flour, second sugar and third wholemeal wheat flour, it means that the bread is likely to be more than 50% refined and sweet.


MULTIGRAIN is another marketing term, which means is a mix of grains, and mostly likely to be refined, with wheat, rye and rice flours for instance. Then sometimes they add some seeds like sunflower, soy or flax seeds so it looks healthier, and sometimes they charge much more for a additions of little or no real benefit.


Another very important item to notice when you buy your bread are the additives, like preservatives added to increase shelf life or emulsifiers, natural or artificial flavours. Some additives can cause diseases like asthma, eczema, learning difficulties, especially in children who are more vulnerable to toxins. If you want to avoid additives, buy the book or download an application called CHEMICAL MAZE, to see the consequences of every chemical in food and cosmetics.


Many large manufacturers love to hide ingredients in processed food. Remember that if the substance represents less than 5% of the total package, they do not need to add to its label, unless it is a specific compulsory ingredient.


If you are gluten intolerant, there are many options in the marketplace these days, but also look for healthier options than refined rice and potato flour bread.


Therefore, the best breads are the ones who are closest to the traditional home made ones, using wholemeal flour, without unnecessary additives to increase colour, texture and shelf life, and those bought from reputable companies that do not hide ingredients.


Mara Bond

Nutritionist and Wellness Coach

0424 300 211


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