Ok, hands up who is a little too obsessed with kaya toast for breakfast? Or you can’t resist dipping a sweet pandesal in your coffee? Or slop up every bit of curry with an extra chapati or two? We can understand why! While rice is still a staple across Asia, breads are certainly high up on the list of delicious foods that we can sometimes find ourselves eating a little too much! Many people find that bread is the first thing to be ditched when trying to lose weight, but is it really necessary to completely give up your crusty taste sensation? Know your breads by getting the doughy truth on which bread is best to keep as part of your balanced diet and which is best to avoid.
Things to think about when it comes to bread
Once upon a time, traditional loaf bread was made with flour, water, salt and yeast and took between eight to 20 hours to produce. But since the 1960’s the soft, springy bread we eat today has been filled with additives and preservatives to decrease cooking time and increase shelf life. The important details you need to know about bread…
- Fibre content
Fibre is great for your digestive system and has the benefit of making you feel fuller for longer. This means it’s also a great addition to your diet, when consumed in proper amounts. It’s always better to look for bread with higher fibre!
- Glycaemic Index
GI is a measure of how carbohydrates affect your blood glucose levels. Generally, lower GI foods are better for weight loss efforts as they give a slower, more gradual rise and fall of blood glucose. This is compared to higher GI foods that may cause dramatic spikes and falls in blood sugars. White breads tend to have a very high GI compared to the wholegrain varieties.
If you’re purchasing packaged bread, you can always read the label to see what additives and preservatives have been used. They are usually represented as specific numbers and can be quickly found online. But if you’re buying bread direct from a bakery, ask the baker! Avoiding breads that have additives these days is difficult, but more traditional varieties of breads tend to have less additives.
Bread on a knead-to-know basis!
Breads from across the globe come in many varieties, but essentially the following classifications can apply to almost any bread. Bread is often something that can be judged by how it looks but looks can also be deceiving.
- White bread – Made with highly processed white flour. Low in fibre and nutrients.
- Multi grain – Usually made with white flour. It contains a mix of wholegrains and refined grains.
- Wholemeal – Not to be confused with wholegrain. Made from ground whole grains, it contains more fibre than white bread but not as nutritious as wholegrain.
- Wholegrain – Made with wholegrain left fully intact. It has a lot of fibre and contains essential vitamins and minerals.
- Sourdough – Made from fermented grains. The fermentation process releases nutrients like iron, zinc, magnesium, antioxidants, folic acid and B vitamins.
What bread is best?
Bread isn’t ‘bad’ for you but there are certainly degrees of ‘goodness’ when it comes to our loafy desires. Jaclyn Reutens, Active8me dietitian and Aptima Nutrition and Sports Consultant points out “Heavily processing foods often removes or depletes health giving nutrients.” But she is realistic in her expectations and adds “None of us are perfect and we live in a modern world, so obviously every meal we have will not be made up solely of wholefoods. However, if we aim to make 60-75% of our diet wholefoods it will go a long way towards preventing disease, slowing down ageing and of course losing weight”.
So, the verdict on bread?
If you aim for the less processed varieties, such as wholegrain breads you are benefiting your health as well as your weight loss goals. Just like anything – the more informed you are about nutrition, whether it be that you now know your breads or other important facts, the more power you have to choose what’s best for your body transformation and weight loss goals. Looking for some bread inspo? Try an Active8me Breakfast Bruschetta and other great wholegrain bread recipes in the Active8me app!