THIS JUST IN – BREAD IS BAD FOR YOU.

Wait a moment… it appears we are receiving a conflicting news bulletin, bread is good for you?

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Let’s Get to The Real Dough of The Matter

Sometimes searching for the what’s “bad” and what’s “good” for the body can be an overwhelming and daunting experience. Those new to the nutrition game can be bombarded with contradicting news reports leaving them with more questions than they started with! Even those seasoned in the health and nutrition world may find themselves questioning if what they’re eating is really what’s best for their body or if it’s simply the latest fad.

Don’t be disheartened. While the broad scope of nutrition can seem like a complex beast, it’s really a pretty simple concept. Here’s why –

What You “Knead” to Know

We feed our bodies to fuel our bodies. If you put good in, you’re going to get good out. This means more energy, a healthier body, and possibly even a healthier frame of mind. However, what’s important to note is that (much like cars) none of our bodies are the same.

Each of us is made up of a unique set of genes, meaning some of us may be able to eat all sorts of bread and not gain an ounce of weight (jealous), others may suffer from gluten sensitivity or intolerance restricting their choices when it comes to bread, and others may be more concerned about the ingredients they are consuming in enriched bread versus, let’s say, whole wheat bread.

Those details alone are just a few of the reasons why answering the question, ‘Is bread healthy for me?’ an almost nearly impossible question to answer.

But we’re going to do our best to help.

The Bread and Butter of This Article

We’re not here to tell you what you should and shouldn’t be eating. We can, however, help you make a better-informed decision about your bread options. Check out the list below before heading out on your next grocery run.

We’ve listed only some of the most popular breads below, but there are many more choices on the market. Before deciding to give one of them a try, take a look over the ingredient label and make sure what you’re buying is made with quality ingredients and not loaded with fillers that will spike your carb and sugar intake.

01.

White BreadThe Childhood Favorite

Although a childhood staple to most of us, like many things from our younger years, things just aren’t quite what they used to be. Understanding more of what goes into the making of white bread, such as the removal of core ingredients (i.e., bran and germ layers), bleaching of the flour, and the need to enrich the bread with vitamins it’s lacking during the refining process, has us reconsidering this former favorite.

02.

The Triplets

Whole wheat, whole grain, multigrain, what’s the difference?

  • Whole Wheat Bread
    • Regarding wheat bread, it’s very important to buy whole wheat bread, made from the entire wheat kernel. This means the wheat is kept in its original, non-enriched form, meaning you’ll get all the dietary fiber, manganese, and magnesium that nature intended.

  • Whole Grain Bread
    • Similarly to whole wheat bread, whole grain bread can include a variety of other whole grains (i.e. whole barley, brown rice, whole grain oats, and rolled oats). Due to keeping the grains whole, whole grain bread is rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals.

  • Multigrain Bread
    • While multigrain may seem like a healthy choice, that’s not always the case. The reason is that multigrain bread may not be made up of 100% whole grains or free of refined grains. Multigrain simply means that it’s made from multiple types of grains. If you read the ingredient label and notice words such as “bleached” or “enriched”, it’s probably best to pass on that bread choice.

03.

Pumpernickel BreadThe Fancy Named Bread

Low in fat and cholesterol-free, pumpernickel bread also contains “B-complex vitamins — particularly thiamin, or vitamin B-1, needed to produce energy in the body — and niacin, or vitamin B-3, essential in nervous and digestive system health.”1 A word to the wise though – not all pumpernickel bread is created equal. Some less authentic brands may add molasses to help achieve that rich dark color that’s a staple of pumpernickel bread. Other types may contain more wheat flour than rye or may be created using yeast instead of a sourdough starter. When in doubt, always check the ingredient list.

04.

Sourdough BreadNot Only for San Franciscans

They say some of the best things in life take time. Meet sourdough bread. While more labor-intensive to make, this slow-growing bread has more time to increase its lactic acid and create an ideal pH for the enzyme phytase.2 But, what does that mean exactly? Well, this extra process helps preserve extra minerals like iron, zinc and manganese more than other breads. Not only that, but the longer fermentation process helps break down more of the carbs and gluten in the bread, helping your tummy digest and absorb the nutrients easier.

05.

Rye BreadSo Many Ryes, So Little Time

Light rye, dark rye, marbled rye, Jewish rye, Russian rye, even pumpernickel! With so many rye breads to choose from, how do you know where to start and what the differences are? The simple answer is the preparation methods. What brings all of these breads together is that rye flour is a main ingredient! But is rye bread healthy? Well, according to the Whole Grain Council, the health benefits of rye are ongoing. From reduced body weight to lowered insulin response to satiating hunger longer than wheat3 (just to name a few), we think giving rye bread a try just may be a smart thing to do!

06.

Ezekiel BreadThe Zeus of Breads

If breads could compete in fitness competitions, we’re pretty sure Ezekiel would take first place. Made from sprouted whole grains and without any added sugar, this power bread contains all nine essential amino acids and is a great choice for vegetarians and those with grain protein sensitivity. Here’s why:

Ezekiel bread is an amazing choice for vegetarians, because it’s made from wheat, barley, beans, lentils, millet, and spelt. When these six grains and legumes are sprouted and combined, they create a complete protein similar to that found in milk and eggs. It’s also high-quality, containing all nine essential amino acids (and 18 total). What’s more, sprouted grains are more easily tolerated by people with grain protein sensitivities, may help fight diabetes, protect against fatty liver disease, and reduce your risk for cardiovascular issues. (Men’s Health)4

07.

Flaxseed BreadSounds Healthy

Did you know flaxseed and flatbread can reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes?5 Flaxseed bread also helps act as an excellent source of providing 11% of the daily recommended value (DV) of protein (based on a 2,000 calorie/day diet), 17% DV of thiamin, 3-9% of all the other B vitamins except B12, 10% DV of iron, and 6% DV of potassium, amongst a host of other quality essentials for your body.6 Just one slice can supply 5g of total dietary fiber and contains essential fatty acids like omega-3 and omega-6, which can help lower cholesterol levels and help support the structure of cells and proper functioning of the nervous system.7 Phew, that’s a whole lot to eat up.

08.

Oat BreadAlso Sounds Healthy

Looking to build and repair muscles? You may want to give oat bread a try. This is because oat bread is about twice the amount richer in protein than that of wheat bread, which is what your body needs to help restore worked out muscles. Oats are also slow-digesting which can help keep you feeling fuller for longer periods of time. So, the next time you’re in need of a carb fix you may want to reach for a slice of oat bread – a healthier carb choice.

09.

Potato BreadDelicious, but Nutritious?

Potato bread is pretty much exactly what it sounds like, some of the flour is replaced with potatoes instead. Intriguing, but definitely has its pluses and minuses. One of the benefits is that it might help with weight loss due to its energy-density. Containing twice as protein and fiber as wheat bread, it may help keep you feeling fuller longer. On the other hand, if you’re following a low-sugar diet wheat bread is preferable because it has significantly less sugar content than potato bread. Then again, if you’re watching your sodium potato bread comes out the winner when compared to wheat bread. In the case of potato bread, we suggest you weigh your options depending on your specific dietary needs.

10.

Brown Rice BreadThis is a Thing?

This is a great option for vegans and those who suffer from gluten intolerance. Loaded with fiber, proteins, thiamine, calcium, magnesium, fiber and potassium which are all natural to the rice8, this bread is a great alternative to some other options on the market. Brown rice is one of the lower-sugar choices of whole grains. It is also low in fat and contains more than four grams of protein.9 Make sure if you’re going to give brown rice bread a try that you still carefully read over the ingredient label and make sure no additional sugar has been added.

11.

Gluten-free BreadGluten-free Doesn’t Equal Healthy

Ever wondered what replaces the wheat, rye or barley in gluten-free bread? Four starches to be exact – cornstarch, rice flour, tapioca starch and potato flour. If you don’t suffer from Celiac disease or gluten allergies, there is really no reason to switch to gluten-free products. A lot of times a gluten-free diet consists of foods that have been stripped of a lot of nutrients that are good for your body (assuming that you are gluten tolerant). Oftentimes, gluten-free products are a lot more expensive too!

12.

Purple breadThe Dark Horse

 

Food scientist and professor Zhou Weibiao of the University of Singapore created a franken-bread so pretty you may just want to stare at rather than eat it. This purple bread is not yet available for purchase, but claims to be “rich in cancer-fighting antioxidants, digested 20% slower than regular white bread, and made entirely of natural compounds”.10 How does this bread get its purple color? From anthocyanins, taken from black rice. Keep an eye and ear out on the food market for future release of this newly deemed “superfood.”

13.

Protein breadPopeye Would Have Loved This

High protein breads can be great for athletes, those looking to gain muscle mass, or even those looking to lose weight. It may even be a good option for “diabetics and bariatric patients, vegetarians looking for better sources of protein, and children who need essential amino acids that promote growth.”11 There are different options on the market, but try finding one that’s been stripped of fat and carbs, but high in protein and 100% whole wheat.

Have a nutrition question for us? Click here or email it to us at nutrition@fitnessintl.com.

Sources:

  1. Sarao, Carol. “What Are the Health Benefits of Pumpernickel?” COM, Leaf Group, 3 Oct. 2017, www.livestrong.com/article/477338-what-are-the-health-benefits-of-pumpernickel/.
  2. Smith, Brittany. “The Healthiest Types of Bread-and Their Health Benefits.” Men’s Journal, 15 June 2017, mensfitness.com/nutrition/what-to-eat/healthiest-types-bread-and-their-health-benefits/slideshow.
  3. “Health Benefits of Rye.” Health Benefits of Rye | The Whole Grains Council, wholegrainscouncil.org/whole-grains-101/whole-grains-101-orphan-pages-found/health-benefits-rye.
  4. Smith, Brittany. “The Healthiest Types of Bread-and Their Health Benefits.” Men’s Journal, 15 June 2017, mensfitness.com/nutrition/what-to-eat/healthiest-types-bread-and-their-health-benefits/slideshow.
  5. Ibid
  6. Busch, Sandi. “The Benefits of Flaxseed Bread.” COM, Leaf Group, 3 Oct. 2017, www.livestrong.com/article/95440-benefits-flaxseed-bread/.
  7. Ibid
  8. Smith, Brittany. “The Healthiest Types of Bread-and Their Health Benefits.” Men’s Journal, 15 June 2017, mensfitness.com/nutrition/what-to-eat/healthiest-types-bread-and-their-health-benefits/slideshow.
  9. Truex, Leslie. “Sugar Content in Brown Rice Vs. Wheat Bread.” COM, Leaf Group, 3 Oct. 2017, www.livestrong.com/article/556978-sugar-content-in-brown-rice-vs-wheat-bread/.
  10. Marsh, Jenni. “Purple Bread: a New Superfood?” CNN, Cable News Network, 12 Aug. 2016, cnn.com/2016/03/17/health/purple-bread/index.html.
  11. Smith, Brittany. “The Healthiest Types of Bread-and Their Health Benefits.” Men’s Journal, 15 June 2017, mensfitness.com/nutrition/what-to-eat/healthiest-types-bread-and-their-health-benefits/slideshow.