Do you loaf bread? We mean, do you love bread? You surely may love it, but it might not always love you back.
Understanding bread better
Bread has popularly become a favourite in many Indian households. With so many choices of your most common dietary staple available in the market, it can become challenging to pick the most nutritious one. So, let’s have a look at its different varieties and find out what makes them unique.
Whole wheat bread is made from milled whole grains of wheat that give it a smooth texture and brownish colour. Whole wheat flour contains more fibre than refined white flour (maida).
In its original form, it is high in vitamins, minerals, manganese and magnesium. However, the glycaemic index (a scale which gives a score to foods that can increase blood sugar levels) is higher as compared to multigrain grain bread.
Multigrain bread, as the name suggests, is made of more than one type of grain but not necessarily whole grains.
However, it is often made from white flour with some added grains. It is low on fat and glycaemic index, and rich in vitamin B6, iron and magnesium in its original form.
Whole grain bread contains the entire grain; the outer layer called ‘bran’, the middle layer called ‘endosperm’, and the inner layer called ‘germ’. It is made of wheat flour mixed with other grains like oats, barley and seeds.
It is a rich source of carbohydrates, protein, good fats, vitamins and antioxidants in its original form. It is known to improve heart health, reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, obesity and some cancers.
White bread is made of refined wheat flour (maida), which is a processed form of wheat grain. During processing, the flour loses the most nutritious parts of the wheat grain as the bran and germ parts are removed.
It is very low in vitamins, minerals, fibre, and high on added preservatives and glycaemic index scale, which is responsible for increasing blood sugar. Too much consumption can cause risk to heart diseases, obesity and diabetes.
Brown bread is made from wheat flour, but the risk of adulteration is very common in this category of bread. Usually, the ones that we get in the market is either a mix of white flour and wheat flour, or it’s absolutely a white bread with the added colour of malt or caramel to give it a brown colour.
It contains a decent amount of vitamins, minerals and fibre in its original form.
So which one should I buy?
Hold your horses before jumping to a conclusion. There are a few things to know before settling for the most healthy option.
- The mention of ‘100% whole grain’ or ‘100% whole wheat’
You can opt for either whole grain wheat bread or multigrain bread but only a 100% whole grain gives you the complete nutritional benefits. Otherwise, the benefits are refined during processing. Make sure to look for this on the label.
- The mention of ‘no added sugar’
Many bread brands include added sugar or sweeteners to enhance flavour, which is definitely not good if you have diabetes or weight management issues.
- The mention of ‘sodium’
Sodium is often added to help control the yeast activity to work as a preservative and to enhance the flavour. Just two slices may account for as much as one-fourth of your recommended daily sodium intake, which is ideal is 1,500 milligrams and is needed to keep your body working at optimal capacity. Make sure to check for extra sodium if you already have any health issues like high blood pressure.
- The mention of ‘enriched’
Many brands replace the nutrients of the bread dough lost during milling with similar nutrients as those in whole-wheat bread, but they do not replace the fibre lost during milling and can spike your blood sugar levels. Enriched options are nutritious, so look for ‘enriched with vitamins, fibre before you add this to your cart!
In their original forms- multigrain and whole wheat bread is much more nutritional than the others, white bread being the least healthy option. However, whichever type you choose, eating in moderation as part of your diet alongside other nutritious whole foods is very important.
Raise a toast to healthy eating!