Healthy Bread: What Is It and How to Choose

Bread has been a staple food worldwide for thousands of years. It is consumed due to its convenience, portability, nutrition, and delicious taste. However, not all breads are created equal, and some may have a negative impact on our health. This guide will provide you factual data on whether there is a healthy bread and how its consumption affects human health.

Healthy Bread

Firstly, it is important to understand that carbohydrates are the primary nutrient in bread and provide the body with fuel. However, consuming too many simple carbohydrates such as those found in white bread can lead to weight gain and a higher risk for obesity, heart disease, and other lifestyle-related chronic conditions.

On the other hand, wholemeal bread made from whole grains has many benefits. Whole grains contain all the essential parts and naturally-occurring nutrients of the entire grain seed in their original proportions. Wholemeal bread can boost overall health and help reduce the risk of various complications and diseases, including heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and some forms of cancer.

When choosing bread, opt for wholemeal or whole-grain bread, and make sure the word “whole” is the first word in the ingredient list. The following labels do not guarantee a whole-grain product: “wheat flour,” “multigrain,” or “enriched flour.” Always check the ingredient list for added sugars and preservatives, which may not contribute to good health.

It is recommended that people consume at least 25 grams of fiber a day, and at least half of the grains they consume should be whole grains, says Fiber can reduce the risk of various diseases, including heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.

While bread can provide your body with quick energy from carbohydrates, it is important to pair it with foods that will slow down digestion and give you long-lasting energy. This will help prevent blood sugar spikes and crashes, especially important for people with diabetes. Choose healthy fats and lean proteins to pair with your bread.

Type of BreadContent of Trace ElementsVitaminsCalories
Whole GrainProvides high amounts of magnesium, selenium, and zincRich in B vitamins, including thiamin, riboflavin and niacin110-120 calories per slice
WhiteLow in trace elementsContains some B vitamins, particularly folic acid70-100 calories per slice
MultigrainContains trace amounts of essential minerals such as iron, manganese, and calciumContains a mix of B vitamins, including thiamin, niacin, pyridoxine, and folate110-130 calories per slice
RyeContains iron, calcium, potassium, and phosphorusHigh in B vitamins, such as thiamin, riboflavin, and niacin65-85 calories per slice

Looking for the healthiest bread at the grocery store can be tricky, as there are so many options to choose from. But fear not, as this guide by Registered Dietitians will help you choose the best bread for you and your family. 

To start, look for a bread that is made with whole grain flour, with the word “whole” being the first ingredient listed, states Reyus Mammadli. Avoid breads that contain partially hydrogenated oils and high fructose corn syrup. 

Keep an eye on the amount of added sugar in each slice, aiming for two to three grams or less per slice. 

Make sure the bread has some protein and fiber, with at least 2-3 grams of fiber and 3 grams of protein per slice. If you choose white bread, look for an enriched option that still has some fiber and protein. 

Also, consider portion size and opt for thin-sliced options which can be lower in calories and sugar but still have enough fiber and protein. 

Some recommended options include Nature’s Own 100% Whole Wheat, Pepperidge Farm 100% Whole Wheat Thin Sliced, Brownberry 100% Whole Wheat Small Slice, Dave’s Killer Bread Good Seed Thin Sliced, and Ezekial Sprouted Whole Grain. 

When choosing bread, keep in mind any personal preference, nutritional needs, and allergies or intolerances. Just be sure to look for bread with wholesome, recognizable ingredients that pack in enough fiber, protein, and little added sugar.

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