When you are trying to limit your carbohydrate intake, cutting out bread seems to be the hardest thing to do. Many people are better off limiting how much bread they eat (instead of eliminating it) and focussing on eating healthier types of bread. This is a much more realistic strategy that will stick with you in the end. The question is how do you know what is a “good healthier” bread. With so many options and many claiming to be healthy how do you decide? Bottom line is you are looking for bread that will give you the most vitamins and nutrients. Here are some tips:
Whole Grain and Whole Wheat:
Always go for a whole grain bread. Whole grain versus the over processed refined varieties will give you a higher nutritional value. Whole grains include the bran, endosperm, and germ part of the grain’s seed. It is in these parts where most of the nutrients are stores including Vitamin B, magnesium, fibre, iron, and protein. These nutrients reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Make sure you check the ingredient list to ensure the bread contains whole grains. Keep in mind that “multigrain” does not mean “whole grain”. Look for breads that say “100% whole grain”.
Sprouted breads are in the freezer aisle of the grocery store and for a good reason. Most sprouted breads are made without preservatives so they are kept frozen for freshness. Most sprouted breads are made without flour and use sprouted grain kernels instead. These loaves contain more protein and less fat that other types of bread. You can also get more nutrients from sprouted grains than mature grains. Check the label to make sure you are getting a loaf made from 100% sprouted grains and to avoid any preservatives or refined ingredients.
Not a fan of whole grain or sprouted bread? Here are some other options that will not have the same quantity of nutrients but eaten in limited qualities can still be enjoyed occasionally.
Enriched or Fortified Bread:
These breads can help you get the nutrients and vitamins that would normally be found in whole grain breads but you will still be lacking the fibre and protein.
Multigrain is not necessarily whole grain. It simply means that it is made from multiple different types of grains for flours. Check the ingredients to know for sure.
Rye bread is made from refined flour of the rye grain. Many think that the darker varieties (including pumpernickel) are more nutritious than the lighter varieties but that is not always the case. Some breads are coloured with molasses or colouring. Check the ingredients to know for sure what you are buying.
Sourdough bread is made from fermented flour and water. Despite the taste, it is not any different than other breads. If you can, focus on buying a whole-grain sourdough loaf.
Breads to avoid:
White bread made with refined flour have very little nutritional value to it.
Specialty Breads (ciabatta, pita, focaccia, brioche, etc):
Made with refined flour these breads have little nutritional value. To make it worse, these breads have a higher fat content as they are made with more butter and eggs.