Why bread is NOT the bad guy!!

by | May 11, 2017

This week in the UK it is Real Bread Week the annual celebration of supporting your local, independent Real Bread bakery and maybe even .

Over recent years the campaign for real food has gained weight and for very good reason, especially when you read about the dangers of the additives added into so many of our foods such as bread. There have been scary recent headlines too – The unpalatable truth about ready made meals However the humble loaf has really taken a battering in the media, for I believe the wrong reasons, so much so it has actually changed our eating culture in the UK. Toast is no longer the main stay of our breakfasts, there are now ‘bread’ less sandwiches (not sure what the 4th Earl of Sandwich would have to say about that), the bread basket is rarely a feature on a restaurant’s table and you can even order a burger ‘without’ the bun. The question is then, after 30,000 years of bread being present in the human diet, has society been rightly influenced by this ‘no bread/ low carb’ phenomenon?!?

I believe bread is not the ‘demon’ to our waistlines it has been played out to be and it can be a regular feature in a healthy, balanced diet. I am referring here of course to good quality, organic (where possible), wholegrain, additive-free bread, NOT the processed stuff that lasts on the shelf for 3 months and needs a scientist to translate the ingredients list type bread.

You may also have heard about the horrors of gluten, this is a protein-based substance present in grains and it gives bread the chewy texture. Gluten itself is not inherently bad either, but rather the amounts we now consume which can make it inflammatory for our bodies. In addition we are seeing more individual with allergies/intolerances associated with gluten, so this is topic that needs more attention there will be a follow-up article to talk specifically about this!

Assuming you do not have an allergy or sensitivity to gluten then wholegrain bread is really a great inclusion in your diet. It is rich in B vitamins, iron, zinc and antioxidant nutrients such as vitamin E and selenium. It is also an important source of fibre, 25% of our daily fibre intake comes from bread. Research shows that dietary fibre may help to protect against certain cancers and type 2 diabetes. To do a quick check to see if your bread ticks the right boxes, take the grams of carbohydrate and the grams of fibre from the nutritional information on the label and divide (formula below), a good carbohydrate to fibre ratio is less than 10! This is a quick way to be certain you are getting a fibre-packed snack and not a sugary substitute!

In my view bread is not the bad guy, but rather the processed food industry is! My advice is use your loaf, read the ingredient labels (bread is meant to contain 3-5 ingredients not 35), go to your local bakery or bread stall on your local market, ask in the restaurant and if you have the time – make your own. The message? Please do not remove bread from your diet for health reasons (unless you have an allergy/intolerance/sensitivity) but instead get your hands on the best available and do not feel guilty about eating your eggs on toast ever again!!!

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