Are you a bread lover? If yes, you know how frustrating and confusing it can be when you are trying to eat healthy without completely giving up on bread. In this week’s healthy eating post, instead of sharing another healthy recipe, I decided to get to the bottom of what I would call “bread issue”.
Before we get too far into our discussion, please note that moderation is the key when it comes to eating healthy. Even the healthiest kind of bread or in fact any kind of food, when consumed in excess will cause issues.
Without further due, let’s get to the point. Here are the 6 most popular bread kinds and how to choose the best:
- White bread: I believe that at this point, we all can agree that we should not be eating them at all. And please don’t even give it to your children. There are tons of research out there that shows how white bread can harm you and your loved ones health. So I am not going to say anything more about it.
- Whole wheat or whole grain bread: it says “whole” so they must be healthy right? The fact is, in order to know if they are real or not you need to look at the list of ingredients. If the first ingredient is wheat flour or enriched bleached flour, it means they have used white flour, so don’t buy that. This is just a fancy white bread. You might say, but the color is dark, so they must of used whole wheat? If you read the ingredients carefully, you will see molasses listed somewhere in the middle. Molasses is what will make them appear brown. Here is what you need to look for in a good whole wheat or whole grain bread. Look for 100% whole wheat or whole grain bread. Again 100% is the key. Also to take it further I will suggest to get Organic and non GMO (Genetically modified organisms).
- Pumpernickel bread: one of the healthiest, if you get the right kind, which unfortunately seem hard to find. The real pumpernickel bread is made from rye meal or rye flour and uses sourdough as the starter. Pumpernickel bread has a very dark color as well. Looking at the ingredient list of pumpernickel breads available in our grocery store, you will find wheat flour or white flour listed as very first ingredients followed by usually molasses or coffee or cocoa powder to give it that dark color; and uses yeast as the starter. So once again, you need to look at the ingredient list and if you see any of the ingredients listed above, stay away from it.
- Rye bread: The same things that we said about pumpernickel bread applies here. Real rye bread is made from whole rye flour, rye meal, rye kernels and rye flakes with sourdough as a starter. So if you see any other ingredients such as wheat flour, yeast, sugar, molasses or any artificial flavoring, stay away from that bread.
- Sprouted Grains: these breads are made from Grains that have been soaked to sprout and then ground to make bread. The sprouted grains are more easily digested and have more vitamins, minerals and antioxidants than whole grain. Sprouted breads also do not use yeast as the starter. One of the best Sprouted breads is Ezekiel bread. The same rule applies here. Make sure you read the ingredient lists carefully and look for Organic sprouted grains and no flour, and no preservatives.
- Gluten Free bread: Gluten is to blame for obesity, digestive problems, and all sorts of other problems right? So if we take the gluten out of our bread, then we are eating healthy, correct? Not entirely, If you have celiac disease or digestive problems due to gluten sensitivity, then yes, you should remove gluten from your diet and you will see an improvement in your health, but gluten Free by itself does not mean healthy. Unfortunately, lots of gluten free products in the market are made from simple starches, like white flour or potato starch and add tons of sugar and artificial flavor to get them taste good, which are considered empty calories because they have no or very little nutritional values. So same rule applies when you are buying gluten free bread. Look for whole grains, such as brown rice, quinoa, or amaranth to name a few.
You probably noticed a common sentence repeated over and over in this article, “read the ingredient list“. When shopping for bread, or in fact for any food products, you need to read the ingredients. I see most consumers these days reading the nutritional facts and they choose products with lower calories, fats, or sugar, but it is not enough. The fact that a product is low in calorie, does not make it healthy or nutritious. On our journey to eating healthy, we need to take the matters one step further and look and study the ingredients list carefully.
Stay Healthy and happy