How to Pick Healthy Bread

June 19, 2012 — 2 Comments

One of the most common food products found in the kitchen is bread. Bread is great for sandwiches, to dip in soup, to dip in dips, and heck, even to eat by itself. There are actually so many different kinds of bread that it can easily become difficult to choose a healthy slice. Celiac disease is becoming a growing concern in our society today so those with the misfortune should limit their bread intake to gluten free recipes. However for the general public, since we eat a lot of it, the question should be “what bread is healthy?”

Let me guess, you eat a slice or two of toast for breakfast, you have a sandwich for lunch, and you put a basket of bread on the table to eat with dinner? If I just nailed it then you were brought up just like me. That is how a traditional east-coast Canadian family eats and as you can see, with bread being very starchy, packing on the pounds can be quite an easy past-time if you’re not careful. Eating an abundance of bread means eating an abundance of carbohydrates and if you are not active, capping out your body’s energy source and storage space is an easy thing to do. When that happens it is then converted to fat by the liver where it is then transported around the body.

The first and simplest rule when choosing the right bread is to swap white bread out for whole wheat.  You’ve probably heard that one before. Followed quickly by your response of “I don’t like the taste,” when in fact I have been eating this stuff for years and still cannot tell the difference in taste from white to brown bread. So suck it up. It is all in your head. But really, it is super effective for weight loss and for overall health, especially for those with diabetes. I cannot stress that enough. Eating white bread can cause a quick release of glucose into the blood and can throw insulin levels out of whack compared to a much slower release provided by whole wheat bread. Since all parts of the kernel are present in brown bread your body must take a longer time breaking it down in the digestive process. Whole wheat bread also often comes along with higher fiber content which brings me into my next piece of advice.

Look for bread that contains more fiber. Fiber is awesome for keeping you full for longer periods of time. There are two types of dietary fiber: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber acts as a trap that collects waste materials and moves them out of the body. Insoluble fiber contributes to stool bulk because of its ability to trap water within its structure. This helps create regular bowel movements. It is also said that high-fiber foods have a high satiety index to prevent you from craving more food once you have finished eating.

One last quick tip when choosing the right bread is to beware of marketing tricks. A lot of brands will actually dye their bread brown to make it look whole wheat, or creatively write things on the package like “all-natural” or “twelve-grain,” when in reality the first means nothing, and the second states that there are indeed twelve different grains in the bread, but the bread itself could still be white. The best description to look for is when a package states “100% whole wheat.” That is the stuff you want to smother your sandwiches with.

Keeping all of these tips in mind when selecting a good bread will definitely helps your health goals whatever they may be. Keep in mind though that in several cases it is not the actual bread that can make you fat, but rather the terrible things we eat with bread. Things like butter, or worse, margarine. Mayo-based dips, high in saturated fat peanut butter or sugar-filled jam are other unhealthy add-ons to watch out for. The fact of the matter is eating healthy is all about moderation. Do not eat too much of anything, and if you do, try to make the right choices with them. Bread is delicious. You don’t have to give it up. Follow my guidelines and eat bread in moderation and you’ll see some progress with your weight loss efforts. Remember, you need carbohydrates for energy. Eat them!

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2 responses to How to Pick Healthy Bread

  1. 

    I’ve read it has to read 100% whole GRAIN, not whole wheat. But that is much harder to find, and whole grain flour is next to impossible to buy! Comments?

    • 

      Whole grain isn’t used on much packaging anymore, but whole wheat is the same thing. You’re safe with “100% whole wheat.” =)

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