Bread crust remains are a common sight in our kids’ lunch and snack boxes. Even we adults would relish eating bread with butter at the restaurant buffet as restaurants offer you the liberty to remove off the crust before devouring your bread.
Many parents feel sad while cutting off the bread crust due to their child’s repeated insistence and ponder upon the final nutritional value of the food they are preparing. Alas, don’t we all know that the bread’s crust is the most nutritional part of the bread? But, do we really know?
The Anti-Cancerous Effect
A German study in 2002 showed that the bread crust contains cancer-fighting compounds and was valued as the most-nutritious part of the bread. This study found that the process of baking bread produced a new antioxidant (pronyl-lysine) that was 8-times concentrated in the bread crust than in the crumb. Exposing the human intestinal cells to this antioxidant increased the activity of the enzymes associated with cancer prevention. This antioxidant is formed while baking both, yeast-based and yeast-free bread but dark-colored bread (wheat) contains more antioxidants than light-colored bread (white bread).
Since then, most parents who believed about the nutrition of the bread crust found a valid proof to back up their belief and started torturing their children to finish off the entire bread. But now, this belief has become a myth.
Don’t Fret About the Crust
A process called the Maillard reaction holds responsibility for the brown coloration of the baked breads. Here, sugar reacts with amino acids in the presence of heat giving bread its brown color. Few manufacturers add caramel color for a browner color and this reaction makes the crust taste and feel differently from the other portions of the bread.
While this Maillard reaction can produce the cancer-fighting pronyl-lysine, it can also result in the production of a cancer-causing compound called as acrylamide. This immediately does not convey the fact that bread crust causes cancer but there are varying opinions when it comes to the crust. It is like a battle between the good and evil (cancer inducers and cancer fighters) with us having minimal understanding or scope to decide upon the winner.
Experts in nutrition field feel that the nutrition of the crust depends on the type of bread you choose. Next time, don’t go behind your kids demanding them to finish off the bread crust. Use the leftover crust to feed birds or to make croutons or stuffing (using it with other foods).
Also, not all breads are created equally. The most-nutritious bread is the 100% whole-wheat or 100% whole-grain bread which contains the entire wheat grains and provides fiber, vitamin E and B vitamins. Whole grains are the most healthy carb options as they bear numerous advantages. People interested in knowing more about whole grains can visit the website www.firsteatright.com. Wheat bread often contains enriched wheat flour with the brain and germ removed. Breads with whole grains can be called as in-between bread as it may contain 100% whole-wheat flour along with enriched-flour. Here goes the actual truth: choose your bread wisely to eat healthy food indifferent of whether you eat your crust or not.
AVOID FRAUD. EAT SMART.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.