A whiff of freshly baked bread loaves neatly stacked at the baker’s shop tempts anyone reminding us of the evergreen children’s poem ‘Hot cross buns, hot cross buns.’ The poem is simple and its message evident but now, if we were to sing, one remains perturbed whether it should be white, whole-wheat or brown bun! Reportedly the oldest man-made food prominently consumed in different parts of the world needs some revamping and advertising to bring back its good old charm.
Gluten is a protein found in different grains and gluten-free products have started dominating the markets since a couple of years. Our food requirements, eating styles and health concerns have changed in the recent decades and such concerns over gluten, carbs and sodium disrupt our day-to-day breakfast choices of consuming bread-one of the simple yet tasty foods available to mankind.
One Bread or the Other
The refined grain bread has a great appearance as white as milk but it has the potential to strongly increase sugar levels in the bloodstream which finally gets stored as fat in the body. Still, people’s love over it has not reduced and it occupies a special place in each of our hearts being present in everyday foods owing to its texture and long shelf life. It lacks any of the complex carbs found in whole grains looking like plain sugar that’s fully composed of carbohydrates. On comparison it becomes evident that whole grain bread contains different nutrients that advocate a healthy immune system. The fiber present in the bread improves cholesterol levels and the risk of other diseases such as heart disease, stroke and obesity.
Fad diets remain famous for a short period just like the fads in fashion and offer quick fix solutions to weight loss and health problems. No science supports these fad diets that are blamed for a number of unhealthy consequences. These are the diets that often advise people against consuming bread owing to calories and carb presence but we need both of these for a healthy body. But the carbs should be complex ones as found in whole grain breads opposed to the simple carbs found in white bread. Calorie-wise, a slice of white bread contains 77 calories compared to whole-grain wheat bread composed of 70 calories, a subtle difference of 7 calories but the fiber content of whole grain bread is definitely higher-2 grams compared to 0.8 grams of white bread. Alas, the major difference lies in the presence of sugar in white bread (1.64 grams) which is completely absent in the whole-wheat variety.
We’ve even got the multigrain variety that comes with oats, pumpkin seeds and other toppings making it a delight to consume. Incorporating different whole grains and ingredients such as rye, oats, walnuts and flaxseeds makes your sandwich tastier and healthier. Most important is what goes in between the two slices of bread beyond what goes into the bread. Filling your sandwich with mayonnaise, cheese, dressings and other high-calorie ingredients can totally spoil your meal.
The gluten craze has gotten over everybody and even those who don’t have celiac disease have started choosing gluten-free bread. Please understand that baked gluten-free foods are not composed of the exact nutrients nor do they have a high nutritive value compared to your regular ones. For those allergic to gluten they are requested to avoid breads containing wheat, rye and barley. Read more about the different foods that people with celiac disease must avoid/adhere to by visiting the website www.firsteatright.com.
If you are still concerned regarding the safety/healthiness of the bread that you consume the best way to erase this confusion is by baking the bread yourself. This way, you have complete control over the amount of sugar, flour and additives that go into the dough.
AVOID FRAUD. EAT SMART.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.