If you have been wondering how you’re going to give up bread, especially when aiming at maintaining your weight, worry no more! We’ll let you in on some secrets to eating bread in a healthy manner, without compromising your diet! These tips will also solve your confusion regarding the various kinds of bread that are available in the market, and help you choose the one that is right for you.
Why Refined White Bread Is Unhealthy
White bread and refined bread not only rank low on the nutrition scale, but also spike up your blood-sugar levels, leading to type-2 diabetes. The high sugar content in refined bread mostly goes unused, and is stored by your body as fat, causing rapid weight gain. The high sugar index in white bread can also cause mood swings, fatigue, and depression. Studies also show a definite link between white bread and depression, especially in post-menopausal women.1
How To Buy The Right Bread
Not all bread is unhealthy. The right kind of bread will provide your body with essential nutrients, while ensuring that you don’t gain weight. However, choosing the right bread is difficult, with buzzwords, such as “gluten-free” and “whole-grain” making the rounds. Read on to understand what the terms mean, and how to find out which bread on the supermarket aisle is healthy.
1. Follow The 1:10 Rule
While buying bread, ensure that you check the ingredient list on the packaging. For every 10 grams of carbs in your bread, there needs to be at least 1 gram of fiber. For example, if your bread loaf contains 15 grams of carbs, do not buy it unless it also contains about 2 grams of fiber, or more. Fiber in your diet helps the food digest slowly, thus making you feel satiated and less hungry.
2. Is The Bread A 100 Percent Whole-Grain?
Unprocessed wheat kernel contains 3 layers – bran, germ and endosperm. Wheat is beneficial to the body only when all three layers are present in it. Processed bread loses the bran and the germ, and the containing nutrients. Hence, always go for whole-grain bread.
Finding whole-grain bread is tricky. Several processed breads state that they are “multigrain”, which could be misleading. Again, scan the ingredient list. If the first ingredient reads “whole-grain” or “whole-wheat”, only then is the bread a 100 percent whole grain. If sugar, fructose, white or wheat flour are the major ingredients in your bread, then it is better avoided.2
3. Sprouted Bread Is Healthy
Made from sprouted grains, this high-fiber bread is a healthier, more nutritious alternative to white bread. The process of sprouting removes the grains of gluten, thus making the sprouted bread a favorite among the health-conscious. Sprouted bread, which is usually stored frozen, contains minimal gluten levels, but can be consumed by those suffering from only a mild case of gluten-sensitivity.3
4. Try Fermented Bread
Fermented bread contains healthy bacteria that not only aid in digestion, but also maintain your metabolism. Try eating fermented bread, such as sourdough, if you are aiming at healthy weight loss.4
5. Bran, Barley And Rye Are Your Best Friends
Look out for bran, barley and rye in your bread, unless you are sensitive to gluten. These fiber-rich items contain beta-glucan, a sugar that prevents spikes in your blood sugar, by increasing the time it takes for the bread to be absorbed by the body. Slower the bread is absorbed, lesser you overeat.
6. Choose Gluten-Free Bread
Gluten, the protein found in wheat and its derivatives, is a major constituent of bread. But, a significant number of us have gluten-sensitivity, which does not let us consume bread. However, the entry of gluten-free bread has given us a reason to rejoice! This bread does not contain wheat, barley and rye, and is instead made of cornstarch, rice flour, tapioca starch and potato flour. However, since gluten-free bread could increase blood-sugar levels, it is better avoided by those who do not have medical conditions that render them sensitive to gluten.
7. Organic Wheat
Processed wheat contains chemicals that could adversely affect your health, unlike organic wheat that is chemical-free. Hence, it is always a better idea to go for wheat that is organically produced.
How To Make Your Bread Healthy
After choosing the bread that is right for you, there are ways in which you can make it healthier!
1. Bread And Butter Is Good For You
Bread is a fast-digesting food, which does not give you the feeling of being ‘full’. This might make you overeat, in the hope that it will fill you. But, in fact, you end up eating more than what your body needs, and gain excess fat. When you add healthy fats, such as butter or olive oil, the bread gets absorbed slowly and is digested at a healthy pace, ensuring that you feel satiated.
2. Try An Open Sandwich
Go for an open sandwich! Give the second bread a skip, or substitute it with lettuce! This can reduce your carb intake, while allowing you to eat your favorite sandwich. You could also opt for thin-sliced bread and use it instead of the regular hamburger bread, which contains more calories.
3. Bake Your Own Bread!
Home-made food is the healthiest! When you bake bread, try replacing white flour with coconut flour, with has up to 11 times more fiber. You could also add nuts and seeds to the bread, to make it more nutritious, and of course, tastier! But, only proceed with the nuts and seeds only if you are not allergic to nuts, and don’t suffer from diverticulitis.
4. Replace Mayo With Hummus
Often, we eat bread with condiments that have no health benefits. Instead of spreading mayo on your bread, try using hummus. You could also consider adding meat or tofu to the bread, if you don’t already. By adding nutritional sides to the bread, you can not only cut down on carbs but also heighten your protein intake!
Who Should Avoid Bread?
Unless it is gluten-free bread that you are consuming, bread should be avoided by everybody that is sensitive to gluten or suffers from celiac. If you are diabetic, it is better to consult a doctor before including bread in your diet.
The next time you go shopping for bread, or are looking for healthier ways to eat your bread, you know exactly what to look out for! Who says you can’t have your bread and eat it too?
|↑1||Gangwisch, James E., Lauren Hale, Lorena Garcia, Dolores Malaspina, Mark G. Opler, Martha E. Payne, Rebecca C. Rossom, and Dorothy Lane. “High glycemic index diet as a risk factor for depression: analyses from the Women’s Health Initiative.” The American journal of clinical nutrition, 2015.|
|↑2||Hertzberg, Jeff, M.D., Zoë François. Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day: 100 New Recipes Featuring Whole Grains, Fruits, Vegetables, and Gluten-Free Ingredients. Macmillan, 2010.|
|↑3||Virtue, Doreen, Jenny Ross. The Art of Raw Living Food: Heal Yourself and the Planet with Eco-delicious Cuisine. Hay House, Inc, 2009.|
|↑4||Owens, Sarah, Ngoc Minh Ngo. Sourdough: 108 Recipes for Rustic Fermented Breads, Sweets, Savories, and More. Shambhala Publications, Incorporated, 2015.|