It’s A Myth That Bread Is Bad For You But There Are Varieties Of Bread That Might Keep You Fuller Or Offer More Health Benefits Than Others According To Dietitians
Bread is a good source of carbohydrates which are one of the three macronutrients our bodies need to function , providing energy and nutrients. It also provides, fiber, prebiotics, protein, and micronutrients like iron and calcium.
It’s a myth that bread or carbs are inherently fattening, experts say. The only way you gain weight is by consuming more calories than you’re burning, of any type of food.
“There are no good or bad foods, there is nothing wrong with bread,” registered dietitian Jennifer Low told Insider.
You can squeeze even more nutrients into your bread by adding in foods like veggies, nuts, and seeds, experts say.
Whats The One Type Of Healthy Bread A Registered Dietitian Cant Live Without
According to Desiree Nielsen, RD, the way to go is sprouted grain bread. “It offers a bevy of nutritional benefits far greater than most other loaves at the market,” she says. âI especially love Silver Hills Bakery’s 100 percent sprouted grain breads because theyâre made from whole sprouted wheat, which is packed with plant-based protein and fiber to help keep blood sugarsâand energy levelsâon an even keel.”
The brand has several nutrient-packed types of âsprouted powerâ breads, including their Squirrelly Bread, which contains 12 grams of protein and 10 grams of fiber per two-slice serving.
Health Benefits Of Sprouted Grain Bread
What makes sprouted grain bread so delicious and RD-approved, exactly? Well, Nielsen has a lot to say on the subject. For starters, she points out that this type of bread is made by mashing sprouted whole wheat flour instead of whole grain flour, which offers higher levels of fiber and protein because the whole grains remain intact. And, of course, we know how vital fiber is for supporting healthy digestion and promoting a balanced gut microbiome.
What’s more, sprouted grain bread is rich in a specific kind of fiber that contains a compound called arabinoxylansâbasically a gut-health superstar. âWhole grain wheat contains compounds called arabinoxylans that research suggests drives the production of the short chain fatty acid butyrate in the gut microbiome, which is associated with numerous health benefits, including calming inflammation,â Nielsen says.
âThe sprouted grains themselves also deliver enhanced nutrition. Sproutingâwhich begins to transform the storage of carbohydrates and proteins in the grainâmay help improve the digestibility of wheat by altering the starch and gluten. Sprouting also unlocks the minerals such as iron and calcium in wheat, improving bioavailability and may even increase the amount of certain vitamins and antioxidant phytochemicals such as folate and GABA,â Nielsen says.
Recommended Reading: Best Way To Store Bread For Freshness
The #1 Best Bread For A Healthy Gut New Study Suggests
When it comes to your gut health, not all sandwiches are created equal. The grains that you eat can have a significant impact on the microorganisms in your digestive tract, so you may want to keep your gut health in mind next time you’re in the bread aisle of your supermarket.
In fact, a new study suggests that eating high-fiber rye bread can lead to improvements in your gut microbiome that are linked with better metabolic health.
In the study, published April 17 in the journal Nutrients, researchers looked at what happened when a group of adults was given soft bread, crisp bread, and breakfast cereals made with either high-fiber rye or refined wheat for 12 weeks.
Those who ate the rye products had more plasma butyrate, a short-chain fatty acid made inside the intestine from foods rich in fiber, and saw other positive changes in their gut microbiota composition. These were in turn linked with improvements in risk markers for metabolic disease.
“The study supports other studies I have read regarding rye,” Tami Best, MS, RDN, CDN, IFNCP owner and operator of Promise of Vitality, tells Eat This, Not That! “It is slowly absorbed by the body and has phytonutrients that help you lose weight and improve metabolism. Likewise, rye’s ability to produce more of the butyrate-producing bacteria is a great benefit for gut health.”
Your Gut Microbiome And Health
There is a host of healthy bacteria residing in your body which plays a crucial role in various body functions. The bacteria present throughout your intestinal tract plays an important role in good health. They help in digestion and extracting nutrients from the food you eat. Any imbalance in the gut microbiome can affect your bodys nutrient absorption process. This can lead to low energy levels and fatigue.
Most of your neurotransmitters are present in the gut. Therefore, poor gut health can affect your bodys ability to deal with stress, and it can raise the chances of chronic fatigue. Gut bacteria also plays a significant role in enhancing mood, developing a strong immune system, maintaining healthy digestion, and reaching your ideal body weight.
Any decline in the level of these microbes can lead to poor health. When the gut microbes are not functioning optimally, it can lead to many health issues including bloating, food sensitivities, type 2 diabetes, autoimmune conditions, and atherosclerosis. Eating a healthy diet geared towards enhancing gut bacteria could prove helpful in maintaining gut health and overall well-being.
Most health-conscious people, especially those with diabetes, spend extra money on whole wheat bread thinking that the higher fiber and lower glycemic index is better for their bodies. But is this true? Does eating whole-wheat bread lower your blood sugar levels and risk of diabetes? New findings can shed light on the question.
Don’t Miss: Williams Sonoma Banana Bread Recipe
It Can Help Keep Blood Sugars In A Healthy Range
Eating carbohydrates naturally causes our blood glucose to rise as we digest them, but rapid spikes and drops in blood glucose can increase risk for chronic illnesses, like diabetes. We get those big spikes from eating simple carbohydrates, like sugar and refined grains, especially when they’re not paired with protein and fat .
How foods affect your blood glucose is quantified by glycemic index and glycemic load. Glycemic index refers to how much your blood glucose rises two hours after consuming a food, whereas glycemic load indicates how quickly the blood glucose spike occurs. According to a 2019 editorial review in Aging Clinical and Experimental Research, sourdough bread has a lower glycemic index and glycemic load than white bread and whole-wheat bread that is not fermented. Whole-wheat sourdough is higher in fiber, which additionally lowers the strain it puts on your blood glucose.
What’s A Healthier Bread Swap
If you’re looking to reduce the amount of bread in your diet, Greene has a clever replacement: make your own toastfrom sweet potatoes!
“Slice a sweet potato length-wise in a 1/4 inch thick piece, toast it up, and add your favorite toppings,” she says.
For more healthy eating news, make sure to
Don’t Miss: Hawaiian Bread And Spinach Dip
It Promotes Healthy Aging
Whole grains and bread, like sourdough bread, are a staple of the Mediterranean diet. Some research has pointed out it could also be a crucial food to help promote healthy aging. A 2019 review in the journal Nutrients found that fermented grain-based products, like sourdough, have antioxidant, anti-hypertensive, anti-diabetic, and FODMAP-reducing qualities.
Can Bread Be Healthy
Archaeologists in the Middle East have found fossilized breadcrumbs from over 14,000 years ago. It was the cultivation of wheat for flour that transformed our ancestors from hunter-gatherers to city dwellers.
Today, millions of us start the day with a slice of toast, and most lunches in the U.S. and U.K. are wrapped in a slice of bread or a burger bun as a cheap, flexible, and delicious energy source. This is no surprise.
Modern industrial processes, designed to reduce the time and cost of baking, mean todays bread would be unrecognizable to our ancestors. These processes were invented with the best of intentions, as growing populations meant more mouths to feed. Without this progress, countless lives might have been lost.
Todays bread resembles a sugary drink. It tastes good and looks good on the outside, but it has lost most of its nutritional content. With most of its fiber gone, and no time for bacteria to work its fermenting magic, bread has become a simple starch, rapidly turned into sugar in our blood and offering little to support our gut bacteria. For this reason, bread is increasingly demonized as an evil carb.
In this podcast, Jonathan speaks with two authorities on the subject of bread to find out if it can ever be healthy:
Vanessa Kimbel is an author, founder of the sourdough school, and a specialist in bread nutrition and digestibility.
Tim Spector is a co-founder at ZOE and one of the top 100 most cited scientists in the world.
Read Also: How Many Carbs In White Bread
Foods To Improve Your Digestion
Digestive problems, such as gas, constipation and diarrhea, affect millions, with 15 percent of people in Western countries experiencing a severe form of gut sensitivity called irritable bowel syndrome .
Here are five foods that promote healthier digestion and help you avoid common gastrointestinal symptoms.
Probiotic Foods Like Kimchi Kombucha And Kefir
Probiotic foods contain living microorganisms like the health-promoting microbes found in your gut. Eating probiotic foods can help boost your bodys population of beneficial bacteria.
Common bacteria groups found in probiotic foods include Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium . Probiotic foods are made by adding microbes to food and/or allowing a process known as fermentation to take place.
Examples of probiotic foods include:
- Fermented soy foods, such as tempeh, miso and natto
- Yogurt, both dairy and non-dairy
When choosing probiotic foods, check labels for live, active cultures, which indicates the bacteria in the foods are still living. For instance, when shopping for probiotic sauerkraut, reach for refrigerated brands with live cultures. Shelf-stable, pasteurized sauerkraut in a can or a jarthe type of sauerkraut your mother may have bought as a hotdog condimentis unlikely to contain living microbes. Living microbes are beneficial because they join the community of living microbes already in your gut.
Probiotics are also available in over-the-counter dietary supplements. However, theres mixed evidence of their benefits, and the American Gastroenterological Association does not recommend the use of probiotic supplements for most digestive conditions. If you do choose to take probiotic supplements, the AGA suggests that you do so with a doctors guidance.
Don’t Miss: Is Sara Lee Bread Healthy
Is Bread Generally Healthy
Bread doesnt deserve its bad rap, says dietitian and nutritionist Sanchia Parker.
Its convenient, budget friendly, easy to get and can be part of a healthy diet, as long as its good quality and eaten in the right amounts, Sanchia says.
Swinburne University of Technology dietetics lecturer Leah Dowling says bread is a good source of carbs and low in fat.
And wholegrain varieties are a good source of protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals, as well as healthy fats, she says.
May Help You Feel Satisfied
There is evidence that suggests that eating whole grains, like 100% whole rye bread and whole wheat bread, can affect gut bacteria and lead to a feeling of fullness . The research pointed more towards whole oats, barley, and rye which can be found in some whole grain breads. Although more research is needed, including different varieties of whole-grain breads in your healthy eating plan may help keep you feeling satisfied. So not only can bread support your gut microbiome health, but eating the right kinds can also keep you full and keep your gut waistline in check.
You May Like: Best Banana Chocolate Chip Bread Recipe
Is Bread Good For Your Gut Health
Is bread good foryour gut health?
This is a question I am frequently asked as a Dietitian.Some people claim that bread is bad for your gut health while others say that going gluten-free or low-carb will heal your gut. But before you go swapping your bread or cutting it out altogether, lets have a look at what the science says about bread and gut health.
What Makes Bread Good For You
Bread is one of the oldest staples in the western diet. In its simplest form, its a flour and water dough, with or without salt, fermented with either a naturally occurring yeast and bacteria starter, or with bakers yeast. Today much of the bread lining supermarket shelves is made on a mass scale and often contains additives to speed production, extend shelf life, improve flavour and texture and return the nutrients lost during processing.
So, with a seemingly endless choice of wholegrain, white or 50/50 loaves, to speciality breads like sourdough, focaccia and ciabatta, how do we make a healthy choice?
The first thing to consider is the flour white bread is made from processed flour which has been milled to remove the bran and germ of the grain, leaving just the starch-packed endosperm. This means all the fibre and much of the vitamins and minerals have been removed. The resulting flour has a fine, light texture and a longer shelf life. In the UK, any white or brown flour is legally required to have calcium, iron, thiamine and nicotinic acid added back by the manufacturer.
White, refined flour results in a bread which is quick and easy to digest. Eaten regularly and in high amounts, foods like this may lead to weight gain and an increased risk of metabolic conditions such as Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Also Check: Aldi’s Gluten Free Bread
Ask Keri: Is Sourdough Bread Good For You
Keri Says: Though its comparable to a regular slice of white bread in the amount of calories, carbs and fiber, sourdough is lower in sugar and higher in protein, which gives it a leg up.
Traditional white bread is usually made with sugar, canola oil, and dried, preserved yeast to leaven the dough.
Sourdough bread, on the other hand, is typically made with no sweeteners or oils. Instead of using bakers yeast, it relies on a starter, which is a combination of water and flour that ultimately populates with wild yeast. These live yeast cultures are a natural leaven that cause the sourdough bread to rise and give it its well-known tangy flavor.
Not only does using live instead of dried yeast change the flavor, but it also means that sourdough bread stays fresh much longer than factory-baked bread and doesnt require any extra preservatives to ward off mold.
But it gets better.
It Can Lead To Better Digestion
Even though sourdough bread is not gluten-free, a 2021 review in the journal Foods found that sourdough consumption might help improve the digestion of gluten. The fermentation process for sourdough alters the enzymes in the wheat and might potentially help counteract adverse reactions to gluten. While it’s too soon to recommend sourdough bread to people with celiac disease , people who feel sensitive to gluten may want to talk to their healthcare provider or a registered dietitian to see if they might be able to enjoy sourdough bread without the adverse effects.
Recommended Reading: Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread Wall Decor
What Makes Sourdough Different
Unlike your typical store-bought loaf, sourdough is made from fermented yeast. The sour comes from a sourdough starter, a mixture of flour and water which develops into a culture of naturally wild yeast and bacteria. This fermentation process results in lower amounts of gluten and can release more fibre which encourages the growth of good bacteria.
So given its health benefits, should you be cutting up a slice every day? Not necessarily, say experts. Sourdough is a better form of white bread, Dr Will Bulsiewicz told Bustle. But while it has positive qualities when it comes to gut health, the refined grains can have a negative affect.
For people who eat a lot of sourdough, the refined flour content could damage your gut as they are absorbed into the small intestine rather than digested slowly. The result is a dramatic loss of gut microbial diversity and the rise of inflammatory bacteria that love simple carbohydrates, says Bulziewicz.
This isnt to say sourdough is off the table. One simple way of increasing the dietary value of sourdough is to bake with a variety of grains, says Vanessa Kimbell from The Sourdough School. Adding other grains to your loaves, maybe some rye or spelt, feeds different microbes and can help to maintain microbial diversity.
How To Select The Best Bread For Gut Health
For a healthier bread, Look for bread that contains:
Whole-grain and sprouted grains are the primary ingredients, along with a few other ingredients of 3-5 grams of fiber as well as 3 to 6 grams of protein in each slice. There are no sweeteners added.
One way to ensure you choose nutritious bread is to bake it at home. That way, you can determine the ingredients. Many recipes for bread made from scratch are available online to satisfy most dietary requirements.
Remember that even though the bread featured on this list is more nutritious than other breads, it is not as nutritious as other whole food items. The fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes, nuts, and seeds, in addition to whole grains that havent been processed into flour, contain more fiber and nutrients than bread.
Additionally, many breads are made using added sugars and vegetable oils rich in omega-6 fats like soybean oil. The excessive consumption of these components has been linked to chronic inflammation, leading to various illnesses such as heart disease.
Furthermore, some individuals might need to cut down on their intake of carbs and reduce their bread consumption, for example, people with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes or those following a low-carb diet. But, bread is a food that can be enjoyed in moderation as part of a balanced diet that includes a range of healthy food items.
Read Also: Recipes For Gluten Free Banana Bread