Busting the myths on bread . . .

You all know that Hubby and I have been following a healthier way of eating in a bid to lose our post-baby weight. Yes that’s right, I did say ‘our’ as Hubby always comfort-ate along with me. One of the things which I cut out of my diet first when trying to lose weight was bread because I believed along with many others that bread makes me bloated, is a carb and is high in sugar but as I found out recently after being contacted by the Federation of Bakers, I was indeed wrong. So I want to share with you the Myth and the Facts so you can make an informed choice on your diet too. As for me, I think I might just treat myself to a slice of toasted white bread with low fat soft cheese #nomnom.

myths on bread

FACT: Bread is often unfairly blamed for the bloat – but the good news is there is actually no scientific research to prove that bread is a culprit of bloating or gastrointestinal discomfort in people – as shown by a recent review by the British Nutrition Foundation[1].

What’s more, a 2005 study by the Grain Information Service showed that bloating is often associated with lifestyle factors such as poor diet, irregular eating, eating too quickly, hormonal fluctuations, a sudden increase in fibre consumption, stress, eating spicy foods or drinking fizzy drinks.[2]

So, instead of cutting out bread, eat slowly, avoid carbonated drinks and make sure you don’t skip meals!

FACT: Bread is low in calories – an average slice contains around 80 calories (that’s less than one banana), making it a great lunchtime option for anyone who is watching their weight. If preparing a sandwich, opt for a low fat spread, and healthy filling options such as hummus and roasted veg or lean meat.

In fact, a report which was launched by SACN earlier this month highlighted that the UK diet does not contain enough carbohydrates, whilst also illustrating that both wholemeal and white bread are significant sources of carbohydrates– so even more reason to start the day with a slice of toast.

FACT: It is a common misconception that bread (and specifically white bread) is high in sugar. However, most UK varieties of bread contain only 2-4% sugars which occur naturally during the bread making process and are not added. This naturally occurring sugar is made when some of the starch in wheat flour is broken down into simple sugars, and little remains in the finished bread.

When sugar is added to bread – it is done so in very small amounts to help balance flavours (e.g. in wholemeal loaves) but the overall sugar content of standard bread remains at that level.

Most UK sliced bread easily meets the definition for a low sugar food (below 5g sugar per 100g) – and is coded green in the nutritional information on the back of the pack.

White sliced bread

FACT: White bread often receives a bit of an undeserved knock – but there really is no reason to cut it out of your diet. White flours actually contain similar amounts of vitamin B1 and iron that are found naturally in wholemeal and brown flour.

It’s also a great source of non-dairy calcium as white bread is fortified with calcium, making up almost 20% of the average adult’s daily intake.

It also makes an important contribution to our carbohydrate, fibre, iron, calcium and thiamine intakes. It provides more than 10% of the average adult’s intake of iron, zinc, magnesium, protein and B vitamins as well as a smaller amount of potassium. In addition, there’s 25 micrograms in three slices of white bread; this contributes towards your RDA of 200 mg of folic acid.

FACT: There is no need to invest in fancy bread making equipment! Sliced bread offers a quicker, easier, and better value for money solution than making your own bread. Tests have found no difference between nutritional values of bread, regardless of the way in which it is made. The main ingredients used to make packaged bread, are no different to those an artisan baker would use – flour, water, yeast and a little salt.

In fact, unlike artisan loaves from the bakery or homemade bread, all packaged sliced loaves must display their nutritional content on pack – so a couple of slices for breakfast or lunch is an easy way to control your portion size and keep track of your calorie intake.

[1] Nutrition Bulletin, British Nutrition Foundation, Vol. 37, Issue 1, Article first published online: 19 JAN 2012
[2]‘Does bread cause bloating?’ Nutrition Bulletin, 19th Jan 2012: http://www.talkhealthpartnership.com/blog/2012/01/british-nutrition-foundation-confirms-there-is-no-evidence-that-sliced-bread-bloats-us
DISCLAIMER: I received a pack of the Toast Soldiers Boots as a gift from the Federation of Bakers. There was no obligation for me to write a post but I was intrigued by the information they supplied to me and wanted to share it with my readers.

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