The dietitian reveals why bread MUST be part of your diet because it is high in fiber and low in fat
Many of us cut bread from our diet because they think it is “bad” for us.
But a dietitian has explained that bread, at least breads made with whole wheat, is packed with nutrients like iron, calcium and B vitamins and can be a great addition to a balanced diet.
There’s no need to waste money buying expensive artisan breads either, because they’re just as ‘good’ to us as budget purchases from the supermarket, according to British food advisor Juliette Kellow.
There’s no need to waste money buying expensive artisan breads because they’re just as ‘good’ to us as budget purchases from the supermarket, said British nutritionist Juliette Kellow
“Whether you’re making your own bread, buying sliced bread from the grocery store, or choosing artisan bread from a sandwich shop or bakery, the key is to choose a whole-wheat variety,” Juliette told FEMAIL.
As the name suggests, whole grains contain all three parts of the grain – the nutrient-rich germ, the energy-providing endosperm, and the fiber-rich bran layer.
When grains are refined, for example to make white flour, the outer bran layer and germ of the grain are removed, causing the grain to lose much of its fiber and many of its nutrients.
“Bread made from whole wheat flour will result in a bread with more fiber and more vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and antioxidants.”
As a guideline, it is usually assumed that one to two medium slices are suitable for most people (those who are either very active may prefer more, those who are inactive may want less)
However, bread should be enjoyed in moderation, with serving sizes based on individual appetite and lifestyle.
“Healthy eating guidelines recommend starchy carbohydrates, including bread, which make up about a third of our diet,” explains Juliette.
As a guideline, it is usually assumed that one to two medium slices are suitable for most people (those who are either very active may prefer more, those who are inactive may want less).
‘It’s also important to look at what we put on our bread: butter will add a lot of saturated fat, while jam, marmalade and honey will add sugar.
“If you use bread to make a sandwich, keep the filling healthier too – lean meats, chicken, canned tuna and salmon, eggs and avocado have less fat and salt than ham, bacon, salami and cheese; add a lot of salad; and limit or avoid extras like pickle, ketchup and mayo, which can be filled with fat and / or salt. ‘
Here Juliette has given more advice about the nutrients in bread …
A dietitian explained that bread, at least breads made from whole wheat, is packed with nutrients such as iron, calcium and B vitamins and can be a great addition to a balanced diet
Rich in calcium
Juliette: ‘Most of us immediately think of dairy products when it comes to calcium-rich foods. Indeed, milk, yogurt and cheese are the main suppliers of this nutrient, which is necessary for strong bones and teeth. However, white flour is enriched with calcium, with the result that about a tenth of the calcium in our diet comes from white bread.
“Just one slice of white bread provides eight percent of our daily calcium needs. While whole wheat flour is not enriched with this nutrient, one slice of whole wheat bread still provides five percent of our daily calcium needs. ‘
Good iron source
Juliette added that bread is a great way to get iron, especially for those on a vegan and vegetarian diet.
She said, “Red meat is one of the main sources of iron in our diet. But since we are encouraged to switch to a more plant-based diet, it is important to ensure that we get enough iron from our non-meat diet. So it is good news that white flour is enriched with iron.
Low fat content
While some breads are high in carbohydrates, they are usually low in fat.
Juliette explains, ‘Most bread is low in fat – it’s the butter or spread we add to it that increases fat intake.
Health guidelines in the UK recommend that we have no more than 70g of total fat and 20g of saturated fat in our diet each day.
“A slice of bread contains about 1 gram of fat and about 0.2 gram of saturated fatty acids, so it does very little.”
This makes bread an important source of iron, especially for teenage girls and young women, many of whom have very low intakes and are therefore at risk of a possible shortage.
“One slice of white bread contributes about four percent to our daily iron needs, while one slice of whole wheat bread contributes seven percent to our daily needs. Whole wheat flour is not enriched with iron, but is naturally richer in this nutrient. ‘
Rich in B vitamins
Juliette added that B vitamins, which are essential for important body functions, are also found in bread.
“Most breads contain thiamine (vitamin B1) and niacin (vitamin B3),” she explained. Both are important for releasing energy from food and for the nervous system to function properly.
Thiamine is also essential for the normal functioning of the heart, while niacin helps to reduce tiredness and fatigue.
“A slice of white bread provides just under a tenth of our daily requirement for each of these nutrients. One slice of whole wheat bread provides 9 percent of our daily requirement for thiamine and 16 percent for niacin. ‘
Not always loaded with sugar
“In recent years, bread has been featured as a food with a lot of added sugars,” explains Juliette.
Sweeter bread like brioche certainly contains more than a standard loaf, and some artisan breads can be brushed with honey. But most standard breads are very low in sugar – about one to two grams per slice, which is equivalent to a quarter teaspoon.
Reduce salt by baking bread at home
“Bread is often under attack because it contains a lot of salt, especially some store-bought alternatives, but in the end, a whole grain bread can provide you with fiber, starchy carbohydrates and a variety of vitamins and minerals,” Juliette explained.
“Making your own bread at home gives you complete control over exactly what goes into your bread, allowing you to manage additional ingredients like salt and sugar.”
‘Bread manufacturers have worked hard in recent years to reduce the salt content of bread and have certainly achieved it. Nevertheless, bread remains the main source of salt in the food we eat, with a typical slice containing about 0.4 g of salt.
‘A solution is to bake your own bread, so that you have control over how much you add to the dough. Making bread can be fun – it’s great to do with kids – if you plan on baking your own loaves regularly, investing in a bread machine is a great idea. ‘
That’s a small amount compared to UK health guidelines, which recommend that we have up to 30g of free sugars daily (the type of sugar typically added to food, as well as honey, syrups and fruit juices).
‘It’s the obvious sweet foods like chocolate, sugary drinks, cakes, biscuits and puddings that contribute most of the sugar in our diets.
In fact, bread provides less than three percent of the added sugars in the adult diet, while confectionery is responsible for as much as 28 percent.
Full of fiber
Bread is full of fiber, which helps us feel full for longer, Juliette explained.
‘Whole grain breads really help boost our fiber intake, which we need for healthy digestion and to prevent constipation. Good fiber intake is also linked to a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and colon cancer, ‘said Juliette.
She added, “Eating a lot of fiber-rich foods also helps fill us up, so we’re less hungry, which can help us better manage our weight.
However, most of us don’t get enough fiber in our diets, averaging 18g per day, when in fact health guidelines recommend almost twice this amount – we should aim for 30g per day. Just one slice of whole wheat bread provides nearly a tenth of our daily fiber needs.
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