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Friday, January 13, 2017

All About Bread

Considering the fact that the average American eats 53 pounds of bread per year, choosing bread can be a weighty issue.  Which ones we should be eating and which ones we should be avoiding?  The question of bread itself can be a tricky one as recent diet fads have brought bread in and out of food-fashion.  Here are a few answers to common bread-related questions:

Should I even be eating bread at all when I hear so much about cutting it out of one’s diet?

Yes.  Labeling any one food or food group as a nutritional villain should raise some red flags.  Considering that every culture has its own version of bread,  it’s no surprise that bread has been a nutritional mainstay for millennia.  It’s more important to look at the overall balance of foods you eat than to inaccurately put the blame on one food item.

What nutritional benefits am I getting from bread?

One of the main nutritional benefits that bread provides is fiber.  Whole grains and whole wheat are an excellent source of fiber for America’s pathetically low-fiber diet.  Bread is also a source of complex carbohydrates which serves as an ideal fuel for our bodies.  Bread provides B vitamins which play a key role in metabolism or the way our body uses and converts fuel into energy.  So whole grain breads are well suited to help maintain a healthy metabolism.  Bread also provides essential minerals such as iron and magnesium.

How do I choose between breads?

Look past the marketing to the nutrition facts label.  The ingredient list should be reasonably short and understandable with whole grain topping the list.  Rule of 3s: Check to make sure that your bread is providing at least 3 grams of fiber per serving (slice) and no more than 3 grams of sugar.  Don’t be too rigid in your bread choices.  Remember that a healthy relationship with food means that we have variety and that food is enjoyable.  So if grilled cheese or french toast on wheat bread doesn’t quite fit the bill, then choose a low-sugar white or sourdough bread for those occasional menu items.  When whole grain is your routine, its fine to enjoy the occasional white bread item. 

Fun bread facts:
Egyptians used bread as currency.
Sliced bread was introduced in 1928.

Among the simplest recipes are artisan bread recipes:

So try making a loaf to wow your friends and family this weekend. 

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