In recent times, with our carb-obsessed culture, bread has received a lot of bad press, despite being a nourisishing staple in many countries for centuries. The truth is not all carbs are bad. Wholegrains are required for good health and wellbeing.
When it comes to bread, the culprit is often what you put on it and how much you eat. Choosing the right bread is also important for longer lasting energy and to guard against heart disease, cancer and type 2 diabetes.
White bread—best limited as it is refined, low in fibre and naturally occurring vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients.
Don’t be fooled by clever marketing; “low GI” and “high fibre” white breads do not provide the same goodness as wholegrain or wholemeal breads. When eating white bread, sourdough is best.
Wholemeal/whole-wheat—a good choice as it is made by using flour that contains all parts of the whole grain. Stone-ground flour is better than finely milled flour.
Wholegrain/multigrain—best choice as this contains whole kernels of grains, which are digested slowly, providing longer lasting energy. A wholemeal bread, which also has intact grains and seeds is ideal!
Pumpernickel bread—a heavy, dark European bread made from whole grains of rye packed together in a loaf, this bread is very filling and has low GI.
Lebanese bread—the wholemeal variety is best but as this bread is dense, one round can provide as many calories as four slices of regular bread! Tip: slice the bread in half horizontally and use as a thin wrap for lunch.
Mountain bread—made from wheat, corn, barley, rye or oats, one sheet of this paper-thin bread can be used as a wrap in place of two slices of bread for half the calories!
Using your loaf
Bread is a versatile food and makes for a quick meal—think toast, sandwiches, salads (croutons) and even dessert (bread-and-butter pudding).
If you are trying to lose weight, you can include up to six slices, assuming you do not also eat biscuits, cereal, rice, pasta or other grain foods on the same day.