People often get the impression that eating bread would lead to weight gain. They do have a point because many types of bread can add unwanted extra pounds. The good news is that not all these sumptuous breakfast staples are fattening. One can still enjoy his favorite sandwiches without worry, and this will depend upon the bread bought. Refined, white-flour bread should be avoided by weight watchers as these are linked to gaining weight. Instead, buy the whole grain variety because these will help lose those extra pounds.
Marketing techniques can be deceiving and might make you believe that “something” unhealthy can be otherwise. Consider these foolproof guides that will make one a good shopper for bread that is made for the weight conscious:
- Take notice of the package’s front. It should say 100% “whole wheat” or “whole grain.”
- Each slice should at least have 3 grams of fiber.
- Each slice should contain only 3 grams of sugar or less.
- Scan through the ingredient list. Avoid bread with high-fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners or hydrogenated oils.
For those who want to lose weight, as well as the already health conscious ones, don’t include foods with high-glycemic indexes. The sugars in such foods are easily broken down during digestion and are absorbed as fast into the bloodstream. This will spike the blood sugar levels thus increasing the risks of diabetes and obesity.
There is an awareness now of health foods. Whole-grain bread is in. Studies have indicated that those who consumed whole wheat bread have better odds against premature death, lower risks of death due to heart diseases, and lower risks of dying from cancer.
Be sure to purchase 100% whole grain or whole wheat bread as they’re considered the best. Other types can have their benefits. Having this in mind should make the trip to the friendly grocer faster and easier. Here are some of the best types of bread to choose for people on a diet:
Whole Grain Bread
Be sure to buy bread which contains the words “whole wheat,” “whole grains” or “whole oats.” These foods would contain many nutrients, fibers, and other healthy compounds from plants which are found in grains. Don’t be confused with terminologies: whole grains mean that it contains one of the varied types of healthy grains while the term whole wheat will refer to one specific grain being used.
It takes more time and effort to make sourdough bread. It rises slower, and that increases its lactic acid content to create the ideal pH for the enzyme phytase. The enzyme breaks down into phytates which, in turn, binds with minerals like iron, zinc, and manganese. Such action will slow down their absorption into the body. This is more evident in sourdough than in other types of bread. Sourdough fermentation takes longer than other dough. This gives more time for the bacteria to break down the carbohydrates and gluten in the bread which will make it easier to digest and release the nutrients for absorption into the bloodstream.
Another variation of whole grain bread is multigrain bread. The former refers to bread where all the grain’s parts are used, and this includes the bran, the germ, and the endosperm. Multigrain bread refers to those that have more than a single kind of grain, but such grains may not all be classified as whole grains. If the preference is multigrain bread, make sure that it uses whole grains.
Omega-3 fatty acids are heart-healthy substances that are naturally found in fish oils. This would not be good for vegetarians because the fats come from animal sources. Fortunately, we have flaxseed bread, and this is an appropriate substitute for regular loaves. Studies have shown that flaxseed and flaxseed bread can decrease the risks of heart diseases, cancer, diabetes, and stroke.
Brown Rice Bread
This is another good news for vegans, brown rice bread. Aside from being gluten-free, this type of bread contains fibers, proteins, calcium, thiamine, manganese, and potassium. All these are found naturally in the rice.
This is a popular type of bread, especially to weight-watchers. Whole grain rye bread can help in reducing body weight, can slightly improve sensitivity to insulin, and lower cholesterol count. Rye bread is made from rye flour. This is a type of flour which is made from a plant like wheat.
Diets that are devoid of a lot of nutrients are often referred to as gluten-free. Gluten-free bread doesn’t use barley, wheat, and rye, but instead use other starch sources like rice flour, cornstarch, potato flour, tapioca starch. Gluten-free bread is usually more expensive but is ideal for weight-watchers.
This is one of the most nutritious foods around and is ideal for people who want to lose weight. Oats are an excellent source of good carbohydrates and cholesterol-lowering fibers known as beta-glucan. This compound can help reduce certain diseases like digestive problems, types of cancers, diabetes, heart diseases, and more. Among the cereals, oats are richest in protein which is needed to build, repair, and maintain body tissues. Oats also possess an abundance of vitamins such as vitamin E, and minerals like calcium, and iron. There are several varieties of oat bread, and the type depends on the whole grain oat used, like steel-cut oats, oat groats or thick oats.
Protein bread is recommended as a great supplement for people who are either active sports players or are trying to lose weight or gain more muscle mass. This food is also helpful for diabetics, bariatric patients, and of course vegetarians who are looking for good protein sources. The bread is also good for kids who need an extra dose of amino acids necessary to promote growth.
Whole Wheat Bread
It has been a requirement for bread manufacturers in the USA to enrich their wheat flour with healthy vitamins and minerals. Such was imposed because, in the process of making wheat flour, about 60% of the healthy nutrients are lost. But even then, not all the original vitamins and minerals are restored. This is primarily the reason why whole wheat bread is recommended. In their original form, whole wheat is a great source of manganese, magnesium, and fiber.
The Worst Types of Bread Which Will Spoil the Diet
Now for the more interesting part of the treatise. Most of us lose the willpower to resist the temptation of oven-fresh baked goodies. At this point, do we care about whole grains or whole wheat? Bear this in mind. If one consumes these goodies baked with refined flour and completely indulges himself, he will be eating food with minimal nutritional value and worse, the experience will not make him feel full and will make him crave for more in less time. Stick to the plan if serious about losing weight or if intending to stay healthy. Once can steer away from the following foods:
French baguettes. One can just smell the fresh baked scent of baguettes. It’s made from white flour, water, yeast, and salt. The French may love them but may be unaware that baguettes have minimal nutritional value.
Croissants. Made with the richest ingredients, a croissant is another creation by the French that is great for the taste buds but not so with the waistline. They are loaded with butter, made from wheat flour, and certainly are not that high on the health scale.
White bread. Fluffy, soft, and good tasting, white bread is always on our grocery list, hopefully not for long. Whites are made from refined grains, and this means that the surface of the grain has been stripped off its outer layer. Unfortunately, that is where the fibers and other essential nutrients are located. With all carbohydrates and no fiber, the consumer will be less likely to feel full and in no time will be craving for more. And that will result in weight gain.
Bagels. The favorite breakfast food of people on the go, but its calorie and carbohydrate contents are high. People with diabetes should take note when having a bagel because it contains a lot of carbohydrates which can spike up their blood sugar levels.
Ciabatta. Again, a great tasting baked goodie but this time coming from the Italians. Like the baguette, the common ingredients are white flour, yeast, oil, salt, and water. And like the baguette, it doesn’t have that much nutritional value. The calories it offers come from the carbohydrates, and there is almost no fiber, fat or protein to maintain the feeling of fullness.
Some Tips for Choosing the Right Bread for Your Diet
Bread can be a person’s friend and enemy at the same time. Its chewy, delightful, and floury taste has befriended us for centuries now, and we have always enjoyed their company. But it could be the enemy too because consuming bread could make one unhealthy and unattractive. But this will depend on what kind of bread eaten. If a person chooses the right once, he can still fit in those skinny jeans bought ages ago and still can eat bread.
Because of its carbohydrate and sugar contents, bread indeed is the enemy. In the 80s, it was the fear of fat. These days, its bread. But choose the right kind of bread, and one can still enjoy those sandwiches always dreamt of and still stay fit and skinny. Here are some pointers that nutritionists, pro-chefs, and doctors can offer regarding the choice of bread:
Go along with the 10:1 rule when purchasing your bread. It is a simple rule of thumb that is easy to remember. Look at the bread’s packaging label. For every 10 grams of carbohydrates, there must be a gram of fiber.
Search for whole wheat or whole grains. Again, it’s on the label. If the list of ingredients should include wheat or white flour, sugars, corn syrup, fructose or sucrose, skip it as the bread will contain more of the simple carbohydrates. If the package reads “whole wheat” or “whole grain,” then it’s the right one. As for “multi-grain” just read through its ingredient list to determine if it is healthy because there are no standardized regulations regarding multigrain bread yet.
Go for organic wheat. The methods on how wheat is grown have changed for the past decades. Expecting wheat grown as our forefathers did is, well a thing of the past. But some raisers still practice organic farming. Their crops may be a tad costlier, but it will be worth it. Organic wheat is grown with little exposure to harmful pesticides and the bread made from them is a healthier choice.
Look for fermented bread. When we talk about fermented bread, we usually refer to sourdough. The process of making sourdough starts with fermentation of the dough, which can last for days. The process will allow healthy bacteria to thrive and micros will help to keep the digestive system balanced and regulate the metabolism. For a healthier boost, choose fermented bread as the healthy option.
Visit the bakery. When buying bread, try to get it straight from the bakery because the bread will contain less salt and preservatives. Furthermore, it will be fresh. Traditional loaves found in supermarkets have more preservatives and salt. One should still naturally opt for the wholegrain type when available.
Search for barley, bran, or rye. If these bread types are available, then buy them. The flour from these cereals contains beta-glucan. This is a type of soluble fiber which increases the time it takes before the stomach is emptied. This action will prevent sudden spikes in the blood sugar levels.
Dip the bread in some form of fat. Italians do have a reason why they use olive oil in their bread. Dipping in oil will slow down the eating time, will prevent too much consumption of bread, and of course, the oil will add a nice flavor to the bread. Instead of olive oil, try using coconut oil, butter or ghee.
Choose darker flours if possible. One can be sure about this. The darker the flour is, the more antioxidants it will contain. Bread made from dark flour is healthier and gluten-free. Healthiest among these dark grains are quinoa, amaranth, and buckwheat. Less healthy are potato and rice flours.
Construct a healthier sandwich. Smart sandwiches are fun sandwiches. With a little innovation, one can make healthier sandwiches with less bread or with no bread at all. An open-faced sandwich will need only one slice of bread, instead of the usual two. Get rid of the bun in a hamburger and replace it with lettuce. Remove the insides of a bagel and leave just the crunchy crust. Or ask your baker to slice your ordered loaf thinly.
Get seedy and nutty. There are types of bread available that are packed with seeds and nuts. If found in whole wheat bread, one would have a great combination of healthy nutrition. The fiber will keep one feeling full for longer, the seeds and nuts have low glycemic indices and will prevent fluctuations in the blood sugar levels, the fiber, seeds, and nuts will curb the over-indulging in food and almonds, chia, walnuts, sunflower, and pumpkin seeds will add a nice texture to the bread.