In their desire to eat healthy, many people have lumped all breads and grains together and given them something of a negative reputation, which they do not deserve. This post will touch on the differences between the breads and grains you should be eating and those you should minimize.
Remember, you can eat anything you like in moderation.
We won’t tell you not to eat something, but we will suggest reducing your intake. We set ourselves up for failure when we say that we won’t eat something, because then we tend to crave it. Have a little, not a lot. Have one slice of bread instead of three, or one cup of grains instead of two. Sensible is the way to go.
Go for brown instead of white, and eat as much whole grain bread as possible.
In general, brown grains and rice are nutritionally superior. White bread and white rice have been processed, meaning they have lost some of their nutrients and fiber. The closer you can stay to the grain as it appears in nature, the better.
Whole-grain bread is better than wheat, which is better than white. To know if you have whole-grain bread, the first ingredient will contain the word whole. Sometimes wheat bread isn’t truly whole wheat—it’s mostly white bread with enough wheat added to change its color. Look at what kind of flour is used in the bread. Wild rice is healthier than brown rice, which is healthier than white.
A note about seeded breads: sometimes these are nothing more than white bread with seeds, so read the label to see which type of flour is used. And don’t let the words unbleached or enriched fool you, as they often mean processed. The key word is whole.
Check fiber content.
Bread should have at least 3 grams of fiber per slice. Less fiber means you’re not eating whole-grain bread.
Often, it’s not the grain that’s the issue, but the sweeteners, additives, and preservatives that have been added to the finished product. Many companies add high fructose corn syrup or hydrogenated oils and vegetable shortening (trans fats) to baked goods, so read your labels. Some bakers now avoid using those harmful chemicals in all their products.
It’s not enough for the label to say 0 trans fats, as a food can have a small amount of trans fats and claim to be trans fat free. You need to read labels.
Eat bread with proteins and fats.
As bread is a carbohydrate, it can raise your blood sugar. Eating bread with proteins and fats, especially if you choose white bread, can somewhat blunt the rise in blood sugar. Many margarines contain trans fats, so be careful what you spread on the bread.
Have you been participating in breast cancer awareness activities this month? If so, what did you do?