Yep that’s right, today we’re discussing one of the most controversial food groups out there – BREAD!
Bread has been the subject of so many diet conversations, especially from the ‘Carbs are Evil’ brigade who think all bread is a diet buster. But is it? Can turkey and cheese on Rye be all that bad? Does Wonder bread live up to its name? And are the whole-wheat varieties really better options? Let’s take a look…
There’s a huge variety of bread products on the market (muffins, bagels, loaves) but they all share similar ingredients and as such, the nutrient profiles don’t differ all that much. All breads contain some vitamins and minerals like Thiamine and Folate, and depending on the brand are generally low in sodium, cholesterol and fat. Although you must read the labels as levels vary greatly depending on which bread you chose.
Of course there are many varieties of bread available to the health and calorie conscious consumer making bread much more acceptable on weight loss plans. Even bagels come in slimmed down versions with a fraction of the calories then their fatter selves. Plus you’ll find many of these options also contain extra protein, healthy fats, and fiber for added health benefits.
Truth be told, I’m a white flour products hater!
I subscribe to the point of view that a lot of bread is just garbage food, as it provides next to no nutrient value and any pros are superseded by the excessive amount of calories and sugar found in most traditional varieties. Bagels are just junk, with some deli versions weighing in at 500 calories! And that’s before the butter, cream cheese or whatever else you add. That’s almost the equivalent of a chicken Parmesan sandwich!
Some whole wheat varieties in your grocery store can contain up to 150 calories per slice, meaning you’ve got 300 calories (mainly made up of carbs) even before you add filling. Wheat does contain more vitamins B and E, and minerals such as magnesium and chromium in neglible amounts. But really who eats bread for nutrition? If your nutrition is sound to begin with, you don’t need bread for the little nutrients it provides. For me this is the same as people saying that they eat chocolate for the antioxidant properties it contains, yeah right!
Plus we smother bread in butter, fry it with eggs for breakfast, soak it in pudding and add liquor to make fattening desserts. Because most breads are calorie dense, the ease at which most people overeat carbohydrates and calories is incredible.
As I’ve said before, the market has come a long way and now provides terrific alternatives to traditional breads and bread related products. You can now find flourless, gluten free and lower calorie breads that taste great. One in particular that I eat regularly is Ezekiel bread as it’s high in protein and fiber, low in carbohydrates, half the calories of traditional bread and it tastes great. Also flatbreads, wraps, and most flour-based products are available in more calorie appropriate versions.
Unfortunately most people continue to eat calorie laden, sugar filled breads like Classic Wonder Bread. Most people don’t realize that most white breads are made from refined flour with all the fiber removed, making one slice the nutritional equivalent of 4 tablespoons of sugar! Yeah, it’s a ‘Wonder’ – a wonder you don’t go into a diabetic coma from eating it.
As the Twinkie Diet recently proved, weight loss and weight gain is all about total calories consumed. If you can find healthier options that have less calories and are more nutritious, that means you can eat more and still lose or maintain weight. Chose your calories wisely and you will feel much more satisfied. I eat two eggs, with toasted Ezekiel bread, or a high protein wrap almost every day. Trying to eliminate bread from your diet is unlikely, and now that you know what to look for you don’t need to. I must tell you that in my experience everyone that I have ever known to reduce their bread intake and or switch to healthier versions has reported feeling better and losing weight.
What do you think? Do you have a different opinion on bread? I’d love to hear it.
Taste It Or Waste It:
I say… Taste It (but make sure you pick the right varieties!)