Good advice by Dr. harold – Let’s discuss the good and the bad of bread
Written by Dr. harold Gunatillake FRCS (UK), MBBS (Cey), AM (Sing), FICS (US), FIACS (US)
“Man does not live by bread alone, even resliced bread.”
Bread is made from wheat flour, salt, yeast, oil, refined sugar, preservatives and white bread is enriched with some nutrients.
High intake of carbohydrate as in white bread can lead to weight gain, and a risk for diabetes, heart disease and other lifestyle chronic diseases.
Therefore, diabetics are recommended bread baked with unprocessed wholemeal wheat and limited to two slices.
The various types of bread made in different ways are addictive to the taste buds and the desire to eat another slice is tempting. Most dieticians recommend two slices and no more.
White bread is highly processed and easily digested but has little nutritional value. White bread does more harm by adding excess calories and few nutrients.
Unprocessed wheat flour is used to bake brown bread. They are digested and absorbed slowly causing no sugar spikes in your blood, unlike the processed white bread and provide vitamin B, fibre and minerals.
Brown bread is not always baked from unprocessed whole grain. In Sri Lanka people buy brown bread assuming to be more healthy than white bread and highly priced.
Molasses added to the white bread quite common in Sri Lankan bakeries, gives a brown colour and reading the ingredient list when printed, is important.
“Multigrain” bread isn’t whole meal. Always buy bread where the label states whole meal, which means that whole wheat grain is used, and the label should be read before purchasing. Whole meal bread has also high fibre and is removed in refined white bread.
You need to differentiate between “Enriched” bread and whole meal bread. Enriched means that vitamin B and iron are added back after processing and refining. Fibre may not be added back to enriched bread.
The label enrich is found on processed white bread made of refined grains. Refining is a process which makes the bread light, airy and gives it a longer shelf life. This is the reason the bread you purchase in your supermarket give a longer expiry date and could be kept on their shelves for a longer period. You need to check on the expiry date before purchasing the bread.
Storing bread in the fridge as some do will make it go stale quicker.
If you leave it exposed to the air, it will stay fresh for 2 to 4 days
If you need to store bread any longer than 2- 4 days, it is best to put in the freezer when it could be fresh for 2 to 3 months.
If you see green or black fuzzy spots on the slice of bread, it is advisable not to eat and better toss out the whole loaf.
The blue grey green fuzzy mould is okay because that fungus is the same fungus that produces penicillin.
When you eat bread, you eat lot of salt, too. A slice of wheat bread has about 147mg sodium when the daily requirement is less than 2.300 mg per day as recommended for the Americans
Eating bread in all three meals can raise blood pressure and put you at risk of heart disease and stroke.
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. Some people are intolerant to gluten and cause gastro-intestinal upsets, like bloating, diarrhea and stomach pain. They should avoid bread made with wheat flour and request for gluten-free breads made with white or brown rice flours and starches like arrowroot, potato and tapioca.
To lose weight.
Many people who don’t eat bread or on ketogenic diet lose much weight. You could live on foods without eating bread, and still you crave for it limit to two slices a day- brown or white.
Bread has little nutritional value, but it is delicious, and the tendency is to eat more.
Conclusion: Stick to eating wholemeal bread, and limit to two slices.
Some reference to food & recipes WebMD