BY: Elizda Hanekom / DATE: April 2019
DATE OF NEXT REVIEW: April 2023
Nothing says home more than the smell of bread, wouldn’t you agree? Growing up bread made up many memorable meals for me. School lunchboxes always included some sort of sandwich and bread always made an appearance at birthday parties or school sporting events. Bread is also the perfect accompaniment when hosting friends and families. Think “braai broodjie” or garlic loaves at social gatherings. You can literally have bread anytime of the day- some families even use it in desserts such as bread pudding. Yet, there is scepticism around the nutritional benefits of bread. Is bread healthy? Can eating bread make me fat? Let’s take a closer look.
The history of bread
Bread, in all its various shapes and forms, is the most widely consumed food in the world. Not only is it an important source of carbohydrates, it’s also transportable and compact. This helps to explain why it has been a vital part of our diet for thousands of years. In fact, recent research has showed that humans started baking bread at least 30,000 years ago1,2.
Prehistoric man had already started mixing water and grains to make gruel, so it was a small step to start cooking this mixture into a solid form by frying it on stones1. Humanity then went from cooking prehistoric flatbreads to fluffy, grocery loafs following three primary innovations namely leavening, refined grains and mechanized slicing1. The bread aisle has so many options now and we as consumers have the difficult task of making sure we choose the right bread options for our families.
Is bread healthy?
Breads are made from different cereal grains namely wheat, rye and oats. There are various others too. Its nutritional content is therefore largely dependant on the content of the grains2. It is also dependant on the type of flour used such as white or wholemeal flour and whether other ingredients have been added like fats or seeds2,3. More than half of our daily energy requirements should come from carbohydrates, therefore bread together with other starches make up a major component of a healthy diet. Bread also contains protein and small amounts of fats unless additional fats are added during the production period. Cereal grains like those found in bread are rich in dietary fibre and provide essential micronutrients, including vitamins and minerals2,3.
Some healthy tips when choosing bread
By choosing the right type of breads and eating it at the correct portions, bread can most certainly be included as part of a healthy, balanced diet. So, when standing in the bread section next, make sure you choose:
- Brown or whole-wheat options that are high in fibre- this is great for everyday digestive health.
- Look out for claims that say Low GI – this means that the bread will provide you with slow-sustained energy, meaning you will be more productive, and this will also help keep you fuller for longer.
- High in protein claim, research has shown that protein keeps you fuller for longer and helps decrease appetite.
- Breads containing added vitamins, minerals. If it contains omega-3 that’s an added win.
Can bread make me fat?
A common belief is that carbohydrates or starchy foods, including bread, cause weight gain. This belief stems from the increasingly popularity of diets that are low in carbohydrates and high in protein as well as all the various types of banting diets. Most research has shown that these diets are only successful for short-term weight loss3. However, the weight loss is from the overall reduction in energy intake, rather than the avoidance of carbohydrates per se. So, instead of cutting out carbohydrates, you should look at choosing the right carbohydrates (low GI, high fibre), eating the correct portions and perhaps making a few other alterations.
When looking at protein, studies have also shown that a diet high in protein assists with weight management by regulating certain hormones that increases levels of satiety3-5. Satiety is the feeling of fullness and the suppression of hunger for a period, after a meal is ingested. Feelings of satiety can influence how much and how soon we eat next. Protein also helps reduce cravings and lowers the GI of foods4. So, when trying to watch your waistline look out for breads that are high in protein instead of just cutting out bread for good.
WHERE DOES FUTURELIFE® FIT IN?
FUTURELIFE®, a functional food company has launched an exciting new range of breads to suit every consumer’s needs. This is South Africa’s first and only NON-GMO, vegan friendly range of breads, where you have various options:
- FUTURELIFE® High Protein Brown Bread
- This high Protein Bread is Low GI, High in Fibre and contains quality grains in a unique formulation that is a source of Omega-3.
- FUTURELIFE® High Protein Oats & Honey Flavoured Brown Bread
- This Low GI bread combines whole oat grains with the goodness of our NON-GMO ingredients, scientifically formulated to be High in Protein and Fibre. With a touch of honey flavour, this bread is wholesome and delicious.
- FUTURELIFE® High Protein Ancient Grain Brown Bread
- This bread is Low GI, High in Fibre, and nutritionally dense, containing the goodness from a carefully selected blend of 3 ancient grains, 2 seeds and rolled oats all in a delicious, High Protein, NON-GMO brown bread.
So, when doubting bread next remember that a healthy diet is dependent on numerous daily choices. Making nutritious bread choices is only one part of following a healthy lifestyle. By choosing FUTURELIFE® High Protein Breads you have made the smart choice for yourself and your family as everything in life has changed, why hasn’t your bread?
- Lohman, S. (2018, August 22). History. Retrieved from A Brief History of Bread: https://www.history.com/news/a-brief-history-of-bread
- Eufic. (2014, December 8). Retrieved from Bread: A nutritious staple: https://www.eufic.org/en/healthy-living/article/bread-a-nutritious-staple
- Mahan, L., Escott-Stump, S., & Raymond, J. (2012). Krause’s Food & the Nutrition Care Process 13th Edition.
- British Nutrition Foundation. (n.d.). Retrieved from Understanding satiety: feeling full after a meal: https://www.nutrition.org.uk/healthyliving/fuller/understanding-satiety-feeling-full-after-a-meal.html?limitstart=0
- Gunnars, K. (2017, May 29). Healthline. Retrieved from How Protein Can Help You Lose Weight Naturally: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-protein-can-help-you-lose-weight#section8