I often see how unsure people are when standing in the bread aisle. It’s no wonder with over twenty bread varieties and more than 270 different products—white, brown, country, multigrain, fat free, sugar free, 8, 9, 10, 12, 14 grain, etc.
Nutrition labels remain the best way to compare products. The first important thing to check is the serving size to make sure you’re comparing apples with apples. Then look at the list of ingredients: bread with solid nutritional value should include integral or whole grain flour to ensure it provides a significant source of vitamins, minerals and fibre.
Integral flour is made from the entire grain: the bran, germ and endosperm. Each of these parts is unique. The bran is high in fiber, the germ, filled with vitamins and minerals, and the endosperm, carbohydrates and protein.
There are many names out there: whole wheat with wheat germ, stone ground whole grain, or even sprouted whole grain.
Whole wheat flour
Whole wheat flour contains 95% of the grain. Since the germ has a shorter shelf life, some manufacturers prefer to remove it so the bread can be preserved longer.
Bread can be made from several types of grains, but that doesn’t mean the whole grain is included. All grains can be refined, so stay vigilant!
One slice of bread should ideally provide 2 g of fibre. Once again, keep an eye on serving size. The bigger it is, the more fibre it should contain.
New sources of fibre
Nutrition labels now include words such as inulin fibre (extracted from chicory root), oat hull fibre, and pea fibre. These are considered “functional” types of fibre and are the product of new technology that can extract various sources of fibre from foods that do not normally provide traditional dietary fibre. They act differently and can provide health benefits that traditional fibre doesn’t. In the near future, you’ll probably start to see functional fibre recommendations!
In the end, as with any product we add to our diet, taste remains an essential part of the equation. The joy of eating is the ultimate goal! There are so many breads out there that are good for you and delicious, too!
Does your favourite bread make the grade?
Rachelle Béry’s team of dieticians