Bread; getting a bad rapt – which bread to choose?

There is a lot of conflicting information out there regarding what you ‘should’ and ‘shouldn’t’ be eating, and bread often gets a bad rapt in the middle of it all!

As a dietitian, one of the more common questions I get asked is; ‘what bread is the healthiest?’ Or another common question is; ‘Should I even be eating bread?’

Bread contains a number of key essential nutrients, a major one being Carbohydrates.

Carbohydrates are our body’s main source of energy, as they get digested and broken down into glucose, which is used by our muscles as the energy source.

Different types of bread contain different types of carbohydrates, which are broken down at different rates and therefore release energy at different rates.

The term to describe how quickly or slowly this happens is called the Glycaemic Index (GI), which is the rate at which carbohydrates affect our blood glucose (or sugar) levels.

High GI carbohydrates are digested quickly & therefore increase our blood glucose levels more quickly, often resulting in a spike, which then drops off significantly not long after eating. These types of carbohydrates should be consumed less often, as they do not assist in keeping your blood glucose levels stable, and the energy provided by these is used up quickly, leaving us feeling low in energy and hungry again not long after eating such foods.

Low GI carbohydrates, however, are digested much slower and increase our blood glucose levels more slowly, at a steady rate, thus assisting in stabilizing our blood glucose levels.  These are the preferred choice of carbohydrates, and provide us with longer lasting, more sustained energy. The more stabilized our blood glucose levels are, the more stable our energy levels are, as well as our appetite, with Low GI carbohydrates keeping us fuller for longer.

Now how does this relate to the types of bread?

To put it simply, a Low GI choice is Wholegrain or Multigrain bread.

High GI; White bread (and even Wholemeal bread is classed on the higher end, but is Lower then White bread)

And this is due to the way in which they are processed.

Other Low GI options include your Pumpernickel bread & Traditional sourdough, and any seeded varieties of Multigrain breads are included.

Additional nutrients in Bread

Additionally, Multigrain bread is higher in fibre, which assists with slowing down the digestion process, which results in us feeling fuller for longer, more satisfied, & therefore less likely to overeat. Fibre is also essential for keeping our bowels healthy & regular, reducing the risk of bowel disease & cancer.

Bread also contains a number of micronutrients, such as your B group vitamins (folate, niacin and thiamin), and also various minerals.

To sum it up

If you have the option, go for the multigrain/ wholegrain varieties over the white varieties. Bread can be included as part of a healthy, balanced diet and can provide you with a number of essential nutrients.

Add some nutritious toppings or fillings and you are set to go.

For Toppings or Fillings try incorporate a protein (such as low fat cheese, eggs, lean meat), lots of salad or vegetables, and a healthy fat (such as avocado, nut butter, tahini).

For further ideas on how to incorporate Low GI foods, or bread into your diet, or for any other questions you may have, why not ask one of our dietitians here at Discover Health. We would be happy to help in any way! J