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need-to-know info: the real truth ABOUT BREAD

Nikki Yazxhi

need-to-know info:  the real truth ABOUT BREAD


it’s thought to be fattening, cause bloating and contain preservatives and sugar, when it’s not the case at all

A new campaign has just launched called A Grain Of Truth to help debunk all these myths {above} that have seemed to escalate and gathered fuel over time. {Which is great, because we can’t live without our bread!}
So, to set everything straight, we chatted to nutritionist, Dr Joanna McMillan to get her expert opinion and find out the ‘whole’ truth about bread. You may be surprised, we were a little…

1. Does bread make you fat?

No. Overeating any food contributes to making you fat! We have eaten bread since at least biblical times, yet have gotten fat really only in the last 50 years. To blame bread just doesn’t make sense. The bottom line is that over a third of the average Australian’s energy (in the last nutrition survey) came from what we call discretionary foods – that is those foods that give us little or no nutrition, but do give us kilojoules. Think cakes, biscuits, soft drinks, alcohol, confectionary etc. The first focus should be on cutting down on these foods.

2. Does bread contain any nutritional value?

Absolutely! Bread provides protein – something most people don’t realise. 2 slices provides about 9g of protein. Those made from wholegrain flour also have around 6.5g of fibre. Bread also has a whole bunch of vitamins and minerals. It is especially rich in thiamin and niacin (both B group vitamins involved in energy production), and good for magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, iron and folate. It has significant levels of calcium, riboflavin and vitamin E. It even has small amounts of iodine – low in Australian diets and that is coming from iodised salt being used in production.

3. Is white bread harder to digest than others?

No. White bread is very easily digested. Of course that does mean that the carbohydrates can enter the bloodstream much more quickly, giving many white breads a high GI. Fortunately for those people (or kids) who love white bread and just won’t have wholegrain breads, there are a whole bunch of white breads on the market with added fibre and with lower GI values.

4. Why does eating white bread sometimes make you feel bloated?

The first question is, does it really? There are lots of potential reasons for bloating and it’s not always easy to identify what your problem is. Bread absorbs water in your gut and so if you eat too much, and it then swells in your tummy then of course you then feel bloated.
A small number of people have intolerances to wheat or to gluten – and for them eating any type of bread may cause bloating. For them using a wheat free or gluten bread is a solution. For others it may be how the bread is consumed. A doorstop sandwich like a focaccia with a rich mayo based filling might well be causing bloating because the fat slows down stomach emptying – a full stomach for too long can feel yuck. Finally if people are eating white bread as part of a diet that is low in fibre overall, then they may not have the right bugs in their system – this in turn can contribute to bloating, particularly if they are regularly constipated.

4. Does white bread contain sugar?

Not in Australia. Sugar is often added to bread in the US, but not to any bread (except pastry and sweet style breads) in Australia.

5. How much bread should you eat each day?

There is no strict rule on this as the guidelines are for overall grain intake. For adults this is 6 serves a day, with a recommendation to choose mostly wholegrains. A serve is 1 slice of bread .. but of course you are not intended to choose all bread choices! So you might have 2 slices of bread, and then 4 serves from things like brown rice, quinoa, grainy crispbreads, muesli or oats etc.

6. In your opinion, what’s the best bread to eat?

Without doubt a wholegrain bread with visible cracked grains present. I also love to look for sourdough, a selection of different grains (rye, ancient grains etc) and words like ‘stoneground’. But ultimately it’s the overall meal that makes or breaks it nutritionally – bread is rarely eaten alone and so again taking that holistic view is important.
Stay tuned for some of our fave ‘toast toppers’
and in the meantime, for more information & recipes, visit agrainoftruth.com.au
Dr Joanna McMillan PhD is a qualified nutritionist, author & health presenter. Founder of Dr Joanna & Get Lean. TODAY show nutritionist & regular media contributor. To connect with her:
visit: drjoanna.com.au
facebook: facebook.com/drjoannamcmillan
twitter: @joannanutrition
instagram: instagram.com/drjoannamcmillan


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