Baffled by bread?

We all love a slice of bread, but with so many types and brands out there, and a whole lot of nutritional myths to go with them, it can all be a bit confusing. There's wholemeal, white, sourdough, grain - just to name a few. But what does it all mean, and which one is actually better for you?

When it comes to eating bread ask yourself three things: What benefit will this have on my health? Will this keep me full until my next meal? And how much should I be eating? If you have diabetes you also need to ask yourself: How will this affect my blood glucose levels?

But this still doesn't tell you which type of bread is best for you. Well Diabetes Queensland has done the hard work for you.

*White bread: *

We all grew up eating it and it's probably one of the most popular items at your supermarket - but when it comes to nutritional value, you can generally do a lot better than your average slice of white bread. It doesn't have the same amount of fibre or provide you with the same sustained energy of other low GI breads but brands with added fibre and low GI varieties are also available.

* Wholemeal bread: *

This is where things start to get tricky because not all brown breads are created equally. Bran and wheat-germ is removed during the baking process of most packaged wholemeal breads. While this removes some of its nutritional value, it will still contain more fibre than white bread. To get the most nutrition out of your wholemeal bread try and find a loaf that actually contains wholemeal flour.

* Multi-grain bread:*

In theory multigrain bread sounds better for your health, but did you know 'multigrain' is simply white bread with multiple types of grain in the loaf? But the number of grains in a loaf of bread isn't that important if the grains in the bread are refined and have had the bran and wheat-germ removed. Try to buy multigrain loaves that are 100 per cent wholegrain and not refined. This being said - multigrain bread is still a step up from white bread because it is low GI.

Wholegrain bread:

While multigrain bread is white bread with grains mixed in, wholegrain has grains (and often seeds) added to wholemeal flour for extra nutritional value and is low GI. Wholegrain breads (including rye and sourdough varieties) have up to four times the fibre of white breads, making them one of the most nutritional options.

Flat breads/wraps:

These are made without added yeast and the nutritional value depends on the type of flour used. Despite the growing popularity of bread alternatives like flat breads, it seems people can be misled when it comes to thinking that these are a better nutritional option. In fact, some wraps contain more carbohydrates than four regular slices of bread.

* Sourdough bread:*

Sourdough bread rises for up to 18 hours, giving it more flavour but it is also low GI due to the acid produced by a sourdough starter. Like all breads, vitamins, minerals and fibre levels vary depending on the flour used - but if you can find it, wholegrain sourdough is one of your best bread options.

Written by:

Diabetes QLD