A Comprehensive Guide to Bread – The Healthy and the Not So Healthy
Contrary to what you may have heard or have been lead to believe, white bread is actually a very unhealthy and unwholesome part of your daily “balanced” diet. This is not speculation, it is a scientifically proven fact and a hard truth to swallow, especially since bread – specifically white bread – is one of the most popular foods in the US and many other parts of the world.
The Process of Creating White Bread
To create this white bread the manufacturers have to literally remove virtually all of the fiber and other nutrients from the wheat grain. Furthermore, it is then subjected to bleaching techniques that utilize compounds such as organic benzoyl peroxide and toxic chlorine dioxide. If this was not enough, the now overly ‘refined’ product is further treated with composite chemicals, such as: ammonium chloride and azocarbonamide..
After all this is done, the now chemically and nutritionally unrecognizable flour is now deemed to be satisfactory enough to be manufactured into the white bread that we are so familiar with. In actual fact, this wheat grain is not even treated as such by our bodies; it is instead handled in the same manner as run-of-the-mill table sugar.
Carbohydrates that have been refined – such as white bread – are adverse, since consuming large amounts of them stimulates the subsequent production of excessive amounts of insulin. In this scenario, insulin transports any and all of the sugars that had just been swiftly absorbed out of the circulatory system; because if by some means they do remain within your body they pose a serious health risk. They are then changed into glycogen and subsequently into triglycerides to facilitate easy storage in fat cells.
While it is obviously true that some fats that are consumed will also be stored, it is really white bread and similarly other foods that are considered to be “high glycemic” that actually produce the most optimum circumstances for weight gain via fat storage.
Possibly the most underhanded and laughable thing that these producers of white bread will do is try to place a handful of essential compounds – vitamins, minerals, etc. – back into the bread. It is ironic because these “vitamins and minerals” are actually lab created (i.e. synthetic) and as a result, most individuals cannot fully utilize them in their bodies. If this was not enough – and it really seems as if way too much has been done to a simple slice of bread – they then have the gall to imply (or outright claim) that their white bread is in fact “enriched” or “fortified”. While they simply neglect or ‘forget’ to mention the chemical beating that the bread before you has undergone.
White Vs Brown
Most, if not all, of the white bread that is manufactured from wheat flour that has been refined actually give negligible benefits to your health and body. It is so harmful, that it not only needs a greater amount of enzymes to break down, it also needs more nutrients from other foods (since it has virtually none) to fuel these processes as well. All of these factors combined only reinforce white bread’s status as one of the principal foods in your pantry that causes weight gain.
Now after hearing all of this you are most likely seriously thinking about running down to your local supermarket to make the seemingly sensible shift from white bread to brown bread. Sadly this is not a much better recourse since greedy manufacturing tricks and ploys have enforced their hold on a good deal of the ‘brown’ bread that we see today. True to their name, these breads are little more than – surprise, surprise – the same white bread that we previously discussed with the added bonus of a latent dose of caramel or brown coloring. So much for being healthier, right?
So now you might be saying, “Well at least I can feel safe with my multigrain and wholemeal breads.” Multigrain bread is just the same refined wheat flour with a number of softened grains strewn throughout; while wholemeal bread is simply the same white bread that has been endowed with a little wheat germ that has been chemically treated.
The sad truth is that most of the various types of bread that we see on our shelves from these companies are actually just the same refined wheat flour template with minor inconsequential deviations here and there. Whether it be a dash of coloring or some other trivial addition, underneath it all it is still the same overly processed bread.
Now enough of the negatives – hope you haven’t been scared away – if you would still like to get your daily allowance of bread but maintain proper health and lose weight as well, you can empty your cupboards of all of what we have just gone through and look towards the future. What should you include in your future diet you may ask? Here are some more beneficial choices.
But Wait Is Whole Wheat Bad Too?
If you can manage to locate real whole wheat bread that is rich in fiber and not some cheap imitation – see my above rant on “brown” bread – then by all means it should be superior to refined wheat bread. The beneficial bran and wheat germ can still be found in whole wheat bread and with any luck the brand that you choose to buy has not be subjected to detrimental processing and has not been bombarded with various harmful additives.
With all of that said, it is still being questioned whether or not whole wheat bread is really as beneficial as it seems. The real issue it seems is the actual wheat that is used to manufacture the bread.
In a country that is so dominated and in love with processed wheat bread simultaneously, it is a little more than a walk in the park to locate rye bread at the local supermarket. However, if you do chose to go the extra mile and seek out rye bread you will undoubtedly realize that it is not only less refined but also healthier and better for weight loss. Even whole wheat bread pales in comparison to the amount of beneficial fiber that rye bread has to offer and it is also much more filling as well.
Studies have shown that over the course of just a three month period, participants were at 40% less risk of emergent diabetic conditions. Not only that, individuals who were already diabetic exhibited far less symptoms and were much healthier (and happier) overall. The main reason for this was highlighted by the study to be the less significant influence that rye bread had on blood sugar levels.
While spelt grain does share some similarities with its distant relative wheat, they should not be placed in the same boat. Spelt grain not only has a pleasantly nutty flavor that many people (myself included) find heavenly, it also has a generally healthier and nutritionally superior array of nutrients.
To echo what was said before about rye bread; spelt bread is a better source of fiber – both in quantity and quality – when compared to good old wheat bread. As an added bonus, spelt bread is also a good source of essential vitamins such as thiamine, niacin and folate; as well as beneficial minerals like copper, phosphorus and manganese.
For people who find it hard to kick their wheat bread addiction, spelt bread might just be the answer to their problems since it is one of the alternatives that is most analogous to it in the way it tastes and feels.
If while shopping for healthier alternatives you happen upon breads that are classed as being “wheat-free”, you should know that these are most likely simply an amalgam of healthy grains like oats and barley with possibly even some quinoa and amaranth mixed in. Still, it is always safe to be even a little bit skeptical and scrutinize these breads to make sure that there are little to no harmful additives.
All things considered, this type of bread has been proven to be a good choice for individuals who are looking to lose some weight, increase their overall energy and foster the improvement of their health.
Less Bread Could Be the Answer
Even though you have been provided with a few reasonably healthier alternatives to the white bread that you have been eating, it is also worth noting that at times the best thing to realize is that “less is more”. Yes, spelt and rye are very healthy; however, as with all parts of a balanced diet, moderation is key. All breads serve our bodies and health better when we consume them during the earlier half of the day and even then, consumption should not be overly frequent.
I hope you have found this article useful and informative. Make healthier choices now when buying bread and you will see and feel the benefits.