Bread; one of the most widely consumed food in the world dates back to atleast 30,000 years. In fact, the first bread was made in Europe from grain-paste, roasted and ground cereal grains and water. Since then, with the help of technology and science, there have been a lot of improvements in texture, taste, content and various other aspects of bread.
However, as we may know already at this point, with the good comes the bad and so it is very important that we understand what the different varieties of bread (even the ‘healthy’ ones) are composed of and what’s precisely in them. Thus, a quick and dirty summary for you below:
General rules of thumb:
- Fewer the ingredients, better the bread
- Faster the expiry, better the bread
- Fresher the bread (a bakery which makes a fresh batch daily), better the nutrient availability
- Fewer preservatives and/or words you don’t recognize in the ingredient list, better the bread
Individual summary of some common breads as below:
- Made from refined wheat flour=more processed.
- Does not contain bran and germ=less fiber.
- Contains several different types of grains and seeds. However, this does not necessarily make it healthy/nutrient-rich
- Read the fine print (the nutrition facts panel and ingredient list) and make sure those grains are WHOLE grains and that the bread has at least 3 grams of fiberper slice. Be smart here and don’t get duped by smart marketing strategies
- Brown in appearance does not mean that it is made with whole wheat. Again, it is important for you to check the ingredients and the nutritional value of the bread before you purchase it
- Authentic brown bread should indicate that it is manufactured withwhole grain
- Not a good bread if you see the words ‘enriched flour’, ‘hydrogenated oil’or ‘caramel’
- Again, read the label to make sure it’s made from whole grain
- Manufacturer’s will label a bread “wheat” but may only use part of the grain to make the bread. Look for the words“100% whole wheat”in the ingredient list
- Also check the fiber content (at least 3 grams per slice)
Conclusively, be vigilent, attentive and read the ingredient list before purchasing anything. Also, note that absolutely NOTHING can beat our preservative-free, fresh, nutrient-rich, lovely, hot, homemade rotis, chapatis, parathas and phulkas. Three ingredients to use in the making but a copious array of micronutrients and ample love straight from the kitchen onto your plate. Now that’s what’s missing in your bread.