Many of us hear the word ‘bread’ and immediately recoil in horror - but could eating it actually help you slim?
Whilst the more-ish flavour of a thick slice of white loaf (opens in new tab) is like a party for our tatsebuds, we’re often lead to believe that this wheaty carb is a burden for our waistline.
However, you may just be mistaken! Homemade bread isn’t just full of nutrients, but it also has planet friendly aspects too.
Registered Dietitian, Juliette Kellow, shares her advice and nutritional facts that might change your mind about bread.
1. It’s low in fat
‘Most bread is low in fat (opens in new tab) – it’s the butter or spread we add to it that boosts fat intake’, says Juliette. ‘Health guidelines in the UK recommend we have no more than 70g total fat and 20g saturated fat in our diet each day. A slice of bread contains around 1g fat and around 0.2g saturates, so contributes very little to this.’
2. It’s a fibre provider
We’re talking about the wholemeal varieties here. And with fibre (opens in new tab) comes a hit of health for our digestive system. ‘Good intakes of fibre are also linked with a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and bowel cancer’, reveals Juliette. Plus, fibre helps to keep us full, meaning we feel less hungry, helping us to manage our weight a little better. Juliette explains that just one slice of wholemeal bread provides almost a tenth of our daily needs for fibre.
3. It provides iron
With the movement towards plant-based diets (opens in new tab) becoming stronger, many of us are eating less red meat, one of the main sources of iron in our diets (opens in new tab). ‘It’s good news, then, that white flour is fortified with iron. This makes bread an important source of iron, especially for teenage girls and young women, many of whom have very low intakes and so are at risk of a potential deficiency,’ says Juliette, adding; ‘One slice of white bread contributes around 4% of our daily needs for iron, while one slice of wholemeal bread contributes 7% of our daily needs.’
4. It gives us energy!
And it’s all thanks to those mighty B vitamins! ‘Most varieties of bread provide thiamin (vitamin B1) and niacin (vitamin B3), which are both important for releasing energy from food and helping to keep the nervous system functioning well,’ says Juliette. It’s not just energy that these B vits provide; thiamin is also vital for the heart to function normally, while niacin helps to reduce tiredness and fatigue.
5. Homemade bread uses less plastic packaging
It’s planet friendly too! Juliette says: ‘Most shop-bought bread comes in a plastic bag and this is potentially bad news for the environment as many recycling centres don’t have facilities to accept them. While the ingredients you use to make your own bread still comes with packaging, the main component – flour – comes in a recyclable paper bag.’
6. Home baking can reduce food wastage
Given that the UK throws away 5 million tonnes of edible food each year (enough to fill 40 million wheelie bins, or 100 Albert Halls), it makes sense that we’re hot on the hells of food waste (opens in new tab). ‘Bread is one of the largest food groups to be thrown away, despite the waste often being unavoidable,’ says Juliette. ‘Baking your own loaves means you can create exactly the amount you desire, without needing to waste a single slice.’
7. It can boost our calcium intake
It’s not just diary products that can give us a calcium boost. Juliette reveals that white flour is actually fortified with calcium. ‘In fact, just one slice of white bread provides 8 per cent of our daily needs for calcium. Meanwhile, even though wholemeal flour isn’t fortified with this nutrient, one slice of wholemeal bread still provides 5 per cent of our daily calcium needs.’
Panasonic is supporting Love Food Hate Waste to help encourage people to reduce food wastage. For recipe inspiration visit theideaskitchen.co.uk/ (opens in new tab)
Freelance writer Lucy Gornall is the former health and fitness editor for various women’s magazines including Woman&Home Feel Good You. She has previously written for titles including Now, Look and Cosmopolitan, Woman, Woman's Own, Woman's Weekly and Chat. She lives and breathes all things fitness.
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