Sports Nutritionist Anita Bean is setting the record straight on carbohydrates and why we should be enjoying bread as part of a balanced diet.
Carbs are not bad for you
Carbohydrate provides a fuel source for every cell in the bodyand is the preferred fuel for the brain, nervous system and heart, which use about 130g daily. Almost all types of activities rely on carbohydrate for energy: walking, running, cycling, playing football.
Bread is not high-in-sugar
A typical loaf of sliced bread is not made with added sugar, but rather contains sugars that are naturally present in wheat flour or occur during the baking process, so the sugar content of the product is low. Although some types of wholemeal bread may contain a small amount of added sugar to balance the flavours, all bread easily meets the definition for a low sugar food in the UK (5g of sugar per 100g.)
Carbs give us energy
Carbohydrate represents the body’s main energy supply and, as a rule of thumb, the more active you are, the more carbohydrate you will burn. Bread is a source of carbohydrate as well as fibre, B vitamins, iron and calcium, so is a healthy food to include in a balanced diet.
Eating bread or toast will not make you put on weight (in fact no carbs will)
There’s no single food or nutrient that will make you put on weight – it’s eating excess calories that makes you gain weight. For most people, low carb diet plans are just not practical and difficult to sustain. Eating a wide variety of foods from all food groups in appropriate amounts as well as taking regular physical activity that you enjoy is key.
Bread will not make you bloat
Bloating can often be attributed to a number of lifestyle factors rather than to eating bread. A review by The British Nutrition Foundation found no link between regular consumption of bread and an increase in gastrointestinal discomfort in people. A study by the Grain Information Service found that poor diet, irregular eating, eating too quickly, hormonal fluctuations, a sudden increase in fibre consumption, stress, eating spicy foods, drinking fizzy drinks and recent weight gain can all result in bloating.
Sliced bread is just as nutritious as artisan bread
There is no need to invest in fancy bread making equipment. Sliced bread offers a quick, easy and value for money solution than buying artisan loaves from a bakery. There is no difference between nutritional values of bread, regardless of the way in which it is made. The main ingredients used to make packaged bread, are no different – flour, water, yeast and a little salt. In fact, unlike artisan loaves from the bakery, all packaged sliced loaves must display their nutritional content on pack – so a couple of slices for breakfast or lunch is an easy way to control your portion size and keep track of your calorie intake.
Sports Nutritionist Anita Bean also says: “Bread has had a rough time over the past few years, thanks to the fashion for low carb, gluten-free and other fad diets. But, there is no need for the 99% of the population who do not have coeliac disease, or the small percentage (1%-5%) that may suffer from non-coeliac gluten sensitivity, to avoid bread. Bread is good for you and is a healthy choice as part of a balanced diet and there is no better day to enjoy it than on National Toast Day! It is an important source of carbohydrate, which fuels the brain, nervous system and heart, as well as all your daily activities and exercise. It’s low fat, low in sugar and wholegrain, wholemeal and brown bread is high in fibre, so If you're serious about getting into shape, then bread can help you achieve this.”
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