Picture this: You are in the supermarket trying to get some grocery shopping done. You come to the bread aisle and are overwhelmed with the wide varieties and different options. Trying to cut down on sugar and fat and trying to eat more clean and healthy, you look for bread that seems to be a good fit. Surprised, all you find on the back of these bread packages are long lists of unknown ingredients and breads packed with sugar, fat, and carbs.
Not the ideal situation, I know. Breads these days don’t aim for being healthy - they just like to market themselves as healthy to be appealing to customers. It’s easy for busy individuals to just pick up a loaf without turning it out to read the nutrition facts, solely making their choice because the front marketed “made with 10 grains and seeds”. It is time for everyone to be more aware of their bread choices and the factors they should consider when picking a bread that is right for them. By having knowledge of healthy bread trends to look for, you can be a better educated bread shopper and health manager in the grocery store.
- Few Ingredients
In modern days, with processed food and artificial ingredients being so common among the consumables we purchase, a long list of unknown ingredients seems normal. Even for some breads. We are here to remind you that your bread should not have any ingredients you are unaware of or haven’t heard of.
Traditional breads made in the good old days consisted of simply flour, water, and salt. So why do we see so many supermarket breads with 30+ ingredients? Well, when that bread is first baked, it needs a bunch of other harmful, unnecessary ingredients that help preserve its “freshness” so it doesn’t get stale by the time you buy and consume it. That’s why bread with only a few ingredients you are familiar with is the best way to go for this first bread trend.
- No preservatives or additives
Going more into the specifics of the “unknown ingredients” that supermarket breads contain, preservatives and additives are the main ingredients to look out for. The most common ones found in bread are benzoic acids, potassium bromate, azodicarbonamide, and high-fructose corn syrup. Let me give you a breakdown of why these are particularly bad:
Benzoic acids’ main purpose is to preserve bread for longer, preventing it from mold and spoilage. However, it’s been banned in a number of countries due to its links to cancer-causing inflammation, ADHD, oxidative stress. Unfortunately, the US still permits its use, so look out for the words benzoic acid, benzene, benzoate, or benzoate on ingredient labels.
Moving along, the chemical potassium bromate has been known for speeding up the aging process of bread, making the process fast and simple, ensuring white, soft, fluffy bread during mass production. What’s less known is the fact that the International Cancer Agency listed the chemical as a carcinogen after being tied to multiple cancers and health issues, resulting in its ban from countries like Canada, the EU, Brazil, China, India, and the UK. As expected, the US didn’t follow, so look out for potassium bromate when you are shopping.
Azodicarbonamide is both a dough conditioner and flour bleacher, making bread whiter and more appealing to customers. Although it is considered relatively safe in the US, when used in less than 45 parts per million, it is banned in Europe after studies published that it may possibly cause asthma and allergies. Besides, this name is so long, you can be almost certain it is something harmful just by reading it.
Last but not least is high-fructose corn syrup. You have probably heard of this one; it’s an artificial sweetener that is cheaper to produce than sugar and almost 2000 times sweeter than sugar. Seems like an easy way out when baking bread in mass production, right? However, just like too much sugar combustion, it can lead to diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. Although sugar is definitely a better alternative to this high-fructose corn syrup, try avoiding bread that has an unreasonable amount of sugar, as it is not necessary for most breads.
- High in protein and fiber
We all know that fibers and proteins are good for the body, but I want to emphasize how good they are, as many don’t realize the numerous benefits and that they can get these benefits by buying the right bread.
Fiber really is a jack of all trades. One of its many benefits is the ability to lower cholesterol through reducing low-density lipoprotein, helping prevent high blood pressure and inflammation. Another major benefit is its ability to lower blood sugar levels. Diabatic people often rule out bread due to their supposed “unhealthiness” and “high sugar content”. However, as described earlier, most clean breads don’t include added unnecessary sugars and often only have a few grams. That combined with the added benefits of fiber make it a perfect option for many. Lastly, high fiber foods are much more filling than low fiber foods and lower in calories, making it perfect for dieting or overeating.
One of the most obvious benefits of protein is that it helps increase muscle mass and strength. This helps in being able to take on more physical activities, allowing you to be more fit. Additionally, if trying to lose weight, consuming good amounts of protein allow you to lose weight while retaining your muscle mass so you don’t get weaker. Another major benefit is that protein boosts metabolism and increases fat burning by requiring your body to use more energy to digest them. Lastly, protein, just like fiber, helps you stay full for longer preventing you from snacking or over-eating, preventing hunger and keeping you satisfied for longer.
In conclusion, not every bread will be perfect, some might have too many ingredients, too much sugar, or not enough fiber. Nevertheless, being educated about healthy bread trends to follow and look out for can help you become a better bread shopper and allow you to make the right choices when deciding which factors to consider when purchasing a bread. If you ever have trouble finding a bread that meets your needs and meets all of the trends I discussed with you today, The Brot Box will always have a bread that is perfect for you and what you are looking for. Don’t take these trends as a concern that what you ate in the past was unhealthy and might affect your health; take this as a start to a better lifestyle and a healthier future!