Lower-carb eating can sometimes be a struggle. Your healthier diet isn’t the problem, of course. Eating plenty of delicious proteins and healthy fats, and limiting yourself to smarter healthier carbs, is easy-peasy once you make the switch.
No, the hard part is all the well-meaning folks. You know, the ones who feel compelled to bend your ear with every myth and misconception they’ve ever heard about lower-carb eating. And one of those is that bread will never pass your lips again.
It’s true that strict paleo and extremely low-carb or no-carb diets may have you swear off bread forever. But when you commit to a lower-carb lifestyle, there’s still room for whole grains and good carbs
It’s just about making smarter choices such as slashing added sugars and junk carbs. And that means having a little bread from time to time is still fine. Just make sure it’s the right kind when you do decide to indulge.
But I’ll admit walking down the bread aisle can be intimidating. Sure, you know to walk right by the white bread. But what about the ones that say multigrain, whole wheat or enriched wheat flour? Which one should you choose?
Relax. I’ve got you covered. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know to make bread buying a breeze.
4 red flags your bread is bad
The easiest mistake to make when buying bread is to fall for the marketing that’s designed to make you think a product is healthy when it’s anything but.
Beware of these four bread buying pitfalls.
1. Enriched wheat bread:
Unless the package specifically says “100% whole wheat,” leave it on the shelf. The word wheat in enriched wheat bread is there to throw you off. But don’t be fooled.
Highly refined flour was still used to make the bread. And that means all the health benefits of the whole grain were processed right out of it. What you’re left with are empty calories your body treats essentially like sugar. Which leads to blood sugar spikes and weight gain.
2. 100% wheat bread:
Confused? That’s what they want. But if you look closely you’ll realize there’s a word missing. Without the word “whole,” in the description what you’re getting is over processed enriched flour again. Even the rich brown color that makes it look so healthy is likely a fake. More often than not, you’ll find caramel color hidden in the ingredients list.
3. Multigrain, stoneground, oatmeal etc.:
These specialty breads sound particularly healthy, but those buzzwords still don’t mean much. Any whole grain can be processed and refined until there’s nothing left but junk carbs. And multigrain just means more than one grain went through the refinement process.
4. Whole wheat or whole grain bread:
I know I just said whole wheat was better than enriched wheat bread. And it is. But those clever marketers have struck again. Many breads will promise whole wheat or whole grain on the package. But they will only add just enough to be able to make the claim. But not enough for you to get the benefits.
The word missing this time is actually a number. And that’s 100. Flip the package over and look at the ingredients. If you spot “refined flour” or “enriched flour” anywhere in the list, you probably should put it back on the shelf. If the refined stuff is in the first three ingredients, definitely ditch it.
I know it’s frustrating. But don’t give up. Because picking out a healthier option is easier than you might think.
3 tricks to help you choose healthier wheat bread
The best way to know you’re getting a decent slice of bread is ignore all the clever buzzwords and look for three key things on the label.
1. 100% whole wheat or 100% whole grain:
The words “100% whole” are the key to a healthier loaf of bread. If you don’t see them on the package, you can do better. Keep looking.
If you think you’ve found a good loaf, turn it over and check the label. You’re looking for fiber. A good, 100% whole grain bread is going to have at least 3 grams of it.
While you’re looking at the label, keep your eyes open for sweeteners too. Whole grains have a natural nutty sweetness, so your bread shouldn’t be loaded with added sweeteners. Anything ending in “ose” is typically a sugar.
If there are added sugars, natural options such as honey or maple syrup are a bit better. But they still should very limited and towards the bottom of the ingredients list.
You don’t have to ban bread entirely from your kitchen. Whole grains are an important part of any healthy diet. And 100% whole wheat breads can be a good source. But when you do splurge, make sure you’re actually getting those whole grains and not a belly full of marketing buzzwords instead.
She is an advocate of self-education and is passionate about the power of group knowledge sharing, like the kind found right here on HealthierTalk.com. Alice loves to share her views on holistic and natural healing as well as her, sometimes contentious, thoughts on the profit-driven inner workings of traditional medicine.
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