Oprah Winfrey made headlines around the world when she said three little words, “I love bread,” which aired in TV commercials in 2016.
This WW (formerly Weight Watchers) spokesperson and majority shareholder has been vocal about how she manages to fit bread into her daily diet and still lose weight.
With all the low-carb, keto and paleo diets out there, eating bread has become almost controversial.
However, bread is not the enemy of a healthy diet, unless you have a gluten allergy or intolerance, or you eat the wrong kinds of carbohydrates — like refined white bread with little fiber and a high glycemic response.
In that case, the starch is digested very fast and glucose is released into the body quickly, stored as fat unless the sugar is immediately used for energy.
Many healthier breads, made with 100-percent whole grain — whether it’s wheat, oats, rye, etc. — take longer to digest and are a better nutritional choice. In fact, they are healthy for a person’s body and brain, providing important nutrients, such as fiber, whole grains, B vitamins, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin and folic acid.
“We all need to have some whole grains in our diet,” said Carolyn Harris, wellness coach for Fenton and Flint WW locations for 25 years, after losing 60 pounds. “The first ingredient should be 100-percent whole grain — it doesn’t have to be whole wheat. The whole grain will be a healthier choice because it keeps the fiber intact.”
Harris said that the biggest reason to include bread and other whole grains in your diet is to keep you from feeling deprived, so you can stick with your healthy eating plan for a lifetime.
“How can you live your entire life without bread or other carbs?” Harris said. “The beauty to me with WW is that no food is off-limits. It’s always about portion control and moderation.”
How to pick a healthy bread
“It’s going to come down to reading labels,” said Bella Diaz, M.S.R.D., staff dietitian at McLaren-Flint. “First, make sure the first ingredient is 100-percent whole grain, wheat or whichever grain you choose. Ingredients are listed in the order of volume they are in the bread.”
Next, Diaz said you should make sure there are at least 5 grams of fiber per serving. “Then, check labels for sodium, which ideally should be 130 mg or less, and watch for added sugars.”
Some of the favorite nutrient-dense breads mentioned by McLaren dietitians include Dave’s Killer Bread, an organic, non-GMO bread high in protein and fiber, and Ezekiel Sprouted Bread, a complete protein, found in the freezer section of your grocery store.
Another healthy choice, according to Nutritiouslife.com, is sourdough bread. The live yeast cultures that provide the tangy flavor negate the need for preservatives and result in the creation of lactic acid, which makes other important nutrients more digestible.
The live yeast cultures that provide the tangy flavor negate the need for preservatives and result in the creation of lactic acid, which makes other important nutrients more digestible.
Look for sprouted brands in the freezer, for easy digestion, higher fiber and other important nutrients like amino acids, B vitamins and antioxidants. Sprouted bread is made from whole grains that have been allowed to sprout, that is, to germinate, before being milled into flour.
Whole grain/whole wheat
Read the ingredient list and make sure that a whole grain is the first ingredient listed — look for the Whole Grain Stamp as a guarantee. Check also on sugars and additives.