One of the questions I get asked most often is: “Do you eat bread?”
People are usually shocked when I say that bread is one of my favorite things to eat. Of course I eat bread! I love the smell of freshly baked bread in the morning.
Bread has gotten a really bad reputation because of various diet fads: no-carb, gluten-free, paleo, etc. It’s been vilified as the cause for everything from weight gain, to inflammation, to diabetes, to digestion issues… the list could go on.
Why bread gets a bad rep.
The truth is, most bread is usually processed, high in sugar and high simple carbohydrates – which can cause weight gain and other issues. They also have high GL which is not necessarily a bad thing, but it is important to know how the bread we are consuming is affecting our bodies systems.
GL stands for Glycaemic Load. It’s a unit of measurement that tells you exactly what a particular food will do to your blood sugar.
Rule of thumb is the higher the glycemic load, the higher the insulin (blood sugar) spike will be and the faster the sugar crash will be.
This is why you get the “feel-good” sugar rush after consuming that slice of cake. Only to start feeling sluggish & cravings more sweets when you come down from that sugar high.
Keeping your blood sugar balanced is the concept at the heart of optimum health; it is a key aspect to sustainable weight loss, a healthy cardiovascular system, reduced inflammation, good quality sleep and more consistent energy levels.
Aren’t there healthy types of bread I can have?
Yes and no, read on to the bottom of this article to learn how you can incorporate bread into a healthy diet 😉
White bread, a household staple is low in fibre and protein so it is digested and absorbed rapidly. This leads to the insulin spike I spoke of earlier. Here’s 2 types of bread you’ll find in my home:
I usually opt for sprouted and sourdough breads when I feel like treating myself.
Natural yeast found in the form of sourdough starter converts the bread into a digestible food source that won’t spike the body’s defenses.
It pre-digests sugars for diabetics, breaks down gluten for the intolerant and turns calcium-leaching phytic acid into a cancer-fighting antioxidant.
2. Sprouted grains
I find that I’m less bloated when I eat bread using Sprouted grains/wheat. This is because it contains plant enzymes that help break down the starch and proteins, basically beginning the work of digestion for us. I find that I have an easier time digesting sprouted grains, like sprouted wheat (or products made from it) than regular whole grains. These breads also have higher B and C vitamin levels, are easier for your body to absorb, and gentler on your digestive system. WIN!
What to look out for on the labels
If you’ve ever made bread from scratch, you know that it’s made with simple ingredients: flour, water, yeast, and salt. Commercially-made bread, though, often includes a long list of toxic ingredients.
Before you buy that loaf of bread, learn how to look at the label. Ingredient lists are usually listed from highest content to least, make sure the whole grains/sprouted grains are the first ingredients on the list.
|Natural Sweeteners: Honey, Dates, dried fruits||Added Sugars: fruit juice, high fructose corn syrup, sucrose, fructose, maltose, sugar|
|Sprouted wheat, seeds, wholegrains: bran, oat flour||Flours that are: enriched,” “bleached,” or “unbleached” as part of the first ingredient. “Enriched wheat” = “White”|
|Natural yeast: sourdough starter||Preservatives, Vegetable fats/shortening, dough conditioners, Hydrogenated Oil|
|Added Seeds and nuts: flaxseeds, chia, sesame, sunflower, walnuts, pine nuts||Ingredients you can’t pronounce/ ingredients with code numbers eg. Azodicarbonamide (food additive E927)|
If you’re anything like me and giving up bread to get a sexy body is something you just can’t do, here’s how you can include bread into a weight loss plan:
WHAT to consume with it
Add some protein-packed toppings and some healthy fats on top of it to avoid the insulin/sugar spike. If you are going to slather your bread with butter and jam (more sugar!) keep in mind you are going to greatly increase the calorie count.
Some toppings that are good for you:
- Sugar free nut butters (packed with good fats + protein)
- Eggs (scrambled, poached)
- Organic cottage cheese with smoked salmon (yummy yummy)
- Avocado (great for your skin and hair)
PRO TIP: Open faced sandwiches have fewer carbs because it has a lesser ratio of bread to filling. More flavour less carbs!
HOW much to eat
- Everything in moderation, toppings as well 😉
- Daily recommendation is 2-3 slices per DAY, not per meal.
- Heavy/Dense whole grain and seeded breads are the healthier option HOWEVER, they will also be higher in calories.
PRO TIP: Have it at the end of your meal so that your brain has had time to realize you’re not hungry – you’ll consume less than you would’ve if you had it at the beginning of the meal. Start your meal with the healthy stuff and end with the naughty stuff.
WHEN is the best time to consume it
As much as I love bread, I do consider it as a “cheat” food and not an everyday choice of carbs. So what I do is earn my cheat bread meal with a HEAVY intense leg day workout. Here’s why:
The best time to consume high glycaemic carbs are within 1 hour after a training session.
This is because:
- Your metabolism is increased and you’re burning calories at a higher rate
- Your body will use the carbs to replenish glycogen (sugar storage in your body) instead of storing the carbs as fat
- Eating carbs after a workout lowers cortisol (stress) in your body
NOTE: portion rules still apply(!!), don’t be eating an entire loaf of bread just because I said its okay to have carbs!
PRO TIP: Learn how to shift your mindset that bread is an everyday carb to a cheat meal carb that you will have to earn in your workout. You’ll appreciate and enjoy it so much more.