Poor bread! It’s had a hard time of it of late. Caught in the firing line of gluten and yeast - the partners in crime presumed responsible for the decline of our modern day health - the reputation of this age-old dietary staple has been somewhat compromised to say the least. But how much of what we think we know about bread and it’s effect on our health is actually true? We de-bunk some of the most common myths:
MYTH 1: Bread makes you gain weight
From a caloric perspective, bread is no worse than some of the alternatives that ‘free from’ followers might consume in its place. Wraps and pittas, for example, are gram for gram on a par in terms of the energy they provide. Where whole grain loaves, particularly those rich in seeds, have the advantage is that they are being filling, so helping to promote satiety and limit overall calorie intake in the long run. So while a ‘no bread’ sandwich might seem like a good idea from a weight management perspective, it may ultimately be counterproductive by leaving you feeling hungry sooner.
MYTH 2: Bread makes you bloated
Bread per se is not usually a cause of bloating. Unless specific food intolerances are in play (it is worth investing in a test to find out) it is more likely that a bloating problem is related to a combination of eating habits and /or intestinal disbiosis. For example, not chewing food thoroughly or drinking too much water with meals can impair the breakdown of food, giving the ‘bad’ bacteria in your gut amble fodder for fermentation - a leading cause of bloating. These bad bacteria have a lot to answer for in most cases of digestive problems. Sugar in your diet, stress and antibiotic use all cause them to thrive, so it might be that a course of probiotics would resolve a bloating issue much more effectively than a bread-free diet. One thing to keep in mind if you're concerned about bloating after eating bread is that the manufactured loaves we buy in the supermarket tend to have a higher gluten content than small batch brands. Gluten used in the production process is what makes bread light and airy, and ultimately cheaper to produce. Switching to higher quality, artisan bread can therefore, in some cases, lead to less bloating after eating.
MYTH 3: Bread makes you feel sluggish
Too much of the wrong sort of bread - we're talking the white, refined kind - is likely to be quite taxing on your digestive system, which can ultimately make you feel quite lethargic. Small quantities of a high quality bread, which also contains some protein in the form of seeds or nuts, can provide valuable carbohydrates for energy, but in a slower release form that equally doesn't impact on your hormones or digestive health - two important pillars of energy and vitality.
Gradz Artisan Bread is available from Ocado, and their Rye with Natural Honey bread is made of Rye Flour, Rye Sourdough, Water, Natural Honey and Sea salt - so just 5 ingredients, and it is yeast free.