As a staple in any Mzansi households, bread sure gets a lot of hate. Bread is often the first victim of many who are on a mission to eat less carbs. Like Khayelitsha social worker Thandokazi Tabata (30) who says that she stopped eating bread because it, “contributed to her weight gain.”
Tabata also believes that there is very little nutritional value to the staple. She tells Health For Mzansi, “I love bread and I think I almost got addicted to it which is why I chucked it out of my diet,” she says.
“Bread is not good for my heath and has very little to no nutritional supply to my body instead, it contributes greatly to my weight gain, and I think this is because bread is processed carbohydrates and processed carbohydrates are not good for our health.”
Tabata says she gained 20 kilograms and reveals that she weighs 80 kilograms. “I am on a mission to reach 65 kilograms, but most importantly I am just trying to eat healthy.”
She ascribes to a low carb diet but does eat whole grains including rice and starchy fruit and vegetables like banana and potatoes.
Bread is not a demon
Contrary to Tabata’s views of bread, registered dietitian, Leepile Mantjane says even though some people could be allergic or intolerant to some of the ingredients found in bread, “Bread is still among many starches that are a good source of energy for the body, and in South Africa bread is fortified with extra vitamins and minerals that provide health benefits to the body.”
Mantjane shares these benefits of bread:
- It is a great source of energy which we need for optimal activity and performance.
- Bread is high in fibre than others and this is quite beneficial for the body as it helps keep you full for longer, helps with regular bowel movements, improves gut health, lower risks of chronic diseases.
- Bread in our country is fortified with vitamins and minerals which are necessary to help prevent micronutrient deficiencies and are also very important as an immune boost. Vitamins includes B-Vitamins and minerals like iron and zinc and folic acid.
Cool it with the white slice
The most common and popular bread found in our homes is that tasty white bread.
She adds people who like this bread usually report constipation, haemorrhoids and huge cravings for sugary food following its consumption.
Mbombela based Registered Dietician, Thandeka Mhlanga echoes Mantjane’s sentiments and says that brown bread is best when it comes to our health. “[Brown bread] Is cost-effective and provides all the essential nutrients as it has been fortified with vitamins and minerals.”
Even though there may be no disadvantages to eating bread, Mhlanga says that it is important to note “The type of bread you eat, how much of it you eat and the types of medical conditions that one presents with. Brown and whole grain/wheat bread are always the first choice to go for and people should eat two slices per meal for breakfast and/or lunch,” she says.
Keep moderation in mind
There are white bread alternatives on our grocery shelves, Mantjane shares at least three:
Whole wheat bread and rye bread: high in fibre, keep your blood glucose in control, proper digestion, regular bowel movements and lowers one’s cholesterol levels.
Low GI brown bread: Low GI indicates that this bread is digested quite a slower rate, meaning it curbs frequent hunger/cravings, controls blood glucose.
Gluten free: Gluten free breads are found in select stores and are beneficial for those suffering from celiac disease and gluten intolerance.
Mantjane adds that the amount of fibre from bread you should aim for is at least 6g/ 100g which is equivalent to approximately 2 slices for most of the easily accessible bread from some of our well-known bakeries.
“The higher the fibre content the better,” says Mantjane. “The fibre required in a day range between 21-25g for women, 30-38g for men and 14- 31g for children, it can’t all be consumed from bread as there are other sources of fibre such as fruit, rice, cereal, vegetables.”