Some people select their foods through color, especially if we talk about healthy living. It’s a common belief that the darker the color of the food, the healthier it is. Well, I hate to break it to you but some dark-colored foods aren’t more nutritious than their lighter counterparts such as raisins. Both light-colored, golden raisins and dark raisins have the same nutrients. The color is different because of the drying process but that doesn’t affect their insides.
Anyway, we’re not here to talk about raisins so let’s cut to the chase. They say the darker the bread, the healthier it is. Is that true?
The answer: Yes, BUT…
As you can see, there’s a big “but” in the answer. You might be thinking, “What’s with the ‘but’?” We’ll get to that in a short while.
Some people assume that darker loaves of bread are healthier because that’s what the front label claims. That’s the wrong way to know how healthful the bread is. The right way is by looking at the ingredient list and by checking the Nutrition
For instance, Rye bread offered in stores is usually just white bread consisting of some rye seeds. It can be dark or light, depending on what flour and coloring agent was used. To be honest, rye bread has the refined and processed flours as that of the white bread. That means whether you eat rye or white, the chances of having increased blood sugar still exist.
What about Pumpernickel bread then? Sad to say, it’s not that different from rye and white bread. Commercial pumpernickel loaves of bread are made with considerable amounts of white flour combined with rye flour for color and flavor.
You’re probably in shock now but you’ll just have to take everything in, especially the next part.
Apparently, most wheat bread—the healthful bread advertisers have been boasting of—are made with refined white flour as well. WHAT? The truth is, some of them don’t even have real whole grains. Molasses are just included to add color.
What’s so bad about white flour anyway? In reality, it’s no more than refined carbohydrates that can lead to obesity.
Then what about Multigrain bread? Well, unfortunately, most of them are just white bread with some oats and seeds added to the top. Many “multigrain bread” still use white flour which, like I mentioned earlier, doesn’t help you become healthier.
HOLD IT RIGHT THERE. I thought you said the darker the bread, the healthier it is? There’s just a big “but” remember?
Yes. They’re healthier BUT only if they have the right ingredients. This is where your reading skills are tested. Never judge the bread by its color! As a consumer, you should know what to look for in a bread. What does that mean? That means you ought to check the ingredients on the label first.
Whole grains are good for your health and that’s for sure. They help you prevent colon cancer, are a great source of fiber, and are healthy for the heart. Fiber makes you feel full for longer so you won’t feel the need to eat more as well.
If you read the ingredient list on packages of pumpernickel bread, you’ll find that many list the first ingredient – the bulk of the flour – as white wheat flour followed by rye flour. What type of bread is healthy, then? The 100% whole grain rye and pumpernickel bread loaves. White flour isn’t good for the health especially when regularly consumed, on that note, all foods you eat excessively aren’t healthy for you.
So what should I search for in the ingredient list? Look for the terms rye meal, whole rye flour, and rye flakes. They imply whole grains. If the bread used a sourdough starter instead of yeast, that’s better. Sourdough starters produce acid that when combined with the fiber in whole grain rye, gives the bread a low glycemic index, meaning they are slowly digested and won’t sharply increase your insulin and blood sugar levels.
The Bottom Line: Get used to reading the ingredient list and you’ll consume healthier breads. But if you really want to eat healthily, make your own bread using an automatic bread maker instead. I promise you, you’ll thank Joseph Lee.