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Beware of Whole Wheat Bread

Wholegrain, whole wheat, sourdough, rye, gluten-free: so little time, so much bread, but one marketing strategy: they all so good for you! Is it really true? Let’s decrypt the science.

1.How each bread type is marketed

Whole wheat=wholemeal bread. The word “whole” is referring the white bread. It is made from the same grain as the white bread (wheat), but contains the entirety (or almost) of the grain.

It contains a larger quantity of certain vitamins (B6), minerals (magnesium, iron) and fibers. However, the quantities are not that different, if you have a salad or some nuts you should be fine.

Rye Bread is made from rye grains (“seigle” for French readers) it contains a lot of fibers and is usually colored with caraway (also helps avoid bloating caused by all the fibers). It can sometimes be colored with caramel or coffee.

Sourdough is any kind of bread (usually whole wheat) with extra bacteria culture which is supposed to help digestion as well as the absorption of certain minerals and vitamins.

2.How Much Carbohydrate they Actually Contain

Below is a comparison on nutritional content (as per the Diabetes UK organisation).

Low carb alternatives include:

Low carb zone seeded bread: 3.7g carbs/slice (available on Ocado’s website)

Atkin’s Breadmix: 9.3g/slice (available on Amazon)

3.What Research has Shown

Several studies comparing wholemeal and white bread showed that they both have the same effect on glycemia. We should therefore not be fooled by labels and marketing strategies. One study even showed that these breads had the same impact as glucose.

There is nonetheless one winner, which was the rye bread. It had a smaller effect on glycemia when compared to wholemeal and white bread.


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