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The nutritional profile of bread: Bread, the “healthy” food

Dietetics, a driving theme in all health food and fashion magazines, has become a commercial notion, often used in such a way that we forget its original meaning. And that notion sometimes undermines the importance of traditional products, such as bread. Even though the terms “balanced”, “light”, “diet” are very likely to sell products when summer clothes hit the shops, let us try to redefine healthy food, and the characteristics that make bread such an amazingly foodstuff thanks ot its nutritional values.

Dietetics at the root of nutritional balance

Dietetics for a balanced diet

Dietetics is a science that seeks to study and define what makes “a healthy diet”, not in the toxicological meaning of the expression (purity/integrity of ingredients), but in the sense of balance: type and amount of ingested foods.

 

Factors influencing dietary habits:

  • A wider variety of products: over the last century, man’s diet has evolved greatly, offering a greater diversity of products (imported fruit and vegetables, the availability of fresh fish across the country thanks to the appropriate storage and transport methods, etc.), but also improved access to products formerly considered festive luxury goods thanks to today’s greater purchasing powers (meat, etc.).
  • Changes in lifestyles and consumption patterns: at the same time, lifestyles have also become more sedentary with less emphasis on physical exertion (developments in transport, tools, stationary work, etc.). But consumption patterns have also changed (in towns especially where far less time is devoted to meal preparation, with increasing numbers of women going out to work). These developments have not always taken place at the same time for all individuals and some continue to follow a diet more appropriate for physical workers, while maintaining a sedentary lifestyle…

Dietetics therefore seeks to study these new needs and devise the most appropriate dietary sources in terms of the quantity and diversity of ingredients.

Dietetics – a promising market

A topic of great commercial attention at the moment, dietetics is of interest to many businesses seeking to derive profit from this promising new niche. Players in the industry are bringing to the market a growing number of food products advertised as “XX-free”. Some critics have thus spoken out, citing bread as the enemy, without really being aware of the nutritional values.

Bread, a healthy food!

Bread on its own, or enriched

The subject of heavy criticism a few years ago, bread has now found renewed favour with dieticians and the general public, who have become aware of its intrinsic qualities: often the danger did not stem from bread itself, but from the accompanying spreads and toppings. Bread on its own is an healthy food because it is low in fat, but together with butter, cheese or eaten as a sandwich filled with meat, poultry and used to mop up sauces, it becomes a rich, if not excessively rich, unbalanced foodstuff.

Given the difficulty in separating the staple product from the bad habits surrounding its use, many dieticians have tended to eliminate it from the diet, rather than try to educate consumers anew.

The dietetic and nutritional values of bread

Bread is perfectly adapted to a balanced diet due to its low lipid content (the fat contained to excess in our daily diets and the cause of so many cardiovascular diseases) and its high levels of slow sugars (providing the long-term energy required to avoid hunger pangs).

Low fat content: Bread today contains only 1% lipids, unsaturated fatty acids beneficial for the organism. These include linoleic acid, which plays a preventive role in cardio-vascular diseases. NB: sandwich bread, improved loaves and rusks often contain added fats.

Slow carbohydrate content: In our diet, it is important to distinguish between rapid-absorption carbohydrates (sugar, honey, fruit) and slow-absorption carbohydrates (mainly starch, which is found in starchy foods and bread (55 g for every 100 g). Slow carbohydrates produce a longer lasting satiety effect, a benefit recently rediscovered by sportsmen and women who ensure they have a high intake prior to training or prolonged exertion.

Fibre content: Bread contains varying amounts of dietary fibre depending on the type of flour used: 0.3% for white bread to over 1.5% for so-called wholemeal bread. Fibres, which are not assimilated by the organism, promote intestinal transit, while eliminating other substances and thus making some of the ingested calories ineffective.

Vitamin content: Bread is a source of B vitamins and magnesium, phosphorus, and iron, which promote growth and fight against cell ageing. (Wholemeal bread contains 3 times as much magnesium and Vitamin E as white bread).

Protein types: Bread is a source of vegetable proteins, which are low in fat and excellent for building muscle tissue.

Thanks to our different baker’s yeasts (liquid, compressed…) it’s possible to produce high quality bread all over the world and we make a point of honor to emphasize its nutritional values ​​as well as its dietetic side.

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