Many of us grew up on white bread. We ate it without a second thought and our parents never considered that it might be bad for us. However now white bread is made out to be the evil of starches, the monster of carbohydrates. But just because it’s refined does that mean it should never be included in a healthy diet?
Yes white bread is may from refined flour where the husk is removed along with some nutrients which remain in wholemeal bread. However most white breads have been fortified with those lost nutrients so you’re not missing out. A wheat grain is made up of the endosperm, the germ and the bran. The fibre and minerals are contained in the bran. White bread is made using the endosperm only, while wholemeal uses the germ, bran, and the endosperm of the grain. Refining does mean you lose something, however whether white bread is unhealthy or not really comes down to what the rest of your diet is like.
When you look at some of the most healthy diets in the world; for example the Chinese eat white rice, the French eat white bread and Italians enjoy refined pasta. Yet these cultures do not share the high rates of “Western” diseases or rising obesity rates. When you look at these cultures and their lifestyles as a whole you can see why they have no problems enjoying refined grains. They eat a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts and legumes while keeping active. So you could decide to eat only wholemeal bread, but if you don’t maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle overall it won’t make much difference to your health.
So yes white bread can be a part of a healthy diet. However always be wary when purchasing bread, many refined breads are loaded with sugar and salt. Look for the breads without added sugar and the ones which have low sodium. Low sodium is around 400mg per 100g or less.
There is a lot of advice and opinions about what food is good and what food is bad. No food is intrinsically good or bad, if you eat too many carrots you will turn orange. It all comes down to the whole, the whole diet. Do you eat a wide variety of healthy foods and enjoy treats in moderation? Always use your common sense and go back to the basics, fads are constantly changing, what’s healthy today will be unhealthy tomorrow.