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A nutritionist debunks common bread myths

Many foods we love, like bread, have gotten a bad rap for their unhealthy ingredients.

In a society that pays extra attention to what they consume and where it comes from, foods that were once considered okay to eat are now a no-no.

Oprah Winfrey’s words ‘I love bread’ quickly became a… meme in 2016.

Bread is eaten by many every day, from breakfast, snacks to dinner. Bread is one of the carbohydrates we have a love-hate relationship with. A certain population considers it weight gain if eaten in large quantities too often, but who doesn’t love the smell of freshly baked bread?

Bread is so versatile it’s great for everything from desserts (bread pudding) to savory baked goods.

nutritionist and Eat well alive Tiger Brands ambassador Arthur Ramoroka debunks some common myths surrounding bread so we can enjoy this forbidden food guilt-free again.

Bread myths debunked:

Carbohydrates are not bad for you:

Gluten-free is massively marketed as the healthier version for bread, but according to Ramoroka, we don’t all need to go this route.

“Unless you have celiac disease, which is an autoimmune reaction to eating gluten — a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye — there’s no reason for you to cut bread from your diet,” he says.

Determining your gluten intolerance should be done by a doctor, not by searching the internet. If you experience symptoms such as bloating and gas, abdominal pain, nausea, fatigue and vomiting after consuming foods containing gluten, the first thing to do is see a doctor, Ramoroka reiterated.

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The nutritionist says that a balanced approach to a healthy lifestyle and eating food in appropriate portions is more sustainable in the long run.

“While fiber-rich bread is better for you, white bread is also fortified with iron and zinc and contains many vitamins and minerals, especially B-group vitamins, all of which are essential for a healthy body and immune system,” he concludes.

High fiber and complex carbohydrates:

The low glycemic index (GI), whole grain and high fiber carbohydrates such as brown bread, seed bread, whole grain, oats, brown rice, brown or high fiber pasta, buckwheat, millet, barley and bulgur — are called complex carbohydrates.

These carbohydrates provide a sustained low of released energy, helping you feel full for longer. It also helps with blood sugar levels, lowers cholesterol, high blood pressure and the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and obesity.

Ramorkoa says it’s important to focus on the quality of the food rather than the calorie intake of the food.

Healthy gut:

Our gut bacteria depend on what we eat, while our gut health is based on our overall health and well-being.

“The trillions of microbiota (bacteria, viruses and fungi) in our gut play a critical role in regulating the body and ensuring it functions optimally. The gut influences everything from metabolism and hormonal function to the immune system, as well as the behavior and function of the brain.”

Ramoroka explains that the more diverse our diet is, the more diverse our gut flora will be. Foods that should be eaten regularly to improve our intestinal flora are legumes (beans, lentils), fruits, vegetables with the skins, high-fiber carbohydrates such as brown bread, bread with seeds, fermented and pickled foods.

Fiber-rich carbohydrates have a positive influence on our mental health:

The foods we eat affect how our brains function, as well as our mental well-being. Ramoroka says that foods in the gut microbiota produce short-chain fatty acids that, along with the gut-brain connection, act as messengers between the gut and the brain. This can help regulate cognition and emotion.

Short-chain fatty acids also help with the synthesis of serotoninas well as some other hormones, which can improve mood, as well as symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Curated by Sandisiwe Mbhele

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