Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Myth - White bread is worthless; it has no nutritional value.

FALSE!
Although the refined white flour used to make bread may have been stripped of fiber, magnesium, zinc, and several other nutrients, at least five nutrients have been added back by enriching the flour with B vitamins (thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, folic acid) and iron.

Some white breads offer more of these vitamins than do whole wheat breads. But not all the lost nutrients are replaced, so the optimal sports diet includes primarily whole grain breads. When reading the label on the bread wrapper, be forewarned that wheat flour is synonymous with refined white flour. Only bread labeled as "100% whole wheat" are indeed made from all whole wheat flour. Most breads are white flour based, with a dash of whole wheat flour (or other grain) added. The fiber content offers a tip-off: look for breads with at least two grams of fiber per slice. And if the rural syores offer only white bread, relax.... you can have whole grains at other meals.

Eating white bread will not hurt your health unless your entire diet focuses on refined white flour products (i.e. too many white bagels and pasta meals etc.). You'd be wise to eat a variety of grain food and consume a variety of nutrients. Hence, if you eat a bagel made from white flour at breakfast, choose rye bread at lunch and (baked) corn chips for a snacks. Or, if you prefer white bread for a sandwich, enjoy whole grain Wheaties for breakfast and corn for dinner. The key to an optimal diet is to balance out the highly processed food with more wholesome products throughout the day. No one food- not even white bread- can be classified as bad. It can be integrated into an overall good diet.

Source: "Loafing Around; Bread & Cyclist" by Nancy Clark, MS, RD, Adventure Cyclist, Sept/ Oct 2006./ photo courtesy of dianasbakery.com

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