‘Butter the toast, eat the toast, sh*t the toast. God, life’s relentless’
Not my words, but the words of Peep Show protagonist Mark Corrigan. Either way, bread has been a staple of the Western diet for hundreds – if not thousands – of years.
Many people assume that you have to cut bread out of your diet if you want to improve your health, fitness and physique – but there’s little evidence for this.
Calories are most crucial
Instead of cutting out specific foods, what matters more to losing weight is being in a calorie deficit. If you burn off more calories than you consume through food and drink, you will lose weight. This also works if you eat and drink fewer calories than you need to maintain your weight.
Unless you have a diagnosed food intolerance, you can have your bread so long as it fits into your overall calorie intake for the day.
Is gluten bad for you?
The negative perception of bread is largely fuelled by the gluten-free industry. Breads contain gluten, a protein derived from wheat. Gluten doesn’t provide your body with much in the way of nutrition, but to suggest it’s “bad” is still wide-of-the-mark.
There are people who can’t digest gluten properly – sufferers of Coeliac’s disease. When a Coeliac’s sufferer consumes gluten, they can develop a number of symptoms including bloating and abdominal pain.
However, if you don’t suffer from Coeliac’s then you don’t necessarily need to ditch your daily toast.
The best kinds of bread
Not all are created equal. White bread is essentially full of empty calories lacking in vitamins, minerals and nutrients. Its sugars are also absorbed rapidly by the body. This is OK if you’re going to be training within an hour, otherwise you’ll soon feel sluggish.
Research shows wholegrain foods to be beneficial for your body in a number of ways. People who include wholegrains in their diet have a lower risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. They are also less likely to gain excessive weight.
So what are the best kinds of bread? Here are a select few.
Rye: this bread is very low on the GI scale. Don’t fret – this just means it is gradually digested by the body and not likely to cause a sudden surge in blood sugar.
Ezekiel: This variety combines six grains and legumes. In addition to wheat, you’ll find barley, beans, lentils, spelt and millet. As a result, Ezekiel bread has a sizeable portion of essential amino acids (EAAs).
Dr. Zak’s: A favourite with bodybuilders, two slices of Dr. Zak’s contain 30 grams of protein. Couple with a lean protein source and some salad and you have yourself a fine muscle-building meal.