Fact checking: the truth about bread

Fact checking: the truth about bread


Consumers are being bombarded by often contradictory messages through all kinds of media channels about what food is good for them and what is not. As a result, consumer knowledge is often based on perception rather than facts. Luckily we have Federica Galli, R&D Manager Health & Well-Being at Puratos, who is able to dispel some persistent myths.

Healthy fibres
The Taste Tomorrow research reveals that only 39% of consumers around the world know bread contains fibre, but 84% think this adds to its healthiness.

Fact: A fibre is a type of carbohydrate that the body can’t digest. Fibres are mainly found in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes. 'Yes, fibres in bread do indeed bring lots of health benefits,' Federica says. 'According to nutritional guidelines we should consume at least between 25 to 30 grams of dietary fibre a day. The best-known and proven health benefit is that fibre is beneficial for the digestion, and can help prevent constipation. Also, some fibres can help lower blood cholesterol.'

Did you know:
1. There are different types of fibres, which don’t function in exactly the same way, and have different effects on the body.
2. EU law allows the claim ‘source of fibre’ to be used when there is at least 3 grams of fibre per 100 grams of food (or at least 1.5g per 100 kcal). Examples of products that are a source of fibre are multigrain bread, pineapples, bananas, mangoes and cherries.
3. The claim ‘rich in fibre’ can be used when there is at least 6 grams of fibre per 100 grams of food (or at least 3 g per 100 kcal). Examples of products that are rich in fibre are wholegrain bread, broccoli, carrots, spinach and apricots.
4. Wholegrain bread contains more fibre per 100 grams than many vegetables and fruits.

Fact checking: the truth about bread

Fattening bread
The Taste Tomorrow survey reveals that more than half of consumers around the world believe that eating bread causes weight gain.

Myth: When trying to lose weight, you should avoid eating bread.
Fact: 'No. There’s no reason not to eat bread when you’re trying to lose weight.
The quantity of energy you consume should be lower than the energy your body uses. This means that you need to reduce the calories you eat and increase the energy you burn by physical activity. So, when you try to lose weight, you still need calories: it’s important to focus on reducing “empty” calories and consume calories from nutrient-dense food such as bread. Bread, especially breads containing whole grains, is a healthy source of calories: it provides carbohydrates, which should be the main source (45 to 69%) of energy from our diet. Furthermore, it contains proteins, fibre, vitamins and minerals, and is low in fat. Fibre increases your feeling of fullness, partly by preventing blood sugar from rising and falling quickly.'

Tip: When on a diet, always opt for the ‘healthiest’ bread types – such as wholegrain or sourdough – as they give you the optimum feeling of satiety.

Did you know:
These negative perceptions about bread started in the ’70 with Dr. Atkins. His diet book advocated cutting out carbohydrates and sparked a trend. After some years, the Atkins hype subsided but many books, critics and self-proclaimed gurus have claimed that carbohydrates or bread should be avoided because they cause weight gain and lifestyle-related diseases.

The evidence on which so-called experts base their arguments often lacks full scientific credibility, being either incomplete or biased. They present their conclusions in a simplified and indiscriminate way, leaving out many important caveats in order to attract the interest of the public, which assumes their claims to be true.

Dealing with gluten
Taste Tomorrow research reveals that 42% of consumers around the world believe gluten can cause digestive problems for the majority of people.

Myth: Gluten causes digestive problems for most people.
Fact: No. Current scientific evidence shows that it should be avoided only by a small part of the population, estimated at not more than 10%. For the remaining 90%, there is no reason to steer clear of gluten. On the contrary, some studies even show that a gluten- free diet offers lower nutritional quality (for example, more fat, less fibre and vitamins and minerals, and a higher glycolic index).

Did you know:
Gluten is a type of protein that is naturally found in some grains such as wheat, rye and barley. It has a specific function in bread making: it’s good for the structure and volume.'When you remove gluten, it’s a real challenge to make nice, tasty bread,' says Federica. According to the US National Center for Biotechnology Information, removing gluten from your diet, including common grains such as wheat and rye, can lead to a one-sided diet. This can cause a lack of vitamins D and B12 and foliate, and of minerals such as iron, zinc, magnesium and calcium.

You might also be interested in the interview with Jennifer Pagand, R&D manager for innovative bakery mixes at Puratos, who shares her insights on natural ingredients in baked goods.
For any additional questions, feel free to contact your local Puratos representative

This article was written in collaboration with Adeline Pierre & Federica Galli