Breaking Bread

By Nancy Clark

Photo provided.

Many athletes and exercisers are staying away from bread these days. But in doing so, they are denying themselves of this pleasurable food. Truth is, any food can be fattening when eaten in excess. As long as the portions fit within your calorie budget for the day, you will not gain undesired weight by eating bread. The problem is not with the bread, but with your relationship with bread. If you feel as though you have no control over it, you may believe that bread is addicting. The smarter solution is to eat bread daily. Denying yourself of this little pleasure leads to “last-chance eating.” And what about white bread? In general, the less processed a food is, the more nutrients it has. Thus, whole wheat breads are preferable to the refined versions. But white bread is not a nutritional zero. You need to look at the whole day’s diet: Is it balanced or unbalanced? Current dietary guidelines recommend half of your grain-foods should be whole grains; the other half can be refined, enriched grains—like white bread. While some nutrients (fiber, magnesium, and zinc) get lost in the milling of whole wheat into white flour, other nutrients have been added back. Since 1941, white flour has been enriched with thiamin, riboflavin, iron, and niacin in amounts equal to whole-wheat flour.