A healthy energy source-Bread

food Aug 14, 2021
Condensed milk toast
Photo by Charles Chen / Unsplash

"Give us this day our daily bread” is the common prayer that indicates the importance of the Bread in our daily life.

Bread is fattening and white bread is poor quality food are the two popular misconceptions about bread. Actually, bread is not fattening but what is fattening is what is spread on it, like cheese, butter etc.
There was a poor image about bread in public as a fattening, starchy and unappealing source of food.
In recent years this idea has changed dramatically due to a better understanding of the nutritional importance of starch and fibre.
Today, bread is recognised as an important part of our diet as it is healthy and full of flavour. Its high fibre content makes it a useful weapon in helping to prevent and treat intestinal disorders and may even prevent some types of cancers.

Bread is one of the oldest prepared foods and it is popular around the world.  It is a staple food of the Middle East, North Africa, Europe, Australia, and Southern Africa.
Bread is a good source of carbohydrates, nutrients such as magnesium, iron, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sodium, B and E vitamins, and dietary fibre.
It is made with wheat grain which is a valuable and nutritious food. The outer layer of the grain is the bran which is the source of the fibre, wheat germ is rich in nutrients and the endosperm is a good source of carbohydrates. The gluten is the protein of the grain which makes the dough elastic.

The bread produced in olden days resembled the modern Indian chapatis, made from unleavened whole wheat flour.

Bread varieties, their composition and nutrients per 100g (3 small slices)

White bread – made with refined wheat flour. It contains water, yeast, various additives, preservatives and emulsifiers. The flour is often bleached. It contains calcium, niacin (B vitamin), iron and thiamine. Three slices of white bread provides about one sixth of the daily calcium requirement. High-fibre white bread contains white flour with added fibre from non- wheat sources such as rice bran or soya hulls.
Calories---- 235
Fibre--- 1.5g
Carbohydrates --- 49.3g
Protein ---- 8.4g
Fat ---- 1.9g
Brown bread—made from wheat flour with some of the bran removed. Its colour is due to the brown part of the wheat grain and from the added colouring such as caramel. Soya protein is added to commercial breads.  Calcium content is similar to that of white bread, but the levels of other nutrients are slightly lower than those in wholemeal bread.
Calories---- 218
Fibre--- 3.5g
Carbohydrates --- 44.3g
Protein ---- 8.5g
Fat ---- 2.0g
Wholemeal Bread – also known as whole wheat bread is made with either whole grain flour or white flour with bran and wheat germ added. Four slices will provide more than 25% of the daily iron requirement for a woman and 40% of that for a man.
Calories---- 215
Fibre--- 5.8g
Carbohydrates --- 41.6g
Protein ---- 9.2g
Fat ---- 2.5g
It contains higher levels of B vitamins, phosphorus, magnesium and manganese. It also contains vitamin E. The levels of iron is 40% more and zinc is three times more than in white bread.
Naan Bread – It is baked on the hot side of a tandoori oven. It contains more vitamin than wholemeal bread, and 30% more calcium than white bread. It is a good source of B vitamins thiamine and niacin.
Calories---- 336
Fibre--- 1.9g
Carbohydrates --- 50.1g
Protein ---- 8.9g
Fat ---- 12.5g

Afghan Bread
Photo by Syed F Hashemi / Unsplash

Fruit bread – made from malted or white bread dough with added sugar and raisins or dried fruits.
Calories---- 487(serving size- 4)
Fibre--- 3.5g
Carbohydrates --- 76.4g
Protein ---- 12.7g
Fat ---- 15.3g
Malt bread – common snack food in the United Kingdom also known as Granary bread. It is heavy, soft bread made from white flour mixed with wholemeal flour, malt powder and malted grains.    
Calories---- 268
Fibre--- 2.3g
Carbohydrates --- 56.8g
Protein ---- 8.3g
Fat ---- 2.4g
Croissant – continental breakfast in France.  Flaky, breakfast roll shaped as a crescent. Fat content is high due to the added butter.
Calories---- 406
Fibre--- 2.6g
Carbohydrates --- 46g
Protein ---- 8g
Fat ---- 21g
Ciabatta – Italian bread also known as ‘olive bread’ made from white or brown bread bound with olive oil. Often flavored with herbs.
Calories---- 270
Fibre--- 1.7g
Carbohydrates --- 30.1g
Protein ---- 7.1g
Fat ---- 2.8g
Focaccia – a flat oven-baked Italian yeasted bread similar to pizza and flavored with olive oil, herbs and garlic.
Calories---- 250
Fibre--- 1.8g
Carbohydrates --- 36g
Protein ---- 9g
Fat ---- 8g
Matzo – Traditional Jewish bread made with wheat flour. Eggs, fruit juice, or milk are added to the dough.
Calories---- 395
Fibre--- 3g
Carbohydrates --- 84g
Protein ---- 10g
Fat ---- 1.4g
Pitta – Flatbread of Middle Eastern with a variety of fillings. Also known as Arabic bread, Lebanese bread, or Syrian bread. Sometimes, it is split to form a pocket into which a variety of fillings are placed.
Calories---- 275
Fibre--- 2.2g
Carbohydrates --- 56g
Protein ---- 9.2g
Fat ---- 1.2g
Rye Bread – Popular in the Scandinavian countries, Germany and Russia. Made with Rye flour and wheat flour and are slightly sour. The bread is heavier and denser due to the low gluten but it is rich in vitamin E.
Calories---- 219
Fibre--- 4.4g
Carbohydrates --- 45.8g
Protein ---- 8.3g
Fat ---- 1.7g
Tortilla – Round Bread of Mexican made with Wheat and corn flour.
Calories---- 237
Fibre--- 2.4g
Carbohydrates --- 50g
Protein ---- 7g
Fat ---- 1g


The complex carbohydrates of bread reduce cholesterol levels in the blood and help to manage diabetes.
Fiber of the bread is essential for healthy bowels. The fibre improves bowel movements and provides relief from irritable bowel syndrome.
Bread made with whole wheat helps maintain a healthy weight.
Vitamins B and E provide mental health by providing protection against diseases such as Alzheimer's.
Helps to prevent some types of cancers.

Breads that specify 100 percent whole wheat should be chosen to get the whole grain benefits.

Side effects

If a person is sensitive to wheat protein gluten, or suffering from coeliac disease (a disorder of the bowel), gluten damages hair like projections of the small intestine. This prevents the proper absorption of nutrients and causes poor growth in children. In adults, this may cause bloating, gas, abdominal pain, diarrhoea and constipation.


A. Sandhya

M.Sc Zoology

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