This story this week was inspired by someone who told me, “there’s no sugar in bread”. So off course, I’m going jump on that band wagon!
People have been eating bread for over 9000 years. In fact, bread features significantly in in historical writings, e.g. 492 in the original translation of the bible. Wheat is in fact an ancient grain, which is extremely nutritious, if it’s grown and prepared without interference through artificial processing and fortification.
I remember visiting my grandparents during holidays. As I would get up in the mornings, I could smell the aroma of freshly baked bread. It was delicious. I would just go and sit in the kitchen to smell the bread. It was almost as good as eating the bread! For most of us the smell of freshly baked bread is comforting, homely and undeniably delicious.
In June 2018, South Africa produced 186 million loaves of bread. Given that our population were estimated at 57 million people at that time, that’s 3 loafs of bread per day per person!! That is a lot of bread for a single individual to eat.
But to get back to the statement “there’s no sugar in bread”. I reviewed the below labels of the most popular breads in South Africa.
Sasko Brown Bread 1 slice
Sasko Low GI Dumpy Seeded Brown Bread
Sasko Low GI Whole Wheat Brown Bread
Sasko Premium White Bread
So why does bread contain sugar?
I was surprised to see that the seeded brown bread has nearly the same amount of sugar than white bread. Why would they add more sugar to seed bread? But if you really think about it, all the elements of the seeds in the bread (and some added whole wheat), are going to have some bitterness in them. And in any case, not everybody likes to munch on seeds! So, bread companies will use the sugar to make the taste more attractive and more palatable.
The flour used to make bread contains small amounts of sugars, such as glucose and maltose. These sugars can also be produced naturally as part of the baking and specifically, the yeasting process. Yeast works by consuming sugar and excreting carbon dioxide and alcohol as by-products.
However, bread companies cannot wait 24 hrs for the yeast to spring into action. So, they artificially speed up the process and sugar are left behind in the process.
Sugars can also be added to bread recipes to provide color and flavor.
The modern industrialization of farming methods has in fact reduced the number of wheat varieties from more than 30 000 to only a handful.
Is Bread Bad For You?
Yes, for most of the population. You see, the grains that we are eating today, is not the same as the grains that we ate in the past. They’ve changed the gluten content; they’ve changed the starch content. The food has been altered to support mono-cultural farming and the economy. Because guess what? In political terms you “can feed a lot of people with wheat”. So, the industry’s only aim is to apply faster, hotter and more refined techniques of food processing so that they can product more, transported it hundreds of miles and subsequently it should last for weeks on the shelf.
If you want to talk about the value of wheat and grain, you must include the nutrient dense oil and the fiber from the wheat, which has been removed during processing. However, due to this processing and nutrient manipulation, you essentially sit with a white starch (flour) that has little nutritional value.
In effect, you sit with a food-like substance, that’s a good vehicle for selling ‘healthy options. Healthy sandwich. Healthy processed food. It makes life cheaper, but it comes at a cost.
The question is not really whether bread with its’ sugar content, is healthy or not for you. The question is, is that what you have in front of you, whole food? Is it food? How many of those ingredients have been manufactured and reconstituted in a lab, as appose to good old fashion farming?
Get some good quality wheat/flour, mix your own dough, let it rise and bake your own bread and enjoy!! But nobody has time. Nobody has time to take the time, to be concerned about the long-term effects off lab produced products on their health.
Now that you have the information. You can decide for yourself, does the sugar in bread matter?
My answer, YES. The sugar they add, is another lab created product. It has absolutely no nutrition value. Your body don’t need the sugar.
As for the wheat, well…it’s rubbish. It’s not the wheat that once grew on the widespread farming fields. Farming has become expensive. They import cheap imitations from other countries. Most of the ingredients are something that were created in a lab. Ugh….no thank you. I love my intestines too much!
Hope this will inspire you to starting baking your own bread with good quality ingredients!