Nutritional properties of bread

Bread supplies a significant portion of the nutrients required for growth, maintenance of health and well-being. It is an excellent source of proteins, vitamins, minerals, fibre and complex carbohydrates. It is also low in fat and cholesterol. Bread is quite bulky so it takes longer to digest and is therefore more satisfying and less fattening than the fats, sugars and alcohols commonly consumed in excess. All breads are nutritious, and the differences between them in nutritional value are not significant if we eat a balanced diet.nutrition

Chemical Composition of Wheat

The composition of the dry matter of wheat varies widely depending on soil, climate and genetic variations between wheat types. Wheat in New Zealand has a protein content that ranges on average from 8% to 13%. It has a high carbohydrate content of about 83% of the weight of a kernel.

Other components of the wheat grain include bran and germ. Bran, the outer coating or "shell", is rich in B vitamins and minerals.

The wheat germ or embryo is a rich source of B vitamins, oil, vitamin E and fat. It needs to be discarded during milling because the fat is liable to become rancid during storage. It is still very valuable and is used in many products.

Minerals contained in wheat include calcium, phosphorous, potassium, iron, magnesium and sodium.

Vitamins such as thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), pantothenic acid, inosotol, P-aminobenzoic acid, folic acid and vitamin B6 are also distributed throughout the wheat grain.
All the nutrients contained in wheat make bread an essential part of the diet. Bread is one of the cheapest, high quality nutritious foods in New Zealand and not only provides many essential nutrients but is also low in fat, cholesterol and sugar.

Did you know that all bread is nutritious?

White bread has approximately the same carbohydrate and protein content as wholemeal bread, contains soluble and insoluble dietary fibre, and a good percentage of the whole wheat nutrients. It is made from unbleached flour made from the inner 78% of the wheat grain. If you prefer white bread to wholegrain breads, you can get your extra fibre from other wholegrain foods such as breakfast cereals, wholemeal crackers and biscuits.

In New Zealand wholemeal bread is made from at least 90% wholemeal flour. White flour may be added to wholemeal flour to make wheatmeal products.
It is often added to improve the baking quality of breads made with wholemeal flour because of its gluten protein content.

Wheatmeal breads are not subject to food regulations and so the quantity of wholemeal flour used may vary. Nutritional comparisons are therefore diffcult to make.

How does bread meet our nutritional needs?

Comparisons of bread with other commonly eaten foods important in the New Zealand diet, show that bread provides a greater range of nutrients than any of the other food products listed.

 

 

Protein

Calcium

Iron

Thiamin

Riboflavin

Niacin

Fibre

Bread

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

Milk

*

*

 

 

*

*

 

Cheese

*

*

 

 

 

 

 

Meat

*

 

*

*

*

*

 

Potatoes

*

 

 

*

 

*

*

* nutrient present

It is essential to maintain adequate levels of vitamins, minerals and protein in our diets if we want to remain healthy. The average percentage of our daily nutrient requirements supplied by 100g of any bread show that bread is an excellent source of many nutrients that are necessary for a healthy diet. 100g of bread is 2-4 slices depending on type and slice size.

Average Contribution to the Nutritional Needs of Our Diet by 100g of any bread

 

Protein

Thiamin

Niacin

Riboflavin

Iron

Calcium

Energy

15%

30%

7%

4%

14%

6%

9%

 

Approximate Nutrient Content of 100 g of Bread

Bread Type

 

White

Wholemeal

Wheat/Rye

Multi-grain

Multi-grain

Italian

Wheat /
Oat

Protein
(g)

7.30

8.1

9.1

7.70

8.80

9.60

9.6

Thiamin
(mg)

0.33

0.66

0.84

0.4

0.30

0.14

0.4

Niacin
(mg)

1.6

2.1

2.1

1.30

2

1.6

1.6

Riboflavin
(mg)

0.09

0.16

0.19

0.15

0.12

0.03

0.1

Iron
(mg)

1

1.7

1.7

1.6

1.40

1.4

2.10

Calcium
(mg)

40

33

40

50

39

40

48

Energy
(kcal)

216

198

207

189

230

232

222

A healthy diet with bread

Substitution of bread for fats maintains the energy we need to get from our diet by providing carbohydrates rather than fats for energy production. Worldwide, nutritionists and dieticians support this recommendation, and advise that the following plan for good eating is used:

  • Eat a wide variety of foods to get a good balance of vitamins and minerals.
  • Eat mostly cereals, vegetables and fruit.Eat more complex carbohydrates and dietary fibre.
  • Eat less fats, refined sugar, salt and alcohol.

When its composition is considered along with its relatively low cost, bread is an ideal food to complement the nutritious fillings we may choose to balance our diet. Four to six slices daily is the intake often recommended for people of normal weight and health.

variety bread

Always remember though, that overall we are encouraged to eat a variety of foods and that these foods should include breads
(4-6 slices of wholemeal and/or white per day), pasta, fruit
(5 portions), vegetables
(6 portions), fish, chicken, legumes, nuts, dried peas/beans, dairy produce including trim milk, cheeses and yoghurts (preferably low fat), eggs and meats.

Variety and moderation is the key to good health.