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From group cooking to air fryers, more people are exploring how they can lower the prices of their meals amid the cost-of-living crisis in the kitchen. This is also beginning to expand to the food items they put in their cart at the supermarket as well – with the growing popularity of affordable groceries.
This includes slices of soft white bread. According to Waitrose, demand has increased by 17 percent over the past year, with the low cost of the supermarket being one of the primary factors. They sell a loaf for £1.10, while white sourdough (a carb favorite to close) is much more expensive at £2.10.
Like getting five a day, substituting white bread for brown is a dietary recommendation that is as old as time. However, market research platform Mintel found that 62 per cent of British shoppers went on to choose the former – which was set up in a factory in Tottenham, north London in 1937 – with £876m spent on it in 2021.
However, while in Do you We believe that financial wellness is paramount, and it is also important – where possible – to eat with nutrition in mind, and experts have long pointed out the nutritional deficiencies in white bread.
Marilia Chamon, registered dietitian, gut health specialist, and founder of revealed Courageous Nutrition. “The germ part contains valuable vitamins, such as vitamins B and E, and the bran also contains dietary fiber and some minerals.” Here’s what you also need to know…
Is white bread unhealthy?
In short, you will not nourish your body in the best way.
This includes contributing to weight gain. “Simple carbs like white bread are digested and absorbed faster than complex carbs, which raise blood sugar levels and promote peak insulin,” Shamon explains. If taken as part of a balanced meal with plenty of fiber, protein and healthy fats, we can mitigate these effects.
However, if your diet relies mostly on refined carbohydrates, in the long run it can lead to blood sugar imbalances and poor metabolic health. Insulin is a pro-inflammatory hormone and signals fat storage, so it is critical to keep its levels stable for long-term health.
Moreover, choosing white bread regularly over other types of food can affect your overall health. Shamon points out, “Research consistently shows that eating a variety of plant foods – about 30 more per week – is the easiest route to improving gut health.” So, while white bread can be one of those, you need to make sure you include other items on your plate.
Especially those that can help you reach the recommended 30 grams of fiber per day. To keep in mind, one slice of white bread contains about 1 gram, while a slice of sourdough has 3.6 grams.
Are there cheap and more nutritious swaps for white bread?
The good news is that there is another supermarket staple that will make choosing lunchtime smarter. “White potatoes for example, when cooked and refrigerated, are a better alternative to white bread,” shares Shamon. Root vegetables are rich in a type of fiber called resistant starch, which is a form of carbohydrate that is not digested in the small intestine.
Once potatoes are cooked and cooled, their resistant starch content increases – this is beneficial for several different reasons; Resistant starch acts as food for beneficial gut bacteria, helps lower blood sugar levels and improves satiety. Definitely one to add to your shopping list.
Shouldn’t you eat white bread?
Of course you can, because the balance, but if you do, make sure to eat it with other foods that can raise the nutritional value of your meal. “It is important to add other foods to your plate because white bread is a source of carbohydrates, but it lacks other macronutrients such as protein and healthy fats, as well as fiber,” warns Shamon.
When building a balanced plate, incorporating all of these is essential to keep blood sugar levels stable and avoid energy drops. You can, for example, add legume spreads like chickpeas, some roasted vegetables, eggs, or nut butter if you’d like something sweeter.
Are you trying to reduce your weekly expenses while taking care of your body at the same time? Here are some other tips for healthy eating on a budget…
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