When you hear the word “diet”, you automatically think that bread and carbohydrates (carbs) or starches need to be avoided in your diet as they are high in calories and will be converted to fat in your body. This is not entirely accurate, as you will discover in this article that details the benefits of starch for your body.
Another popular misconception is that whole-wheat bread contains fewer calories than white bread. This is not so as they both have the same calories but whole-wheat bread is higher in nutritional value as it is rich in fibre, vitamins and minerals which are retained in the outer layer of the grain.
The grains group (bread, potatoes, pasta, rice, burghul) in the Food Guide Pyramid is very important and it recommends consuming at least 6 servings daily.
Grains/carbs have a variety of benefits, as it:
- Is a great source of energy because it is slowly digested and absorbed in the body and thus helps maintain normal blood sugar levels
- Is naturally low in fat: It is adding fat or other ingredients to it which makes it high in both calories and fats
- Gives satiety and a feeling of fullness because the body digests and absorbs it slowly, especially fibre-rich whole grains and whole-wheat bread which help in weight loss programmes.
What are the key nutrients in grains?
1. B vitamins: Helps generate energy in the body from the food you eat, and also helps maintain healthy skin
2. Iron: needed in order to make haemoglobin, found in red blood cells, which transfers oxygen from the lungs to the cells of the body, where it is used to produce energy
3. Complex carbohydrates: Provide the body with energy and vitality
4. Fibre: Prevents constipation and maintains a healthy digestive system
Carbs: moderate in calories!
Detailed below is the serving size of grains and carbs, each one consisting of just 80 calories!
- White or whole-wheat Bread = ¼ loaf
- Toast = 2 medium
- Hamburger bun = ½ bun
- Potato (small) = 1
- Rice, pasta, cereals, burghul = ½ cup cooked
Good to Remember:
Choose half of your grain servings as whole. Try to make sure that you have whole-wheat bread, burghul, brown toast, brown rice and pasta part of your meals instead of the white varieties. This will keep you satiated, healthy and filled with energy all day long.