The balance that makes the difference

What do we mean when we talk about balancing the carbs in healthy bread? We take a look at the benefits.

By Lone Bæk, bakery application specialist

Every balanced diet needs a good portion of carbohydrates. The recommendation of the European Food Safety Authority is that carbohydrates should account for 45-60% of our total energy intake.

All the same, the type of carbohydrates we consume will always be more important than the amount. The aim is to reduce the number of non-nutritive ‘empty’ calories to a minimum. That means eating less refined white flour and sugar and more ‘good’ carbs rich in beneficial nutrients.

What does it mean in bread?
When you apply that advice to bread-making, the recipe is to add more wholegrain, such as sprouted grains, ancient wheat types or other cereals, including oats and barley. On top of that, you could use some of the ancient ingredients that have captured our attention, such as chia seeds. 

The benefits to consumers are many. In addition to containing more nutrients per calorie, healthy, high-fiber bread supports weight management through improved satiety, contributes to a good digestion and helps to protect against certain chronic diseases. 

A good balance between fast and slowly-digestible carbohydrates influences the glycemic impact of a meal, helping to keep blood sugar levels on an even keel.

Here’s an overview of some of the nutritional benefits:

Wholegrain wheat
In addition to being high in fiber, wholegrain wheat contains a number of micronutrients and bioactive phytochemicals that are absent from refined grains. Clinical studies have shown that wholegrain food plays an important role in reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes. It may also support weight management and gastrointestinal health and help protect against certain types of cancer.

Oats and barley
Oats and barley are both wholegrain cereals that contain significant amounts of beta-glucan, a soluble dietary fiber proven to reduce high blood cholesterol levels, which are a risk factor for coronary heart disease. 

Foods that provide a beta-glucan intake of 3g a day qualify for the following EU-approved health claim: ‘Beta-glucans contribute to the maintenance of normal blood cholesterol levels.’

Chia seeds
Chia seeds contain about 42g carbohydrate per 100g – 80% of which is fiber. The seeds are also high in protein, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.

If you want to know more about balancing the carbs in your bread products while ensuring their sensory appeal, you’re welcome to get in touch.

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