Your loaf of bread may be the healthiest thing in your kitchen


Sweet and whiter-than-white standard bagels are tempting as a quick lunch staple, but New York style or not, they don’t offer much nutrition. Some versions have almost a gram of salt per bagel and more than 5g of sugars.

What really makes artisan bakers thrash doughs is that some are marketed as “sourdough” when they contain enough regular yeast to mean they won’t have many of the benefits of sourdough.

Baguettes or batons

Many supermarket bagels and batons have around 8 per cent of your daily salt allowance in one 50g slice and a 1:20 fibre/carb ratio, so are bound to spike your glucose levels. That said, a high ratio of crust to breadcrumbs can help balance things out a bit, as the crust digests more slowly and contains higher amounts of antioxidants.


Brioche is a bread enriched with eggs, sugar and traditionally butter, but some high street versions are made with the less delicious sounding palm fat and milk proteins. One advert suggests using the slices for ham and cheese sandwiches – but with 13.8g of sugars and 1g of salt and only 1.7g of fiber per 100g, it’s not an everyday brioche. Treat it like cake.

Mass-produced sliced ​​white

None of the standard cut egg whites in the supermarket are very healthy; one I found contained palm oil, calcium propionate, diacetyl tartaric acid esters with mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids, and ascorbic acid. Some provide more salt per slice than a bag of ready-to-eat crisps (0.36g) and only a fiber to carbohydrate ratio of 1:20. And remember, thick-sliced ​​”toasties” mean bigger slices, so even more salt – some as much as 0.45g per slice.

“Light” bread

These could be marketed as low-calorie – and it’s true that in some cases a slice has just 63 calories, or about 75 percent of regular bread. But they’re often so light that most people grab a second bite, and they can be guilty of a low fiber-to-carbs ratio of 1:22. Ingredients may include sugar in the form of dextrose and a variety of emulsifiers and conditioning agents.

We bake bread at home

These long-lasting packages of rolls can be a good standby in the cupboard – hot from the oven with fat chunks of butter, I’ll happily put a few away until the soup arrives. It’s not something to get used to, though, with some rolls delivering a surprising 1.1g of salt – almost like three bags of crisps – and a fiber-to-carb ratio of 1:35. On the other hand, they may contain fewer ingredients than some sliced ​​loaves.

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