Sprouted grain breads are popular among the health food crowd, but do they really offer any additional health benefits? Find out whether it’s worth the extra money to buy these breads.
There’s little doubt that the typical American diet is mostly devoid of nutrients and high in fat, calories, and salt. Not only does a diet of processed foods lead to weight gain but it also increases the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. One type of food that many Americans eat too much of is bread – particularly white bread. Most people aren’t willing to give up bread entirely, after, all, who doesn’t enjoy an occasional sandwich? To make it healthier, some choose to buy whole grain bread instead, while others take it a step further and buy sprouted grain bread; but is this really a healthier alternative? What are the health benefits of sprouted grain bread?
Sprouted Grain Breads vs. White Bread
White bread is made from wheat flour from which the bran and the germ have been removed along with most of the vitamins and fiber. The bread, now stripped of its healthful components, is then bleached which removes any remaining nutrients. What you’re left with is a product that contains little fiber and nutritional value, although manufacturers usually add vitamins back into the finished bread. Plus, white bread has a high glycemic index which makes it a poor choice for diabetics and anyone else interested in lowering their risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.
What About Sprouted Grain Breads?
Sprouted grain breads are made differently. To make this type of bread, whole grain wheat berries are soaked in water and allowed to sprout. Once sprouts are formed, they’re mashed or ground and baked into bread. Sprouted whole grain bread can be made from a variety of grains – not just wheat berries. These sprouted grain breads made from various grains are popular with health conscious eaters and are frequently found in health food stores and natural food markets.
Are Sprouted Grain Breads Really Healthier?
There’s little doubt that sprouted whole grain bread is a better choice than white bread when it comes to overall nutrition. The advantage is less clear cut when you compare sprouted grain bread to regular whole grain bread made with whole grain flour. Sprouted grain breads are usually slightly higher in protein, but are comparable to whole grain bread in terms of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Some argue that the minerals in sprouted whole grain bread are easier to absorb than those in whole grain bread, but this effect is small. Sprouted grain breads have a lower glycemic index than white bread which makes them healthier for diabetics than white bread, but don’t offer a big advantage over regular whole grain breads.
Sprouted Whole Grain Bread: The Bottom Line?
Sprouted whole grain bread is a healthy option is you like the taste, but whole grain breads are also a good choice and they’re less expensive. The most important thing is to make sure you’ll actually getting whole grain bread. Don’t be deceived by labels that say multi-grain or cracked wheat since this doesn’t tell you a lot since it could be a mixed grain. Look for the first ingredients to be 100% whole wheat or whole oats and look for a high fiber content. If you prefer the taste of sprouted whole grain bread, it’s a healthy option – but so is regular whole grain bread.