Decoding the slices of bread

Column Lifestyle : Shaman Hegde

We hear a lot about maida / refined flour being not great for our health. Thanks to the awareness. It’s very confusing to choose the loaf of bread from the market shelves. Many of us make a constant effort to avoid maida based products. While on shopping, we make a point to read the ingredients list and look for wheat flour listed rather than refined flour.


Decoding the labelling information  has become a challenge nowadays. Some of the common terms we come across the breads, cookies packagings are : Made with wheat flour, made with whole grains, 100% Whole Wheat goodness, Organic Whole Wheat, whole grains, multigrains, whole multigrains etc.

We tend to buy these foods just looking the word wheat flour. And we think, we have purchased all healthy food with no maida in them. But in reality, it’s not true! Shocked? Yes, most of these terms are just clever marketing claims.  


In reality,

Wheat Grain kernels are made up of three parts: the fiber-dense bran, the nutrient-rich germ, and the starchy endosperm. Whole grain flour (atta/ whole wheat flour) is made by grinding of wheat grains with the bran, germ and endosperm, whereas maida is obtained when whole wheat grain is further refined and the skin and husk are removed by sieving it multiple times.


Decoding the different words used in the bread packaging:


White bread: The commonly used  bread is made from maida, which will have airy, light texture but very fewer nutrients in them.


Wheat Bread: Wheat bread merely means the product is made using wheat flour, lately it is another term for refined white flour. This term is widely used in biscuits, cookies too. Hence, just the Wheat Flour word doesn’t need to be healthy.

Whole Wheat Bread: The word ‘whole’ crucially means that the bran, the germ, and the endosperm of the wheat kernel have all been left intact. The bread is made up entirely of wheat kernels. It is a healthier choice than wheat bread.

Multigrain Bread: Though it sounds like a healthy choice (multiple types of grains!), there is no guarantee that multigrain bread is made with 100% whole grains or that it is free of refined grains. It simply means that it contains more than one type of grain, such as wheat, oats, and quinoa. These grains may have been processed to remove their bran and germ, which strips them of nutritional value (including fiber and important nutrients). Because of this, it may not be as healthy as whole grain or whole wheat bread.

Hence, next time on shopping do not  fall for the word ‘wheat flour’ make a wise choice of baked goodies. Always look for the term ‘whole’ to have a healthy food on the plate.


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