by Lara McNeil, RDN, CDN
Rye, pumpernickel, wheat, multigrain, how do you choose?
The bread aisle is one of the most popular in the grocery store, and perhaps one of the hardest to navigate. One important thing to know is that dark colored bread is not necessarily the best choice for healthy eating.
Rule number one is to read the ingredient list on the back of the package, not the advertising claims on the front. This is how you know what you are really eating.
Commercially prepared Rye bread is often simple white bread with some rye seeds added to it. This is that same white bread with processed and refined flours that can raise blood glucose and triglycerides.
Pumpernickel is not much different. The commercial preparations of these breads usually contain substantial amounts of white flour along with rye flour added for flavor and color.
Many of the breads labeled as Wheat bread are also primarily made with refined white flour with some molasses thrown in for color and will, in fact, include no actual whole grains.
How about “Multigrain” bread? Again, often simply a white bread with some seeds and oats added to the top. This is one of those moments where you really need to practice your label-reading skills: know how to look for whole grains on the package.
Next time you’re gathering your sandwich makings look for bread that has 100% whole grains. This should be the FIRST ingredient on the label (meaning that this is the ingredient most present in the product) Remember that whole grains provide a great source of fiber, which is heart-healthy and helps to prevent colon cancer. Fiber also makes you stay fuller longer so it can eat less and do a better job maintaining your weight.