How to Choose Low-Glycemic Breads

3 of 10 in Series: The Essentials of Choosing Low-Glycemic Foods

It’s a given that the soft, squishy white bread that’s often a favorite of children has a high glycemic index. To get a lower glycemic count, you need to go with whole-grain breads, especially those that incorporate seeds, sprouted grains, or flaxmeal.

When purchasing low-glycemic bread, follow these tips:

  • Watch for the word whole in the first ingredient on the list of ingredients in fine print at the bottom of the nutrition facts label.

  • Look at the nutrition facts label for the grams of fiber per serving, which is usually one slice of bread. Breads that are higher in fiber typically have a lower glycemic index. (A food with 5 grams or more of fiber per serving is considered a high-fiber food.)

  • Look for breads that contain rye or buckwheat flours, two grains that have a lower glycemic index number.

Several low-glycemic breads are now on the market. Ezekiel 4:9 bread is probably the best-known; it’s made from a variety of sprouted grains as well as legumes. Other breads contain added soy protein or have a higher fiber content than more traditional types of bread. Resistant starch, a form of starch that digests slowly, is also added to some commercial bread products to help lower their glycemic count.

If you’re looking for alternatives to soft white bread, which typically has a high glycemic index of 75, look for Food for Life’s Original Ezekiel 4:9 Organic Sprouted Whole Grain Bread and Sprouted 100% Whole Grain Flourless Cinnamon Raisin Bread (check their Web site at Food for Life). Also check out Natural Ovens Hunger Filler Bread, which is low-glycemic and loaded with wheat bran, wheat germ, oats, flaxseed, and sesame seeds. Your local bakery may also produce breads made with whole or sprouted grains, so don’t hesitate to ask.

If you enjoy baking your own bread, you have numerous options for preparing delicious low-glycemic breads by incorporating lower-glycemic ingredients. Note: You’ll need to use some whole-wheat flour to provide sufficient gluten to allow the bread to rise. Experiment with rye, buckwheat, or spelt flour, and add in fiber with ground flaxseeds, barley flakes, or steel-cut oats. King Arthur Flour has several different whole-grain, lower-glycemic types of flour, including an Ancient Grains Flour Blend that contains 10 percent quinoa flour. Bob’s Red Mill is another well-known provider of whole-grain flour for baking, including a 10 Grain Flour that contains whole-grain wheat, rye, oats, barley, and flaxseed. Both Web sites also provide whole-grain bread recipes.

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The Essentials of Choosing Low-Glycemic Foods

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