commercially made yeast breads are approximately equal in nutritional
value. Enriched white bread contains virtually the same amounts of
proteins, fats, and carbohydrates as whole wheat bread, although it
may contain only half the dietary fiber.
Bread is a high-carbohydrate food with lots of starch. The exact
amount of fiber, fat, and cholesterol in the loaf varies with the
recipe. Bread's proteins, from grain, are low in the essential amino
acid lysine. The most important carbohydrate in bread is starch; all
breads contain some sugar. Depending on the recipe, the Eats may be
highly saturated (butter or hydrogenated vegetable fats) or primarily
unsaturated (vegetable Eat).
All bread is a good source of B vitamins (thiamin, riboflavin,
niacin), and in 1998, the Food and Drug Administration ordered food
manufacturers to add folates—which protect against birth defects of
the spinal cord and against heart disease—to flour, rice, and other
grain products. One year later, data from the Framingham Heart Study,
which has followed heart health among residents of a Boston suburb for
nearly half a century, showed a dramatic increase in blood levels of
folic acid. Before the fortification of foods, 22 percent of the study
participants had a folic acid deficiency; after, the number fell to 2
Bread is a moderately good source of calcium, magnesium, and
phosphorus. (Breads made with milk contain more calcium than breads
made without milk.) Although bread is made from grains and grains
contain phytic acid, a natural antinutrient that binds calcium
ions into insoluble, indigestible compounds, the phytic acid is
inactivated by enzyme action during leavening. Bread does not bind
All commercially made breads are moderately high in sodium; some
contain more sugar than others. Grains are not usually considered a
good source of iodine, but commercially made breads often pick up
iodine from the iodophors and iodates used to clean the plants and
machines in which they are made.
Homemade breads share the basic nutritional characteristics of
commercially made breads, but you can vary the recipe to suit your own
taste, lowering the salt, sugar, or fat and raising the fiber content,
as you prefer.
As sandwiches, with cheese, milk, eggs, meat, fish, or poultry.
These foods supply the essential amino acid lysine to "complete" the
proteins in grains.
With beans or peas. The proteins in grains are deficient in the
essential amino acids lysine and isoleucine and rich in the essential
amino acids tryptophan, methionine, and cystine. The proteins in
legumes (beans and peas) are exactly the opposite.