I love bread. I absolutely love everything about bread. It’s probably one of my favourite foods. But it’s something that people don’t often pay much mind to, you pick up your fave and go on with your day, never really thinking about how much that single decision influences your nutrient intake.
Firstly, let’s talk about serving size. How much is a serve of bread? One slice? Two slices? More? Less? The Australian Guide to Healthy Eating defines a serve of bread as one slice, or 40 grams.
So we can safely assume that when we eat two slices of bread, that will be two serves of bread, right? WRONG. I looked at eight off-the-shelf breads available at my local coles to show you how much of a difference there truly is.
All of the breads did have one thing in common, they defined one serve as two slices… But how many grams in two slices varied greatly.
|Brand||Two slices||AGTHE Serves||Energy (kj)|
|Coles – Budget||59 grams||1.5 serves||585|
|Sunblest||60 grams||1.5 serves||618|
|Coles – Medium||70 grams||1.8 serves||684|
|The One||74 grams||1.9 serves||723|
|Helga’s||83 grams||2.1 serves||830|
|Abbott’s Village||84 grams||2.1 serves||848|
|Coles – Traditional||84 grams||2.1 serves||830|
|Lawson’s||114 grams||2.9 serves||1055|
As you can see, two slices of the coles budget brand bread will only give you 1.5 serves of bread, whereas two slices of Lawson’s will have you sitting at almost three. This disparity can make a huge difference to your nutrient intake.
But why should I care?
Let’s say you’re aged between 19-50 and you’re trying to shed a few kilos to bring yourself back into a healthy weight range. You have made the sensible decision to consult The Australian Guide to Healthy Eating Recommended Serves for Adults and the grains/cereals food group pages. Even though the grains and cereals group contains things like rice, barley, quinoa, pasta, and cous cous, all you’ve got at home is bread. Bummer, but you’re ready to change so you persist and resolve to eat 6 pieces of bread today. You decide to have three nourishing sandwiches (maybe inspired by the ones I posted).
If you’re eating Lawson’s this means at the end of the day you will have actually eaten 8.7 serves of bread, or if you’re eating coles budget bread, you’ve only eaten 4.5 serves. The energy difference? 1410kjs (or around 340 calories). If this situation occurs regularly, that difference is truly significant enough to make or break a weight loss plan. If you’re eating Lawson’s you might find you’re not losing weight at all, or maybe you’ll even gain weight, despite your seemingly strict adherence to the healthy eating guidelines! Or on the flip side, if you’re eating the coles budget brand you could be under-eating, leading to exhaustion, irritability, and hunger, as well as other consequences like low fibre intake leading to constipation. All these things are going to significantly impact on your motivation. Who’s going to stick to a “healthy diet” if it leaves you feeling hungry, weak, and constipated? or if it makes you gain weight? I sure wouldn’t!
Now this isn’t to say that you should switch away from the bread you love. You should always follow a diet that is within your means and that you enjoy. I have made this post so you can be aware of the little things which could affect the healthfulness of your diet, so you can be empowered to make informed decisions. Go forth and love your bread, just think about the size of the slice next time you’re chowing down on a delicious sandwich!
P.S. Credit to my amazing, and hilarious friend Stef for coming up with this punny title. You’re the bomb.