Which bread is best???

The humble loaf of bread is so readily available, budget friendly and versatile. Opting for wholegrain bread over white bread is a great nutritional choice because many important nutrients are found in the outer layer of grains, which is lost during processing. Wholegrain breads will provide you with more fibre, iron, B vitamins, magnesium, calcium and protein than white bread.

The basic ingredients in bread are flour, water, yeast and salt. Vitamins can also be added under the Food Standards Code such as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, vitamin E, folate, iron, magnesium and zinc. Bread is low in fat and a good source of energy from carbohydrate.

Here is a summary of popular breads on the market:

·      White bread - the least nutritious variety as it is made from wheat that has had the germ and bran removed thereby reducing the fibre, B-group vitamins, vitamin E, zinc, iron, magnesium and phosphorus.

·      Wholemeal bread - contains all components of the wheat grain as it is made from wholegrains milled to a finer texture. However, some wholemeal breads sold in supermarkets contain a mixture of wholemeal AND refined white flour, so this is something to keep an eye out for on the ingredient list as these products may not be as high in fibre and other nutrients as you may think.

·      Multigrain bread - usually made from white flour with added whole grains. The whole grains slow digestion and lowers the glycemic index (GI) so we have healthier energy levels which can also help us to feel satisfied for longer.

·      Wholegrain bread - contains every part of the wheat grain - the bran (contains fibre, vitamins and minerals), the endosperm (contains carbohydrate and protein), and the germ (contains good fatty acids). This is the best nutritional choice for everyday consumption.

·      Rye bread - made from rye flour and can be light or dark in colour depending on the flour used. It is also classified as wholegrain and is therefore a good choice.

·      Sourdough - made using a ‘starter’ where wheat and water ferment to create a culture that gives the sour flavour. It will keep you full for longer compared to regular white bread as it has a low GI however it doesn't contain as much fibre as wholegrain bread.

·      High fibre white bread - has extra fibre added to white bread in the form of resistant starch (Hi-maize), inulin and/or guar gum (vegetable gum (412)) and is therefore a better nutritional choice than ordinary white bread.

What to look for in a nutritious bread:

·      Fibre for digestive, heart and immune health. More than 3g per serve is a good aim.

·      Wholegrain ingredients!

·      Sodium (salt): A low-sodium bread contains less than 120mg of sodium per 100g. Go for the lowest sodium option if you can’t find anything that low. Less than 400mg sodium per 100g is a good aim. It’s good to lower your overall sodium intake because eating too much sodium over time can lead to high blood pressure which is a major risk factor for heart disease.

Some top bread choices:

·      Tip top 9 Grain Wholemeal

·      Burgen Wholemeal and Seeds

·      Abbott’s Village Bakery Grainy Wholemeal


Look for wholegrain bread with wholemeal flour as the key ingredient, but also with a high percentage of whole or kibbled grains and visible seeds + less than 400mg of sodium per 100g.


Australian Healthy Food Guide. Buyers bread guide 2008. Available from:http://www.healthyfoodguide.com.au/articles/2008/october/buyers-guide-bread




AnnaGinny Stevens