What do you think of sourdough?

While sourdough bread doesn't rank high on the nutrient scale, it would be appropriate to include occasionally as part of the Healthiest Way of Eating. We'd like to share a Q+A we have about bread with you for more insight.

I was wondering why bread doesn't appear anywhere on your website?

You've asked an excellent question, and you've also made a very astute observation about our website. We don't include

bread in any of our website recipes, and we don't discuss bread making on our website, even though bread is a staple food in the United States and in many other countries as well.

Since most bread is made from grains, the section of our website that comes closest to profiling "bread" is our Grains section. Any of the 10 grains we profile in this section could be used to make bread. If the bread was 100% whole grain, you could treat the nutritional information in this section of the website as basically synonymous with the nutritional information related to bread. For example, in our wheat profile, we provide the nutritional profile for a cup of cooked bulgur wheat containing about 150 calories. That profile would be similar to (although not identical with) the profile for a 100% whole wheat bread containing the same amount of calories.

In general, we have not emphasized consumption of grains in our Healthiest Way of Eating. When we do include grains in our eating plans, they tend to be included in pure form (just the whole cooked grains themselves) rather than forms in which they have been ground into flour and baked into bread. We are by no means opposed to 100% whole grain breads, and believe they can play a very beneficial role in many meal plans. However, the general approach we take on our website is much more of a "Paleolithic Diet" approach in which the main staples in the meal plan include many naturally-occurring fruits and vegetables, as well as nuts, seeds, legumes, and fish, as opposed to a grain-based meal plan that would focus on these cultivated crops that occurred much later in the history of cuisine.

We would strongly recommend avoidance of the "high-extraction" breads, however. "High-extraction" means that a large percent of the whole grain (usually about 40%) gets extracted prior to the making of the flour. When 40% of the whole grain gets extracted out at the beginning of a bread making process, the bran and the germ portions of the grain are the first to go. These portions contain virtually all of the fiber, most of the minerals, and the majority of the vitamins. From a nutritional standpoint, the result is bread that bears little resemblance to the grain from which it was made. Most of the breads in an U.S. supermarket are made from 60% extraction wheat flour, and they typically contain less than 1 gram of fiber. We also recommend checking the nutrition panel on your bread bag. You might find "Whole Wheat Bread" in huge letters on the front of the bag, when the bread actually contains less than 1% whole wheat. The catch here is the percentage. The breads you can trust to contain whole wheat are the breads marked "100% Whole Wheat Bread" on the front of the bag. Any 100% whole grain bread—whether it be wheat or another type—are going to be your best bets in this food category.

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