Bread is undeniably one of the most convenient foods we have in today's time. And there is no denying the fact that it can add a whole variety to your plate, with garlic bread, cheese toasties, vegetable sandwich, plain butter toast or bun maska.
But a lot of us have been unsettled ever since Center for Science and Environment (CSE) released its study that says most breads made by Indian companies are laced with chemicals such as potassium bromated or iodate that damage human health, warning people that it leads to cancer. The study has put leading bread brands like Harvest Gold, Perfect Bread and Britannia along with buns and pizza crusts from popular fast food chains like KFC, Domino's and McDonald's under scanner; all of them tested positive for both chemicals.
Dr. Saurabh Arora, founder of Food Safety Helpline and head of Auriga Research Limited laboratories clears the air, "Bromate was so far considered a permitted ingredient in preparation of breads but its use was recently banned in water, which is something that needs to be considered. Having said that, we tested bread samples and it has been found that the quantity of Bromate in bread is under permissible limits. And one needs to consume half a kilogram of bread to ingest it in dangerous levels, thereby making it absolutely safe for consumption." He adds that there is a dire need to conduct more studies and scientific research to find out more about the chemical.
There is some nutritional value in breads that cannot be ignored. Dr. Suvarna Pathak - Dietitian Coordinator - Nanavati Super Speciality Hospital, Mumbai says, "Breads have one positive quality and that is the yeast, which gives vitamin B12 and also some probiotics. Hence, occasional indulgence is fine." It is always advised to have bread with lots of vegetables so that the fiber helps in digestion and slows the release of sugar.
Dr Rashi Chahal, chief dietician, Paras Hospital warns, "Bread can be an unhealthy option if you don't use multi-grain bread, that too from a bakery you trust (or if you are baking it yourself). One has to be sure of the ingredients that are going into it." "Oats, ragi and rye breads are some of the healthy bread options." White breads are made of refined flour and rest is colour. It raises blood sugar and can lead to obesity.
What are the healthy bread toppings?
A lot of people end up making their bread unhealthy and high-calorie, bringing down its nutritional value. Cheese spread, butter or jam simply makes it more fattening. So along with selecting the healthier bread option, it is also extremely important to top it with non-fattening, healthy alternatives. Try having your bread with homemade hung curd dressing, toasted bread with honey and black pepper or avocado spread with olive, jalapenos to make the most of it.
Best bread alternatives
If you would like to explore other quick fixes, we bring you some healthy and nutritious alternatives:
Wheat flakes with milk:
While there is no replacement for fresh ingredients but adding healthy wheat flakes to your milk is the quickest and healthiest breakfast option. Many are looking at it as a low calorie, light dinner option too.
Anything that goes on the burner does not always have to be complex. Here's how you can fix a quick poha- Quickly wash your poha. Add a spoon of oil in a pan, add chopped onion (or vegetables if you wish). Saute it for 2-3 minutes, add your poha with salt and turmeric and roasted peanuts. Squeeze half a lemon for a nice refreshing flavor. Your healthy poha is ready to be relished.
Another breakfast alternative that's healthy yet simple to fix. Roast semolina and keep it aside. Add mustard seeds to a spoon of oil and let it splutter. Put chopped onions and other vegetables and allow them to cook. Add salt, turmeric. Once done, add water and bring it to boil. In the end add semolina and let it thicken. Healthy upma is ready to be served.
Tossing together a variety of fruits is a healthy way to kickstart your day. Add a pinch of salt and lemon for added flavor. Paneer chat: