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What makes a bread low carbohydrate?

Posted on the 25 June 2020

Carbohydrates refers to one of the three macronutrients that exist in our food. The other two are protein and fat. They are called macronutrients as we need them in large volumes. These three macronutrients have a role but also provide calories, or energy, to the cells in our body. The main purpose of carbohydrate in the diet is to provide energy, as used like petrol in a car. Most carbohydrates get broken down into glucose, which is the molecule the body uses with ease to convert to energy.

Dietary carbohydrates can be split into three main categories:

  • Sugars: The sweet, short-chain carbohydrates found in foods. The foods that contain these are table sugar, lollies, fruit, dairy products and refined products like syrups.
  • Starches: Long chains of glucose molecules, which eventually get broken down into glucose in the digestive system. These food sources include wholegrains and their products, beans and some vegetables.
  • Fibre: Humans cannot digest fibre. The fibre is used by the microbiome (bacteria in the large intestine) in the digestive system. Food high in fibre include the wholegrain, nuts and seeds, fruit, vegetables and legumes.

The Australian Dietary Guidelines suggest that we receive about half of our calories from carbohydrates. Some individuals claim that carbohydrates cause obesity and Type 2 diabetes, and that most people should be avoiding them. There are slanted arguments on both sides, and it appears that carbohydrate requirements depend largely on the individual. Due to the fact that carbohydrates are used as petrol in the body, the amount of carbohydrate an individual consumes would be dependent on how much fuel they need. Therefore, a very active person would require more carbohydrate than a sedentary person. If an individual consumes an excess of carbohydrate over time, the risk may be weight gain due to consuming too many calories and not expending enough, and the ripple effect of weight gain can be Type 2 diabetes.

 

Foods that are known as carbohydrate foods are those where the higher percentage of the macronutrients is carbohydrate. To give you an idea, below is a list of foods and the approximate percentage of carbohydrate in that food:

Pasta 25%
Rice 23%
White bread 42%
Multigrain bread 28%
Potato, boiled 20%
Banana 23%

Although these foods are considered carbohydrate foods it is possible to find variations of these that would be lower in carbohydrate. Alpine Breads Lower Carbohydrate Bread has 11.1% carbohydrate. This is a large reduction in carbohydrate content compared to white bread.

The reason Alpine Breads Lower Carb bread is so low in carbohydrate is because the bulk of the bread is made from protein, soy, seeds and fibre.

The first ingredient listed is wheat protein. Wheat protein is the protein component from the wheat grain. This ingredient is essential for bread making as it creates an elastic texture which enables the dough to have a high level of strength. In the case of Alpine Breads this is used as the flour base, without using the whole grain which would otherwise increase the carbohydrate content.

The next three ingredients being soy grits, linseeds and sunflower seeds are high in protein and fats respectively. These are all maintained in the whole shape which provides texture in the bread.

The next major ingredient which plays a role in the dough is the wheat fibre. This is from the outmost layer of the wheat grain which is the bran. This is a high fibre product which helps contribute to the high fibre content of the bread.

Therefore, by not using the whole grain, but rather the protein and fibre component of the wheat grain, the bread has been able to easily reduce the total carbohydrate content.

So, although bread is naturally perceived as a high carbohydrate food, Alpine Breads has been able to modify the bread making process by changing up ingredients to alter the nutritional profile at the end. For those who are wanting to reduce their carbohydrate intake, but fear that lifestyle changes like removing bread totally from their diet will be detrimental, will find that having this option will enable a lower carbohydrate to be maintained.