How healthy is your supermarket bread? These are the ones you should avoid

Could this be the worst thing since sliced ​​bread? According to a growing body of research, ultra-processed foods are at the root of much of our poor health – with top consumers 24 percent more likely to have heart attacks and strokes, and 39 percent more likely to have high blood pressure.

Britain and the United States are the world’s biggest consumers of ultra-processed food, with more than half of our daily calories coming from plastic packaging.

In a staggering twist, researchers are now labeling bread – the backbone of the British diet – as ultra-processed food, or UPF. This means that it has been industrially engineered to be far removed from its original raw materials, and generally contains additives including preservatives, emulsifiers and stabilizers – which you can’t buy in the local supermarket.

More than eight in ten loaves of bread we buy come from the supermarket, sliced ​​and in a plastic bag – packaging that in itself is significant according to Dr. Chris van Tulleken, the author of Ultra-Processed People: The Science Behind Food that’s not food. Van Tulleken defines UPF as “products packaged in plastic that contain at least one additive that you do not find in the kitchen” – which at first glance also includes our simple supermarket bread.

Not all bread counts as UPF. A bread that contains only flour, salt and yeast is simply “processed” and processed foods are not a problem. Many of the expensive sourdoughs fit into this category.

The reality, however, is that most of us don’t want to spend a fiver for our daily bread, nor can we afford it. So what does this mean for the rest of us who have been buying brown bread for decades, assuming it is the healthy choice?

Should we avoid sliced ​​bread altogether? Absolutely not, says dietitian Clare Thornton-Wood of the British Dietetic Association. While she agrees that freshly prepared food is better, at the end of the day it’s all about balance. “Bread is good for you,” she says. “It is a source of fiber, calcium and B vitamins.

A whole grain sourdough can be a good choice if possible, but otherwise opt for something that contains a variety of grains and perhaps some seeds for extra nutrients and fiber. So how does your regular supermarket bread perform?

Supermarket breads assessed for health and taste:

  1. Sainsbury’s Soft Multiseed Farm Wholemeal Bread

  2. Tesco wholemeal bread

  3. Tesco best wholegrain seeds and grains

  4. Kingsmill Tasty Wholegrain

  5. Hovis Tasty Whole Grain

  6. Sainsbury’s medium wholemeal flour

  7. Sainsbury’s Stamford Street Co Medium Wholemeal

  8. Vogel’s Soy and Linseed Bread

  9. Coop Whole Wheat Toasti

  10. Waitrose organic seeded semi-bloomer

  11. Waitrose wholemeal farm

  12. Coop Irresistible super seeded farm

  13. Marks and Spencer wholemeal farm with seeds

1) Sainsbury’s Soft Multiseed Farm Wholemeal Bread

£1.20, 800g

Taste: There’s quite a bounce and a nutty flavour, plus crunch to the seeds.

Health: It contains palm oil, which is controversial but sustainable, and ascorbic acid (vitamin C). Otherwise no nasty things and an excellent fiber value of 4.1 g per slice. There are also a lot of seeds: 14 percent and four different types.

2) Tesco wholemeal bread

75p, 800g

Taste: Not much bounce and a slightly grainy texture. Tastes like nothing at all.

Health: It contains mono- and diacetyl tartaric acid esters of mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids, and a preservative, calcium propionate, in palm oil, but not. Only 2.5 g fiber per slice.

3) Tesco best wholegrain seeds and grains

£1.30, 800g

Taste: Less springy than Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference bread at the same price and yields a smaller piece. Tastes a bit dignified – like eating bran.

Health: Contains additives such as diglycerides of fatty acids and calcium propionate, which I hope to avoid at this price. Moreover, it contains only 2.8 g of fiber per slice.

4) Kingsmill Tasty Wholegrain

£1.30, 800g

Taste: A pleasant smell and a nice malty edge in the taste. I would like a little more texture, but the feather is very good.

Health: Contains an emulsifier and a preservative and provides only 2.5 g of fiber per slice.

5) Hovis Tasty Whole Grain

£1.39, 800g

Taste: Smells a bit rancid and the taste is weird too. Doesn’t have a great spring either.

Health: Contains preservatives and emulsifiers, along with 2.7g of fiber – I’d like to see more, especially as the taste isn’t great.

6) Sainsbury’s medium wholemeal flour

£75p, 800g

Taste: Very pappy, firm stuff, with a faint caramel flavor.

Health: Contains mono- and diacetyl tartaric acid esters of mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids, calcium propionate and
palm oil – so definitely a UPF bread.

7) Sainsbury’s Stamford Street Co Medium Wholemeal

45p, 800g

Taste: Pale looking and rather dry texture. Tastes of very little, except for a slight nuttiness.

Health: Also contains mono- and diacetyl tartaric acid esters of mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids, calcium propionate and palm oil. It contains slightly less fat and protein than the standard Sainsbury’s version.

8) Vogel’s soy and linseed bread

£2.30, 800g

Taste: Basically a white bread, studded with seeds, it has quite a spring and it is not dry. The taste is slightly seedy – I want more.

Health: It consists of 21 percent grains and seeds (wheat, soy, linseed), so a fairly small range and 2.8 g of fiber per slice. However, there is nothing scary in the ingredients list.

9) Coop Whole Wheat Toasti

85p, 800g

Taste: Good resilience and a beautiful deep brown color. Tastes sweet and malty.

Health: Contains emulsifiers, palm fat and calcium propionate, but the fiber content is high at 3.5ga slice, without tasting worthy.

10) Waitrose organic seeded semi-bloomer

£2.20, 400g

Taste: Good and springy with the most intensely seeded flavor of the bunch – and not too harsh or grainy either.

Health: Five types of seeds (19 percent) and no problematic ingredients at all.

11) Waitrose wholemeal farm

£1.45, 800g

Taste: Reddish golden color with a good springy texture and a faint roasted taste. Discrete

Health: Contains emulsifiers, but no palm oil or preservatives. However, slightly less fiber than most, at 2.5g per slice.

12) Coop Irresistible super seeded farm

£1.75, 800g

Taste: Interesting and a good jump. It may offer a little too much cum for some, but I like it.

Health: Contains five types of seeds, which is a big range, and although there are emulsifiers and palm fat, there is no preservative.

13) Marks and Spencer wholemeal farm with seeds

£1.60, 800g

Taste: Very seedy but a slightly dusty taste and a bit grainy in texture.

Health: Ten types of seeds and grains, accounting for 13 percent of the ingredients. Contains palm oil and no preservatives. The emulsifier is rapeseed lecithin, but the question is whether that is better. On the plus side, it offers 3.75 g of fiber per slice.

Which bread is your favorite supermarket bread? Join the conversation in the comments below

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