07 October 2008

Low-GI bread – the staff of life

Low-GI breads have taken the South African market by storm, and it's all good news. Here's why we're excited.

Bread has been the "staff of life" since Biblical times. Until quite recently South African consumers had to make do with white, brown or wholewheat bread, with the odd loaf of rye as a variation.

Low GI
Low-GI or low-GL (low glycaemic load) breads have the advantage that they don't make your blood sugar or insulin levels shoot up as is the case with white and standard brown and wholewheat breads.

  • Obesity, especially resistant obesity
  • Hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar levels)
  • Insulin resistance
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) that is usually also linked to insulin resistance and/or metabolic syndrome
  • Type 1 and type 2 diabetes

Slow release of energy
The most important characteristic of low-GI breads is that they cause a slow, steady release of energy and keep you feeling full for longer. This will counteract cravings and help to stabilise blood-sugar levels to prevent hunger pangs and overeating that can cause obesity.

a separate article on Health24 have GL values of 15 to 18 per two-slice serving. Presumably the other three varieties listed also have a low GI and GL.

High fibre content
As mentioned above, low-GI and other health breads have a high dietary fibre content varying between 7.2 g to11.4g per two-slice serving (i.e. between 36% and 57% of the suggested dietary fibre intake per day).

Good fats
Like most other types of bread, all these health breads are free of cholesterol and care has been taken to ensure that they're also practically free of any harmful trans-fatty acids.

Added benefits
On some of these health breads it's stated that they're suitable for strict vegetarians. For example, all the ingredients in the Daybreaker Low-GI True Whole Wheat Brown Loaf by Sasko are derived from plants, and even the emulsifiers are of vegetable origin and the enzymes used in baking are of non-animal origin.

People with wheat, gluten or soya allergies will unfortunately not be able to make use of these low-GI health breads. They're all baked with wheat flour and have other wheat products (e.g. crushed wheat, wheat bran etc.) added to them to increase their dietary fibre content and lower the GI.

As one would expect, all these low-GI breads cost more than standard brown or wholewheat bread. The prices range from R7.89 to R13.95 per loaf of 15 slices (or about eight servings).

Click here to view the nutritive contents of some of the low-GI breads available in South Africa.


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