Are “healthier” breads like Weight Watchers better than the rest of the packaged breads on the shelves in our supermarkets? Not really, further below you can read why Weight Watchers bread is a complete scam and why it is no different than the rest of the artificial packaged breads that cause weight gain.
Bread is playing a very important role in the western world food culture. Sometimes when you are hungry and you simply didn’t have time to do the grocery shopping, the only thing that can save you is a slice of bread with some butter or cheese on top of it, simple as that. It’s a delicious comfort food but sadly it is not a healthy one.
Unfortunately the truth is that bread isn’t just bread any more. The bread section of our supermarkets is mostly full of artificial breads – perfectly shaped, white or brown fluffy, soft, sliced breads. Somehow you can wad up each slice into a ball and yet we like to believe it’s real bread.
Weight Watchers bread has more calories than normal bread !?
I know some might find it hard to believe that Weight Watchers bread is just a scam but that’s because they have a brilliant marketing campaign that is very believable. You might ask how could it be a scam when it only has 50 calories per slice and it’s low in fat?! Well yes and this is the problem, in fact this is one of the most fattening breads you can possibly have and it’s not healthier than any of the other sliced white breads out there.
The bread has 50 calories per slice and do you know why? Because each of the slices of this bread is actually smaller and literally lighter than the average slice of bread (one slice is only 20 g). They have reduced the size of the bread and the size of each slice but in fact this bread has more calories than your normal white bread:
|Sainsbury’s White Bread, Medium Sliced 800g||Kingsmill Soft White Bread, Thick Sliced 800g||Warburtons Weightwatchers White Danish 400g|
|235 kcal/per 100 g||238 kcal/per 100 g||243 kcal/per 100 g|
Yep, gram for gram, this light White Danish has more calories than your cheaper white bread. Not much more, but for a bread that has that many claims and the name “Weight Watchers”, you would expect at least a lower caloric value. It’s a marketing trap in which people continue to fall into. Not to mention that calories are irrelevant if the bread doesn’t provide you with the right nutrition, more about calories in general in this post – Why you need to stop counting calories.
I think we can easily conclude that this bread is no different than the rest of the bleached breads out there. But what are the two main problems of these airy, bleached and tasteless breads?
To make homemade simple white bread you only need a few ingredients. Exactly 4 – flour, yeast, water and salt. How many ingredients are there in the packaged breads in our stores? Quite a lot. Let’s see what is in our “slimming” Weight Watchers loaf:
- Wheat Flour
- Dextrose (a form of glucose, basically added sugar)
- Emulsifier E472e (dough conditioner, prepared from glycerol)
- Emulsifier E471 (prepared from glycerin)
- Soya Flour (GM product)
- Calcium Propionate (Preservative)
- Ascorbic Acid (which they claim is vitamin C but it really isn’t)
- E920 agent (luckily it’s Vegetarian, otherwise it’s normally produced from hair and feathers)
Look at that – 11 overall! Well there is no way they can produce this fake bread with just the 4 basic ingredients, of course they need emulsifiers, preservatives and dough conditioners to make it look the way it is and keep it on the shelves for a while. Other ingredients that you will also see on the ingredients list of these types of breads are all sorts of refined vegetable oils like Palm oil and Rapeseed oil.
Just try to imagine, if you are making home made bread, would you ever be able to make it look like those breads that are in a perfect square shape and ridiculously soft, just with ingredients available from the supermarket? Probably not and why would you.
These packaged breads have no nutritional value
Even if they had less ingredients, they are still heavily processed. The commercial bread production strips out most of the nutrition from the wheat. Modern agriculture is completely different from what it was 100 and more years ago. Now it is fully industrialised, relying on agrochemicals such us pesticides and fertilizers, plant breeding and many other methods that have changed the quality of our crops. This is why it is important to buy organic bread when possible.
The sole purpose of the chemical treatment is to increase yields, to be able to keep up with the high demand and make more money. Unfortunately this has led to one big problem – the nutrition of our bread and most of our food has been affected significantly. Most of the breads sold simply have no nutritional value, just empty carbs. Because they don’t provide your body with the needed nutrition, you feel hungry shortly after eating a toast so you end up eating again and again. They create the illusion that you are full but your body will soon send you the signal that it’s hungry again. Another reason why these breads are bad for you is because the refined grains turned into flour immediately cause your insulin levels to spike. Your body converts the refined starch into sugar. Most of them have added sugar which is even worse.
The processed, commercial bread is one of the main causes of obesity (as well as sugary foods). We are not talking about fresh, high percentage whole wheat bread or sprouted wheat bread, we are talking about the bread described above. It doesn’t matter if it’s Weight Watchers or just a cheap white bread, it’s still equally bad. Any product of Kingsmill, Hovis or Warburtons, which pretty much own most of the bread market in the UK should be avoided.
Besides the quality of our bread, the other problem is the quantities with which we consume it. Bread should not be a main element of our diet, consumed with every meal, it should be eaten in a very balanced way. This includes other wheat products like pasta, crackers and biscuits.
If you want to lose weight permanently or simply want to have a more nutritious diet, try eating less bread and more fresh whole foods like fruits, vegetables and beans. There are other less processed sources of carbohydrates like rice, quinoa and oats for example. If you want to read in more detail which breads are at least slightly better and which are much better options, have a look at the BREAD & CEREALS Guide which explains how to tell the difference between real and fake bread and includes links to specific healthier breads.