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Californiamom

Is Gluten Free Bread As Nutritious As Wheat?

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I've been reading The Sneaky Chef and Deceptively Delicious to see if I can sneak some nutritious stuff by my children...the authors discuss adding wheat germ to things because of the extra nutrients it gives...which gets me thinking...is gluten free bread as nutritious as whole wheat bread??? Thanks.

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A better way to think of this is: is anything less nutritious than white bread?

Many gluten-free breads are made with whole grains, which, in general, are more nutritious than white flour.

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A better way to think of this is: is anything less nutritious than white bread?

Many gluten-free breads are made with whole grains, which, in general, are more nutritious than white flour.

Yes, but she asked about whole wheat bread, not plain white. It is a complicated comparison, as breads vary so greatly on both sides. But in general, I think it's very difficult to put together a gluten-free bread that is as nutritious as 100% whole wheat bread. That is because, while you can use whole grains in gluten-free bread, you cannot, as far as I know, make gluten-free breads entirely out of whole grains - you always have to balance it with a significant amount of bare starch flour.

It's a bit of a sore spot with me. :( I had a grain mill and used to make all our bread products from sandwich breads to tortillas to pancakes with 100% whole wheat. Now I cringe when I pull out the starch flours, and as a result we're gradually reducing our consumption of bread-type products in general because most of them are so full of empty calories.

Except that now it's Christmas and we're making cookies and candy and there are empty caolories everywhere we look! :rolleyes:

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Maybe you could compare the labels of the two types of bread for things like vitamins. Not sure how you'd compare the benefits of things like whole grain vs not, though.

I add ground flax seed to a lot of stuff. You could try that in place of wheat germ.

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Just comparing the two breads (one gluten-free and one not):

in the gluten-free bread, there's more sugar, iron, vitamin a

in the wheat bread, there's more calcium

they have the same amount of fiber and protein

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Its just so hard to compare and I'm not sure what the point is... if you can't have gluten, then you can't have it regardless of if its a tad more nutritious then rice bread. Make a point of giving your kids healthy foods in other ways.

I'm really made that Jerry Seinfeld's wife (and a few others) wrote those books about sneaking stuff in your kids foods, I was doing that 16 years ago, I thought everyone did it! If I had done a book I'd probably be financially independent now! Darn.

If they like red sauce you can sneak just about anything in that! In gluten-free baked products you can put in other grains that are gluten-free, flax seed, nuts, etc. My daughter went thru a Kraft Mac and Cheese stage (prior to us being gluten-free) and I snuck in sweet potato, carrots, and butternut squash! (all the same color right).

Just be creative!

Susan

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Ground sesame added into breads or P.B. adds extra nutrients. I've been adding them and a little honey to plain, natural P.B. for years and DS likes it.

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The nutritiousness of whole grains is actually more debated than most folks know. Many grains are high on the glycemic index - that's part of why " whole grains" are better for you, because they re less so. Nonetheless, they are not actually that nutritious.

What nutrition is it exactly you are looking for? I'd be happy to search for and suggest other foods for those nutritive values, and then you don't need to worry about the bread replacement.

-Sherri

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I think one of the issues with wheat bread (white and whole wheat) is that the commercial bread manufacturers use "enriched flour". So far, I have not seen gluten-free flours or mixes using an enrichment such as that.

Remember that old advertising slogan from Wonder Bread: "Wonder Builds Strong Bodies 12 Ways" Now we can laugh about that ad... They had a generation/nation convinced that if you didn't feed your children Wonder Bread it was tantamount to child abuse.

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I think then, if you eat gluten-free flour and pop a multi vitamin you'd be all set.

Susan

:D

Quite right.....

During the introduction of Wonder Bread (1940's?) I don't believe there was such a thing as "multi vitamins" or they were just being introduced. Many children were given Cod Liver Oil as the "vitamin" supplement - some parents couldn't afford to buy anything but Cod Liver Oil.

Wonder Bread marketed something that acted as a supplement and people were sold on it.

Today, the multi vitamin will take the place of the "enriched flour" but then again, many people refuse to take multi-vitamins and will get some of that nutrition thru the enriched flour and cereals that have gluten in them which are on the market. I know some people who get stomach aches from multi vitamins and can't take them even on a full stomach. For them, the "enriched flour" fills in their nutritional gaps - yes at a low extent, but it's something.

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Not to play devil's advocate here, but codliver oil is a GREAT supplement. It has omega fatty acids, which most Americans are woefully deficient in; AND vitamin D, a lack thereof which contributes to skin cancer, among other things. Especially in climates that do not get a lot of sun in the offseason, cod liver oil is an excellent thing to add to your diet in the wintertime.

Good point that multivitamins are NEW. Our grandparents didn't take them because they didn't exist. Multivitamins are a mixed blessing in my mind. I don't take them. How is it exactly they are ISOLATING certain nutrients, and making them work in our bodies, which don't work in isolation in any way. All things having to do with life are systems, not separate parts. We have yet to and no doubt never will really understand entirely how the body works, because it is not reducable, and can't be managed by reduced things, like multivitamins. (the nation's sewage, by the way, contains millions of undigested multivitamins.) What's ironic about someone refusing to take vitamins because their bread flour is "enriched" or their milk is "enriched" -- what do they think they're enriching them with? Isolated vitamins and minerals.

Nutrition should be had from food. That said, I do understand many of us can't absorb vitamins/minerals properly since our intestines are damaged. Perhaps in those instances, until we heal ourselves, we can gain some help from NATURAL, WHOLE FOOD BASED multivitamins. But ultimately, we should not be popping pills for nutrients - we should be eating them in food. Kids should definitely be getting it from food - they're systems are cleaner than ours in most instances.

As to nutrition from whole grain bread -- everything on the web I could find in 1/2 hours time that touted the goodness of whole grain bread products, presented them in contrast to refined bread products. One of the things they like to say is about fiber. What is the fiber content in your average piece of whole grain bread compared to a fig? an avocado? most vegetables? most fruits? Not good, when compared to those things. Here's what the AVERAGE whole wheat bread has for nutrition info on the packaging:

Calories: 70

Fat 1.2

Sodium 140

Carbs 13

fiber 2

sugars 5.6

protein 2.7

A0%

Calcium 2%

C 0%

Iron 5%

Here's what the Millet Bread (Food For Life) my family eats has:

Calories: 100

Fat .5

Sodium 170

Potassium 130

Carbs 21

fiber 1

sugar 3

protein 2

Vit 0% except

C at 4%

Iron 4%

So, the difference in 1 gram of fiber when we're supposed by getting 30 a day seems a bit irrelevant really. I'd focus on getting high fiber fruits and veggies in their diet.

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