I’ve decided to do a blog series investigating trendy foods. I’m not only going to research the supposed health benefits, but also try these foods for myself. First up: sprouted grain breads. If you’ve spent time browsing the various breads in the grocery store, you’ve probably come across Silver Hills or Ezekiel Bread. Both these manufacturers heavily market their use of sprouted grains. Along with a higher price tag, these breads claim numerous benefits. For instance, Silver Hills bread claims to have a lower glycemic index and be higher in soluble fibre and protein than your conventional bread.
Sprouted breads, non-surprisingly, are made from sprouted grains. Conventional breads from non-sprouted grains are made from the seeds that you could put into the ground to grow a plant. On the other hand, breads from sprouted grains soak these seeds in water and allow them to germinate. During this germination process, different enzymes are activated. This changes the composition of the seed as some of the starch, a carbohydrate, in the seed is digested. The results of this can be seen in the table below, comparing 1 slice of Stone Hills bread and Ezekiel bread with 1 slice of Dempster 100% whole grain bread and Wonder white bread. The breads made from sprouted grains are lower in carbohydrates. However, apart from the fact that Wonder white bread is lower in fibre, the fibre, protein and fat content of these different breads are really not that different.
|Stone Hills Sprouted Flax||$0.97||13 grams||3 grams||3 grams||2 grams|
|Ezekiel Bread 7 Sprouted||$1.10||15 grams||3 grams||4 grams||1 gram|
|Dempster 100% whole grain||$0.56||20 grams||3 grams||4 grams||2 grams|
|Wonder White Bread||$0.49||19 grams||1 grams||3 grams||1 gram|
The germination process also changes the micronutrient composition of the seed. Research on sprouted grains has found them to be higher in folate and antioxidants. Sprouted grains have also been found to have better absorption of nutrients such as manganese and calcium. Despite the research showing a different nutrient composition in sprouted grains, there is a lack of regulation for what qualifies as a sprouted grain. Different companies sprout grains using different techniques and standards. Because the nutrient changes that occur during sprouting depend on the type of grain being sprouted and the conditions, it’s hard to say exactly what nutrients sprouted grains are different in than non-sprouted grains.
Breads made from sprouted grains boast better taste. I made my sandwiches this week with Silver Hills Sprouted Grain Flax Bread. I’ll admit that I’m a little prideful when it comes to my sandwich making abilities. I make a mean sandwich. It’s one of my favourite things to bring for lunch. However, I wouldn’t say that my sandwiches were improved with sprouted bread. I personally did not find the taste much different than my conventional 100% whole grain bread. That being said, taste is very subjective.
So would I recommend buying sprouted grain bread? I think that the biggest advantage in breads made from sprouted grains is that you’ll automatically be choosing whole grain bread rather than a heavily processed white bread. While not all whole grain breads are sprouted, breads made from sprouted grains have to be whole grains because refined grains won’t sprout. While sprouted grain breads are lower in carbohydrates, I’m usually aiming to include more carbohydrates in my diet as an endurance athlete. So personally, I do not see this as an advantage. Additionally, the claims of sprouted grains having a better nutrient composition are not specific enough that I am willing to fork over the extra money for sprouted bread. However, there is certainly no harm in eating sprouted bread. If you prefer the taste and don’t mind spending the extra money, they are certainly a healthy option!
Next week I will be investigating Kombucha on my weekly blog, so stay tuned! Don’t forget to follow me on instagram @the.running.dietitian and to like my Facebook page Megan Kuikman Registered Dietitian