April 14, 2024
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It can sometimes feel hard to balance getting nutritious foods that make you feel good without emptying your wallet.

So, we’re trying to find the cheapest ways to identify the healthiest options.

For that, the Money team has asked Sunna van Kampen, owner of Tonic Health, who went viral on social media for reviewing supermarket products in the search of healthier choices, for his input. 

The series does not aim to identify the outright healthiest option, but to help you get better nutritional value for as little money as possible.

This time, we’re looking at supermarket bread.

The vast majority of breads in our supermarkets are packed with preservatives, sugars and other nasties.

Sunna says the best choice is sourdough – as it balances digestibility, nutrient content and (crucially) affordability. 

“Unlike typical shop-bought bread, sourdough also stands out with no additives, preservatives or added seed oils,” he says. 

Sourdough bread also contains about 40% less sugar per 100g than typical loaves. 

Why is that better for me? 

This reduction in sugar may not seem like much – as there is only typically 3.5g per two slices of regular shop bread – but savings can soon add up. 

Assuming two slices of toast for breakfast and lunch, you would be saving 2.8g of sugar per day. Over the course of a year, that’s a whole 1kg of sugar cut from your diet.

“The cut in sugar is not just good news for our waistlines, but also for our overall health, contributing to a balanced diet without the same spikes in blood sugar levels,” Sunna says.

Those spikes cause sudden drops in energy, spates of hunger and could potentially lead to type two diabetes. 

You can easily check how food will affect your blood sugar levels by checking its glycaemic index – a value out of 100 used to measure how much specific foods increase blood sugar levels (the lower the better for most of us).

“The fermentation process that makes sourdough lowers its glycaemic index to 54, compared with a conventional loaf at 71,” Sunna explains. 

Cost

“Sourdough has become a surprisingly affordable staple in most major supermarkets despite the cost of living crisis,” Sunna says. 

He found real sourdough (any sourdough with yeast or sugar in the ingredients isn’t fermented authentically) in the following major supermarkets:

  • Tesco Brown Sourdough 400G – £2
  • ASDA Extra Special White Sourdough 400g – £2.25 (although this has added rapeseed oil)
  • Sainsbury’s Sourdough Pave, Taste the Difference 400g – £2
  • Waitrose No.1 White Sourdough Bread 500g – £2
  • Morrisons – didn’t have an own label sourdough we could see, but they did have Jason’s The Great White Straight Up Sourdough 450g – £2

So, dependant on the price of your typical Kingsmill or Hovis, you are only spending an extra 60-80p per loaf – which, over the course of a year (assuming a loaf a week), is an extra £31.20-£41.60 investment in return for better gut health, more nutrients and far less sugar.  

“Well worth the investment,” Sunna says.

Give it a try, and let us know if you think it’s worth it in the comments section. 

The nutritionist’s view – from Dr Laura Brown, senior lecturer in nutrition, food and health sciences at Teesside University

“In terms of the desire and appeal of white bread, this is a healthier recommendation for sure. 

“There are also other suggestions that can be included here, including Tesco’s own high fibre bread (£1.30 for a loaf). 

“This encourages satiety and reduced spikes in blood glucose.

“Either way, we need to be promoting and encouraging the consumption of these lower glycaemic, high in fibre, wholegrain, less processed breads due to the negative effects of white, processed bread on digestion and health.”



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