Everyone knows about carbs these days. People go carb-free in an effort to lose weight, and athletes carb-load before a big event.
Carbs, or carbohydrates, are essential for energy - they are what our body converts immediately into an energy source - but we can eat too many carbs and not enough fruit and vegetables which also give us energy as well as vitamins and minerals.
I noticed the Freya's Lower Carb loaves in my local supermarket. It seemed every trolley going through the check-out had a loaf in it. The cynic in me imagined all sorts of additives and fillers in the bread to replace the carbs, so I took a closer look, comparing a Tip Top mixed grain bread with Freya's low-carb option.
Tip Top Goodness Grains 9 Grain & Seed $4.49 for a 700g loaf
• Wheat flour — Not sure if this is white or wholemeal or a mix of both.
• Mixed grains and seeds (21%) — The bread has linseed, wholegrain kibbled purple wheat, wholegrain corn grits, oat bran, kibbled soy, sunflower seeds, wholegrain kibbled wheat, wholegrain kibbled pearled barley and wholegrain kibbled rye. It's great to have a bread with so many grains and seeds in it. Wholegrains take longer to break down in the digestive system and so give more energy for a longer time. They are also high in fibre.
• Iodised salt — Iodised salt has been added to our commercially prepared bread since September 2009 when studies revealed that the iodine status was declining among New Zealanders. Iodine is an essential nutrient for humans, but is required in only very small amounts.
• Canola oil — This is most likely in here to keep the bread soft and moist.
• Cultured dextrose — This is a new ingredient I haven't come across before. It is made from the fermentation of milk and sugar powders, and is used in food products to inhibit growth of mould and bacteria.
• Vinegar — This is probably in here as a natural preservative but it could also be here for flavour.
&Bull; Roasted barley malt flour — This may be in here for flavour.
• Soy flour — This could be in here to increase the amount of protein in the bread.
• Emulsifier (481) — This is sodium lactylate which is a sodium salt.
• Vitamins (vitamin E, folate) — This bread is fortified with these vitamins so that the maker can say on the packaging "high in folate" and "high in vitamin E."
• Mineral (iron) — More fortification so that the packaging can say "high in iron."
Plus: Water, baker's yeast, wheat gluten
Freya's Lower Carb 5 seeds $4.99 for a 750g loaf
• Wheat flour (white, wholemeal) — Good to see a mix of white and wholemeal flours in this bread.
• Seed mix (19%) — The bread has sunflower seeds, brown linseeds, golden linseeds, poppy seeds, psyllium seeds and sesame seeds. This is slightly less than the 21 per cent of grains and seeds in the other loaf, but still a good showing. The packaging says that they have replaced some of the flour with these seeds to deliver 40 per cent less carbs than standard multigrain bread. You'll get 23.3g of carbs per 100g of this bread and 40.6g of carbs per 100g of the 9 Grains & Seed bread - about a 40 per cent reduction for the Lower Carb bread. You will also get 9.5g of fibre per 100g and 5g of fibre per 100g with the 9 Grains & Seed bread. This may be due to the psyllium seeds in the Lower Carb bread, which are a very good source of fibre.
• Emulsifiers (471,481) — These are mono dyglycerides of fatty acids which are produced primarily from hydrogenated soya bean and sodium lactylate (as above).
• Acidity regulator (263) — This is calcium acetate which will perform a similar preservative function to the vinegar in the 9 Grains & Seeds.
Plus: Water, wheat gluten, soy flour, yeast, iodised salt, canola oil
Both breads are great and I highly recommend them for your family. If you have kids then I would go with the 9 Grains & Seeds as children need energy and they get it from carbohydrates. It also has the addition of folate, iron and vitamin E and is not a bad fibre level. If you are an adult, and wanting to reduce carbs the Lower Carb bread is a great choice. You get less carbs, more protein (13.9g per 100g compared to 10.9g per 100g for the 9 Grains & Seeds). And almost double the fibre.
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