How much sugar is there in my sliced pan?
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again - a balanced diet is essential for health. We all know that it’s important to watch how much sugar we eat. The good news is that there is no added sugar in your sliced white bread. That’s right, none, zero, zilch, nada! Why, you might well ask, does sugar appear on the Nutrition panel on the label?
In a nutrition declaration or nutrition labelling the information required in the EU is specified in Regulation (EC) No 1169/2011 on the provision of food information to consumers. The regulation states that labelling should be ‘carbohydrate - of which sugars’ and defines sugars as “all monosaccharides and disaccharides present in food, but excludes polyols”.
Sugar is the food needed by yeast during fermentation. But flour only has very small amounts of sugar, so where does the sugar come from if it’s not added? Well, the enzymes that are present in the flour and the yeast break down the starch in the flour into simple sugars (glucose and fructose) which the yeast can use to ferment the dough and make your loaf rise. These are different from the added sugar you might use in cakes or add to your tea, known as “free sugars”.
Sugars are a type of carbohydrate, and as such, are an important part of a healthy diet. When carbohydrates (except fibre) are consumed, they are digested and broken down into glucose, which serves as an energy source for most tissues in the human body. Glucose is a preferred source of energy for red blood cells, the central nervous system, and the brain. Sugars are sweet-tasting compounds that occur widely in nature, including fruits, vegetables, honey, and milk. Humans are born with the desire or preference for sweet taste – our “sweet tooth”! Scientifically, sugars are either “monosaccharide” or “disaccharide” carbohydrates, which impart the sweet taste, and most foods contain some of each.
Having read all of this you might still be wondering how much sugar is released when you digest a slice of white bread? It’s easy to find out – just take a look at the wrapper and read the Nutritional Information on the label. Even if we refer to a guide daily intake of 90g of added, free sugar per day as per the WHO, then your slice of white bread, which don’t forget has ZERO added sugar, is way below that. Each slice provides only 0.01% of your daily limit, that’s 0.9g per slice.
For more information, check out these resources:
- A Roadmap for Food Product Reformulation in Ireland - https://www.gov.ie/en/press-release/ea90e-ministers-donnelly-and-feighan-announce-significant-plans-to-reduce-levels-of-salt-sugar-saturated-fats-and-calories-in-processed-foods/
- Bread Science by Emily Buehler twobluebooks.com
- IUNA - Report on the pattern of white and wholemeal bread consumption in Irish adults and pre-school children. September 2016 - Analysis of the National Adult Nutrition Survey and the National Pre-School Nutrition Survey
- World Health Organisation - Guideline: sugars intake for adults and children - https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/9789241549028