In recent years a new nutritional trend has appeared that has completely revolutionized our understanding of the world of baking: bread made from mother’s dough (or sourdough starter) rather than from traditional yeast.
You have probably come across a supermarket or local bakery sign more than once proclaiming that all their products are made with sourdough, which might get you thinking, is sourdough bread better for you than regular bread? And, on that note, can sourdough bread help me lose weight?
The answer is yes and no. While a bread made with sourdough will not directly influence weight loss, it will influence our metabolism, which could in turn affect weight loss.
So, is sourdough bread the wonder of the century and the answer to our prayers? Is this type of bread one that can be consumed without concern about calories and weight gain? I’m afraid not.
While there are numerous benefits to choosing sourdough bread over regular bread, a serving of sourdough bread is still a serving of carbohydrates which will add a fairly large amount of calories to your meal. So, if you’re following a strict, calorie controlled diet, switching to sourdough bread over regular bread is not going to make a huge difference to your diet.
It’s best to think of sourdough as a more natural type of bread and one that may be easier for your body to digest.
What is sourdough bread?
Sourdough bread is a type of bread that is fermented in a totally artisan way in a long and slow process. The starter, or mother dough, is first made from a mixture of just flour and water which is left to ferment for a few days to a week while being fed and lovingly tended to each day.
This natural fermentation process results in a mixture of all types of bacteria and “wild” yeasts. This mother dough or sourdough starter is then used to make sourdough bread by adding more flour, some salt and water.
Different types of flour can be used, such as rye flour or regular wheat flour and it’s this type of flour which can ultimately determine just how healthy your sourdough bread is. If plain, white, wheat flour is used, your sourdough loaf will offer no more nutritional goodness than a regular loaf of white bread.
But, if your sourdough loaf has used rye, wholemeal/whole wheat flour or some other nutritionally dense type of flour, then your loaf will also offer that nutritional benefit.
The fact that this bread is created from a dough with bacteria and live yeasts means its fermentation times are much longer, but that its flavor and nutritional value are also superior to regular, mass produced bread.
Is it fair to say then that mass produced bread made from regular dough is less healthy and doesn’t taste as good? Not necessarily! The key to one product being better than the other at the end is determined by the mixture of flours used for its creation.
Even though sourdough starter is made from natural products it will always have to be mixed with flour; and if the flour used is not wholemeal, the end result will have the same nutritional values as any other standard, commercially made bread.
Nutrition experts insist that bread, whether it’s sourdough or not, in order to help us control our weight or blood sugar levels, will always depend on the amount we consume per day, the flours it’s made from, and our lifestyle habits.
Benefits of eating sourdough
Sourdough Bread Improves Our Digestion
It seems to be unanimously agreed by nutritionists that sourdough bread is easier to digest than “regular” bread and the reason for this seems to be to do with the gluten. Due to the long fermentation required to produce sourdough bread, the gluten found in the bread has already been partially decomposed or digested by the bacteria present in the mother dough.
This, in turn, makes the sourdough bread easier for our bodies to digest. So, if you think you have a digestive problem when consuming gluten, you should definitely give sourdough bread a try – your digestive system will thank you for it.
So, Is Sourdough Bread Good For Weight Loss?
Can sourdough bread make you lose weight? The answer is no – sorry! Of course, eating this type of bread will help you improve your digestive health, but if that bread does not contain wholemeal flours, such as rye or oats, the levels of sugar and fat present in it will be the same as in any other commercially produced breads.
Unfortunately there is no magic food that will help you lose weight. The key to losing weight while consuming bread is to consume wholemeal flours, control the amount of bread you eat every day and combine it with exercise and a diet rich in low saturated fat.
So, if you’re trying to lose weight, you can eat sourdough bread (in moderation) to help your digestive system, but try to choose wholemeal or rye sourdough bread and always combine this with a healthy diet and exercise.