We all know that carbohydrates are the necessary foundations of our food pyramid. In Italy, as well France, a meal could not be started if a bread basket is not delivered to the table. Carbs provide us with the energy necessary to function. The energy content of bread ranges from 225 to 260 calories per 100 grams. 80% of this is attributable to carbohydrates, 12% to proteins and a fraction of 1% to fat.
The nutritional profiles for bread vary depending on the flour used in its preparation. In fact the distribution of the nutritional substances in the grain consists of a husk containing FIBRE, STRUCTURAL PROTEINS, MINERALS, VITAMINS, the nucleus consisting of STARCH and PROTEINS, the germ a source of MINERALS, VITAMINS, PROTEINS AND FATS.
The nutritional value of bread also depends on the amount of milling the flour used has undergone. In "00" type flours, lighter flours, very few outer parts of the grain are present, whilst in the darker, "wholemeal" type flours there are more components of this type. Wholemeal wheat flour has a mineral content of around 1.5%, whilst "00" flour contains a maximum of 0.5%. Also the vitamins present in the grain are richer in the outer layers and in the germ.
These are mainly B group vitamins:
- Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)
- Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
- Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)
- Vitamin PP (Niacin)
Wheat also provide a good source of insoluble fibre essential for a healthy digestion and as a regulator of intestinal functions. The "insoluble fibre", consisting of cellulose, hemicellulose, pectin and lignin does not modify during digestion performing an important role in regulating the blood sugar level, as well as lowering the lipid ("bad cholesterol") content in the blood.
Beside carbs (energy), fiber (precious allied of digestion) and protein, wheat flour also provides Iron, B Vitamins, Thiamin, Niacin, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Zinc.
Some flour blends have a particularly high nutritional profile. Rye flour is one of these, where the Soy Flour is very high in protein (up to 45% protein) and low in carbohydrates.