Is Sourdough the Best Bread for Diabetes?

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The matter of bread has long plagued diabetics. Most people, upon receiving a diagnosis, are encouraged to limit or cut out carbs altogether, including a carbohydrate culprit many hold dear: bread.

For those who have decided to go this route, there are some alternatives, including bread made with alternative flours, such as coconut flour. Finding ready-made alternative-flour bread can be a challenge, however—particularly if you hope to find a loaf low in sugar and at least somewhat decent in flavor. Fortunately, there may be a way to keep bread in your diet and maintain a grip on healthy carbs, and that way is sourdough.

Setting Sourdough Apart

What exactly makes sourdough so different? The manner in which sourdough is processed is the culprit. Unlike most bread (and even some store-bought sourdough), sourdough relies upon a bacterial colony to create a rich, fluffy bread, rather than yeast. This not only improves the flavor and texture of the bread, but essentially pre-digests the grain found within the bread, making it easier for your body to digest, and releasing acetic acid.

Acetic acid is known for its ability to improve blood sugar, and is often found in fermented products, including vinegar. In sourdough, you have bread that is both healthy and easier to digest, making it an excellent option for men and women with diabetes.

A Word of Caution

Not all sourdough loaves are one and the same. Bread made in large batches and shipped across the country may not rely entirely upon a sourdough starter (or bacterial colony) to make their bread, and may instead use the starter as a means of getting that tell-tale sourdough flavor, only to supplement with yeast. This process does not entirely eliminate the benefits of sourdough, but is not as healthy as its yeast-free, fresh counterpart.

When choosing a sourdough bread, make sure you read your ingredient labels for hidden items, including added yeast and sugar. Ideally, a sourdough ingredient list will include only flour, water, and salt, as these are the only ingredients required to create a rich, robust sourdough loaf.

Keeping Sourdough in Your Cupboard

If finding a great loaf proves difficult, making sourdough at home is a great alternative; that way, you know what is going into your bread, and you can tweak flour ratios to suit your needs and tastes. Sourdough starters can be purchased, or you can make your own using a 7-day fermentation process, water, and wheat.

While sourdough is a great bread choice, exercising caution is still advisable when consuming carbohydrates. A single slice of toast with your morning eggs is a healthy choice, while binging on four slices of bread with a massive slab of meat is not. With responsible consumption, sourdough can keep carbs in your life without harming your blood sugar levels.

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