Let’s Talk About Bread Spreads

You have probably heard of the saying that something was the best thing ever produced since sliced bread, right? Well, this sentiment is typically not shared with the fitness community. While there are some who seem to hate bread with a passion, most reasonable fitness motivators would agree that when taken in moderation, bread will not make you fat. This, of course, comes with some caveats.

Forgetting about breads for a second, you have probably heard that pasta makes you fat, haven’t you? While it’s true that pasta does contain heaps of carbohydrate, the reality is that the sauce contributes the bulk of the calories and that is what makes you fat. In a similar manner, bread per se, especially the high-fibre varieties will probably not make you fat. The spreads can, however. Today’s blog post is a basic evaluation of some common spreads and their alternatives.

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Nutella:

I’ll have to be honest and declare that Nutella is one of my favourites. A lot of us like the flavour of chocolate, and to have it as a spread is absolutely divine. Nutella can be healthy for children, who need the energy anyway. But the fact remains that Nutella, as well as other chocolate hazelnut spreads, contain high calories from sugar and palm oil. So spread it thinly and enjoy the taste of it. And don’t eat it by the spoonful straight from the jar aight.

Peanut butter:

This is another one of my favourites, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. Peanut butter contains a fair amount of each macronutrient – fat, carbohydrates and protein. It also has tonnes of fibre and micro-nutrients. However, there are two reasons why you should control your intake. Firstly, and I’m sorry to say this – it is high in calories if spread thickly. Secondly, some varieties have an unnecessarily high amount of salt.

Jam:

This one is slightly different from the first two on this list. It is of the sweet variety and is based on fruit. While you will get the benefits of the fruit used, the reality is that a lot of sugar has been added to make the jam taste palatable. Nevertheless, jam is tasty. Just don’t go crazy with it when you are spreading it all over.

Honey:

To some people, using honey as a spread is weird. To others, like myself, it is commonplace. After all, my philosophy is that if anything goes well with bread, then why not? In fact, there is a fad of honey toast in parts of east Asia these days. While honey is high in sugar, and that can’t be denied, it does offer plenty of health benefits. That is why it is often administered for colds and flu. A bit of honey on your bread definitely wouldn’t hurt unless you have diabetes.

Cream Cheese:

This is another favourite of many people. I like to think of cream cheese sandwich as being an alternative to the whole “gourmet cheese and crackers” thing. Although it is personally not a favourite of mine, I concede that cream cheese on toast is tasty. And unlike other cheeses, cream cheese typically do not provide as much calcium.

Butter And Margarine:

Now we’re talking. These are probably the most common spreads when it comes to bread and toast, and mostly for cultural reasons. I’m not going into the whole butter vs margarine debate, because at the end of the day, in terms of calories, both of these are high in fat. So you might as well enjoy either one on your toast. Just spread it lightly though.

Kaya:

Most of the readership on this blog would have not heard of this before, but I had to throw it in there because it is one of the favourites in my hometown. Kaya is a form of coconut or pandan jam that is found in tropical Asia. It is not only sweet, but has a strong flavour to it also. It does take a fair amount of effort to produce though. Kaya is high in calories, but it is ever so tasty. I’ll have no regrets having some.

So which of these spreads are good and which ones are bad? The reality is that when it comes to calories, they hardly differ from one another. However, if you’re pedantic and want to choose the healthier ones, pick those with some protein and minerals in them, namely the first two on the list. Regardless of which one you pick, always spread them lightly. Happy breading!

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Also published on Medium.


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