Choosing to toast bread is typically a matter of taste and texture, but did you know that toasting (and dehydrating) your bread might actually be associated with a couple of potential health benefits? It’s true, although the answer is not as simple as that. To understand what happens to your bread when you choose to toast it, have a look below.
The anatomy of toast
A tasty piece of toast may just seem like a slice of bread with some heat, but on a biochemical level, a string of chemical reactions occurs when fresh bread loses its moisture and turns brown. This is known as the Maillard reaction, and it’s responsible for giving toast a dark hue and more intricate flavors.
What about nutritional value?
There is a classic myth that toasting bread kills nutrients. This is false. However, registered dietician Jess Cording claims that toasted bread technically has a slightly lower glycemic index (GI) because those aforementioned chemical reactions break down the carbs, although the difference isn’t huge between regular bread and toast.
Is one version easier to digest?
According to Cording, the chemical reaction from toasting bread causes the starches to change as the bread’s water level decreases with heat. As a result, this can make the bread easier to digest for someone who may have difficulty processing untoasted bread. That said, the actual type of bread you choose is more important for optimal digestion than whether or not you toast it.
“I most often find myself recommending sprouted-grain bread,” says Cording. “The sprouting process breaks down the grains’ starches, making them easier to digest because they are, essentially, pre-digested when you eat them.”
Any cautions for toasting bread?
Although it can be nice to toast bread, the one thing you want to avoid is burning it. Not only will it affect the taste, but burning bread can actually cause a potentially carcinogenic compound called acrylamide to form on the bread, which can cause health problems if consumed too often.