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Sponsored by Nexxus Foods

Healthy bread

Nexxus Foods, Inc. a client-focused functional food innovation company located in Montreal, Canada now offers new gluten-free, low-carb, bread mixes. These mixes provide  clients with an exceptional tasting bread that helps consumers enjoy bread again, while they follow weight loss interventions and a long-term healthy lifestyle.

Throughout human history, bread has been a food of sustenance and considered an integral part of a meal.  It has been a major source of nutrition, containing a good amount of carbohydrates and fiber.  In 2019 the Statista Research Department showed that the amount of standard bread, excluding all other types and sweet baked goods, consumed by Americans was significant, as only 7% of the U.S. population (about 23 million) did not consume any at all.  The study found that 93% of the U.S. population consumed one or more loaves/packages (about 20-24 slices) per week, and 12% of the population consumed about 3-5 packages (about 100 slices) per week (SRD, 2019).  Today, due to over consumption of energy-dense foods and greater inactivity, the world's population is more obese that any time in its history.  In fact, worldwide obesity has nearly tripled since 1975.  In 2016, the world had more than 1.9 billion adults, 18 and over, overweight (39%).  In addition, 13% were obese.  Another 40 million kids under 5 were also overweight or obese in 2018, and over 340 million kids from 5-19 yrs. were also overweight or obese in 2016 (WHO, 2020).  In the U.S, the situation is even more dire, with over 70% of adults overweight, and 32.5% considered obese (NIH, 2020).  It is importance to note that obesity is largely preventable according to the WHO and other world health experts (Tungland, 2018; WHO, 2020).  

Over consumption of digestible carbohydrates from starch-containing sources and simple sugars, like sweet baked goods, bread products and sugary sodas continues to trend higher at an astounding rate, which is contributing to the significant rise in these obesity levels.  In fact, according data published from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), a representative sample of the U.S. population, showed that when carbohydrate consumption from 1971-1975 was compared with that from 2005-2006, the percentage of energy from carbohydrates increased from 44% to 48.7%, respectively, a significant difference (Austin et al., 2011).

This over indulgence on carbohydrates and a more sedentary lifestyle has led the U.S. to establish new aggressive federal guidelines for limiting their intake.  In fact, the Dietary Guidelines for 2015-2020 for both children and adults is now set at 130 grams, or 520 calories, down significantly from the 275 grams established just a few years ago (USDA/ARS, 2019).  One-hundred and thirty grams (130g) is the minimum amount required for the body, specifically the brain to properly function.  Dietary practices that are low-carb, especially when combined with health-promoting vegetables and fats, and protein, with adequate exercise, provide the ingredients for a healthy lifestyle.

Historically, due to a failed low-fat dietary experiment that started in the 1970s, low-carb dietary plans became popular in the1980s and 90s, and eventually began to take the place of low-fat diets.  These low-carb diets were given visibility by Dr. Robert Atkins in his 1972 book, "Dr. Atkins Diet Revolution", rising in the early 2000s, and exploding into a low-carb diet frenzy in 2003-2004, led then by low-carb/high protein foods, from both the Atkins and South Beach Diets.  By definition, low-carb diets involve reducing digestible carbs by not consuming sodas, sweet baked goods and breads, pasta, rice, fruits, many root vegetables, like potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, , and others foods that are highly glycemic.  Following a low-carb diet typically limits daily carb intake between 20-60 grams, which is about 40% of the above mentioned 2015-2020 USDA guideline of 130 grams (Mayo Clinic, 2020).  Consuming less than 50 gram daily, places the body into ketosis, a metabolic state is characterized by elevated ketone bodies, which are used as the primary energy source for the brain and body in place of carbs.  During this the early low-carb diet period, because standard bread contained too many carbs, it did not fit into the lifestyle.  As a consequence, breads were reformulated, replacing high starch-containing wheat flours and other carbs using dietary fibers and proteins.

Unfortunately, many of these breads and other processed foods did not offer the exceptional taste and quality of their standard counterparts, resulting in part; to the low-carb craze losing momentum.  In addition, accumulating research evidence showed that, while the low-carb diets contributed to rapid weight loss if follow consistently for a short 30-90 day period, results of longer term use indicated unhealthy issues.  In fact, experts reported that long-term studies showed that a diet high in saturated fats increased cholesterol levels and the risk of heart disease, and may contribute to early death (Banach, 2018; ESC Congress, 2018; Am. Col. Cardiology, 2019; Napoli, 2019; Seidelmann et al., 2018).  

However, despite research and publications showing that following a Keto Diet short term produces  several side effects (MacMillan, 2019a) and long-term health risks (MacMillan, 2019b), popularity for the ketogenic diets is now again increasing due to success stories from celebrities and other dieters, as well as research showing its benefits for rapid weight loss (Brehm et al., 2003; Dyson et al., 2007; Johnstone et al., 2008; Yang and van Itallie, 1976) and a few other health benefits (Mawer, 2018). 

The Take Away: 

The take away message, based on research studies of the short- and long-term effects of high-fat, very-low-carb diets, is that these diets can provide fast short-term weight loss, and may provide some other health benefits.

However, ketogenic diets should only be used as 30-90 dietary interventions, and not be followed long-term. Rather, longer term weight management and overall chronic disease mitigation, should involve a lifestyle of consuming a well-balanced diet of variety of nutrient-rich, and prebiotic rich vegetables, herbs and plant-based sources of healthy fats and protein, such as the Mediterranean Diet, the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet, the Flexitarian Diet and Weight Watchers Diet, while maintaining a diverse exercise plan, and adopting a low stress lifestyle (Tungland, 2018; US News, 2020).  These type of dietary practices contribute to stronger bones, a healthier heart, a lower risk of dementia and breast cancer, and longer life, along with a reduced risk for diabetes and high blood pressure (Lăchătuşu et al., 2019; Tungland, 2018; WHO, 2018).  The new Nexxus' low-carb, gluten-free bread mixes fit well within the company's mission to support their clients with functional solutions for their specific needs, as the mixes support both the short-term low-carb ketogenic intervention plans, and the longer term healthy dietary practices of the highly recommended diet plans, such as the Mediterranean Diet. 

Nexxus' Breads:

By developing highly nutritious gluten-free, low-carb bread mixes with exceptional quality, Nexxus Foods provides a healthy alternative to the long-sought after food item that consumers have considered for centuries as an integral part of a meal.  The nutrition facts panels of breads made from the mixes indicate positive health benefits as low-carb, moderate protein and healthy fat contributing systems, which are coupled with excellent crumb structure and exceptional eating quality of superior tasting bread, Table 1.

Key ingredients of the blends include a high medium chain triglyceride (MCT) containing coconut oil and health-promoting gluten-free, high fiber low-carb flours, along with psyllium husk fiber, a dietary fiber source that contains about 70% soluble fiber and about 30% insoluble fiber.  

The soluble fiber from psyllium husk fiber produces a viscous gel in the gastrointestinal tract that traps some bile acids (which are made from cholesterol in the liver) aiding in their removal to promote lowering cholesterol levels.  The viscous gel also traps some dietary carbohydrates and sugars, promoting slow absorption and satiety, while helping to maintain healthy blood sugar levels.  

Table 1. Nutrition Facts of Coconut Flour Bread

Although the bread mix blend show in Table 1 contains high total and saturated fat levels, the high saturated fat in the unique bread mixes comes from coconut oil and coconut flour.  Coconut oil has more than 50% of its fat as MCT, and coconut flour is rich in healthy fats, especially from MCTs (Rial, et al., 2016).  The four (4) main MCTs in coconut flour and oil are lauric acid, capric acid, caprylic acid and caproic acid, with the most abundant MCT being lauric acid, making up 77% of the MCTs in the oil (LaBarrie and St-Onge, 2017).  Lauric acid is also the component that provides antimicrobial properties (Kabara et al., 1972; Ogbolu et al., 2007; Olthof et al., 2015; Papavassilis et al., 1999; Rial et al., 2016; Shilling et al., 2013).  

The healthy MCTs of coconut flour and oil also have been shown to:

  1. Help reduce weight (Clegg, 2010; Kawai et al., 2017; Mumme and Stonehouse, 2015; St-Onge and Jones, 2003; St-Onge et al., 2003b; St-Onge and Bosarge, 2008; Takeuchi et al., 2008);
  2. Increase energy expenditure (Kawai et al., 2017; Nishi et al., 2012, 2017);
  3. Induce satiety  [reduce hunger] (St-Onge et al., 2014; Stubbs and Harbron, 1996);
  4. Control blood glucose levels and support diabetes management (Eckel et al., 1992; Han et al., 2007; Kinsella et al., 2017; Nagao et al., 2007, 2010);
  5. Raise good HDL cholesterol levels and reduce risk factors for heart disease (Bourque et al., 2003; Cardoso et al., 2015; Kondreddy et al., 2016; Rial et al., 2016; Rudkowska et al., 2006; St-Onge et al., 2003a);
  6. Promote athletic performance (Dulloo et al., 1996; Fushiki et al., 1995; Murray et al., 2011; Nosaka et al., 2009);
  7. Improve brain function , specifically in people with age-related brain degeneration (Cunnane et al., 2016), and;
  8. Manage neurological conditions (Augustin et al., 2018) such as epilepsy (Chang et al., 2013; Chang et al., 2015; Chang et al., 2016; Thevenet et al., 2016; ), Alzheimer's disease (Augustin et al., 2018; Reger et al., 2004) and autism (Cheng et al., 2017; Evangeliou, et al., 2003; Lee et al., 2018).  

The gluten-free, low-carb bread mixes offered by Nexxus Foods are another example of the many unique food blends offered by the company.  Nexxus' mission is to be the "go-to" functional food solution provider.  Charif Geara, President of the company, says, "The gluten-free, low-carb bread mixes offer real solutions to our clients that are looking for tailored functional food systems to their product applications.  By working with our clients on innovative solutions, we often minimizes development time and can make a real difference between obtaining unfavorable results and achieving a highly successful product launch".  "Providing this level of service is how we go about business."


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