Bakery products: nutritional properties

Bakery products: general information

Baked products are foods cooked by high energy power, based on water, flour, salt (optional) and a leavening component (also optional).

The fermentation of yeasts (microorganisms belonging to the kingdom of fugi - Saccharomyces cerevisiae ) occurs by hydrolysis and transformation of complex carbohydrates into carbon dioxide and water, a process that (in the presence of gluten) determines the volumetric growth of the pasta. This means that leavened bakery products can ONLY be obtained from doughs based on flours: wheat, spelled, kamut, barley, rye, sorghum, spelled, triticale and oats (controversial), and with the addition of a leavening component : dry yeast - compressed or sourdough, or the combination of both, or chemical yeast (sodium bicarbonate).

What are they and with what differences?

Bakery products include a vast range of cooked foods, both leavened and unleavened, both sweet and savory, both simple and added to: salt, sugar, oils or fats, other cereals, other ingredients, etc. It is necessary to specify that the baked goods, precisely because of this wide compositional heterogeneity, are not all the same and are not always SUBSTITUTABLE. With regards to nutritional aspects, the major differences lie in:

  • Energy density (variable according to the quantity of water, presence of added lipids, presence of added sucrose, presence of other added ingredients etc.)
  • Flour refinement (which determines considerable differences in the quantity of fibers, minerals, vitamins, etc.)
  • Level of hydration (free water that contributes to satiety and the achievement of the recommended daily ration)
  • If present, quality of added fats (saturated, monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, hydrogenated, cholesterol and related metabolic impact)
  • If present, amount of salt added (sometimes so high as to make them unsuitable for hypertensive use)
  • If present, the amount of sucrose added (sometimes so high as to make them unfit for consumption by the diabetic and the obese, and in any case harmful for dental health)
  • If present, type of leavening agent (sometimes subject to food intolerances, allergies and crossover with other allergies; may be related to the persistence of candidiasis)

NB . The possible food additives present are not intentionally mentioned, since they would require too much space in the article; consequently, the in-depth analysis is postponed to another dedicated and more specific paragraph.

Without going into the merits of the classification of bakery products, which are already discussed in the introductory article: Bakery products, below we will limit ourselves to listing the major exponents of the category mentioning the relevant nutritional aspects.

Nutritional aspects

As anticipated, the nutritional aspects of baked products vary based on ingredients and processing. Starting from the assumption that all baked goods are HIGHLY HEALTH and that EVERYONE MAKES SIGNIFICANT QUANTITIES OF COMPLEX CARBOHYDRATES, we try to understand which ones are more advisable for frequent consumption and which are less suitable if they are frequently inserted in ordinary food.

The most caloric SALATI bakery products are the dry ones: crackers, breadsticks, pretzels, schiacciatine, tortillas, taralli, crostini etc., ie all those foods which, in addition to possessing considerable quantities of starch and very low dune water percentage, are characterized by the abundant addition of fats (more than oils ...) from seasoning. Excluding dietary or "special" baked goods, the recipes of most dry salted baked goods include the use of hydrogenated fats, so the metabolic impact of the food on lipidemia can only be decidedly unfavorable. Furthermore, even if it does not negatively affect caloric intake, it is necessary to specify that dry salted baked products bring high rations of sodium (Na) deriving from table salt, a bad nutrient for those who already suffer (or are at risk) of hypertension. Their consumption CANNOT be recurrent and should NOT replace bread.

NB . A small exception may be made for biscuits and similar products which, being made exclusively from blown cereals without the addition of anything, would be considered more balanced than other members of the category.

The same is true for DOLCI dry baked products, therefore: dry biscuits, wafers, shortbread (even wholegrain), biscuits, etc. Among other things, this category of foods has a further nutritional disadvantage, namely the addition of sucrose (simple sugar); this nutrient, in addition to increasing the glycemic index of the food and the overall energy, also increases the risk of tooth decay.

"Average" less caloric, but still unbalanced, are the bakery products. DAMP sweets : brioches, croissants, plumcakes, simple cakes, stuffed cakes, donuts, panettone, pandoro etc. They, too, though using a greater humidity, contain hydrogenated fats (or butter if the preparation is homemade), sugar, eggs and other stuffing ingredients (creams, jams, honey, dried fruit, dehydrated fruit, etc.). Observing the relative nutritional values, the great heterogeneity of the relative chemical characteristics is immediately evident; however, consumption may NOT be frequent or systematic.

Finally, we come to the nutritional aspects of salty (or not sweet) baked goods ; also in this case we can infer both a remarkable variety and a discrete variability of the nutritional characteristics, but, without a doubt, the forefather of the category remains the daily bread also called simple bread. The alternative preparations are: pizza, pinzone, focaccia, spianata, schiacciata, piadina, crescia, salted panettone, savory pies, kish, etc .; these, as preparations of "great taste", have a greater caloric and lipid content (as well as animal proteins).

There is a certain difference in the lipid quality of commercial salted and home baked goods (undoubtedly better), but on balance the distinction would not justify systematic use. On the contrary, simple or daily bread (excluding niche preparations such as the "Ferrarese couple", the "Venetian pan-biscuit" etc.) is a baked product that can be used daily. The energy supply is close to 300kcal (290 on average) and therefore the portions MUST adapt to the subjective calorie consumption; let us remember that bread, with technological development and the advent of well-being, has become a food of potential abuse; containing mainly carbohydrates (pure gasoline for the body) its excessive use in the diet risks overwhelming the energy consumption dictated by the basal metabolism and by the level of overall physical activity, predisposing inexorably to the increase in fat mass and to the worsening of metabolic parameters ( glycemia).


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