Bread as part of a balanced diet

The key to a healthy balanced diet is eating the right amount of food for how active you are and eating a range of foods including:

  • plenty of fruit and vegetables
  • plenty of bread, rice, potatoes, pasta and other starchy foods (choosing wholegrain varieties when possible)
  • some milk and dairy foods
  • some meat, fish, eggs, beans and other non-dairy sources of protein
  • just a small amount of foods high in fat and sugar.


There is increasingly persuasive evidence that our diets have a significant effect on our long term health. Not only does being over or underweight lead to health problems but so can not eating enough of the right foods in the right balance.

It is best to avoid any diet that promotes the avoidance or severe limitation of a whole food group, such as carbohydrate foods or dairy foods, unless advised to do so by your GP.  Eliminating these foods will be hard to maintain and you also risk missing out on essential nutrients which could have an adverse effect on your health.

As a guide experts have produced the Eatwell Guide to demonstrate the proportion of what foods should make up our diet. About a third to a half should come from complex carbohydrates such as bread. In the UK we don’t eat enough complex carbohydrates.

Our diets should also contain plenty of fruit and vegetables. Again in the UK we need to eat more of these – at least 5 portions a day.

What we should cut back on (but not exclude) are fatty and sugary food and drinks. It is also these foods that contain the highest number of calories gram for gram and therefore cutting back can help if you want to lose weight.

The Eatwell Guide

The Eatwell Guide makes healthy eating easier to understand by showing the types and proportions of foods needed to make a well-balanced and healthy diet.

Bread provides an excellent source of many nutrients not least fibre (particularly in wholemeal bread), something studies have shown we all need to eat more of. But white bread contains calcium, and all bread has iron, the B vitamins niacin and thiamin, as well as a host of other micronutrients.

The Federation works hard along with the millers’ association nabim to support the nutritional advice given out by doctors, nutritionists, dieticians and government about diet and health.

We have developed a Vitality Eating System, which encourages people to eat a healthy balanced diet and take exercise. For the vast majority of people this is the only way to lose weight and maintain that loss – not faddy diets.

The System was based on pioneering work undertaken by the grain chain with the Medical Research Council. Leading obesity expert Susan Jebb studied the studies into weight loss interventions and found that the best way to lose weight and keep it off was essentially a reduced calorie, low fat diet including plenty of complex carbohydrates like bread coupled with exercise.

For more information on bread as part of a healthy diet please download our consumer factsheet: FS22 – Bread as Part of a Healthy Diet.